Parsnips sub for carrots in a cake that will surprise you

Shredded parsnips and apples keep the cake moist and tender. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Combined ShapeCaption
Shredded parsnips and apples keep the cake moist and tender. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

PARSNIP CAKE

Prep: 25 minutes

Bake: 25 minutes

Makes: 1 cake, serves 8

Carrot cake’s sweet cousin.

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

3 large parsnips, peeled, grated on small shredding holes

1 apple, peeled, cored, grated on large shredding holes

3 large eggs

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange

2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, salt

Cream cheese frosting, recipe follows

1/2 cup toasted and chopped pecans

1. Stir: In a large saucepan, melt butter, both types of sugar and maple syrup. Cool slightly. Stir in remaining ingredients, except frosting and pecans.

2. Bake: Butter two 8-inch square or two 9-inch round pans. Pour in batter. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick stabbed in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans, 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely.

3. Frost: Spread the top of one layer with half the frosting. Stack on the second layer and spread the top with remaining frosting (leave sides of cake bare). Sprinkle with pecans.

Frosting: Beat 4 ounces unsalted butter and 8 ounces cream cheese fluffy. Beat in 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons milk.

Provenance: Adapted from Good Food magazine.