Parsnip Spice Cake

Parsnip Spice Cake

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Think carrot cake, only better! Parsnip Spice Cake is moist, nicely spiced and delicious with cream cheese icing.

Parsnips add an unexpected twist to this delicious cake, and while most people don’t think of adding parsnips to baked goods, it’s just like adding grated carrots. The parsnips have a naturally sweet nuttiness that comes out when they’re cooked. This flavour is also enhanced when combined with a little sugar and plenty of spice. It’s quite lovely!

Raw parsnips stacked in a wicker basket lined with an orange checkered napkin and scattered with pinecones.

I’ve gone and made the recipe into a 3 tier cake for presentation purposes, but the recipe can be simplified by making as one 9×13 cake. I’ve included preparation and baking methods for both. However you choose to make it, you won’t be disappointed.

Tips for great cake layers:

– weigh or measure the batter into each pan for uniform baking.
– line pans with a parchment circle so the cake comes out easily.
– don’t over bake.
– allow the cake to cool completely in the pan prior to removing.
– brush the layers with simple syrup to help keep the cake moist.
– if baking and using at a later date, wrap each layer individually and freeze for up to one month.

Parsnip Spice Cake on a wooden cake stand with a wedge cut out and plated for serving.

Parsnip Spice Cake
Print Recipe
    Servings
    16-18
    Servings
    16-18
    Parsnip Spice Cake
    Print Recipe
      Servings
      16-18
      Servings
      16-18
      Ingredients
      Cake
      Simple Syrup
      Cream Cheese Icing
      Servings:
      Instructions
      Cake
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake pans as per option 1 or option 2 below.
      2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.
      3. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, oil, milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Stir in parsnips.
      4. Option 1: Line the bottoms of 3 - 8" round cake pans with parchment and spray sides with non-stick spray. Divide batter evenly into each pan and spread out with a spatula (about 13 ounces per pan). Bake on centre rack for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
      5. Remove cake from pans and peel off parchment. Brush each layer with the simple syrup. Arrange one layer on a serving plate and spread with approximately 1/4 of icing. Top with another layer and repeat with icing and top with the remaining cake layer. Ice the top, reserving a small amount of icing to fill in the layer sides. Run a bench scraper or long straight edge spatula around the outside of the cake to smear and flatten the icing into a "naked cake" look. Dust the top with cinnamon and cut into desired wedges.
      6. Option 2: Spray a 9"x13" pan with non-stick spray. Pour batter into the pan and spread out evenly with a spatula. Bake on centre rack for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Brush with simple syrup and spread evenly with frosting. Cut into desired squares and serve.
      Simple Syrup
      1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil stirring until sugar is dissolved. Once at a boil, allow syrup to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in brandy. Allow to cool completely before brushing on the cake.
      Cream Cheese Icing
      1. Beat butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, spices and vanilla. Beat until just combined. Frost cake as desired.

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      Homemade Pork Breakfast Patties

      Homemade Pork Breakfast Patties

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      Homemade Pork Breakfast Patties panfried in a cast iron skillet and garnished with fresh herbs.

      One of my favourite things is enjoying a leisurely weekend morning with nothing more to do than drink coffee and chat idly over a satisfying, belly bursting breakfast/brunch.  It’s the kind of time that I cherish because there’s no rushing, no chores, just good company, yummy food and belly scratches for the cat.  Even though my husband and I both love bacon, we couldn’t help but fall hard for these juicy and flavourful Homemade Pork Breakfast Patties.  They’re the absolute best thing for my perfect weekend morning. Easy, delicious, homemade and amazing with crispy fried eggs.

      Uncooked Homemade Pork Breakfast Patties on a parchment lined tray ready for pan frying.

      What makes a great homemade sausage patty?

      -don’t overmix, over mixing will cause the mixture to be gummy and harder to handle.
      -use dampened hands, fingers and ring molds to form the patties into neat rounds.  Just a dab of water goes a long way to keep the stickiness at bay.
      -season appropriately with enough salt and spices.  Remember, plain meats need salt to bring out the flavour and additional spices and herbs enhance the meat.  Salt enhances the herbs too.
      -don’t overcook the patties, they only need to be cooked through not cooked to death which will result in dry patties.
      -use freshly ground pork if possible as it will be less weepy or watery than ground pork that has been frozen and thawed.
      -measure or weigh each portion for uniform patties that will cook evenly.

