Tonia Buxton’s Sugar-Free Cardamon, Pecan and Parsnip Loaf 


Recipe from here fantastic book The Secret of Spice. 

I often put veg into cakes and muffins because they add moisture and nutrients, too. If you don’t like parsnips, use grated carrot or courgette instead.




100g pecan halves

150ml coconut oil

3 medium eggs

170g wholemeal flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp allspice

1 tsp green cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed in pestle and mortar

150g dried pitted dates, chopped

200g parsnip, grated


For the honey frosting

180g soft cheese

1 tbsp honey, plus extra to drizzle (optional)

zest and juice of 1 small lemon

a pinch of salt




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Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper.


Spread the pecan halves on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10–12 minutes, keeping an eye on them so that they don’t burn. When they’re nicely toasted, take them out, allow them to cool and then chop into small pieces.


Whisk the oil and eggs together with a fork. Fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and dates. Fold in the parsnip and most of the pecans, reserving some for decoration. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until risen and golden.


For the frosting, beat the cheese with a fork until softened, then stir in the honey, lemon zest and juice and salt. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake and top with the remaining pecans and a drizzle of honey before serving.