Apple, parsnip and rosemary syrup cake

Apple, parsnip and rosemary syrup cake

Danielle Wood

Aromatic rosemary looks so beautiful as a decoration and lends its herby flavour to the sweetness of the apple and parsnip in this cake. Any leftover rosemary syrup makes for a delicious cocktail ingredient (try it with a gin and tonic).

For the cake:


Quantity Ingredient
320g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
320g soft light brown sugar
4 medium eggs
320g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
100g peeled and coarsely grated parsnip
200g peeled and coarsely grated eating apple
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

For the rosemary syrup:

Quantity Ingredient
125g caster sugar
2 sprigs rosemary

For the cinnamon buttercream:

Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50ml double cream

To decorate:

Quantity Ingredient
a few sprigs Crystallised rosemary


Quantity Ingredient
2 x 15cm round, deep cake tins
cake board or stand
How to level & split a cake


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease the cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and eggs for 2–3 minutes or until the mixture is pale and well combined. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a clean bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat to combine. Finally, fold in the parsnip, apple and rosemary. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins. Bake in the oven for 40–50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in their tins, then turn them out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  2. To make the syrup, place the sugar, 250 ml cold water and rosemary in a saucepan and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool then discard the rosemary sprigs.
  3. To make the buttercream, using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter for 3–4 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat for another 2–3 minutes until smooth.
  4. Level the cakes by cutting off the domed tops and split each cake in half so that you have 4 layers in total. Fix the bottom layer to the cake board or stand, brush the cut side with the rosemary syrup and spread with one quarter of the buttercream. Add the second layer and repeat, then continue with the third and fourth layers, finishing with a thin layer of buttercream. Use an offset spatula to smooth the excess buttercream around the sides of the cake, leaving the cake layers visible. Decorate with crystallised rosemary.
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