Everyone’s heard of carrot cake. Indeed it’s said to be the nation’s favourite. So why not use parsnips in a sweet bake? This parsnip and walnut cake is so good, you might just prefer it. Especially as it contains chocolate chips.
It’s taken us a while, but we finally got around to digging up our parsnips. We needed to use them fast though. As you can see from the photograph below, they’re huge, misshapen and also somewhat manky.
It seems to me that parsnips would pair well with nuts for they have their own rather nutty quality. So I wanted to use one of the nut oils that I’d recently been given. I’d fancied making a parsnip cake for years and finally I got around to it. I had a trawl through my various cook books and surprisingly enough, I found quite a few recipes.
I didn’t, however, find anything that seemed right to go with chocolate, so I got my thinking cap on and came up with my own parsnip cake recipe.
Chocolate Chip Parsnip and Walnut Cake
So although you might expect to find walnuts in a parsnip and walnut cake, you won’t find any in this one. It’s made with walnut oil instead. This means it’s a super easy cake to make as you don’t need to cream butter and sugar together. I usually find that bit a pain as I never remember to get my butter out of the fridge in time so it’s usually rock solid.
As I used the terribly gnarly parsnip you can see below, it took me ages to clean it and cut the bad bits out. But luckily most of you won’t have do this.
The cake rose well and had a very light but moist texture. I was surprised to find I couldn’t detect the parsnip at all, either by taste or by eye. I can see why this was a good way of bulking out expensive cake ingredients in the past.
The cake did, however, have a lovely nutty flavour to it. But not particularly distinctive and definitively not walnut.The parsnips no doubt played their part. The chocolate worked well as did the orange sugar topping which was delicious, though it had a certain heady alcoholic quality to it. All in all, I’m pleased with my parsnip cake recipe.
If truth be told, a light cake was a bit of a novelty for me. I generally prefer my cakes to be a bit more substantial and I’ve not been a huge fan of using only oil in cakes. Until now. Despite this, I’d like to try it with half butter and half oil next time. That way, I’d hope to get a more substantial texture but keep the lovely nutty flavour.
However, this parsnip cake is really good just as it is. And if dairy is an issue, these nut oils make for a good substitute. But you will need to substitute dairy-free dark chocolate for the milk chocolate. Or, dare I suggest it, leave it out all together!
Update – 5 March 2012
Charlotte of Go Free Foods adapted this quite significantly and came up with a pumpkin orange & cardamom cake which looks gorgeous.
Other Vegetable Cakes You Might Like
- Almond squash cake
- Beetroot chocolate cake
- Carrot chocolate chip cakes
- Chocolate courgette squares
- Chocolate pecan pumpkin cake
- Golden beetroot cake
- Jerusalem artichoke cake
- Nettle, lemon & white chocolate cakes
- Spinach cake with lemon
For more recipes and ideas on how to use vegetables in sweet bakes, head over to my Sweet Vegetable Bakes board on Pinterest.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this chocolate chip parsnip and walnut cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Parsnip and Walnut Cake. PIN IT.
Parsnip and Walnut Cake – The Recipe
Parsnip and Walnut Cake
- 200 g clean parsnips - grated
- 100 g good quality milk chocolate 0 grated (I used Green & Black's 35%)
- 150 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 3 eggs
- pinch of fine sea or rock salt
- 125 ml light walnut oil
- 200 g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half plain)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 60 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 3 tbsp orange liqueur (use orange juice instead if you prefer)
- Beat the sugar with the eggs until thick and pale.
- Add the salt and oil and beat some more.
- Sift in the flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white), baking powder and bicarb.
- Fold this in together with the parsnips.
- Gently stir in the chocolate bits.
- Scrape the mixture into a 22cm round silicone cake mould or lined tin.
- Bake at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for 40 minutes.
- Spoon the sugar for the topping into a jug.
- Add the orange liqueur or juice. Stir well and pour over the hot cake.
- Leave in the mould or tin to cool completely before turning out.
I’m submitting this parsnip and walnut cake to Ren’s lovely Simple and in Season event found at Fabulicious Food.