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Gillian’s Gluten Free Spiced Parsnip Cake

Gillian Rodger


Serves: 8 generously

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 40 mins


115g parsnips

115g carrots

1 orange, zest only

120g buckwheat flour*

90g oats, ground to flour in a blender (or use oat flour)*

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder, potato starch or cornflour*

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

4 medium eggs

160ml honey or maple syrup

160ml cold-pressed rapeseed or olive oil

20g sultanas or raisins (optional, for extra sweetness)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract)

pinch salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch each of clove and nutmeg


200g cream cheese

1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

1 small/medium orange, juice and zest

125g roughly chopped roasted nuts (hazelnuts or pecans are our fave)


Recipe donated by Gillian Rodger and Slow Food Youth Network Scotland for Veg Power. Recipe and photography from Slow Food Youth Network Scotland.

Perfect for a cold-weather day, this warming spiced parsnip cake is gluten-free and packed full of root veg, making it a treat that everyone can enjoy.


Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line the base of a medium springform tin with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides with some extra oil.

Peel and grate the root veggies (you can keep the peel on if you use organic for extra fibre) and zest the orange. If using carrots make sure to squeeze out the excess water using your hands or a tea towel.

Sift together the flour, oats and arrowroot or starch with the baking powder and spices.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy then add the oil and maple syrup and beat for another minute. Stir in the parsnip (or other roots) and orange zest into the wet mix and then fold in the flours.

Pour the mixture into the prepared springform tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing the cake from the springform tin.

Make the icing by simply lightly mixing up the cream cheese with maple syrup and orange juice. Add the juice gradually as if it’s a particularly big or juicy orange you will get a very runny mix!  Spread the icing over the cake when it has cooled completely. Garnish with the roasted nuts and orange zest.

If you are making it ahead; store the cake in the fridge and add icing and topping just before serving. This cake will last for 3-4 days if stored in the fridge, but we’ll be amazed if it’s not eaten before then!


*You can replace the buckwheat flour, oats and arrowroot with 200g spelt or plain flour if you are not gluten-free.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Kids can really get stuck into this one, from grating the veg, sieving the flour, and beating the eggs, to mixing and making the icing.



While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.



Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.



The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

Gillian Rodger

Gillian Rodger is coordinator of Slow Food Youth Network in Scotland, the community engagement officer at Leith Community Crops, an urban crofter and voluntary community cook in the community garden.

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