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Nadiya Hussain's parsnip and orange spiced cake

Nadiya Hussain / 25 April 2017

GBBO winner Nadiya Hussain shares her recipe for parsnip and orange spiced cake in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital's Bake it Better event.

Nadiya Hussain's parsnip and orange spiced cake
Nadiya Hussain's parsnip and orange spiced cake

Preparation time

25 minutes

Cooking time

30 minutes




For the sponge

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

For the frosting

  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange


Now, before you say it – yes, there are parsnips in this cake. My parents love a good carrot cake, but when it’s the only thing they ask me to bake because they are not adventurous enough for much else . . . well, I had to change it up just for my own creative sanity. 

Carrots may give colour, but parsnips add a similar flavour and sweetness with a whole lot more fragrance, so this isn’t as bold and daring as it might sound from the title. It’s a moist and delicious cake, and an excellent alternative to carrot. You could also give this recipe a go with courgette or beetroot. They all add different things and work equally well.

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C. Grease and line the base of two 20.5cm sandwich tins with baking paper.

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.

Put the eggs and sunflower oil in a different bowl, and beat for a few minutes. 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.

Divide the mixture between the two cake tins, and level it off using a spatula. Bake for 25–30 minutes. The cakes should be golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and peel off the baking paper. Leave to cool completely.

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.

Leave the frosting in the fridge until you need it, if your kitchen is really warm.

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.


The sponge can be frozen.

Bake it Better for Great Ormond Street Hospital

Nadiya Hussain has provided this recipe to support Great Ormond Street Hospital's Bake it Better - an annual event to help raise money for the famous children's hospital. Host a charity cake sale at home, work or in a community space to help fund life-saving research, fund new equipment and provide important support for families.

Bake it Better takes place from May 22-28. For more information, and to sign up and request a Bake it Better fundraising kit, visit

Find out how to host a charity baking sale

Visit our baking section for more delicious cakes, biscuits and bread recipes


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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