© 2014 Green Kitchen Stories Spiced_parsnip_cake_1

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.


  1. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 11:51 | #

    Wow, that is an absolutely gorgeous cake! I’ve never heard of parsnip cake either, it sounds very interesting though. So many flavors in there to love :)

  2. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 12:06 | #

    yumm.that looks delish!

  3. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 12:16 | #

    What a wonderful looking cake and stunning images as always!

  4. Charlotte
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 12:23 | #

    Stunning! However, when I updated my green kitchen stories app, I only encountered two new recipes, couldn’t find this one! Or is it in the desert version?

  5. Tea
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 12:26 | #

    Looks Amazing! Are you holding any workshops while in sydney?

  6. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 13:05 | #

    Parsnip cake?! I happen to have an abundance of CSA parsnips right now, so I think this cake needs to be added to our dessert menu. Perfect timing!

  7. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 13:19 | #

    I tasted a parsnip cake only a couple of weeks ago and fell madly in love with it. Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe, I must try soon. Hope all is going well down under for you guys – keep us posted with your adventures! xx

  8. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 13:22 | #

    What a gorgeous cake, and an inventive use of vegetables (though I am sure that tempering them with all the icing and sugar does something to lower their nutritional value ;)) Whether it’s a classic or not, I’d be happy to include it in my repertoire! Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 13:35 | #

    I’ve definitely never heard of parsnip cake, but am happy to see it here! It looks great.

  10. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 14:29 | #

    Wow! I would never think to use parsnips in a cake… I’m definitely trying this one soon! Looks absolutely delicious :)

  11. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 14:35 | #

    Congratulations on the well-deserved awards and glowing reviews! I’m not a fan of parsnips in general but then I never used to like carrots either, and now I love carrot cake… maybe you will make me like parsnips after all? :)

  12. Julie
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 14:55 | #

    Hi there! Can you please clarify what you mean by “some orange juice” when making your own labneh?? Thank you so much!

  13. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 14:56 | #

    What a great idea !! Your blog is a real enjoyment, recipes always look fresh, yummy et healthy :-)

  14. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 15:30 | #

    I never would have thought about a parsnip cake, how lovely!

  15. Jennifer
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 15:37 | #

    Wow! This is so creative and looks fantastic! It is my understanding however that rapeseed oil, or canola, the majority of the time comes from genetically modified sources. I would probably choose a different oil when making this cake or find an organic alternative.

  16. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 15:37 | #

    Such a beautiful thing. I’ve never heard of a parsnip cake from the Swedish side of my family, but maybe it will make an appearance this Christmas and start a new tradition!

  17. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 15:38 | #

    I LOVE parsnips, but have never heard of them being used in a cake. Such a wonderfully delicious idea!!

  18. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 15:46 | #

    I was listening to BBC on Sunday and heard the review. I went straight to your blog and have been doing little else but reading your recipes/stories since. Just ordering my cookbook now! Keep up the good work!!!

  19. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 16:11 | #

    This is such a beautiful, simple, rustic cake! I can’t wait to try it. I am really curious about the flavor… Congratulations on the AppStore selection! yay!

  20. Samantha
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 16:34 | #

    I love carrot cake so I cannot wait to try this. My husband and I are hosting a Christmas pot luck this weekend sO I think I am going to take a leap of faith and make this as my tasy contribution! Will post pictures x

  21. mimi gabor
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 16:45 | #

    can you sub olive oil for rapeseed oil?

  22. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 16:54 | #

    Since I love carrot cake, I know I will love this cake too. Can’t wait to try it!

  23. Tia
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 17:10 | #

    Hello. I love your recipes! Was just wondering, can I use coconut oil instead of rapeseed oil?

    Many thanks and keep up the great work- truly lovely blog

  24. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 17:35 | #

    Pretty with the orange zest and hazelnut topping! Parsnips are very underused on this side of the pond, good to have another idea for using them. I love healthier-style desserts that include fruit, vegetables, or chocolate!

  25. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 17:50 | #

    I would’ve never thought about putting parsnips in cake, but this sounds and looks absolutely incredible!

  26. Kristine S
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 17:52 | #

    This looks great! A decadent and rustic christmas cake! However, I am actually following a vegan diet, and I wonder if you think it will be possible to make this cake vegan?

  27. Aleksandra T
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 18:03 | #

    Looks delicious, thanks for staying in touch and making our days better even when you’re on holiday! Just a quick question, is there any way I can have your app updated if my Iphone isn’t a 7.1 version? I keep getiing a notification saying I need a 7.1 or later version for that.

