Parsnip, lemon and walnut cake

You've heard of carrot cake - now experience the sweet spiciness parsnips bring to old-fashioned British baking
By Jenni Muir
Parsnip, lemon and walnut cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus cooling time
  • Effort: medium



  • 320-350g parsnips
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375 g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 60 g walnut pieces, chopped
  • icing sugar, for dusting


1. Grease a square cake tin by brushing it lightly with neutrally-flavoured oil. Line it with baking parchment, then oil lightly again. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

2. Peel and trim the parsnips, then coarsely grate enough to give 250g of grated vegetable. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together, then add the oil, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract and grated parsnips. Stir to combine and set aside.

4. Sift the self-raising flour, cinnamon and salt into a second large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the parsnip mixture. Add the chopped walnut pieces and stir just enough to combine the ingredients and make a stiff batter.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, spreading it out fairly evenly into the corners. Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes or until the cake is well risen, the top is firm and brown, and a metal skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin before lifting it out to a wire rack to cool completely. Dredge with icing sugar before serving.

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