Parsnip Cake with Brown Butter Icing Recipe | Abel & Cole

Parsnip Cake with Brown Butter Icing

Cooking time
Serves8 people
Parsnip Cake with Brown Butter Icing

A wintry alternative to carrot cake. Light and moist sponges. Sandwiched with a rich and creamy brown butter icing. A moreish teatime treat.

34 ratings
layout 1 comment


  • 300g parsnips
  • 1 lemon
  • 250g plain white flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • Walnut halves, to decorate

Prep: 25 mins | Cook: 30 mins

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1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Lightly oil 2 deep, 20cm-round sandwich tins. Line the base of each tin with a circle of baking paper. Set aside. Half-fill and boil your kettle.
2. Peel and coarsely grate the parsnips. Scoop into a mixing bowl. Finely grate in the lemon zest. Squeeze in the juice. Mix together to coat the parsnips in the lemon juice. Set aside.
3. Sift the flour into a separate bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add the parsnips and stir everything together till well mixed.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the honey with 100ml hot water from the kettle till the honey dissolves. Add the olive oil. Crack in the eggs. Whisk till combined.
5. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mix. Very gently fold through, careful not to overmix. A few floury patches are fine.
6. Divide the batter between the tins. Bake in the centre shelf of the oven for 25 mins, or till the cakes are golden on top and fully set in the centre. Insert a skewer to test – if it comes out clean, they’re done. If not, bake for another 5 mins and check again. Let the sponged cool in the tins for 5-10 mins, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
7. To make the brown butter icing, melt the butter in a large pan. Keep it on the heat, and when it turns from golden yellow to a light, nutty-smelling brown, take off the heat. Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and pour in the brown butter. Use electric beats to beat the brown butter and icing sugar together till smooth – beat for around 2-3 mins to make sure it's well combined. The icing will be silky and smooth and pourable. You can use the icing like this, or set aside for 20-30 mins to let it thicken and become fluffy.
8. Pop one of the parsnip sponges on a serving plate. Spoon half the icing over the sponge and spread to the edges of the sponge. Top with the remaining parsnip cake. Either pour the runny iicng over the top, or spread the fluffy icing the top of the cake to cover. Decorate with walnut halves. Let the cake sit for 1-2 hours so the icing can set. Serve in slices.
9. Eat Me, Keep Me
The iced cake will keep well in an airtight tin for 3-4 days. The sponges can be frozen for up to 3 monthsm then defrosted and decorated.
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Parsnip hater


So tasty! I don’t like the taste of parsnips, so when some came in my box this week I found this recipe to use them. Very moist but I can’t taste the parsnips! Quite sweet though, I will reduce the sugar next time I make this.