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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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