Parsnip and orange spiced cake

Parsnip and orange spiced cake from Nadiya's Kitchen

Now, before you say it – yes, there are parsnips in this cake. My parents love a good carrot cake, but when it’s the only thing they ask me to bake because they are not adventurous enough for much else... well, I had to change it up just for my own creative sanity. Carrots may give colour, but parsnips add a similar flavour and sweetness with a whole lot more fragrance, so this isn’t as bold and daring as it might sound from the title. It’s a moist and delicious cake, and an excellent alternative to carrot. You could also give this recipe a go with courgette or beetroot. They all add different things and work equally well.

Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Sponges can be frozen

For how many? Serves 10


  • For the sponge:
  • 230g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g walnuts, chopped, plus extra for topping
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 500g parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed and coarsely grated
  • 2 oranges, zest, plus extra for decoration
  • For the frosting:
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 orange, zest


To make the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C. Grease and line the base of two 20.5cm sandwich tins with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. Add the caster sugar and chopped walnuts, mix through with a wooden spoon, and set aside.

3. Put the eggs and sunflower oil in a different bowl, and beat for a few minutes. Now mix all the dry ingredients into the egg and oil mixture, along with the the grated parsnips and orange zest. Mix everything together until you have a thick batter; about 2 minutes.

4. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins, and level it off using a spatula. Bake for 25–30 minutes. The cakes should be golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

5. Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and peel off the baking paper. Leave to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

1. In a bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon then add the cream cheese and icing sugar. Beat until it all comes together, but be careful not to overdo it, or the frosting will become runny. Leave the frosting the fridge until you need it, if your kitchen is really warm.

2. Take your cooled cakes and sandwich them together using the frosting. Top the cake with lashings of frosting and sprinkle with walnuts, and some extra orange zest.

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