Among all the winter vegetables there are, mostly of the root variety but some above-ground goodies (like cabbage, Brussel’s sprouts and the ubiquitous winter veggie, kale), some of my favorites have to be parsnips. I only discovered parsnips a couple of years ago and have fallen in love with their sweet, nutty I-am-so-not-a-carrot disposition.
They pair so well with spicy dishes like garam-masala stir-fries, crisped up and served with pinto beans and maple syrup, and as a delightful addition to root veggie roasts. As a plant, they are freeze-hardy and can be harvested among the early spring vegetables that overwinter well – and actually taste better, sweeter after a good hard freeze or two. Their greens are totally toxic, so consumption of them is not recommended. And another surprising place they perform well in, is the starring role in a cake show.
As mentioned before, they are so-not-carrots, but deliver a deliciously nuttysweet taste and dense, moist texture as a cake, and since they pair so well with spices, (and since it’s my favorite winter warming tea) a Chai-Spiced Parsnip cake was soon to be born.
To make this a SOLE food meal and part of the Dark Days challenge, I used locally-milled flour from Bellingham’s Fairhaven Flour Mill (100% whole grain pastry flour), local parsnips from Nash’s Organic Produce, and local eggs from Solstice Farm B&B.
1 cup of honey
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of strong-brewed chai tea
and 1 tsp. of vanilla
account for the wet ingredients
First, as with any butter cake, you cream the butter and sweetener til smooth and emollient. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat the heck out of it some more (but not to the ‘peaking’ point.)
After you’ve whisked the dry ingredients together, you then add them alternating with the chai tea til just mixed in and smooth. And of course, for the final touch (and whole point of the cake):
Take 2 cups of grated parsnips
and stir them in til incorporated. Pour batter into a greased pan of your choice (I used a bundt pan, you could use a 5X8 loaf pan, or a square pan, or 9″ springform pan, but a 9X13 or a 10″ round would probably be too big for the batter.
Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes, depending on how thick your cake sits in the pan, til the edges are brown and the middle isn’t jiggly anymore.