Parsnip & Pecan Cake

Let’s talk about cake. And real life.

Let’s talk about kamikaze pecans that tried to make a break for freedom, and consequently ruined almost every shot I took because I somehow failed to notice that they were slipping down the side of the cake.

parsnip & pecan cake 6 - the pink rose bakery

Let’s talk about a slice of cake that fell off the knife whilst I was trying to transfer it to the plate, landing in an indelicate and unattractive manner.

parsnip & pecan cake 5 - the pink rose bakery

Let’s talk about the fact that for some reason, when I say ‘pecans’ in my head, it is always said with a Texan drawl, as in “I’m gonna get me some pee-cans”.

I don’t know why this is.

It’s ridiculous.

Finally, let’s talk about cashew cream frosting.

parsnip & pecan cake 1 - the pink rose bakery

So, the cake. This is an idea that has been loitering in my list of ‘must-makes’ for a while. I heard about it somewhere and knew I had to make it. Given that we are heading into true parsnip season, now seemed a good time. Plus, it gives the little root dudes a change from being roasted. Not that there is anything wrong with a roasted parsnip. But sometimes it is good the change things up a little.

The basis for this cake is a carrot cake, only swapping the carrots for parsnips. And reducing the quantity a little, because I didn’t want the taste of parsnip to dominate. Just like a carrot cake, the veg is there, but not in your face. I also added a few extra spices that I don’t typically put into carrot cake, because, you know . . .

parsnip & pecan cake 4 - the pink rose bakery

I also didn’t want to cover it with cream cheese frosting because I feel as if I have eaten a lot of cream cheese icing recently. I had seen the cashew cream frosting over at one of my favourite blogs and I thought it would work well with this.

Because I have tried making nut butters in every food processor in the house, and failed, and because I have yet to be able to convince myself that buying a Vitamix is a justifiable purchase (even though it costs the same as a Kitchen Aid, and well, yes, I have one of those) I bought a jar of cashew butter and tarted it up. Just make sure you get the natural kind – the runny stuff that is just ground up cashews and nothing else, no added sugar, salt or oil. I like this brand, which you can get in Sainsbury’s as well as good health food shops.

parsnip & pecan cake 7 - the pink rose bakery

I have to say that I was a little nervous about how this would turn out. Would it really work?

It does. The orange zest imparts a subtle flavour and the maple syrup sweetens it. Almond milk will provide the right consistency. Although maybe add slightly less than I did, so you don’t suffer with pecan slippage.

Yes, there is a taste of nuts from the cashews, that can’t truly be hidden, but it all comes together delightfully, and I have to say that a cashew based frosting is a good one to have on hand if you need to make a dairy-free cake.

parsnip & pecan cake 3 - the pink rose bakery

You’ll find yourself surreptitiously removing any stray drips with your finger and licking them.

Parsnip & Pecan Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting


For the cake:

  • 100g coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 75g honey
  • 75g coconut sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 1 parsnip, grated, approximately 90g
  • 60g pecans, plus extra for decorating
  • 120g rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground green cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of sea salt

For the frosting:

  • 170g jar of cashew butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp maple syrup
  • zest of an orange
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150 Celsius / 130 fan / 300 Fahrenheit. Line two non-stick 8″ round cake pans with baking paper.
  2. Place the pecans in a small food processor and blitz until they resemble breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the coconut oil, eggs, honey and sugar.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the ground pecans, and mix until just combined.
  5. Divide between the cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Scoop the cashew butter into a bowl and add the vanilla, maple syrup and orange zest and stir together. Add the milk a little at a time, mixing it in well between each addition, until you get the desired consistency.
  8. When the cake has cooled, use half the frosting the sandwich the two cakes together and then cover the top with the rest. Decorate with pecan halves.

© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014

Added to #cookblogshare. Click on the logo for more . . .



17 thoughts on “Parsnip & Pecan Cake”

  1. This looks soo good! I actually really like the photos of the pecans getting away! It makes the photo so much more interesting 🙂 I will have to try this recipe one day and cashew icing…..


  2. I always say ‘pecans’ in the voice they used in When Harry Met Sally… I would like to partake of your PEEEcan pie. So you are not alone. We should take this pecan show on the road… But seriously this cake looks and sounds amazing! I love the idea of parsnips and the cashew frosting. Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare


  3. Oh my goodness. This has to be the best sounding parsnip cake I’ve ever seen. I say that I must try a lot of cakes but this one I MUST try! P.s. found you via CookBlogShare =)


    1. I hadn’t thought of it before either until I saw it on T.V. In a way it makes sense, both are root veggies and both are naturally sweet. But parsnip does have a stronger taste than carrot, which is why there isn’t much in there! 🙂


    1. My initial reaction was to say that you don’t know that the parsnip is there, however I am all too aware that if you really detest something, you can always detect it, no matter how much effort has gone into hiding it!


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