Who here’s ever baked something using parsnips? No one? Yea, I didn’t think so. As of yesterday I hadn’t either. But I do bet that you’ve made PLENTY of sweets along the lines of carrot cake, carrot muffins, hummingbird cake, etc. Don’t you always just feel so great when you’re able to sneak some vegetables into dessert?
It’s quite surprising actually, that parsnips aren’t used more often in these types of things. After all, they are soooo similar to carrots you’d think this would have become more mainstream by now. Leave it up to my gal Samantha Seneviratne, author of the blog Love, Cake, to bring this to our attention in her (fairly) new cookbook, The New Sugar & Spice. As soon as I came across her recipe for Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, I knew this was something I had to make in some form or another.
I have a confession to make. I ordered this book wayyyy back in October, when it was first released, and am just now getting around to making a recipe from it. Better late than never! I was excited to get my hands on this cookbook for a couple of reasons…
First, and most obvious, is that all of the recipes look just divine. I LOVE the way that the book is broken down into sections by different types of spices. Feel like cooking with ginger? There’s a chapter for that. And although this is a baking cookbook, you’ll find that the recipes aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. Samantha really has a knack for using spices in her recipes to give them that depth of satisfying flavor, rather than giving you a sugar bomb that will leave you reeling after you indulge.
Second, and I’m going to get a little sentimental here, is that Samantha was one of the first bloggers I reached out to when I decided I wanted to seriously pursue “the blog life” (for lack of a better name) who actually took the time to send a heartfelt and helpful email back to me. As a new blogger, it can be scary reaching out to the food blog community to make connections and ask for guidance, and I was just blown away by Samantha’s kindness and willingness to give me words of advice. It’s a dream of mine to write my own cookbook someday, and the fact that this woman who had a beautiful blog was also writing a cookbook AND took the time to write to me, well, of course I was going to support her by buying her book!
Okay, enough of the sappy stuff. Let’s get down to this Parsnip Cake business. The recipe originally calls for an 8 ½ – by – 4 ½ inch loaf pan, but I decided to mix it up a bit and used an 8-inch round cake pan (okay, maybe I had the ulterior motive that I really wanted something beautiful to display in my glass cake stand, don’t judge.)
I also decided that I wanted to make this into more of a coffee cake because, well, there are vegetables in this sucker which means it’s healthy which means we can eat it for breakfast, right? For this reason, I decided to make a cream cheese crumble to sprinkle over the top of the cake as opposed to the cream cheese icing. I simply added brown sugar, chopped pecans and a little bit of flour rather than the confectioners’ sugar and whole milk that the frosting recipe originally calls for and crumbled it on top of the cake before I baked it. (Does anyone else love warm, melty cream cheese as much as I do?)
Shortly after I popped this Parsnip Coffee Cake into the oven, the smell of it baking took over the house (I think all of the amazing spices helped this along!) I could not wait to dig in as soon as it was done but, alas, I had to be patient so I could snap some photos. Once I finally did cut into the cake, let’s just say I’m glad there was no one else home because I shoved that slice into my mouth like I hadn’t eaten in days, no time for a fork. It was not a ladylike sight but let me tell you it was so worth it. Do yourself a favor and go buy The New Sugar & Spice ASAP (or you can just order it here through the link!) and then make this Parsnip Coffee Cake as if your life depended on it.
If you need me, I’ll be devouring what I have left of said cake with multiple cups of coffee in my PJ’s. Isn’t that what Sundays are for?
Parsnip Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Crumble
For the Cake:
- 10 tablespoons 1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing the pan (or you could use Crisco, like I did)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups peeled, grated parsnips (about 2 medium)
- 2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
- ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Crumble:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into one-inch pieces
- ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter (or Crisco) and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir to combine. Stir in the parsnip, fresh ginger, pecans, milk and vanilla. Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture, being careful not to over-mix.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and set aside.
- To make the cream cheese crumble, place all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the cream cheese into the brown sugar, flour and pecans until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of cake batter in pan.
- Place cake in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then run a knife along the edge and flip cake out of pan to finish cooling on the rack.
Good as gone!