Parsnip and Orange Spiced Cake by Nadiya Hussain for the Red Nose Day

[recipe from Nadiya’s Kitchen by Nadiya Hussain]

parsnip cake recipe

In the background Rankin’s Comic Relief 2017 apron available at Homesense & TK Maxx stores. 

HomeSense has partnered with renowned fashion and portrait photographer Rankin to create exclusive products for Red Nose Day 2017 and help people living incredibly tough lives across Africa and here in the UK. The apron is part of a Red Nose Day 2017 range of products available in HomeSense stores nationwide.

The HomeSense Red Nose Day range features a selection of unique animal portraits including Rankin’s own dog printed on adult and children’s aprons encouraging the whole family to join in the bake sale action by getting creative in the kitchen. Further products in the collection include a tea towels, also designed by Rankin, as well as a leather journals and a colouring-in notebooks.

The Red Nose Day takes place on Friday the March 24th so hurry if you haven’t got one yet.

Adult Aprons cost £12.99. At least £5 from the sale of the this apron will go to Comic Relief. The Red Nose Day is an initiative of Comic Relief, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales) SC039730 (Scotland). Percentage from sale of other items in the range will go the Comic Relief as well. 

Nadiya Hussain wearing Rankin's Comic Relief apron

Nadiya Hussain wears Rankin’s Comic Relief 2017 apron available at Homesense & TK Maxx stores. 

When we heard about possibility of baking something for the Comic Relief we could not be more than happy.

We went for Nadiya’s cake for couple of reasons. First of all it is a great initiative and my girls always watch kids Junior Bake-off with Nadya on BBC. We also love carrot cake and idea of giving it a bit of a twist by swapping for parsnips seemed like a brilliant idea. And it truly was! The cake turned out to be delicious, moist and very moorish.

parsnip and orange cake with walnuts recipe

In the background Rankin’s Comic Relief 2017 kids t-shirt available at Homesense & TK Maxx stores. 


for the sponge

  • 230 g / 113 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
  • 200 g / a bit less than 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 100g walnuts, chopped, plus extra for topping
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 150 ml sunflower oil
  • 500 g parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed and coarsely grated
  • zest of 2 oranges, plus extra for decoration

for the frosting

  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g full-fat cream cheese
  • 150 g / 113 cups of icing sugar
  • zest of 1 orange

how to make parsnip cake

In the background Rankin’s Comic Relief 2017 apron available at Homesense & TK Maxx stores. 


  1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F) / fan 160°C (320°F). Grease and line the base of two 20.5 cm sandwich tins with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. Add the caster sugar and chopped walnuts, mix through with a wooden spoon, and set aside.
  3. Put the eggs and sunflower oil in a different bowl, and beat for a few minutes.
  4. Now mix all the dry ingredients into the egg and oil mixture, along with the grated parsnips and orange zest. Mix everything together until you have a thick batter; about 2 minutes.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins, and level it off using a spatula.
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. The cakes should be golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  7. Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the baking paper. Leave to cool completely.
  8. To make the frosting: In a bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon then add the cream cheese and icing sugar. Beat until it all comes together, but be careful not to overdo it, or the frosting will become runny.
  9. Leave the frosting in the fridge until you need it, if your kitchen is really warm.
  10. Take your cooled cakes and sandwich them together using the frosting. Top the cake with lashings of frosting and sprinkle with walnuts, and some extra orange zest.

Serves 10.

parsnip walnut cake recipe

In the background Rankin’s Comic Relief 2017 apron available at Homesense & TK Maxx stores. 

Red Nose Day shirt and apron

our girls wearing Rankin’s Red Nose Day shirt and apron from Homesense 


Sponges can be baked in advance and frozen.

If the frosting will turn too runny, do not panic! Use electric whisk to make if fluffy and then place in the fridge for a while to set.


Our cake turned out a bit flatter than Nadiya’s because we used wider tins.

DISCLOSURE: We were not financially compensated for this article but we were sent aprons and t-shirt for photography purposes.  All opinions expressed here are our own and we retained full editorial control. This post contains some affiliated links.
Nadiya Hussain wearing Comic Relief apron by Rankin – photo credit: Holly Pickering.

Your thoughts…

  1. I’m a big fan of orange cake, I also love all the spices you add to it.

  2. I’m also big fan of orange cakes Fred and spiced orange cakes are even better.

  3. I’ve seen these my aprons and love them! Will have to get some quick. The cake looks delicious, what a lovely twist on a carrot cake.

  4. Yes, they are lovely. The t-shirts looks good as well Lucy.

  5. Ooo I’ve never tried using parsnips in my baked good before. I’m so intrigued! It looks absolutely delicious Margot :D

  6. I hadn’t ever heard of using parsnips in cakes. I’ve used carrots many times, but am always looking for something different. This looks moist.

  7. Thank you Nadia and Alicia! I would never think of this either but it works sooo well, better than carrots actually :)

  8. Wow! I would have never though you could use parsnip in cakes – I’m totally intrigued by the orange + parsnip combo, I bet the cake tastes amazing!

  9. This sounds delightful! I adore orange spiced cake, but have never used parsnips in cake. Will have to give them a try. Cute apron!

  10. you really got me at parsnip. This is for sure 1 ingredient I would never have thought to use in a sweet dish…or baking for that matter. Sounds very interesting indeed.

  11. Now that is innovation. I would never imagine a veggie like parsnip in a sweet dish. Love it.

  12. I would have never thought of using parsnip myself if it wasn’t for Nadiya’s recipe :)

  13. nothing more festive orange season in my place now than a gooooodddd yuummy orange cake. bookmarked it. thx for sharing the recipe

  14. Substituting carrot with parsnip makes sense because they’re so close to each other. Your cake looks fab! The other day I tried carrot cheesecake for the first time. I’ve been missing out!

  15. Carrot cheesecake? Why I have never heard of that!! Thanks Michelle for the tip :)

  16. Wow, parsnips, that’s interesting! I’m going to try this out, I LOVE all the spice in this recipe too :)

  17. What an interesting idea. Parsnip is sweet like carrot so I’m sure it works beautifully. I would never have thought of it mind you. :)

  18. What an awesome cake variation! And I love the orange in it to go with the parsnips!

  19. This is a big hug in cake form. Loving all the comfort in spices and your idea to swap out the carrots for parsnips.

  20. I like the idea of a cake hug! :)

  21. How interesting, I would have never thought to use parsnips. The cake looks very moist, the way I think it should be. Thanks for sharing!

  22. What a delicious cake, such a good idea to use parsnips instead of carrot and I bet it goes so well with the orange and spices.

  23. What a fantastic idea. Parsnips make so much sense if you like carrot cake–and most people do. The orange is a wonderful touch, too!

  24. I agree, it is a great combo!

  25. I would have never even thought to use parsnips in a cake before. This looks so amazing! Can’t wait to make it and try it for myself.

  26. Yes, please do. It is delicious.

  27. That’s a really cool apron, one that would need to be framed rather than worn while cooking. OrI’ll just buy two so I have a clean backup to admire! lol

  28. You are right Derek, the apron is almost too pretty to wear! :)

  29. I love orange cakes and the spiced version sounds delish. I would have never thought of putting parsnips in a cake. Now I am very curious to try it out!

  30. Yes, please do, you won’t be disappointed ;)

  31. Gosh I love spiced cakes. There is so much flavor going on in this cake. I would love to try this recipe plus the parsnips are very unique. I must try it!

  32. Lucy Robertson says:

    This cake is fabulous! This is by far the simplest and tastiest cake recipe I’ve ever tried.

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