From beetroot to zucchini and even avocado, we’re seeing an unusual trend of vegetables ending up in cakes. Sometimes the least likely of root vegetables is actually totally delicious in a sweet treat.
The poor parsnip is often lost as part of a mixed-veggie roast, but its flavours are far more complex than you’d think. Bite into it raw and you can taste hints of anise and fresh, spicy herbs.
This heady, moist cake celebrates these forgotten flavours by bringing out the best of the parsnip. I’ve paired this with the subtle, floral tones found in blossom water. I like using wild-willow water – which is a deeper, Persian alternative to rose water. You could also use orange-blossom water. Both will add a fresh, sweet kick.
This is a delicious, surprising example of how root vegetables and flowers can be used in sweet baking. Eat warm from the oven with a serving of fresh whipped cream, whisked with a few generous drops of blossom water. Or ice generously, as shown here, with a blossom cream-cheese frosting.
Spiced Parsnip & Willow Blossom Cake
200g brown sugar
100g raw sugar
300ml grapeseed oil
1tbs willow-blossom water
330g grated parsnips
½tbs fresh grated ginger
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
½tsp freshly ground coriander seed
½tsp freshly ground star anise
1tbs finely chopped coriander stalk
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Combine sugars, blossom water, oil and eggs and beat until frothy and well combined. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to wet mixture in two batches. Stir in grated parsnips and ginger. Mix by hand to combine. Grease and line two 8-inch cake tins or a single, tall 9-inch cake tin. Bake for 30–40 mins or until golden brown.