Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Pear & parsnip cake with rosemary - recipe by Bex

As I said on Instagram the other day, I was given a few parsnips last week by a friend at our local village pop-in which I go to every Tuesday.  I made a big batch of my lovely parsnip soup and still had a couple of parsnips left over so I thought I'd make a parsnip cake to take along this week to say thank you.  (It turned out she was on holiday though, but everyone else loved it!)

I searched on Pinterest and Google for ideas and  I found a few I liked the sound of.  I originally wanted to make a parsnip & lemon cake but didn't have enough parsnips left over.  I also liked the idea of parsnip & ginger but I didn't have any stem ginger.  In the end, I settled on this one and I'm so glad I did.  It's unusual but seriously yummy!  I've adapted the recipe slightly, I left the cinnamon out of the cake and halved the amount in the icing as Nik and I aren't huge fans of a strong cinnamon flavour.  I also made double the quantity of buttercream as the 1st batch I made was nowhere near enough.  This may be because I made wider cakes than instructed although I still don't think it would have been enough and that's not just because I love buttercream!  ;)

I've re-written the recipe using all the quantities and instructions as I made it.  As much as I'd love to spend lots of time making it look pretty maybe with a couple of pears next to it and a dusting of icing sugar and taking beautiful photos against a nice background rather than a few quick snaps of it on our practical spotty table cloth!  The ones on the original blog where I found the recipe are much more beautiful, I urge you to take a look.  I was lucky to have time (and cooperative twins this morning) to make the cake and add a little rosemary embellishment though :)


For the cake 
320g unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
320g soft light brown sugar 
4 medium eggs 
320g plain flour 
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt 
100g peeled and grated parsnip 
200g peeled and chopped pears
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary 

For the syrup
125g golden caster sugar
2 springs of rosemary 
place sugar and 
250ml cold water 

For the buttercream
250g butter 
400g icing sugar 
2tsp ground cinnamon 
100 ml double cream (I didn't have any so I used 100g half fat crème fraîche and it seemed to work well!)

Preheat the oven to 170oC, grease and line four 8 inch tins with baking paper.

Using a stand mixer or electric hand held mixer beat the butter, sugar and eggs together for 2 minutes until pale and well combined.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a clean bowl.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat gently to combine.  Finally fold in the parsnip, pear and rosemary and divide between the four tins.  Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Leave to cool on a wire rack. 

To make the syrup:

Heat the sugar and rosemary in a pan and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved then set aside to cool and discard the rosemary sprigs.

To make the buttercream:

Using a stand mixer (I use mine with the whisk attachment for the icing to make it light and fluffy) or hand held electric mixer beat the butter with the icing sugar, cinnamon and cream/crème fraîche and mix until smooth. for 5 minutes until pale and smooth.

To assemble:
Level cakes by cutting off any domed tops and place one layer on a cake plate.  Brush the top with rosemary syrup then smear on the buttercream and then repeat with another layer and continue with the third and fourth layers finishing with a layer of buttercream on the top.  Decorate with rosemary.

It was absolutely delicious and one I'd definitely make again.

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