Spiced Parsnip Cake

Spiced Parsnip Cake

Hi! I’m interrupting this steady stream of nearly raw vegetable posts with cake – parsnip cake! Yes, parsnips are vegetables, I just realized that. But I promise you won’t even notice them in here. You will however experience a light, airy, delicate crumb texture that’s all thanks to the, you guessed it – parsnips! So this cake is pretty spiced up with holiday vibes – lots of ginger, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice (because I had it on hand I’m putting it in all the things, yes, even the savory ones). I had a minor freakout yesterday after realizing that Thanksgiving is like less than two weeks away. We’re going to be in the Atlanta area with Mark’s family. Everyone is bringing a dish and I have no idea what I’m making yet (totally taking suggestions, so leave those in the comments). A few years ago I brought a brussels sprout dish to one of our first thanksgivings together – it didn’t go over great with the meat and potato crowd. As much as I want to make it my mission to turn everyone into a brussels sprouts lover, Thanksgiving with the in-laws may not be the time or place for that. That said, there’s always a time and place for cake, right?! This one could even get away with being served for breakfast – it’s not too sweet and there’s veggies in there, remember? It’s also totally festive and delicious. For more seasonal baking recipe inspiration, plus lots of lovely recipes for everyday baking situations, checkout the Baking book by Food52!

Spiced Parsnip Cake Spiced Parsnip Cake Spiced Parsnip Cake Spiced Parsnip Cake Spiced Parsnip Cake Spiced Parsnip Cake Spiced Parsnip Cake Spiced Parsnip Cake


Ingredients for the Spiced Parsnip Cake


Dry Ingredients:

2 cups flour, or gluten-free flour

1/2 cup almond meal flour

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon French four spice (I used pumpkin pie spice)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon table salt


Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (I used kefir)

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups shredded parsnips (about 3 parsnips)



Preheat your oven to 325º F with a rack near the center. Grease a 9- by 13-inch glass cake pan with butter or coconut oil. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk about 30 seconds to fully mix and aerate. Set aside. Combine the wet ingredients, excluding the parsnips, in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine. The sugar should dissolve before proceeding to the next step. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until almost incorporated. The mixture will be pretty thick. Add the parsnips and stir until just incorporated. Pour into prepared cake pan, and bake until center springs back or a toothpick inserted near center come out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Make the glaze while the cake bakes. Remove to a cooling rack, pierce cake with a fork so that the glaze can soak in. Pour the glaze over the hot cake, trying not to let much glaze spill between the cake and the pan.


Browned Butter Maple Kefir Glaze

1/4 cup maple syrup (grade B preferred)

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup kefir, room temperature



Brown the butter in a pan. On medium/high heat melt the butter in a small saucepan until brown, nutty and fragrant – about 5 minutes or so. Combine the maple syrup and browned butter in a glass and stir to combine. Allow to cool for several minutes, then whisk in the kefir.



This recipe is just slightly adapted from the Food52 baking book. The only substitutions I made was swapping the buttermilk for the kefir and the French four spice for the pumpkin pie spice. Oh and I browed the butter for the glaze, because, yum! I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

p.s. If you haven’t entered the All-Clad giveaway yet, now’s your last chance!



10 Responses to “Spiced Parsnip Cake”

  1. Olivia Ribas

    Wow friend I’ve never thought about making cake with parsnip. What a clever idea. I have to try this recipe. I have all the ingredients for that. Have a wonderful Sunday.

  2. danielle is rooting the sun

    grace i’m completely involved with this parsnip cake – what a fine application for this root! completely festive with those warming and delicious spices included. – – i giggled with the brussels sprouts story (i am on a similar mission to spread the sprout love) – sometimes it truly is hard to stimulate a meat and potato crowd with a vegetable palate, but alas! it can be done. and everything you prepare is gorgeous and from the heart. xo

  3. genevieve @ gratitude and gree

    All the holiday vibes! I’m totally okay with vegetables in my dessert because every single one I’ve had has been delicious. I have yet to check out the Food52 baking book but I just got their vegan one and am in love with it.

  4. Jodi Kay

    Just gorgeous, Grace! I have been wanting to give parsnip cake a go myself and you just inspired me to go for it! Plus I’m loving all the flavors going on here, sweet spicy parsnips, coconut and all those warm spices, it just screams happy holidays. I bet it smells even better. I had to laugh at the brussel sprouts comment, we do have to pick our battles wisely! I always opt for a filling + festive rice stuffing/warm salad kinda dish, something that is familiar to all, but makes a filling vegetarian option too. I’m sure you’ll think of something, and – bring this cake! x

  5. Katie @ Whole Nourishment

    I have a few recipes for parsnip cake but this one stands out from the rest especially for a special occasion. I like how the spices compliment the spice from the parsnip too. And the kefir glaze is genius!

  6. Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    I’m totally intrigued by this parsnip cake! Gorgeous as always, Grace 🙂 and this baking book I’m sure is just full of golden recipes like this one. The people over at Food52 are straight up mad scientists! Hope you have a lovely thanksgiving with the fam <3 and eat lots and lots of cake – xo


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)