      Homemade Pork Breakfast Patties
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        12-13 patties 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        8-10 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        12-13 patties 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        8-10 minutes
        Homemade Pork Breakfast Patties
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          12-13 patties 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          8-10 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          12-13 patties 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          8-10 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: patties
          Instructions
          1. Crush fennel seeds with the bottom of a glass or chop with a knife to break apart the seeds.
          2. Combine crushed fennel with the remaining seasonings and 1/4 cup of water.
          3. Add ground pork to a large bowl and add seasonings. Mix until seasoning is evenly incorporated but do not overmix. I find it best to use my hands.
          4. Portion mixture into 2.5 ounces each. Form into 3.5" patties either using your hands or pressing into a ring mold (see note). Place on a flat plate or tray and separate layers with parchment.
          5. Add 1 tbsp of oil to your favourite medium-size skillet ( I used cast iron) and heat over medium until hot. Add patties to the pan without overcrowding and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and serve immediately. Or keep warm in a low oven and repeat with remaining oil and uncooked patties.
          Recipe Notes

          -I like to mix the seasonings with water prior to adding to the pork as I find it helps distribute them nicely without overmixing.

          -a small dab of water on your hands and/or ring mold between forming patties will keep the stickiness under control.

          -pre-formed patties can be frozen raw and will keep for at least a month well wrapped and separated with parchment paper.

           

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          Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins

          Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins

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          Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins stacked on a metal stand with a split muffin on a plate in the foreground.

          These naughty but nice Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins are perfect for back to school.  They have minimal added sugar, are made with whole wheat flour and pureed peaches for a healthy-ish muffin.  The streusel topping and juicy peach chunks keep it being the muffin you want to eat or send in your child’s lunch, without the guilt.

          Muffins are not only a great item to add to breakfast or brunch, but also great as a snack.  They come together easily, freeze well and are a must to have on hand whether you pack lunches or not.

          Fresh peaches stacked on a metal tray in preparation for Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins.

          Tips for great muffins:

          *DO NOT OVERMIX!  I really can’t stress this enough.  Once the flour is added to the wet ingredients in any quick bread recipe, the batter only needs to be mixed enough to incorporate the ingredients.  Any more mixing than that will start to develop the gluten in the flour.  The result will be tough muffins or loaves.

          *Divide batter evenly into the muffin tins to ensure the muffins bake uniformly and evenly.

          *Don’t overbake!  Bake just long enough that they spring back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Overbaked muffins will be dry and dense.

          * Bake muffins on the middle oven rack for even baking without scorched bottoms or tops that are too dark.

          *Use muffins liners or a well-greased muffin tin to prevent the muffins from sticking.  Nobody wants to fight with trying to unstick a dozen muffins only to have bits of muffin stuck to the pan anyway.  It’s just a waste of perfectly good muffin bits.

          *Allow the muffins to cool for at least 5-10 minutes before trying to remove from the pan.  This will prevent any “squishing” mishaps that are likely to happen when trying to pull them out while they are hot and soft.

          Now is the time that fresh peaches are abundant, so enjoying these delicious Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins is a must.

          Peach Streusel Muffins
          Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            12 muffins 30 minutes
            Cook Time
            18-22 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            12 muffins 30 minutes
            Cook Time
            18-22 minutes
            Peach Streusel Muffins
            Whole Wheat Peach Streusel Muffins
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              12 muffins 30 minutes
              Cook Time
              18-22 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              12 muffins 30 minutes
              Cook Time
              18-22 minutes
              Ingredients
              Streusel Topping
              Muffins
              Servings: muffins
              Instructions
              Streusel Topping
              1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined and crumbly. Set aside.
              Muffins
              1. Set oven rack to the centre and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.
              2. Peel peaches and remove stone. Chop two of the peaches into 1/2" chunks and set aside. Puree the remaining two peaches using a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
              3. In a small bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
              4. In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking after each until incorporated.
              5. Stir in sour cream, pureed peaches and vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in chopped peaches.
              6. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle each muffin with a generous tbsp of streusel topping.
              7. Bake for 18-22 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
              8. Allow to cool at least 5-10 minutes prior to removing from muffin tin. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely or eat while warm.

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              Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce

              Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce

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              A tarragon infused cream sauce is one of my favourites.  It’s so good on chicken and plump, juicy scallops.  Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce makes a wonderful appetizer, first course or even an entrée served over mashed potatoes.   As with most seafood, the scallops cook in minutes for a quick dish that’s simple to prepare but looks and tastes much more elaborate.  Your guests will be impressed.

