Parsnip and Cranberry Cake

parnip cake

I know I said recently I’d eaten too much cake over winter and I was planning a healthy eating regime, but how else is a girl supposed to use up a glut of less-than-perfect parsnips? Okay yes, I could boil or roast them, make them into soup, but that’s just boring.

This is really just an adapted carrot cake recipe, so if you like, you can just swap the parsnips for carrots, or use a combination of the two. I use dried cranberries a lot in bread baking (cranberry and poppy seed bread is lovely) so I usually have a supply in the cupboard. You can often buy them in bulk in health food stores. Their vibrant colour makes them preferable to sultanas, but you could use those instead, or I guess you could use glacé cherries if you like them.

parnip cake ingredients


  • 100g dried cranberries
  • juice of half an orange
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 250g soft brown sugar
  • 150g parnips (peeled and grated)
  1. Start by soaking the cranberries in the orange juice and set aside.
  2. Set the oven to 180ºc, grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
  3. Mix together the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in bowl.
  4. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (or using an electric whisk) until well creamed.
  5. Add the eggs, one by one, along with a spoonful of the flour mixture with each, making sure each one is well combined before adding the next.
  6. Add the grated parsnips and cranberries with the orange juice, mix in.
  7. Carefully fold the rest of the flour mixture in, either by hand or with the machine set on slow.
  8. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50 minutes. Test it with a skewer to check for any stickiness, it may need a further 5 or 10 minutes.
  9. Once cooked, leave to settle in the cake tin for 10 minutes, and then turn onto a wire cooling wrack.
  10. If you want to, you can fill and/or top the cake with a cream cheese frosting made by mixing cream cheese and icing sugar together in a ratio of 1 icing sugar to 4 cream cheese (in weight not volume), perhaps with a little zest from the orange. Personally I like it plain with some caster sugar sprinkled over the top.

The cake is quite moist and very moorish. I grate my parsnips in a food processor with a grater attachment, which saves a lot of time and effort. Without the cream cheese frosting, it keeps in a air-tight tin for about a week, if you don’t eat it by then!

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