2 cups almond meal (or very finely ground almonds) *Freeze the almonds before grinding them
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups (about 6 medium-sized) parsnips, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup maple syrup
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup maple syrup (for maple meringue frosting)
4 egg whites (for maple meringue frosting)
2 tbsp sugar (for maple meringue frosting)
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 350F.
Butter the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan, line it with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter and flour the paper and the sides of the pan.
To make the cake: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the maple syrup, butter, and eggs on medium speed until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the dry mixture, 1 cup at a time, until just combined. Stir in the ginger and parsnips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Arrange the pecans in a decorative pattern on top of the cake. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
While the cake is baking, make the frosting: Pour the maple syrup into a medium saucepan. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Set the maple syrup over medium heat and, using a candy thermometer, monitor its temperature. When it reaches 230 degrees, start to whip the eggs on high speed.
After about 4 minutes, add the sugar to the egg whites. Once the maple syrup reaches 252 degrees, pour it into the whites in a slow, steady stream as close to the side of the bowl as possible to avoid splattering.
Continue mixing on medium speed until the bottom of the mixing bowl is cool to the touch, about 15 minutes.
Loosen the sides of the cake with a knife and remove it from the pan. Let it cool completely on a rack. Serve the cake dolloped with the maple meringue.