Parsnip, orange and nut muffins with cream cheese frosted topping


We haven’t featured a sweet treat for ages and this one is perfect for seasonal baking. A lovely way to use parsnips from the box in February and get the most out of the nutritious, chemical-free zest of organic oranges. The recipe is based on one by Nadiya Hussain but her original is for a whole cake (two layers with frosting in the middle and on top). It works fabulously as muffins and will give you about 12 good sized ones using paper muffin cases. The topping is of course optional, but delicious. If you want to bring the parsnip and orange flavours even more to the fore, reduce the spicing.


  • For the muffins:
  • 230g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 500g parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed and coarsely grated
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • For the frosting:
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Prepare muffin tins with 12 paper casings.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. Add the sugar and chopped walnuts, mix through with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
  3. Put eggs and oil in a different bowl and beat for a few minutes.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg and oil mixture, along with the grated parsnips and orange zest. Mix everything until you have a thick batter; about 2 mins. (If it seems a bit too dry, add a touch more oil.)
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases. Bake for 25–30 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Leave the muffins in the tins for 10 mins, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Frosting: in a bowl, use a wooden spoon to beat the butter, then add the cream cheese and icing sugar. Beat until it all comes together but don’t overdo it or the frosting will become runny.
  8. You can mix the orange zest into the frosting mixture or leave the zest until the end, to sprinkle on the iced muffins. Leave the frosting in the fridge until you need it if your kitchen is too warm. Top the muffins with the frosting and serve.