Spiced Parsnip Cake with Pecans

This recipe is from Farmer John’s Cookbook: the Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson. I like to make it with carrots as well.

A friend of the farm commented, “Move over, carrot cake! The parsnip has arrived and wants some of the action. Good, fresh, firm parsnips have a wonderful, natural sweetness that makes them ideal in baked desserts. This cake is delicious with a traditional glaze or frosting, but if you’re running short on time, serve it with a warm fruit compote or applesauce. If you can’t find mace, you can substitute 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.”

Spiced Parsnip Cake with Pecans


  • Butter for greasing baking pan
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups peeled and grated raw parsnips about 3 large parsnips
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Lightly coat a 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan with butter.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and mace.
  3. In another large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, and oil; beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add 1 egg and beat well. Add about a quarter of the flour mixture and beat well. Repeat the process until all of the eggs and flour mixture are used and well combined.
  4. Stir in the parsnips and pecans.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Serves 6 to 8.