Ginger-Parsnip Cake



  • 3½ cups  all-purpose flour sifted
  • 5 teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon  fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon  ground ginger
  • 2½ teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons  curry powder
  • 4¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons  granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2½ cups  canola oil
  • 1⅓ pounds  parsnips, shredded
  • 1¾ cups  hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 7 tablespoons greek yogurt

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • Seeds from 2 vanilla beans
  • 1 teaspoon  fine sea salt
  • 1½ tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 8 ounces  cream cheese
  • 8 ounces  ricotta cheese
  • Toasted hazelnuts, for garnish


To toast hazelnuts (or any nuts), I lay them out in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake them at 350°f (180°c) for 8-12 minutes, stirring them halfway through, until they are a deep golden brown. Cool completely before using it.

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325°f (165°c). Butter two 9-inch round cake pans.

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and curry powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed until fully blended. Put the sugar and eggs in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved. Slowly drizzle in the oil while continuing to whisk. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the parsnips, hazelnuts, and yogurt and mix until well blended. Divide equally between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cakes are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of each one comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely on a rack.

Make the cream cheese frosting:

Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla seeds, salt, and lemon juice in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and airy. Put the cream cheese and ricotta in a food processor and process until smooth. Fold together the two with a rubber spatula and use it immediately.

Frost the cake:

Split the cake layers in half horizontally so you end up with 4 layers. Put the first layer (a bottom piece) on your serving platter and add about ¾ cup frosting. Spread the frosting in an even layer on top of the cake, leaving a ¼-inch border all the way around the circumference. Invert the top half of that layer over the frosting and gently press it so that you have a flat, even layer on top. Put another ¾ cup frosting on top of this layer. Spread the frosting in an even layer on top of the cake, leaving a ¼-inch border all the way around the circumference. Repeat with the next 2 cake layers. Use the rest of the frosting to coat the cake. Wipe the rim of the serving plate and grate a few hazelnuts over the top. Rim the bottom circumference of the cake with whole roasted hazelnuts and chill the cake for at least 1 hour so the frosting can set before serving.

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