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In this dark, ginger-studded spice cake from Dan Lepard, a British baking writer, grated parsnip adds a moist, almost pudding-like texture, plus a gorgeous but hard-to-peg (unless you're in on the secret) toasted-nut taste. Adapted from Short & Sweet: The Best of Home Baking.

Servings: 6


2 medium eggs

½ cup (100 grams) packed dark brown sugar

75 millilitres (100 grams) unsulfured molasses (check the ingredients)

150 millilitres canola or other light vegetable oil

1½ cups (150 grams) coarsely grated parsnip

4 nuggets stem ginger or ginger candy, coarsely chopped

1¼ cups (175 grams) whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger


Line an 8-inch round cake pan – spring-form if you’ve got one – with parchment paper. Butter sides and bottom. Heat oven to 350 F. Separate one of the eggs, then beat one whole egg and one yolk with the sugar for five minutes until it's thick and foamy (reserve the leftover egg white). Add the molasses and oil and beat again until smooth. Stir in the grated parsnip and chopped ginger.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and ground ginger, then stir them thoroughly through the beaten mixture.

Whisk the reserved egg white until it holds soft peaks, and fold it into the batter gently but evenly.

Tip batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serve warm, dusted with freshly zested lemon.