Christmas Spiced Parsnip Cake


The first time I heard about parsnip cake was only a month ago. I did a photo job for a Swedish bakery and they wanted a photo of a parsnip cake as it, apparently, is a classic Swedish dessert. I have lived in Sweden my entire life and baked countless amounts of cakes but never encountered it before, so I am not sure I would go as far as calling it a Swedish classic. It is however wildly delicious and a very pleasant way to incorporate more vegetables in your life. Perhaps we can make it a future classic? The parsnip cake is cousin with the carrot cake but the parsnips add some very unique mild root tones along with the traditionally sweet taste and moist consistency. And just like its cousin, it develops in flavour so it is even more flavourful after a day in the fridge.

Since Christmas is coming up, we spiced the cake with warm tones like ginger, cinnamon and clove that go perfectly with the flavour from the roots. It might not be the most traditional Christmas cake on the table but I am quite certain that Santa won’t mind. It is topped with orange flavoured quark cheese or cream cheese, orange zest and roasted hazelnuts. If you can’t find quark, you can make a sweet quick version of labneh instead by mixing 2 cups greek yogurt with 1-2 tbsp maple syrup and some orange juice and strain it in cheese cloth for a few hours until it is firm enough to spread on a cake.

Spiced_parsnip_cake_2 Spiced_parsnip_cake_3 Spiced_parsnip_cake_4

This cake was included in the Christmas update of our Green Kitchen app that we released earlier this week. If you already have the app, you can just hit update to get the 8 Christmas recipes without any extra cost. And while we are talking about the app – it has once again been selected for the AppStore Best of 2014 in Scandinavia and Germany. So exciting! And we got loads of new and exciting stuff lined up for it next year!


Spiced Parsnip Cake
Serves 8

This recipe is gluten free. But if you don’t have any gluten free flours at home, you can replace the oat flour, rice flour and arrowroot with 1 3/4 cups / 200 g spelt flour.

3/4 cup (120 g) rice flour
1 cup (90 g) oat flour
2 tbsp arrow root powder or potato starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch clove
1 pinch salt
225 g / 1/2 lb (3 small/medium) parsnips
1 orange, zest
4 eggs
3/4 cup / 160 ml honey or maple syrup
3/4 cup / 160 ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil or cold-pressed olive oil

7 oz / 200 g quark/curd or cream cheese (or unsalted labneh)
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 orange, juice and zest

1 cup / 125 g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the sides and base of a 20-22 cm / 8-9 inches springform tin with parchment paper. Sift together the flours, arrowroot, baking powder and spices.
Peel and grate the parsnips (you can keep the peel on if you use organic) and zest the orange.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the oil and maple syrup and beat for another minute.
Stir in the parsnip and orange zest and then fold in the flours. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform tin. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before before removing it from the springform tin.
Make the icing by simply stirring together quark or cream cheese with maple syrup and orange juice. Spread the icing over the cake when it has cooled completely. Garnish with roasted hazelnuts and orange zest.
If you are making it ahead; store the cake in the fridge and add icing and topping just before serving.

PS! We are in Sydney now and just heard (through social media) that our book got a glowing review and was listed as one of the top cookbooks 2014 on BBC Radio 4. You can listen to the broadcast here (about 6.30 min into the show). It is still not too late to order Green Kitchen Travels as Christmas present *wink wink*. Here is a list of webshops that are selling it.


  • Looks really nice. never heard of it before but I will definitely make it!!
  • I have never heard of parsnip cake! I made a creamy parsnip soup last night and now I am inspired to use my leftover roots. Congratulations on the success of your book!
  • Oh my God. I just found this blog. The food looks incredible. Now I just need to find someone to make it for me :)
  • goska
    Hi, does in matter whether it's brown rice flour or white, sweet rice flour?
  • I love everything about this cake - wonderful ingredients and I like the idea of baking with root vegetables other than carrots! Hope you have a wonderful trip!
  • I might try it this weekend. It is already dec 12 and I don't have a plan for my Christmas dessert. hopefully this will be the one.
  • Thanks for sharing this sweet cake recipe. Even I had not heard about this before. I would like to try this spiced cake on Christmas
  • Oh my goodness, Parsnip Cake looks delicious! I’m definitely making this! thanks for sharing!
  • Magda
    I've been looking through the comments waiting for someone to say they've tried it but I guess I'll have to take the plunge - got all the ingredients for my weekend bake-off!
  • This cake is AMAZING! I made it using AP flour (no gluten intolerance here). It is just perfect and so easy to throw together. I think that the roasted hazelnuts make it special. Thanks for this recipe, and enjoy OZ :)
  • Wow! That looks amazing! I love that it is gluten-free too! I love parsnips. They usually just get cooked up and served as the veggie portion of the meal. I haven't seen anything very adventurous done with them until now. Thank you!
  • dalia
    welcome to sydney, and sorry about this terrible weather! i hope you're enjoying it nonetheless, and finding yourself at the beach during those rare moments of sunshine! do let us know if you end up holding a workshop. and many congratulations on this review! very well deserved!
  • Saskia
    U R my heroes ❤️
  • It looks fantastic!! PS: I love your blog and I can hardly wait for yout book publishing in Germany! :-)
  • I 100% thought the hazelnuts were Applejacks or something at first glance. Haha. I was like, "Hey, must be good, or she wouldn't post it!" But the nuts definitely make more sense. I guess it shows how much I trust you! All of your recipes are always beautiful.
  • sarah majorsmith
    Could I make this with regular flour? Congrats on the book. S
    • Yes you can if you want to. You should replace the gluten free flours with approx 200 g of flour. Happy baking! /D
  • im using this recipe for Christmas. thanks
  • Anita
    This cake looks delicious! I cannot eat cheese so I will try it without the topping. I also love the colour of the blue plates. Can you please tell me where they are from? Anita
  • Crazy as delicious! Can't wait to get my bake on with this beauty. Inspiring as always. xo
  • This looks out of this world! I may have to try this for my birthday cake next week!
  • Am so trying this as I love the spices of christmas and it looks so beautiful too. You are inspirational!
  • I love parsnips-- never thought of using them in a cake, but comparing it to carrot cake, it makes a lot of sense. The hazelnuts on top are gorgeous. Congrats on the success of your book! I'd love to get my hands on one.
  • Well, parsnip cake makes total sense! After all, it is sweet and delicious. I'd love to try this recipe, it really has all the right ingredients and I miss that dense consistency of carrot cake so much. Great job as always and thanks for sharing! *runs to download the app*
  • This is the kind of cake I can totally get behind! I've never baked with parsnips but I'm already sold. And I love the quark topping. I've wanted to experiment more with quark cheese but didn't have the most convincing recipes to do it with but now I do. Thank you guys and enjoy your time in Australia!
  • Woah, so interesting! Usually I'm a bigger fan of carrots than parsnips, but I find their root flavor rather intriguing for a cake. Will be bookmarking this idea.
  • Beautiful can't wait to try's untrodden grounds for me. Happy Nesting.
  • Suzanne
    Never fails...seems like you always release a lovely new recipe just when I'm hoping for something new to share at a holiday get together! Can't wait to try this one! Happy holidays & happiest travels!
  • Tim
    It's funny because I just thought about making this the other day. I too had not heard of it, but though carrot cake, why not parsnip? Looks like my intuition was correct!

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