Spicy Parsnip Cake

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Recipe courtesy of Upper Valley localvore LouAnne McLeod, from the recipe database of the Mad River Localvores, vermontlocalvore.org.


  • ½ pound peeled parsnips, sliced 1 inch thick
  • ½ cup maple sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2½ tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces milk


Place parsnips in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350 °F

Place the parsnips, maple sugar, maple syrup, butter, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the cider to the mixture and process until well combined. Place the parsnip mixture into a large bowl.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, stirring to combine. (Be sure to break up any clumps of baking powder or soda or this can cause the cake to have bitter spots.) Add the flour mixture and milk alternately to the parsnip mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch square baking pan greased to prevent sticking. Bake at 350 °F for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan, slice, and serve. Makes 9 servings.

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