Parsnip Cake Is the Fall Quick Bread You Never Thought to Make

Give your loaf a flavor makeover with this one, simple ingredient.

October 07, 2020

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Whether you enjoy it in the morning with a cup of coffee or in the afternoon as a sweet pick-me-up, there’s nothing like a good, thick slice of your favorite quick bread. Most quick breads aren’t very different from cake — and what’s not to love about a cake that’s acceptable to eat any time of day?!

All summer long we grate zucchini and fold it into our batter for a moist and delicious loaf. Then, September rolls around and we switch to apple or pumpkin. And, when we don’t have those ingredients on hand, we can always rely on carrot or banana bread to satisfy our craving for what is basically cake in disguise.

But, what do you do when the cold-weather months start dragging on and you're tired of carrot-cake inspired loaves and banana bread? Try parsnips. Yep, that root vegetable that probably only makes an appearance at your table once or twice a year is actually perfect for moist, cake-y quick breads. Better yet, Elise Kornack will show you exactly how to make a delicious loaf using this seasonal veggie in her Parsnip Cake class on the Food Network Kitchen app.

Parsnips look a lot like carrots and can be grated on your box grater the same way. They even share carrot’s subtle sweetness — but parsnips have an earthier, more-interesting flavor that pairs perfectly with warm baking spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. That makes it easy to change up the flavor of your quick bread, taking it in a distinctly fall/winter direction.

The batter for Elise’s parsnip cake comes together in a few basic steps just like other quick breads: mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients and then combine the two. Although she says, this is a "very resilient recipe. It will come out edible and delicious pretty much no matter how you do it." She even encourages you to put your own spin on the recipe and throw in your favorite mix-ins like nuts, dried fruit or soaked fruit. She likes to serve hers with a quick apple compote that she cooks up while the loaf bakes (she shows you how in her class).

When your loaf is done baking it will be golden-brown with a nice springiness (the top should bounce back when you give it a gentle poke) and you’re going to be tempted to enjoy a slice right away. But, if you cut the cake before it cools you’ll release all the steam and moisture that was created during the baking process and the loaf can dry out — so be patient. Trust us, when you cut your first slice, dust it with powdered sugar and enjoy it alongside a cup of hot tea, you’ll know that it was worth the wait.

And, we’re willing to bet that you’ll be wondering why you waited so long to put parsnips in your quick bread, too!

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