              Seared scallops in a stainless steel pan resting on a metal trivet in preparation for Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce

              The key to this dish is to make sure the scallops get a good sear. The sear not only adds depth of flavour but helps to seal in the juices from the scallops. This is achieved by making sure the scallops are dry by patting with a paper towel and also by using a hot pan with hot oil. The other very important thing is not to overcook the scallops.  Overcooked scallops are tough and rubbery and it takes no time at all to go from perfectly cooked to overdone.  So have all your ingredients and equipment ready before you start and be focused on the dish while cooking to ensure they are not only seared properly but cooked for only a couple of minutes per side.  In other words, there’s no room for a bathroom break once those scallops hit the pan.

              But don’t be put off by a smidge of fussiness, this dish is very simple and uses the basic technique of deglazing the pan after removing the scallops, adding heavy cream and tarragon and reducing to create a gloriously silky sauce that will have you wanting to lick your plate.  Enjoy!

              Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce arranged on a metal platter that sits on a table napkin.

              Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce arranged on a metal platter that sits on a table napkin.
              Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                4 appetizers 15 minutes
                Cook Time
                13-15 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                4 appetizers 15 minutes
                Cook Time
                13-15 minutes
                Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce arranged on a metal platter that sits on a table napkin.
                Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 appetizers 15 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  13-15 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 appetizers 15 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  13-15 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: appetizers
                  Instructions
                  1. Pat scallops dry on both sides with a paper towel.
                  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add scallops and cook for approximately 2 minutes per side depending on size. Flip scallops and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
                  3. Remove scallops to a plate and cover with foil.
                  4. Over medium-high heat add wine to the pan and whisk to pick up any caramelized bits in the pan. Allow wine to reduce for 2-3 minutes.
                  5. Whisk in heavy cream and tarragon and continue to reduce for about 5 minutes until sauce is reduced by half and has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper.
                  6. Arrange scallops on a platter or serving dishes and drizzle each with a tablespoon of sauce. Serve immediately.
                  Recipe Notes

                  -makes about 3/4 cup of sauce.

                  -you can use stainless steel, cast iron or non-stick skillets.  The key to a good sear is having the pan and oil hot and not overcrowding the scallops.

                  -also delicious served as a main course over mashed potatoes.

                  -makes 4 appetizer servings or 3 main-course servings.

                  -using fresh tarragon is a must for this recipe.

                   

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                  Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce

                  Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce

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                  Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce is an elevated meal for two and takes only a few quality ingredients and less than 30 minutes to prepare.

                  Tenderloin steak, butter and balsamic vinegar arranged on a wooden board in preparation for Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce

                  Beef tenderloin steaks can be a bit pricy, even for us here in beef country. But what I really like about beef tenderloin is that it’s a relatively lean cut of beef, it’s super tender and flavourful. It deserves a good sear to hold in the moisture and a generous drizzle of balsamic butter sauce.

                  Butter sauce comes in many forms, like Beurre Blanc-French butter sauce, Piccata sauce and the sauce on my Tarragon Chicken Cutlets

                  A butter sauce is quite simple and uber quick to pull off with a little know-how. In any butter sauce, it’s very important to use cold butter cut into small chunks. Cold butter melts more slowly, allowing the fat particles to breakdown and be dispersed throughout other liquids like wine, lemon juice, stock or in this case, balsamic vinegar. Adding butter gradually is equally as important. It allows all the fat particles to become completely emulsified but at a slower rate. This process creates a thicker and more stable sauce. Scientifically it’s a little more involved, but this gives you the idea behind it.  Enjoy!

                  Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce sliced and ready to serve garnished with fresh rosemary.

                  Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce sliced and ready to serve garnished with fresh rosemary.
                  Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    2 people 10-15 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    12-15 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    2 people 10-15 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    12-15 minutes
                    Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce sliced and ready to serve garnished with fresh rosemary.
                    Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      2 people 10-15 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      12-15 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      2 people 10-15 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      12-15 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: people
                      Instructions
                      1. Pat steaks dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
                      2. Add oil to a medium stainless steel skillet and heat on high. When the oil is hot add steaks and cook 4 to 4 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare, flipping only once and getting a good sear on both sides.
                      3. Remove steaks to a plate and cover with foil.
                      4. Add balsamic vinegar, beef broth and rosemary to the same pan whisking to pick up any beefy bits left behind by the steak. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes until sauce is reduced by at least half and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove rosemary sprig.
                      5. Turn heat to low and whisk in butter one chunk at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter is incorporated remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over steak or on the side as a dipping sauce. Makes about 1/3 cup of sauce.
                      Recipe Notes

                      Cooking time for steaks will be dependant on size.  The steaks I used were approximately 8 ounces each and 1 1/2 " thick.

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                      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com