Friday, 7 November 2014

Parsnipmeggedon...Or, What To Do When You Have Too Many Parsnips.

So...I ordered the food shopping Like I normally do, and in my defence the website wasn't working too well at the time, and I was tired. And - AND I had a really horrible virus so maybe just maybe there was a tiny bit of human error, but somehow and it's not my fault honest guv, but I ended up with just over 6 kilo's of parsnips. Bag after bag of parsnips came into the house and ever resourceful, I thought I would smile at the delivery man and and say "no no it's fine, don't have to take them back, I'll do something with them!" While picturing vats of parsnip wine, roast parsnips and parsnip crisps.
After a couple of days of parsnips, this fervour faded to fever. "I never want to see another parsnip again." Said Mr Bee, grumpily. "I like parsnips, mummy!" said Mini Bee, smiling. "But I don't want another one ever again at all ever!" she said with a bigger smile.
Eyeing the parsnips in the veg box,  because we couldn't get them all in the fridge, I came upon an idea. How about Parsnip cake? I asked. The silence that met me would be only akin to the type of silence I presume you would be met with upon sitting in a vacuum. I searched for a parsnip cake recipe and ooh would you believe it, I found one. I asked Big Bee to help with the prep, and off we went. "Of course you do realise, I HATE parsnips?" Big Bee sighed as she flicked some parsnip off her fingers.
"Shush you and grate those parsnips." I demanded. I was very...erm...hopeful it would work and do you know what? It DID! It turned out really nice...And yes we're doing it again. But not for a while...
We ended up giving away two bags of parsnips, blanching and freezing some and unfortunately, some ended up on the compost pile.

Here's the Parsnip cake we made. In case you are wondering, it was actually VERY good and I think it was better than carrot cake. This cake will keep for a couple of days in an airtight tin, serve it up with fresh tea or coffee.

We had the recipe from and it's perfect. We omitted the walnuts as we didn't have any, but I should imagine it would be excellent with them.

  • 320-350g parsnips
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375 g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 60 g walnut pieces, chopped
  • icing sugar, for dusting


1. Grease a square cake tin by brushing it lightly with neutrally-flavoured oil. Line it with baking parchment, then oil lightly again. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

2. Peel and trim the parsnips, then coarsely grate enough to give 250g of grated vegetable. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together, then add the oil, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract and grated parsnips. Stir to combine and set aside.

4. Sift the self-raising flour, cinnamon and salt into a second large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the parsnip mixture. Add the chopped walnut pieces and stir just enough to combine the ingredients and make a stiff batter.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, spreading it out fairly evenly into the corners. Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes or until the cake is well risen, the top is firm and brown, and a metal skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin before lifting it out to a wire rack to cool completely. Dredge with icing sugar before serving.
(This is where we decided to mix 100 grams of icing sugar with lemon juice instead, and drizzled it over the top because we prefer it to dredged icing sugar - our picture shows this)

Iced rather than dredged.
The inside, soft, light and fluffy.

No raw bits of parsnip, no grated bits to chew on. It's like it melted into the mixture. It reminded me of the texture of red velvet cake...but ever so slightly softer. It has a lovely spicy gentleness to it as well, which lifts it from the parsnippiness. I felt it may have benefited from a cream cheese filling, as this definitely is a "tea-time" cake. I think I would serve it up on it's own with tea or coffee, I don't think it needs anything else. It was certainly different, and I preferred it to carrot cake which can be far too sweet and usually too heavy or oily. Mini Bee loved it, she kept asking for more, so that's got to be good!

This cake would be very easy to convert into gluten free, I suggest using Doves farm gluten free flour. To make it vegan, use a vegan egg replacer such as Organ egg replacer, available from good health food shops.