So, you might be thinking – why put parsnip in a carrot cake and add yoghurt icing when decadent moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is so amazingly good? Good question. I too adore carrot cake with the real deal icing and have no objections whatsoever – by no means should this cake replace the sweet decadent well loved traditional carrot cake, at all. This creation though, is a special one – parsnip adds an edge, the spice brings warmth and this icing, well, it may surprise. My taste testing family and friends approved with happy wide eyes.

Just a fun spin on the traditional style carrot cake – the sweet zesty yoghurt is moreish and as a little soaks into the cake it adds even more moisture. This icing is also a delicious easy way to add more dairy to your world. Research shows that many women in Australia aren’t getting the calcium they need. Natural or Greek style yoghurt is beautiful served with wholesome vegetable packed cakes so why not turn it into icing?

It’s very easy to make, no electric beating required. I’ve also added maple roasted walnuts, and highly encourage you to make more than I specify – these are YUM and can be stored away in the pantry for later snacking or to decorate porridge for example (heavenly).




For the cake:

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (or raw sugar, honey or maple syrup)
  • 1 cup grated parsnip, firmly packed (~ 2 medium parsnips)
  • 1 cup grated carrot, firming packed (~ 3-4 medium carrots)
  • A few handfuls of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 eggs

For the icing:

  • 500g thick Greek style yoghurt
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup (or more if you prefer the icing to be sweeter)
  • The zest of 1 lemon (& the juice of a 1/4 of the lemon)

For the maple roasted walnuts:

  • A good handful of walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup



  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease the sides of a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, grated parsnip and carrot, spices and walnuts.
  3. In a smaller bowl whisk together the eggs and olive (using a fork) until just combined.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
  5. Pour cake batter into prepared tin and bake for ~30-40mins until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. While the cake is baking, mix the walnuts and maple syrup in a small bowl until walnuts are nicely coated. Place on a piece of baking paper on a baking tray and place in oven for about 5-7mins. Check at 5mins, once the walnuts have browned and the syrup has hardened remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  7. Once cake is ready remove from oven and allow to cool.
  8. To make icing: combine yoghurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and maple syrup. Taste and if you prefer sweeter icing, add a little more maple syrup. You can also add icing sugar if you prefer, to create a sweeter icing. If using icing sugar you shouldn’t need to add maple syrup. Also, you can certainly add cream cheese –  1/2 cream cheese, 1/2 yoghurt is delicious! .. Or, traditional cream cheese icing is of course also very very good. 
  9. Once cake is cool, remove from tin and carefully slice cake through the middle to create 2 layers. Place bottom layer on a plate or wooden board, then add half the icing, spreading evenly with a knife. Carefully place top layer on top, then add the rest of icing – Depending on the thickness of the yoghurt the icing may or may not run down the sides of the cake. To ensure an even spread I suggest dolloping the yoghurt icing on top right in the middle (especially if a little on the runny side) and allow it to run and spread itself and use a knife only if need.
  10. Decorate with maple roasted walnuts, and there you have it – a very yummy wholesome veggie packed cake.
  11. Store in fridge to ensure yoghurt icing lasts well. Some of the yoghurt will soak into the cake which makes it extra moist – a delicious touch. This cake is also nice served with extra yoghurt icing on the side. A nourishing, fibre filled snack and also a very nice way to enjoy more natural yoghurt.

Lara x

carrot and parsnip cake with lemon and yoghurt icing

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