vegan apple and parsnip cake recipe - The Little Plantation

Before the arrival of 3-layered pistachio and pomegranate cake with buckwheat crunchies, before triple chocolate, gold-swirled brownies with salted caramel frosting and even before raw vegan cheesecake with popcorn flavoured fruit layers, there was the good old apple pie. (Please note I am using 'apple pie' as an umbrella term here. It in fact covers the following: apple cake, apple crumble, apple turnover, apple muffins and aything else apple/dessert related). Yup, this post is all about the humble apple pie, which has been so cruelly overlooked as things have become more and more extravagant in our kitchens of late. But I'm determined to change all that and take us back to the good old days with this delicious gluten-free apple and parsnip cake.  

vegan apple and parsnip cake recipe - The Little Plantation

However, honesty is always the best policy and I must admit, that I too nearly forgot all about her. That was until I got my fruit and veg box delivery the other day and found several dessert apples hidden inside. Gosh, yes, why not make an apple pie, I though! Now all I needed was a lovely recipe. 

With that in mind I made myself comforty in front of my (brand new) computer and searched the net high and low for the best apple pie inspirations I could find... 

And OMG what I found was so drool-worthy, I knew I needed to create a blog post dedicated to all things apple pie related. And - lucky you! - here it is, a compilation of some of the best apple creations out there just waiting for you to put the oven on and start baking:

1. My starting point was the super moist looking apple cake by the very talented Ksenia. I loved what she made so much that I tried out the recipe myself (see my veganised version here). We had a friend over at the time and together finished the cake in 1 weekend! Yup, it was THAT good. So, from Ksenia's recipe I took the idea of making my apple creation gluten-free.

2. Ksenia got her inspiration from Karin, the ''Baking Guru of Israel''. You know you're onto something good when the words guru and baking appear in the same sentence, right ;)? Personally, I just loved the simplicity of Karin's cake. So from her I took the idea of making my creation rectangular and uncomplicated. 

3. Next, I saw this to-die-for apple tart recipe by Yossy Arefi, the blogger and baker behind Apartment 2B Baking Company. I just loved how beautiful, yet understated and unpretentious the tart was. I couldn't help but want a piece of what she was having (*gush*). From Yossy I got the idea of sprinkling my version with icing's sugar. 

vegan apple and parsnip cake recipe - The Little Plantation

4. Next there was Laura and Nora, the boggers behind THIS apple pie which just took my breath away. Those stunning pictures of the most perfect pie eating setting I ever did see - need I say more? I mean, how can you see that table and not want to sit at it? 

5. Allison and her children's apple muffins hold a very, very special place in my heart. I love the muffins because I can just see my son and I in the kitchen making them together; that image alone makes me beyond happy. But there is more - what's the point of a nice blog post/recipe if the writing doesn't grab you? Well, Allison's blog entry certainly grabbed me. In fact it pulled pretty hard at my heart strings cuz it resonated with me as a woman and as a mother in a way that no other blog post had before. Thank you Allison. 

6. Last but certainly not least, I bought the pretty and inspirational book DECORATED by April Carter. In it is a recipe of an apple and parsnip cake which looked divine. Though my recipe is rather different, I did steal her idea of combining apples and parsnips for my apple creation ;).

So that leads us to my little bake: a simple, yet delicious vegan and gluten-free apple and parsnip cake. I am rather pleased with this moist and yummy number and hope you too will give this a try in your kitchen. Happy baking! 



Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 - 40 minutes
Serves: 12


225g (organic) sugar
300g gluten-free all purpose flour (see tips below for substitutions)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
1tsp (gluten-free) baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt (I used pink salt)
¼ tsp organic vanilla powder or vanilla extract
3tbs milled organic flaxseed (see tips below for substitutions)
9tbs water
250ml olive oil (plus a tiny bit extra for greasing)
100g grated (organic) parsnips (about 1 parsnip)
200g grated (organic) apple (about 1.5 apples) (see tips below)

To garnish
2 - 3 apples + juice of 1 lemon
A sprinkle of icing sugar (optional)

IMPORTANT: Please check the tips at the end of the recipe before you start making it as this makes EITHER 1 very large apple parsnip cake (like this one here) OR two littler ones as shown!

vegan apple and parsnip cake recipe - The Little Plantation


Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. 

Get all your ingredients washed, weighted and ready. Line the base of two 18cm/7inch springform with parchment paper and grease the sides with olive oil to avoid the cake from sticking (the sides of my spring forms are about 5cm/2inches tall). 

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients - the sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla powder. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and all lumps are gone. Set aside.

In another large bowl mix together the ground flax seeds with the water. Add the grated parsnip and grated apple, briefly mix with a wooden spoon. Set aside.

Next prepare the apples for garnish by peeling, coring and quatering the 2-3 apples (how many you need really depends on how big/small the apples are).  Pour over the lemon juice to stop the apples from browning and then carefully slice the apple pieces length wise without cutting all the way through. That way they hold together. 

Next mix together the dry and wet ingredients with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour the cake mixture into your prepared springforms. Spread the mixture evenly. Place the sliced apple pieces evenly on top of the mixture, gently pushing down.

Place the cakes into the oven (I have two oven and used both but please see tips below if this option isn't open to you!) and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned and cooked through (see tips below for important details). 


Tip 1: Don't have gluten-free flour to hand? You can also use plain flour. The cake just wouldn't be gluten-free anymore.

Tip 2: Instead of ground flax seeds you can also use ground chia seeds. OR use 3 eggs instead of the ground fla seeds. If using eggs, omit the 9tbs of water. Please also remember that the cake will no longer be vegan if you use eggs. Just sayin'. 

Tip 3: You can half the recipe to make 1 small cake. I suggest this as ideally each cake needs its own oven to rise properly OR you can use one larger cake form to bake the cake. I did this a few times using a large rectangual cake tin (around 30cm x 24cm / 12 inches x 9 inches). The baking time was about the same though - as every oven is different - do check with a wooden stick at 30-35minutes in and leave longer if the stick doesn't come back clean. When I baked it in the rectangular form I also cut the apples all the way through and distributed the slices all over the cake. This is a good refernece point

Tip 4: what type of apples you use is up to you. I like quite tart ones and I find te smaller ones look prettier on the cake too!

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