My dear husband’s birthday was this week- and birthdays always mean cake in our house- so, yet again, I was given the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe. Allowing seasonal, organic produce to dictate the direction this cake would take, I searched and came across a fabulous looking recipe that I couldn’t look passed. I tweaked and modified it, of course, and I added my own version of a whipped cream & cream cheese frosting. The end result was a divinely moist, incredibly delicious and utterly surprising (I’ll eat my proverbial hat if you can taste the parsnip!) seasonal cake… and one VERY happy birthday boy! This cake was an absolute hit with everyone who tried it and has already become a new family favourite.



Prep time: 25 mins, Bake time: 30 mins


175 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250 g organic demerara sugar
90 ml organic maple syrup
3 large organic eggs
250 g organic plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice (I made my own mix using ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice)
170 g organic parsnips, peeled and grated
170 g organic apples (not too tart), peeled, cored and grated
65 g organic pecans, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 small organic orange


  1. Heat oven to 170C fan. Grease 2 x 20cm cake tins with butter and line the bases with baking paper. Melt 175 g butter in a saucepan over gentle heat, together with the sugar and maple syrup. Cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into the syrup mixture.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, then add the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Pour the syrup mixture over and combine well. Divide the batter between the tins and bake the cakes for around 30 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Cool the cakes slightly in the tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Frost with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below) as per images.


*The unfrosted cakes can be frozen and will defrost perfectly.
*My husband’s birthday cake was decorated with walnuts as I’d used the last of my pecans in the cake itself. They worked just fine, although decorating with pecans makes more sense!

*Cupcake versions of this cake can be made with the same batter. Simply fill cupcake liners two-thirds full with batter, place in a preheated oven (mine was 175C, fan) and bake for around 17 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
*Recipe adapted from this amazing one by Catherine Berwick, found at



This frosting combines the best of two worlds; those of the classic whipped cream cake filling and the tasty cream cheese variety. Thanks to its lovely texture and heavenly combination of flavours, it manages to be both light and indulgent at the same time. A little goes a long way… and makes a BIG impact. 🙂


110 g cream cheese
100 g icing sugar
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp maple syrup
180 ml heavy whipping cream


  1. In a small bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, salt, maple syrup and vanilla powder. Beat until smooth, then gently fold in whipped cream until perfectly combined.


*The above recipe and quantities of ingredients will produce enough frosting to adequately fill the center and cover the top of a two layered cake such as the one pictured. If you want to cover the sides too, I suggest doubling the quantities.
*Recipe adapted from this one by Tom found at



  1. Perfect! I love, love this cake– carrots, parsnips (who knew you could add parsnips to cake?!) and all that maple syrup. This would be a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. thanks bunches!

  2. I made a seasonal parsnip cake during our winter. It turned out quite well but I think your idea of adding apple would have made it much better. Your cake looks so very good. Belated Happy Birthday to your husband.

    • Thank you so much 🙂 x
      This is the first cake I’ve ever added parsnip too, so it is hard for me to compare, but the apple/parsnip/fragrant orange mix works so well… the flavours balance beautifully, no one flavour overpowering another. 🙂

      • Parsnip does add a lovely moistness to the texture, don’t you think? Pear could also be a good replacement/addition. I think I am going to be a little braver now when it comes to veggies in baking 😉

      • You know, until I started juicing with beetroot and made beetroot pizza earlier this year, I never really touched it! I think I was put off by childhood memories of Macca’s “Aussie burgers” or some such nastiness ;)! Well, now I love it! But I have yet to bake with it! I am convinced that it would be a perfect match with something chocolately! Must try! 😀

  3. So different, but so yummy.

    I host a weekly link party called “Seasonal Sundays”. It’s about all things seasonal and I’d love to have you link. The link goes up Saturday evenings at 7 pm EST.

    – The Tablescaper

  4. Looks delicious, MM, and yet again congrats on a very pretty and eye-pleasing presentation!
    Also, happy belated birthday to your husband – he sure got a fabulous birthday cake! 🙂

  5. Well, Ms Marzipan… This cake is beautiful!!! The ingredients are fabulous. I see why it is your new family favorite. Happy Birthday to your husband!
    Also, I see your precious Baby in the background! 😀

    • Thanks, lovely Uru! x
      I still think it may have presented a little more… succinctly if I’d had pecans left over for decorating… but still, walnuts worked fine 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Cate 🙂
      The parsnip is surprising, but it adds a lovely moistness and texture to the cake… and it’s impossible to taste it in the finished product 🙂

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