Parsnip Seed Cake- vegan, sugar free, soya free

The ingredients may seem unusual but they work well together.
This has been on our to-make list for nearly a year, because it was only at the end of last year's parsnip season that I had the idea. But this season we had a really good crop of parsnips in the allotment and the cake turned out to be worth the wait; we hope you will think so too. Seed cakes have fascinated me ever since I read Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" as a student- the part where Jane and her school friend are given tea and seed cake by a kind teacher. When thinking of other ingredients to go into a cake made with grated parsnip, seeds and a hint of lemon seemed like a flavoursome and nutritious option. Using agave rather than sugar was not only a healthy choice; agave lends a softer, fluffier texture to cakes, and encourages them to form an attractive brown top. I used a small square roasting dish instead of a silcone mould for this cake; it is a slightly wetter mixture than usual, so I decided to make it shallow to ensure an even bake.

400g self-raising flour with 4 tsps baking powder
50g (about 4 tabs) poppy seeds
2 tabs chia seeds
2 tabs anise seeds (I may try caraway next time)
150g grated fresh parsnip
the juice and zest of one lemon, plus 1 tsp natural lemon essence*         (*optional)
150ml cold-pressed sunflower oil, coconut oil or rice bran oil
350ml almond milk
200ml agave nectar

  • Mix the flour, baking powder and seeds together in a bowl.
  • In another container, whisk the oil, almond milk, agave and lemon juice/ zest/ extract.
  • Stir the grated parsnip into the flour and seed mixture, then beat in the liquid ingredients for a minute or so, ensuring they are thoroughly combined.
  • Spoon the cake batter into a prepared tin or mould and bake in an oven preheated to 180C for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake emerges clean.
If you like the idea of cakes made from vegetables, you may like to check these recipes out as well:


  1. this looks so delicious! I'm always amazed that you don't need all that butter sugar eggs and white flour to make a wonderful cake!
    Mary x

    1. Thanks- it was a good cake- nice and moist. I find eggless cakes are so quick and easy to make.

  2. wow that a healthy and super moist cake :) looks fantastic !!

  3. Brilliantly yumful combination of flavors! I so love parsnips and poppy seeds but have never mixed the two...perfect with a hint of lemon. Many thanks for the recipe! :)

  4. Parsnip & poppy seed cake!? Sounds amazing! I just had roasted parsnips the other good!


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