Friday, 15 April 2011

Parsnip and Violet Cake

I've been day dreaming and talking to some blogger friends about making this 'Parsnip and Violet Cake' for a long while.  I didn't think it was going to happen any time soon as I was waiting for an excuse to make it, such as a family get together, a party...  but nothing like that is happening around me at the moment, so with plenty of time on my hands I thought I'd just go ahead and make it for me and my husband, and maybe an unexpected guest or two.   
I'd like to call this cake a Celebratory Cake, but I've nothing to celebrate or shout loud about at the moment. Yet whilst I was making it, I was feeling rather pleased with myself - I don't know whether it was my big head feeling smug about my homely creation, or the gorgeous perfumery scent wafting from all the purple ingredients, but I was feeling rather cheery. So I am going to call this a 'A Cheer You Up Cake'. This is not a sugary, sweet cake.  The parsnips add moisture rather than flavour to the cake.  The flavour comes from the violet - all very subtle and the pecans give it that gentle crunch. 

A slice of Parsnip and Violet cake can only make you smile; and because I am feeling rather generous, I'd be happy to share some of this with you all, so if you wish your welcome to come on over, albeit virtually.
A few words on the ingredients for this Parsnip and Violet cake.  As a child I loved sucking on Parma Violets, the scent and the sherbety taste.  Over the past couple of years, I've been gathering all manner of edible violety to make sweet things such as Violet milkshake, Violet Sorbet, Violet Macaroon and Violet cake!  I got the Violet syrup from my trip to Brittany last year, the crystallised violet petals came from a supermarket, though I wish I was lucky to have some fresh violets to make my own.  Here is a link to my dear blogger friend Kaths blog The Ordinary Cook making some crystallised violet petals recently, and finally the edible cornflower petals came from a cook shop in Scotland.  When I was in Morecambe I also picked up some Sherbety Violet sweets from The Old Fashioned Sweet Shop, they are wonderfully perfumed, have a little crunch  and then melt in your mouth - sublime.
Parsnip and Violet Cake
Serves 8, maybe 12
175g butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
100ml violet syrup
3 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
250g parsnips , peeled and grated
60g pecans, roughly chopped
Optional: 1 teaspoon of crystallised violets; or Parma Violet Sherbet sweets, lightly crushed
Preheat oven to Gas mark 4. Grease and line with baking parchment paper 2 x 8 inch sandwich tins. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly and stir in the violet syrup. Gently whisk the eggs into the mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.  Follow this with the grated parsnips, pecans and violets if using. Divide the mixture between the tins, then bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.
For the filling
1 tablespoon violet syrup
300ml double cream
For decoration
Edible crystallized Violet petals
Edible Cornflower petals
Whip togehter the double cream and the violet syrup. Spread most of it over one cake and sandwich with the other. Then spread the top with the remaining violet flavoured double cream.
Scatter over some crystallised violets, fresh or dried violets, or edible cornflower petals in my case.
Enjoy a generous slice with a cup of good tea.
and marvel at the colours, flavour and textures.
Although it okay to eat a day or two later, this Parsnip and Violet cake is really best eaten on the day it is made, as the crystallised violets colour start to seep our and discolour the cream.


  1. This is an interesting cake! I've never baked with violets, but now I'm intrigued. Plus, I like your minimalist frosting!

  2. Wow, you really do make some interesting imaginative things! A violet cake sounds perfect, I cant imagine what violets would taste like, but they sure are pretty flowers.


  3. Wow! I never thought of putting parsnips in a cake...

  4. How lovely! I made Violet Jelly this Spring from violets I gathered from around my house!
    Peace, Stephanie

  5. umm wowo, I love the look and cant even imagine the taste. Lovely.

  6. Hi Mangocheeks; I'd like to share a (virtual)piece of cake and a cup of tea with you...
    I hope that making it cheered you up a bit. I always find cooking therapeutic.

  7. Great minds think alike. x

  8. Yummy and very original cake ♥

  9. Very inventive and indeed very pretty Mangocheeks. You continue to surpeise me with your recipes, bu only in a good way :)

  10. I love cakes.... and l love Parsnips so this might help me put to good use the last of my Parsnips! I've just got to think of 8 to 12 like minded people....Any ideas for a glut of Purple Sprouting Broccoli?

  11. What a unique idea, I've never heard of a parsnip cake! This sounds lovely, and I love the candied violet petals.

  12. What a beautiful looking cake! I love the addition of pecans too!

    much love, dear friend

  13. What a beautiful looking cake. I never would have thought of using parsnip in a cake. I will have to try this cake once I have sourced some suitable violet-ty produce.

