Parsnip-Vanilla Bean Cake with  Dates, Candy Cap & Point Reyes Gouda

Parsnip-Vanilla Bean Cake with Dates, Candy Cap & Point Reyes Gouda

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Parsnip-Vanilla Bean Cake

Dates, Candy Cap & Point Reyes Gouda

Created by Chef Nicole Krasinski

Serves 12 people


for the candied kumquat

30 each           kumquats

1 cup               granulated sugar

¼ cup               water


Cut the kumquats in half lengthwise & remove the seeds.

In a large pot combine the granulated sugar & the water, bring to a simmer over medium heat. When the mixture starts to turn a light caramel color, add the kumquats. Turn the heat to medium-low & continue cooking at a light simmer until the mixture beings to thicken, about 10min.  Pour into a bowl & cool.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Will keep for up to two weeks.  


for the cake

2 each             large parsnips

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 oz / 1 stick    unsalted butter

1 each             thyme sprigs

1 cup               granulated sugar                   

2 each             large eggs

1 ½ cup           all purpose flour

1 teaspoons    baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 each             large parsnips

½ each             vanilla bean, split & seeded

½ cup              creme fraiche


Preheat the oven 375F.  Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan, butter the sides and bottom.


Peel the parsnips and cut into 2-inch pieces.  Place in a roasting pan with the 2 tablespoons butter.  Cover with foil and place in the oven.  Roast for 30 minutes or until the parsnips are soft.  Place the parsnips in a blender or robot coupe and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.  You need 1 cup of parsnip puree, if you have extra, save for another use. 


If making the cake the same day, turn the oven down to 325F.


Place the butter and thyme in a small pan. Over low heat, melt the butter.  Remove from the heat & set aside for 30 minutes to infuse the thyme flavor into the butter.  After 30 minutes, strain the butter through a fine mesh sieve & discard the thyme.


In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking soda & salt together.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter, vanilla bean seeds, granulated sugar & 1 cup parsnip puree.  Whisk together to combine.  Add the eggs, whisk to combine.  Add the sifted flour mixture, whisk to combine.  Add the crème fraiche, whisk to combine.


Pour into the prepared cake pan.  Bake for 45-55 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean & the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven & cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.  This cake is best served the same day but can be wrapped & served the next day.


for the garnish

1 cup               candied kumquat, chopped

12 each           Deglet Noor dates, pitted & cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons candy cap powder

½ pound         Point Reyes Gouda, shaved thin with a vegetable peeler


Combine the kumquats & dates in a small bowl, mix to combine.

Cut the cake into 12 wedges, garnish each piece with a few tablespoons of the fruit mixture, dust with a pinch of candy cap powder and finish with 4-8 peels of the cheese.