An unusual use for a winter root vegetable
This recipe was born of a zero-waste policy, and makes for a happy way to celebrate one of my favourite days in the calendar: Winnie-the-Pooh Day. You can read my blog about it here.
250-300g parsnips—you need about 180g after peeling and cutting
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp milk
110g softened butter
175g light soft brown sugar, sieved
175g self-raising flour
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
For the filling and topping:
2 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
4-6 tbsp honey
Parsnip crisps (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Peel and chop your parsnips then lightly oil (I use coconut oil; any type will work but not one with a strong olive flavour, for example) and place them on a baking tray. Roast for 40-45 mins, drizzling 1 tbsp honey over for the last 10 mins, until they’re cooked through and very golden at the edges. Leave to cool for 5-10 mins then transfer to a food processor and add 1 tbsp honey. Blitz for about 30 secs, scrape down the sides, add 2 tbsp milk and then blitz again until you have a coarse puree—it does not need to be perfectly smooth. You should end up with about 130-140g puree.
Grease and line two 18cm round cake tins and turn the oven down to 170C.
Put all of the cake ingredients, including the parsnip puree, into a large bowl and mix using an electric whisk until thoroughly (but only just) combined. It will be a slightly thicker mixture than a normal sponge cake and you’ll be able to see little flecks of parsnip. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake for 25-30 mins until they’re risen, golden in colour and spring back to the touch. Leave in the tins for 1 min or so, run a knife around the edges and turn onto a cooling rack. Peel off the lining paper and leave to cool completely.
Beat together the mascarpone, icing sugar and 2 tbsp honey until just combined, smooth and thick. Spread 1-2 tbsp honey onto each sponge, then the mascarpone on top of one. Put the other sponge, honey-side down, on top of the mascarpone and dust the top of the cake with a little icing sugar. Top with parsnip crisps, if using.
The cake will keep well, kept cool, for 2-3 days. Make sure you bring it back to room temperature to eat so you get maximum flavour!
Recipe: Lucy Charles
Images: David Griffen & Georgie Hodgson