  14. Hi! Nice to meet you! Thank you for your comment in mu blog... I'll come back soon...

  15. That looks amazing :D

    I read this right before bed last night, and I had a dream about it. I dreamt that I was making a cake. I had the layers set out and icing ready, and I asked my mom if she had any dried violet petals. I can't remember what else happened, though :p

  16. This is wonderfully different. This is my first visit to your blog and I've been browsing through
    your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. I really love the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  17. Thank you yummychunklet.
    I like my minimalist frosting too as I am not that good with cake decoaration or piping creams.

    Its lovely to hear from you Rose.
    Thank you.

    You must try it, you may just like it.

    Thanks Stephanie.
    I'll have to make Violet Jelly one of these days, shame I don't have violets growing around my house - lucky you!

    Thanks Jennifurla.
    please trust me, its lovely and delicate.

  18. Thanks Mark,
    And you would be made most welcome.
    I do find cooking therapeutic and am presently enjoying it, but I'm actually looking for other distractions too as I'm afriad too much cooking may begin to feel like a chore. Hopefully something will appear on the cards.

    Thanks Kath,
    I don't know about Great minds, but we certainly are creative. I am so envious of the violets growing aroudn you as I would have loved some for this cake.

    I hope you don't mind, but I've put a link to your blog too x

    Thank you so much Ana Powell ♥

    Thank you so much Jacqueline.
    With time on my hands, I keep looking in my store cupboards and my brain is working over time - I sometimes wish I had others to feed :)

    Thank you wartimegardening.
    I do hope you find some like minded people to share the cake with.

    Re Purple Sprouting Broccoli - you lucky you - As the season is so short for them, I just enjoyed them blanched and tossed in a potato salad, a bit like asparagus.

    Thank you so much Jodye.

  19. Thank you so much littleblackfox.
    I'm patiently waiting and looking forward to your sweet Parsnip creation :)
    much love, dear friend x

    Thank you so much Daffodil.
    Hope you find some violet products to try and hopefully you'll get a chance to try this cake too.

    Thank you so much Salome.
    I really appreciate you repaying the compliment too.

    Thank you Amber
    Your dream last night made me smile, I never knew that a recipe of mine woudl have such an impact - Thanks for sharing.

    Thank you Mary.
    You have visited my blog a couple of times and left some nice comments before, but thats okay as its always good to hear from you.

  20. Well, it LOOKS celebratory - I'd come over and have some with a cup of tea, we'd find something to celbrate over with this. Baking I find, is often its own reward!
    Loads going round on the violet front at the moment. Making me crave it!

  21. Mangocheeks - this cake looks absolutely beautiful. I will have to keep my eye out for some violet bits and pieces. This would certainly cause some "wows" if served for afternoon tea.

  22. This is gorgeous. And with vegetables in it? This is shooting to the top of my Must Bake list.

  23. What a great, innovative cake. I am going to make sure I try it and soon.

  24. He publicado tu post en Mis Favoritas de esta semana, si quieres verlo está en:

  25. Parsnips and voilets - what ingredients for a cake! I have not seen dried violets here, but I am sure I can find some online. Your cake is very beautiful - certainly a marvelous celebratory cake!

  26. Thank you Greedy Rosie.
    Its lovely to make your acqaintance.
    You right there is a lot happening on the blog front around the violet - must be spring :)

    Thank you Louise.
    You may be lucky to find some growing where you are and be able to crystallize some for decoration.
    I agree with you it does have the @Wow ' facotr :)

    Thank you Jen S.
    As always its lovely to hear form you.
    So pleased to read this recipe is shooting to the top of my Must Bake list, please let me know how it goes.

    Thank you sanyaliving.

    Thank you so much Salome.
    Its very kind of your, I will come by later to check it out :)

    Thanks Elaine.
    If you can't find dried violets, if you have some growing aroudn you perhaps you can crystallize them yourself.

  27. This is a beautifully inventive "cheer you up cake," Mango. I can't help but smile just looking at it. Are the grated parsnips similar to carrots when used in carrot cake? And I was just thinking about violets and gathering them when ready to "sugar" them.

  28. Thank you somuch Barbara.
    I'm so envious of your fresh violets, I haven't seen any around here, though fellow bloggers are picking them down in England.

    The grated parsnips do act similar to a carrot in a carrot cake, but the flavour is different.
    Do you have parsnips where you are, they are a rather sweet root vegetable. I think it worked wonderfully in this cake.

  29. Wow, what an interesting cake idea! Never would have thought to use parsnip! I bet it's delicious though!

  30. Thank you so much Sophia.
    It really does work and it was really delicious.

  31. this is the best most yummiest cake ever, trust!!!

  32. Thank you so much Anon.
    I was rather pleased with this creation.


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