Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Parsnip and Walnut Chocolate Chip Cake

Having finally got around to digging up our parsnips, we needed to start using them fast – you can see by the photograph below how huge they were, but also somewhat manky. It seemed to me that parsnips would pair well with nuts as 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.

This is what I did:

  • Spent ages cleaning parsnips and chopping out the bad bits!
  • Grated 200g of clean parsnips.
  • Chopped 100g milk chocolate (G&B 35%)
  • Beat 150g cardamom sugar (caster) with 3 eggs until thick and pale.
  • Added a pinch of salt and 125ml walnut oil and beat some more.
  • Sifted in 200g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white), 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Folded this in together with the parsnips.
  • Gently stirred in the chocolate bits.
  • Scraped into a 23cm round cake mould (in retrospect should have used my 22cm one, which would have given a deeper cake).
  • Baked at 180C for 36 minutes.
  • Spooned 60g cardamom (caster) sugar into a jug.
  • Added 3 tbsp orange liqueur.
  • Stirred and poured over the hot cake.
  • Left in the mould to cool completely.

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 had a lovely nutty flavour to it, but not distinctively and definitively of walnut; the parsnips no doubt played their part. The chocolate worked well as did the orange sugar topping which was delicious, though had a certain heady alcoholic quality to it. All in all, this was not bad for a first attempt.

 

If truth be told, I prefer my cakes to be a bit more substantial and I’m not a huge fan of using only oil in a cake. Next time, I think I’d use half butter and half oil. That way, I’d hope to get a better texture but keep the lovely nutty flavour. However, if dairy is an issue, these nut oils make for a good substitute and of course the milk chocolate can be changed to dark or, dare I suggest it, left out all together!

I am submitting this to Ren’s lovely Simple and in Season event found at Fabulicious Food.

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.

38 Comments

  1. Johanna GGG

    4th March 2012 at 9:21 am

    I love parsnips and have had a parsnip cake in a cafe that I have wanted to try to make but never managed it. So I love seeing this one. The one I had was covered in cream cheese frosting that worked well, which might add a bit more substance. Love your parsnip – your garden sounds full of goodies

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks Johanna. having tried this one, I really want to do try more parsnip cakes. As for the garden, all it’s got in it at the moment are a lot of weeds! hey ho, spring is fast approaching.

      Reply
  2. chilliandchai

    4th March 2012 at 9:30 am

    Truly, great minds think alike, parsnip cake season is here! And they are the best cakes ever! I am often asked for the good old parsnip cake by family for get-togethers. Love the idea of cardamom in there, one of my favourite spices. Great recipe.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:57 pm

      How, I’m wondering, has it taken me so long to recognise the poor parsnip as an excellent cake ingredient? Cardamom is one of my favourites too, after cinnamon. Must be the C that does it cos I love chilli too!

      Reply
  3. Sushma Mallya

    4th March 2012 at 9:33 am

    wow cake looks so moist and lovely , lovely recipe i have never tried to incoporate parsnips in a cake…would love to try this recipe out, thanks so much for dropping by , was really happy to c u 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks Sushma. I wasn’t sure if you were still blogging or not, so paid a visit to see if you were. Lovely to see you here again too 🙂

      Reply
  4. MissCakeBaker

    4th March 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’ve never used parsnips in cakes but will have to give it a go. the cake looks great.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:59 pm

      He he, it’s not the most obvious cake ingredient is it?

      Reply
  5. Charlotte Pike

    4th March 2012 at 9:43 am

    What a fantastic recipe, I love it. You are so creative! I adore parsnips in cake (and most root vegetables for that matter) and love the different flavours you have going on here; cardamom, chocolate and orange. Yum!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you Charlotte and thank you too for taking a leap of faith and baking your delicious cake based on this one – much appreciated 🙂

      Reply
  6. Chele

    4th March 2012 at 10:45 am

    I love parsnips so I will need to give this recipe a try … it is surely the best way known to get one of your five a day in while still enjoying yourself lol

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 9:02 pm

      So all we need to do is devise 4 other vegetable cakes and we’re away 😉

      Reply
  7. Hazel at Chicken in a Cherry Sauce

    4th March 2012 at 11:23 am

    Sounds like a wonderful recipe creation! At uni we are doing a new product development module. One group is making a low fat, low sugar and high fibre cake, and they are using parsnip as their fat substitute. They’ve used cocoa, lemon and crystallised ginger in their recipe too and I think I’m their biggest fan! I’m pretty sure I’d love this just as much 🙂 I say bring on the parsnip cakes!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Now that combination of flavours sounds really interesting. It’s interesting to how so many fruit and veg can be used as a fat substitute – the black beans worked really well as did squash.