  28. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 18:04 | #

    I never would have thought to make a cake with parsnips! Thank you for enlightening us! Your photos are gorgeous as usual, and have convinced me to go out today to buy parsnips (seeing as I have all the other ingredients). -Moira

  29. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 18:13 | #

    I love every GKS recipe, but this may be one of my favourite things on here yet.

  30. alessia
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 18:20 | #

    Just received my *Green Kitchen Stories recipe book* to give to my beloved little sister for Christmas…sooo exciting!
    As a parsnip lover I MUST try out this cake…I was just wondering though..can I substitute potato starch with corn starch? It’s just easier for me to find..thanks a bunch

  31. Tim
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 18:52 | #

    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!

  32. Suzanne
    Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 19:17 | #

    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!

  33. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 19:58 | #

    Beautiful can’t wait to try this…it’s untrodden grounds for me. Happy Nesting.

  34. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 20:03 | #

    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.

  35. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 20:13 | #

    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!

  36. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 21:08 | #

    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*

  37. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 22:53 | #

    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.

  38. Posted 9 Dec ’14 at 23:37 | #


  39. Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 00:41 | #

    Am so trying this as I love the spices
    of christmas and it looks so beautiful too. You are inspirational!

  40. Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 00:56 | #

    This looks out of this world! I may have to try this for my birthday cake next week!

  41. Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 01:10 | #

    Crazy as delicious! Can’t wait to get my bake on with this beauty. Inspiring as always. xo

  42. Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 01:56 | #


  43. Anita
    Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 15:10 | #

    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?


  44. Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 17:21 | #

    im using this recipe for Christmas. thanks

  45. sarah majorsmith
    Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 18:37 | #

    Could I make this with regular flour? Congrats on the book.

    • Posted 11 Dec ’14 at 11:06 | #

      Yes you can if you want to. You should replace the gluten free flours with approx 200 g of flour. Happy baking!

  46. Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 21:34 | #

    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.

  47. Posted 10 Dec ’14 at 22:30 | #

    It looks fantastic!!

    PS: I love your blog and I can hardly wait for yout book publishing in Germany! :-)

  48. Saskia
    Posted 11 Dec ’14 at 10:50 | #

    U R my heroes


  49. dalia
    Posted 11 Dec ’14 at 11:56 | #

    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!

  50. Posted 11 Dec ’14 at 17:20 | #

    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!

  51. Posted 11 Dec ’14 at 18:38 | #

    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 :)

  52. Magda
    Posted 12 Dec ’14 at 14:06 | #

    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!

  53. Posted 12 Dec ’14 at 14:29 | #

    Oh my goodness, Parsnip Cake looks delicious! I’m definitely making this! thanks for sharing!

  54. Posted 12 Dec ’14 at 14:37 | #

    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

  55. Posted 13 Dec ’14 at 02:18 | #

    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.

  56. Posted 13 Dec ’14 at 18:08 | #

    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!

  57. goska
    Posted 14 Dec ’14 at 10:02 | #

    does in matter whether it’s brown rice flour or white, sweet rice flour?

  58. Posted 16 Dec ’14 at 07:34 | #

    Oh my God. I just found this blog. The food looks incredible. Now I just need to find someone to make it for me :)

  59. Posted 16 Dec ’14 at 13:43 | #

    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!

  60. Posted 16 Dec ’14 at 22:25 | #

    Looks really nice. never heard of it before but I will definitely make it!!

  61. Posted 17 Dec ’14 at 13:19 | #

    I will be happy to try this recipe before Christmas and of course on the Christmas day.I really love to try new recipes and share my own with others.

  62. Posted 17 Dec ’14 at 21:50 | #

    That is perfect recipe for Christmas. thank You

  63. Posted 18 Dec ’14 at 02:26 | #

    This sounds like a lovely spiced end to any meal! I love the way you top it- a mound of hazelnuts and orange zest! The toppings alone make me want to make it :)

  64. Posted 18 Dec ’14 at 15:26 | #


  65. Tamara
    Posted 19 Dec ’14 at 00:53 | #

    Hi – I have your app, but it has not updated. Does this occur through the App Store or ? Thanks!

    • Posted 20 Dec ’14 at 00:24 | #

      Hi Tamara, yes it updates through AppStore.
      The updates however only works for iOS7 and iOS8. If your device runs on an older system it won’t be able to update.

  66. Posted 19 Dec ’14 at 05:07 | #

    Mind blown! Parnsips in a cake! The world will never be the same again! Thank you for that! ;-)

    Seriously, I’m totally in love with this beautiful creation. Hope you’re whole family is gearing up for a wonderful Christmas.

