One of the Omaha supper club's favorite recipes is a parsnip layer cake we published in 2003. We took a look at the recipe and decided to update it with less sugar and more whole grains. A few tweaks later, we had a moist, tender, tastier spice cake capped with an indulgent caramel-flavored cream cheese icing.

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Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

30 mins
1 hr 45 mins
Serves 15 (serving size: 1 piece)




Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • To prepare cake, cut thin ends of parsnips into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut wide ends of parsnips lengthwise into quarters. Cut out and discard core from each piece; cut pieces into 3/4-inch pieces. Place parsnips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until tender. (Leave oven on.) Place parsnips in a mini food processor with 1/4 cup water; process until smooth. Cool slightly.

  • Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Whisk together flour and next 5 ingredients (through nutmeg). Place remaining 7 tablespoons oil, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 2 minutes). With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to oil mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add parsnips; beat just until combined. Spread batter into a 13- x 9-inch light-colored metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.

  • To prepare icing, place butter and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; beat just until combined. Spread icing over cake; sprinkle with pecans.

Nutrition Facts

307 calories; fat 16g; saturated fat 5g; protein 4g; carbohydrates 39g; fiber 3g; sodium 314mg; sugars 22g; added sugar 20g.