Baking · Cake

Pear and Pecan Cake (or ‘How I Nearly Killed a Wooden Spoon with a Food Processor)

Good afternoon blogging world. Long time no see.

The reason for this lack of contact is one I’m sure that many foodies face at some point – nothing I’ve tried out really worked. Apart from the very boring chocolate vanilla cupcakes I made for my string group, the other cake (a coffee-turkish delight combination which I’ll be posting about later) had some very mixed results. Whilst the school students loved them (and ate them all in about 10 seconds flat!), Max was not so impressed and said that they tasted savoury… not a good comment for a a sweet cupcake! Back to the drawing board with them.

Parsnip cake

Instead I present this cake, which met with very favourable results. I will say now that this recipe is completely someone else’s invention, coming from the wonderful cookbook Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood. Someone else’s it might be, but it is still very good. The secret ingredient in this cake is parsnip, grated and mixed into the batter in a method similar to that of a carrot cake.

parsnip cake 2

Making this cake also gave me the excuse to finally find out how the grating attachment on my Kenwood mixer works. This led to a slightly difficult moment when I tried to push the parsnip down with a wooden spoon – fine until the spoon hit the grating attachment. I’m sure you can imagine the rest. Poor wooden spoon.

Pear and Pecan Cake


  • 3 small pears
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 150g pecans
  • 150g white rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved and the seeds removed
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 200g finely grated parsnip
  • 125ml calvados (or if like me this is beyond your local community, cloudy apple juice also works)
  • Icing sugar (to decorate)


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Grease and line a 23cm diameter springform tin and set aside.

Peel, core and thinly slice the pears, before sprinkling with lemon juice and setting aside. Grind the pecans in a food processor until very fine, then add the flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla seeds, ground ginger, cinnamon and whizz for another minute until completely combined.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and tripled in volume, before adding in the grated parsnip and the dry ingredients. Mix completely before adding in the Calvados/apple juice to loosen the mixture. Pour half the mixture into the tin and top with half the sliced pears. Pour the remaining mixture over the top and top with the remainder of the pears, arranging them into a pretty floral pattern. Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 2 hours. You have read this right, 2 hours. Take it out of the oven and serve with vanilla ice cream.89

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