Honey, parsnip & coconut cake

Honey, parsnip & coconut cake

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins


Serves 10 - 12
This light bake, with grated parsnips and desiccated coconut, makes a great alternative to carrot cake - top with rich cream cheese icing

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal480
  • fat34g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs35g
  • sugars17g
  • fibre4g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.6g


  • 175ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 3 large eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 75g clear honey, plus 2 tbsp for the icing
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • 200g parsnips, grated



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise – it looks…

  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp coconut flakes



    A large hairy, brown nut that grows on the coconut tree, found throughout the world's…

  • 300g cream cheese


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a 22cm round loose-bottomed cake tin and line with baking parchment.

  2. Put the eggs, oil, sugar and honey in a bowl and whisk for 3-4 mins until thick and creamy.

  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda over the mixture and fold in carefully, along with the parsnips and desiccated coconut. Spoon into the tin and bake for 45 mins until golden and firm to the touch. Push a skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean, then it is cooked. If it is still wet, cook for a further 10 mins. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before icing.

  4. Put the coconut flakes on a baking tray and put in the oven for about 5 mins until lightly toasted. Keep an eye on them, as they burn quickly.

  5. To make the icing, put the cream cheese and 2 tbsp honey in a bowl and beat together until smooth and creamy. Spread the icing over the top of the cooled cake and finish with the toasted coconut flakes.

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Comments, questions and tips

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8th Oct, 2018
I've always had a huge success with this cake, but I have adapted the recipe. I use coconut oil instead of sunflower oil and I don't use the dessicated coconut or the flakes. The coconut flavour is very subtle (I'm not a coconut fan) and it does stay moist. If my friends want me to make a cake, this is the one they generally ask for!
12th Mar, 2018
Made this for friends - was looking for a seasonal pud to finish off a meal. Took it out of the oven 5 mins early - and it was perfectly done, good colour, even texture. Suspect the comments below about dryness may come from cooking too long? Nice "health-food bakery" chewier type texture - definitely came from the parsnips. Parsnip flavor didn't really follow through, or honey flavour - my OH is a beekeeper so we've got loads about, but I don't think it's worth putting bought honey into the cake mixture it just disappears. Cream cheese and honey topping was lovely and made it definitely more "dinner party" - I doubled the honey amount in the topping. I bought coconut "chips" as I couldn't find flakes and they came pre-browned and crunchy - fab, know I would have burned them otherwise. Might do it again with dessicated coconut on top as suggested by other reviewers - but probably not as a dessert. It's a grown up cake without a massive sugar hit - if you don't like supermarket cake with its soft texture and super-sweetness you might like this!
16th Jul, 2016
Cake was very dry. I checked it using a skewer after stated cooking time but it wasn't cooked, so returned it to the oven for the recommended 10 mins. Perhaps that was too long. Also didn't taste of anything much; hint of honey perhaps. Thing that made it was the topping ... I too used desiccated coconut which I had roasted under the grill. I particularly wanted to use up some parsnips so had hoped this was going to be a useful recipe. Probably won't try it again.
jmalanga1981's picture
12th Dec, 2015
Lovely moist, coarse texture however the flavour of the cake was odd and not in a pleasant way. Just not my cup of tea I'm afraid. As a result, we had to throw the cake away which is rare given my husband's and my own liking of all things cake. Disappointed and wishing that I made the other parsnip and maple syrup cake available on goodfood.
20th May, 2015
Lovely cake, had to use dessicated coconut on the top but thought this made the cake as the extra hit of the coconut gave it the extra bit of flavour that it needed.
5th Feb, 2015
We didn't enjoy this cake at all - it was just not sweet enough and lacking in any flavour. It tasted far more "worthy" than it actually was! The kids refused to eat it. The topping was tasty, but sadly my efforts were left to start going mouldy - it's not often that I have to throw a cake out!
24th Jan, 2015
I made the cake exactly according to the recipe. The texture was pretty good, neither too dry or too moist, evenly risen and cooked right through (in exactly the 45 minutes stated). I did however change the frosting - I instead made cream cheese, butter, caster sugar and honey frosting. I was glad I did add some extra ingredients to the frosting as to be honest the cake itself was somewhat lacking flavour, which others were in agreement about. It was if it needed more honey, and some vanilla or almond extract...I'm not entirely sure what it needed... but it was surprisngly 'subtle' in flavour. I think I will make it again and try adding some more flavouring elements as it was certainly a winner with texture and ease of making.
24th Jan, 2015
Actually, the next day the cake was incredibly dry and seemed to have less flavour than the day before, if that is possible. I would rate with 2 stars if rating today, rather than the three I originally gave.
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