Pear and Parsnip Cake with Salted Honey Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

This delicious recipe is from Veggie Desserts + Cakes by Kate Hackworthy.

Read my review of Veggie Desserts + Cakes here, and enter my giveaway to win your own copy.

Veggies Desserts Cakes - Pear & parsnip cake 2
Image from book, used with permission

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5 from 3 votes

Pear and Parsnip Cake with Salted Honey Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

My favourite cake growing up was a pear and chocolate cake that I often requested from my mum for my birthday. The recipe for that cake has long been lost, but I love bringing those memorable flavours back together, this time with the unusual, but welcome, addition of sweet parsnip.
I love the fluffy and cloud-like texture of this cake. The parsnip subtly sweetens the airy sponge while the pears bring flavour and their delicate perfume. I’ve covered the cake in a salted honey buttercream to bring more complex flavours, then drizzled the sides with a dark chocolate ganache. As the cake has these two icings, I’ve lowered the sugar content of the cake somewhat so it isn’t overly sweet.
Servings 12 servings


For the cake:

  • 100 g raw peeled parsnip (approximately 1 medium parsnip)
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 225 g unsalted butter , softened
  • 150 g caster sugar (superfine)
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

For the slated honey buttercream:

  • 120 g unsalted butter , softened
  • 500 g icing sugar (confectioners')
  • 4 tbsp clear honey
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp sea salt

For the chocolate ganache

  • 100 ml double cream (heavy)
  • 100g g good-quality dark chocolate , chopped


To make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas 4. Grease three 20cm/8in cake pans and line the bases with baking parchment.
  • Finely grate the parsnip or whiz in a food processor until fine, then set aside. Peel, core and finely dice the pears.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the parsnip, pears and vanilla.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir gently to combine.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and the centre springs back when touched.
  • Leave to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the salted honey buttercream:

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth, then add the honey and beat well.
  • Add the icing sugar and milk, then beat until smooth. Stir in the salt.
  • Divide the buttercream into two bowls and save one for the final coat of icing. Using one of the bowls, spread a little icing between each layer, right to the edge, and sandwich together.
  • Spread a little more icing on the very top and sides to create a 'crumb coat' icing layer. It won't cover it entirely, but will make it smooth and stop the final layer getting messy with cake crumbs. 
  • Chill the cake for 30 minutes to firm up the crumb coat.
  • Carefully apply the second bowl of buttercream to create the final layer of icing over the top and sides. Using a palette knife, smooth it completely around the cake.
  • Chill the cake for 45 minutes before finishing with the ganache.

To make the chocolate ganache:

  • Heat the cream in a saucepan just to the boiling point. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate.
  • Allow it to stand for 2 minutes before beating it until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool to room temperature.
  • Remove the cake from the fridge and spoon a teaspoon of the ganache at a time over the top edge and encourage it to drip down the side decoratively.
  • Repeat all the way round the cake, then fill the top with ganache.

If you decide to buy this book after reading our content, please consider clicking through our affiliate link, located within the post and in the footnote at the end.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Veggie Desserts + Cakes by Kate Hackworthy (RRP £14.99) from publisher Pavilion Books. Recipe extracted with permission from Pavilion Books. Photography by Clare Winfield.

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15 Comments to "Pear and Parsnip Cake with Salted Honey Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache"

  1. Janice

    That does look fabulous with the dripping ganache. Pears and parnsips are just about to come into season, so I will be adding this cake to my list of bakes!

  2. Danielle Martin

    Salted honey buttercream? Oh wow! This cake sounds incredible and it looks beautiful too.

  3. Bintu

    What a great use of parsnips and I love how you have presented it with the chocolate dripping over it. Fabulous!

  4. Choclette

    Oh my Kavey, that looks phenomenal. Love the pear and parsnip together and of course chocolate can only make it better 😀

  5. Danielle

    That is a beautiful looking cake! Very interesting to include parsnips in the cake and that salted honey buttercream sounds amazing!


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