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Spiced parsnip cake recipe

Spiced parsnip cake recipe

25 ratings

Earthy parsnips are in season during the winter months, and their sweet flavour makes them a surprising but wonderful addition to spiced cakes. Top with soft cheese and crème fraîche frosting, fiery stem ginger and fragrant rosemary for a delicious bake you'll want to make again and again. See method

  • Serves 20
  • 30 mins to prepare and 40 mins to cook, plus cooling
  • 477 calories / serving
  • Vegetarian


  • 350ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 260g golden caster sugar
  • 160g light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 350g parsnips, peeled, trimmed and grated (tough core discarded)

For the topping

  • 200g butter, at room temperature
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 400g 50% less fat soft cheese
  • 50g crème fraîche or soured cream
  • 100g stem ginger, sliced, plus 2 tbsp syrup from the jar
  • 1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked and roughly chopped
If you don't have sour cream, use crème fraîche or yogurt

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    31g 45%
  • Saturates

    10g 49%
  • Sugars

    31g 35%
  • Salt

    0.5g 8%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 46.4g Protein 5.7g Fibre 1.6g


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Lightly grease a deep 34 x 23cm baking tin, then line the base with nonstick baking paper and set aside.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix the sugars in a separate bowl, add the eggs and whisk for 1 min until combined. Add the oil gradually, whisking between additions. When all the oil is mixed in, beat for 1 min to emulsify. Stir in the parsnip, then gently fold in the flour mix until just incorporated. Don't overmix – this will make the cake tough. Pour into the tin.
  4. Bake for 40 mins, gently turning after 30 mins, until well risen and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Rest in the tin on a cooling rack for 10 mins, then remove from the tin and cool completely on the rack.
  5. Beat the butter and sugar for the icing in a large bowl for 2-3 mins until smooth and fluffy. Drain any liquid from the soft cheese and crème fraîche, then stir in until just incorporated.
  6. Spread the icing over the top of the cake and garnish with the stem ginger, syrup and rosemary.

Tip: To store, chill the iced cake, uncovered, for 30 mins, then wrap loosely in clingfilm and chill for up to 3 days.

See more Baking recipes

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

The un-iced cake can be frozen. Cool completely, then wrap well in a double layer of clingfilm and foil. Defrost fully at room temperature before slicing and icing as above. In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.

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