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Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake with Labneh Walnut Topping

Why do you bake? I bake to relax. I bake to fill my kitchen with oven warmth and the smell of caramelized sugar. I bake when I want dessert, one made with ingredients I can pronounce. I bake to share my creations, to lift spirits with muffins.  

I've been plotting to bake this cake, adapted from a recipe from the Green Kitchen Stories blog, since Christmas, and today was the day I finally got my shit together. Yes, I define my current level of pulled-togetherness by whether or not I'm actively engaging in pastry arts...

 
Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake | Funky Beets
 

Meet carrot cake's spunky sister, parsnip cake. This recipe nestles a half pound of shredded root veg goodness amid a not-too-sweet but very moist and slightly spicy crumb topped with tangy thickened yogurt, crunchy toasted walnuts and tart dried cranberries.  Unlike zucchini bread, where the vegetable fades into the background, the parsnip flavor in this cake is unmistakable. Parsnips are slightly sweet and nutty, and so work well in desserts and play nice with the ginger, cinnamon and hint of orange in this recipe. The flours used are brown rice and oat, making this cake 100% whole grain and wheat-free.  If you're in the mood for something a little different after dinner, please give this funky cake a shot.

 
Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake | Funky Beets
 

Tip: to make the labneh for topping, simply drain plain, whole milk yogurt (or Greek yogurt) in a coffee filter or cheese cloth set over a bowl for 6 to 8 hours or until it is thickened but still spreadable.

Maple Ginger Parsnip Cake with Labneh Walnut Topping

Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories 

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch or potato starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch clove
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb parsnips
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp orange bitters (optional)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Topping

  • 1 cup thickened plain whole milk yogurt (labneh) - see above tip
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Generously grease a 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Set aside. 

  2. Whisk together the flours, starch, baking powder and spices.

  3. Peel and grate the parsnips. I used the fine shredding blade on my food processor which worked like a dream. 

  4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until slightly frothy. Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla and whisk until completely combined. Fold in the parsnips and then the flour mixture. 

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake on the middle rack for about 40 minutes, or until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before before removing cake from the springform pan.

  6. Make the topping by simply stirring together your thickened yogurt with maple syrup and ground ginger. Spread the icing over the cake when it has cooled completely. Garnish with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries.

  7. The cake will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and its flavor is actually better the second day. 

 
 

PS: This cake is completely acceptable breakfast fare!