Wednesday 24 January 2018

Parsnip and pecan cake with ginger topping

Give and Bake

Parsnip and pecan cake with ginger topping
Parsnip and pecan cake with ginger topping

Lorraine Pascale

A drum roll played inside my rather large head over Sunday lunch when I thought to myself, "Parsnips in a cake... would I? Should I?" Well, I did, and you know what?

Your baked-in-a-cake goodness has gone and knocked the tangoed carrot right off its perch. Compared to a full-fat parsnip bake, this has less saturated fat, half the quantity of sugar and more fibre. Makes 8 rectangular portions or 16 smaller bite-size squares.


For the sponge

20cm square baking tin

Spray oil

225g parsnips (about 3 medium parsnips), peeled and roughly grated

200g of either wholemeal flour or wholemeal spelt flour

100g soft dark or light brown sugar

75g unsalted butter, very soft

50ml sunflower oil

50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

5 tbsps semi-skimmed milk

2 tbsps honey

2 eggs

1 egg white

2 tsps baking powder

1 tbsp ground ginger

Big pinch ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of vanilla extract

A good pinch of salt

For the stem ginger frosting

200g low-fat cream cheese

4 tbsps icing sugar, sifted

2 knobs of stem ginger, finely chopped

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C/ 350°F, gas mark 4. Spray a little oil all over the inside of a 20cm square baking tin and line with baking parchment.

I don't line all the sides, but do one strip, which covers the base and two opposite sides of the tin. I like to leave this a bit longer so it overhangs the edges, making it easier to remove the cake from the tin once it is baked.

Put all of the ingredients for the sponge into a large bowl and mix together until they are well combined. After that, spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Next, bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.

Meanwhile, make the stem ginger frosting by simply mixing all the ingredients together in a medium bowl until they turn smooth. Afterwards, cover the bowl and set it aside in the fridge until you want to use it.

When ready, remove the cooled cake from the tin, peel the paper off and sit the cake on a serving plate. Spread the frosting evenly over it, using a palette knife to give a nice wavy effect, and serve.

Photograph by Myles New. Recipe from Lorraine Pascale's 'A Lighter Way to Bake' published by Harper Collins

Irish Independent

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