Parsnip Layer Cake Recipe

Overhead photo of a white frosted cake decorated with pine branches, fig, & red currents


This Parsnip Layer Cake recipe is one of our all-time favorites - we hope you like it too! This beauty's a delicious combo of wintery tastes with caramelized parsnips, juicy pears, & cinnamon. It's a little extra, but hey, we made it to 2021, let's celebrate! 🤩⁠

Our recipe is adapted from “The Sweet Kitchen” by Regan Daley (one of the BEST dessert cookbooks we’ve come across – would highly recommend!). If you are familiar with a classic Hummingbird cake, this is its wintery cousin! We swap the bananas for roasted parsnip & pears take the place of pineapple. The result is a deliciously light & moist spiced cake. We made the full recipe for a double-layered cake but the recipe could also be halved for a single-layer cake (i.e. 1 15cm / 9 inch cake pan).


  • 4 good size parsnips, peeled & sliced into 2cm cubes (if the parsnips seem small, go for 5-6!)
  • 1 410g tin pears in their own juice, unsweetened
  • 1 ¼ c / 250g refined sugar
  • ¾ c / 165g brown sugar
  • 2 c / 255g flour
  • 1 tbsp / EL baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp / TL cinnamon
  • ½ tsp / TL nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c / 250ml vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp / TL vanilla extract
  • 1 c / 100g shredded coconut (Pro tip: both sweetened & unsweetened work, go for either depending on your preferred sweetness level!)


  1. Heat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper & spread out the parsnips. Sprinkle olive oil over the parsnips & roast until tender & caramelized, about 20-25 minutes. Make sure to mix them frequently to avoid burning. Once done, remove the parsnips from the oven & mash gently with a fork. (Pro tip: they should remain chunky! You’re not looking for mashed potato texture here!) Reduce the temperature to 175°C to bake the cake.
  2. While the parsnips are roasting, grease two 9 inch / 15cm cake pans & set aside. Drain the pears, reserving ¼ c / ml of the pear juice, & finely chop the pears. Set both aside for now.
  3. In a large bowl, combine both sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Use a whisk to mix. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, & oil. Use a whisk to blend thoroughly.
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, using a whisk to mix as you pour. Once dry mixture is fully wet, fold in the parsnips, chopped pears, & reserved pear juice. Fold in the coconut last.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between your two greased cake pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes
    1. Pro tip: Test by using a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake, if the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done.
  7. Allow cake to cool fully before removing from pans & icing.
    1. Pro tip: loosen the edges of the cake a few minutes after taking it out of the oven by running a thin spatula around the edge, between the cake & the pan. This will allow you to take it out more easily once it cools.
  8. Icing: we decided to ice it with a Cinnamon Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting. It also goes great with a classic cream cheese icing if that’s more your style!
    1. Our icing recipe: 1 c / 225g butter, ½ c / 110g cream cheese, 4 c / 500g powdered sugar, 1 tsp / TL bourbon & cinnamon (or more, to taste!). Whip the butter & cream cheese using a mixer on high speed for ~5 minutes. They should be very fluffy. (Pro tip: Make sure both your butter & cream cheese are at room temperature or else they won’t whip up well!) Sift the powdered sugar & add it in several batches, whipping the icing again between each addition. Add the bourbon & cinnamon to taste as the final step.

Post a pic and tag us @nickxfritz_munich with your version! Happy Baking!

Every Thursday we post a new recipe! Check back in next week for the latest.

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