The spring thaw unlocks a treasured ingredient. With comforting cinnamon-cardamom notes and a moist texture, this simple treat is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea in front of a cozy fire.
By Krissy O'Shea
Feb 21 2019
A scattering of small trays fills the back counters in the farm’s kitchen, waiting patiently for the longer, warmer days of spring. Encouraged by grow lights, tiny green shoots are just beginning to emerge, the first glimpse of this year’s garden.
But there’s still a bit of green, leafy life outside. Planted last year and left to overwinter and sweeten until the ground thaws, our spring-dug parsnips are ready to harvest. At this time of year, they qualify as a delicacy, and I love to fry them in butter with crunchy hazelnuts or stir them into this well-proportioned cake. With comforting cinnamon-cardamom notes and a moist texture, this simple treat is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea in front of a cozy fire.
Total Time: 1 hour
Hands-On Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
For the Cake
2/3 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 medium parsnips, peeled and grated
1 medium firm, tart apple, unpeeled and grated
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350° and set a baking rack to the middle position. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and set them aside.
Melt 2/3 cup unsalted butter and set it aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt.
In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the melted butter. Using a spatula, work the flour mixture into the wet mixture a little at a time until evenly incorporated. Fold in the grated parsnips, apple, and walnuts.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula. Bake until the cakes just begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and the centers are set, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pans on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out to cool completely.
For the Maple Mascarpone Cream:
1 cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Just before serving, make the cream by beating the mascarpone with the syrup and salt. Sandwich the cream between the cake layers. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
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