Parsnip, pear, pecan cake with mascarpone frosting and lemon thyme

 A perfect tea-time cake with a silky cream cheese frosting and the subtle fragrance of lemon thyme.

A perfect tea-time cake with a silky cream cheese frosting and the subtle fragrance of lemon thyme.

Very much the sister to the classic carrot cake this cake is wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee. With a good dose of warming spices and pecans the cake is rich in texture and only slightly sweet. Mascarpone makes for a silkier frosting to the classic cream cheese but it can curdle if over mixed. Be sure to allow both your butter and cheese to come to room temperature and a soft texture. 

Parsnip, pear, pecan cake with mascarpone frosting and lemon thyme

| Makes one 8 inch cake |

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 150g pecans,
  • 250g spelt flour (plain works too)
  • x3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 150ml light olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 250g parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated (roughly 3 carrots)
  • 200g firm pear, peeled and coarsely grated ( I use conference pears)
  • zest of ½ a lemon

For the Icing

  • 200g mascarpone, room temperature
  • 100g butter, soft at room temperature
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • a handful of lemon thyme spring (optional)
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METHOD

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line the base and sides of two 8inch spring form cake tins.
  • Place your pecans on a dry, clean baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes, until they begin to smell fragrant. Take care not to burn them. Remove and allow them to cool. Set aside a few (around 8-10) for decoration before roughly chopping the rest.
  • In a medium sized bowl whisk together your flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and ground cardamom. Add your chopped pecans and sugar and stir to combine.
  • In a separate large bowl whisk together your eggs, oil and vanilla extract.
  • Pour your flour mix into the wet mix followed by your grated parsnips, pear and lemon zest and fold to combine.
  • Divide the mix evenly between the two tins and back for 25-30 mins until the cake is spongey and a toothpick can be inserted and removed with no wet mix sticking to it.
  • Allow your cakes to stand for five minutes before removing the sides and parchment and allowing to fully cool on a wire rack and get on with your icing.
  • To make the icing place your soft butter, mascarpone and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Sift over your icing sugar and using a spatula gently beat to combine. Be sure not to overbeat as your icing will curdle. If your icing is too thin place it in the fridge to firm up for an hour or so.
  • Sandwich your cakes with half the icing and place the remaining icing on the top. Arrange your pecans and a few leaves of the lemon thyme if you like.
  • I like to keep this cake in the fridge and remove it about a half hour or so before serving. It will keep this way for about five days.