  67. Lisanne
    Posted 19 Dec ’14 at 08:57 | #

    This looks amazing. I’m gonna try this today!
    I know it’s so not the spirit of this blog, but one of my guests cannot eat honey/maple syrup. Can I use normal (cane) sugar instead, and will it change the taste?
    Hope to hear from you soon!

    • Posted 20 Dec ’14 at 00:22 | #

      Yes, you can use sugar. I would probably try around 200 g of sugar. Good luck!

  68. Adriana
    Posted 22 Dec ’14 at 02:15 | #

    I baked this one today, so good!! Thanks for such a good recipe, lovely cake.

  69. nini
    Posted 22 Dec ’14 at 20:34 | #

    Made it, turned out beautifully. Didn’t have enough Olive Oil, substituted some sunflower oil, went a little wild and over-did the spices, had Zero faith in it…..it was Magic moist, warm, delicious!

  70. Fleur
    Posted 23 Dec ’14 at 20:13 | #

    Sounds great! Do You use white rice flour sweet rice flour or brown rice flour..?

  71. Julia
    Posted 25 Dec ’14 at 19:05 | #

    I don’t really understand that did you use honey or maple syrup in the cake? Can you please write to the ingredients list firstly what you used and secondly what can be replaced?!:-)Thank you:)

  72. Claire
    Posted 28 Dec ’14 at 21:42 | #

    I made this for Christmas and it was delicious, thanks so much for the recipe! :)
    I liked it so much I’ve just made another one seeing as I had a couple of parsnips to use up…do you think I could freeze it or would that spoil it?

  73. Isabelle
    Posted 1 Jan ’15 at 19:41 | #

    Hello, this cake is really delicious ! I made it twice already ! One was for Christmas and it was a great success. Thank you for the recipe and happy new year to the whole family from France !

  74. Posted 19 Jan ’15 at 10:03 | #

    My name is Cindy and I am from New Zealand
    I saw on your instagram you are coming to NZ, I hope you have fun here and come to auckland ! (I live there)
    Your blog really changed the way I eat, I never thought gluten free and healthy could taste this amazing. I tried your parsnip cake, pistachio falafels, spinach crepes, spinach quinoa patties and chocolate beetroot cake and they are all delicious! you see I am a big fan of you guys :)
    Your blog also helped me be so inspired I started my own food blog (cindyavocado.blogspot.co.nz). I think your food blog is the best on the internet and I really like eating avocados * *

  75. Posted 24 Jan ’15 at 13:17 | #

    Hi, i forgot to ask every time i bake one of your delicious recipes, do you use an electric oven or a hot air oven. I am the second one and usually i will have to adjust baking temperature of recipes to minus 20 degrees. Is this also necessary with your recipes ?

  76. Daniela
    Posted 20 Feb ’15 at 22:49 | #

    I baked the cake yesterday, and took it with me in the office.
    Everyone, even the most sceptic colleagues, where excited :-)
    A very intersting combination of spices and parsnips …. and the topping was sooo delicious! Thanks a lot for the recipe!

  77. Posted 8 Apr ’15 at 13:11 | #

    This recipes looking so nice, i just want to ask which type of oven you used and the exact time of bake, when i baked it was looking over baked.

  78. Posted 3 Jun ’15 at 11:34 | #

    This recipe is so good and i like this type of fast food dishes.

  79. Larissa
    Posted 24 Jun ’16 at 11:21 | #

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen parsnip in a cake! What a brilliant idea, excited to give it a try this Christmas. I included a link to your post in my round-up of creative cakes here: http://www.shopbox.com/blog/creative-cake-ideas-for-your-bakery

  80. Posted 16 Nov ’16 at 19:19 | #

    I baked the cake yesterday, and took it with me in the office.
    Everyone, even the most sceptic colleagues, where excited :-)
    A very intersting combination of spices and parsnips …. and the topping was sooo delicious! Thanks a lot for the recipe!

  81. Posted 21 Sep ’17 at 08:23 | #

    recipes looking so nice, i just want to ask which type of oven you used and the exact time of bake, when i baked it was looking over baked.

  82. Nicole
    Posted 27 Oct ’17 at 14:27 | #

    Looks fantastic! Would it work if I used just oat flour + starch? or even regular wheat flour?

  83. CK
    Posted 3 Dec ’17 at 19:19 | #

    The cake looks beautiful, I will be making this! Quick question,you say to beat the eggs until frothy. Is that to double in volume or just to combine together?

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