, Step by step

Parsnip and lemon cake

This recipe uses parsnips for their sweetness, an age-old practice that dates from the Middle Ages.

Mark Stower, Director of Food and Service.

Preparation Time: 25 mins

Cooking Time: 35 mins

Serves: 6


  • Step 1

    Place the butter, sugar and honey into a pan over low heat until melted and the sugar is fully dissolved, then leave to cool. Once cooled, place in a mixing bowl with the eggs and whisk until light and fluffy.

  • Step 2

    Gently fold in the self-raising flour, mixed spice and baking powder. Then fold in the grated parsnip, apple and sunflower seeds.

  • Step 3

    Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour the batter into it. Place into the oven at 170°C. Cook for 35 minutes. To test if it is cooked all the way through, place a skewer into the cake and remove; if it is clean when removed, then the cake is cooked.

  • Step 4

    When cooked, remove the loaf tin from the oven and place it on a baking rack to cool. After 10 minutes, turn the cake out of the tin onto the cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

  • Step 5

    For the buttercream topping, place the softened butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat for 1 minute. Fold in the cream cheese and mix until smooth, then add the lemon zest and mix through.

  • Step 6

    Cover the top of the cake with the icing. Slice into portions and serve.


Parsnips were used to sweeten foods in the Middle Ages when sugar and honey were expensive.

In this cake they provide sweetness and moisture and just a little bit of your 5 a day!