      Reply
  8. The Caked Crusader

    4th March 2012 at 5:47 pm

    my god – you’ve grown mega-parsnips! Nice to see them put to such a good use too

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Ha ha, mega ugly parsnips 😉

      Reply
  9. Hannah

    4th March 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Thats one amazing parsnip! Gorgeous looking cake too 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 9:14 pm

      That’s a very nice way of putting it Hannah, but it did make for an excellent cake!

      Reply
  10. Fabulicious Food

    4th March 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Wow, what a parsnip! I bet that did take ages to sort out. Still, well worth is as the cake looks yummy!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks Ren. Now if it had just been the one parsnip, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but I had several like this and it wasn’t my favourite job!

      Reply
  11. Maggie

    4th March 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Great idea for a cake, would never have thought to use parsnip but they are naturally sweet and moist.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 7:34 am

      Yes and they have a certain nutty quality too – they work surprisingly well.

      Reply
  12. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    5th March 2012 at 9:08 am

    MAN… that is one UGLY parsnip… I am intrigued by this… not entirely bemused though, seeing that carrot cake is so good… and parsnips being very sweet, I imagine this would work well… look nice and densely moist if that makes any sense!…

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 7:34 am

      Don’t be so mean!!! It’s just had a a bit of a hard time. Dom try parsnip, works brilliantly well.

      Reply
  13. thelittleloaf

    5th March 2012 at 9:23 am

    Very impressed with your vegetable growing skills…a baker and a gardener! This cake looks really interesting and love the idea of using parsnips…isn’t it funny how grated parsnip looks just like grated cheese?!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 7:36 am

      Not sure you should be too impressed with my gardening skills – don’t think my parsnips would have been allowed in a show, never mind winning any prizes! Didn’t pcik up on the resemblance between cheese and parsnip, but observation has never been my strong point!

      Reply
  14. Kit @ i-lostinausten

    5th March 2012 at 10:01 am

    Another great recipe & looks very appetizing indeed! I’ve never grow parsnip before, perhaps I’ll try this year! Have a lovely week! 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 7:37 am

      Oh parsnips are lovely, although not that easy to grow big, long, straight ones 😉

      Reply
  15. avillagepantry

    5th March 2012 at 10:01 am

    Sounds like a gorgeous combo of flavours and it looks delicious too. Don’t envy you the parsnip peeling though. You’ve given me an idea for cardamom sugar also, thanks!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Ha ha Sheelagh, never peel parsnips, just cut out any bad bits. Did have to cut out an awful lot of this one though – very fiddly.

      Reply
  16. The Viking

    5th March 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I love carrot cake for its moistness and this looks like it would be just as good. Can’t wait to try it

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Carrot cake – bah! Who needs carrots when they can have parsnip!!!

      Reply
  17. laura@howtocookgoodfood

    5th March 2012 at 7:18 pm

    What a good looking cake made from parsnips that have a lot of character. I love the idea of this cake and have a bag of wholemeal flour that could be used just for this recipe along with the wonderful sounding cardamom sugar……..Love it! x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Did you grow any parsnips last year Laura? These were a first for me and despite the many problems, it was very satisfying using our own. Do let me know if you give it a go.

      Reply
  18. Phil in the Kitchen

    5th March 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Really nice idea. I’ve not used parsnips in a cake before because I thought they may overwhelm the taste of anything else, but I can see I was wrong. I like the sound of that orange topping and the nutty edge from the oil.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Yes Phil, I did wander about this too, but it really doesn’t, although the oil was quite strong.

      Reply
  19. Jo

    6th March 2012 at 12:48 am

    I’ve never tried baking with parsnips, I imagine they work really well with walnuts in flavour. That is quite a creepy looking parsnip though! I’m glad you managed to turn it into a pretty cake. I suppose that makes you some sort of a Fairy God Mother of vegetables..?

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Jo, thank you, but I’m not sure my veg think I’m much of a fairy godmother – I produce scary parsnips and beetroots that all got eaten by voles. Now the voles might think I’m a fairy godmother!

      Reply

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