This recipe for Swede Nutmeg Cake shows you how to use rutabaga to make a delicately spiced cake that gets topped with a sweet brown butter frosting. The perfect dessert for any fall occasion or for Thanksgiving!
Swede and rutabaga are the same vegetables. Depending on where you live, it will be called different things, but nonetheless, it's a great root vegetable that can be used in a variety of different ways, such as Mashed Swede or Roasted Swede.
If you’re new to using swede, this recipe will show you how to use swede by making a delicious delicately spiced cake.
This swede nutmeg cake tastes similar to a carrot cake and is made with simple baking ingredients.
You’ll make an easy cake batter and fold in grated swede. There’s also yogurt inside the cake which keeps it moist and fluffy.
Once it's baked, it's then topped with a nutty and sweet layer of homemade brown butter frosting that compliments the flavors of the cake perfectly.
Serve this cake for any fall event or enjoy a piece for breakfast!
This recipe was originally posted on March 31, 2014, and republished on October 5, 2021, with new images and text.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
You use pureed rutabaga (swede) inside the cake batter to add nutrients and a great fluffy texture.
The brown butter frosting is simple to make and can be used on any cake or cupcake.
Nutmeg infuses the cake with warming flavors that are perfectly comforting for cool weather.
This cake can be eaten for dessert or as a sweet part of breakfast.
It's a fun vegetable cake recipe.
For The Rutabaga Cake:
- Rutabaga (swede) - You’ll need peeled and grated swede to add to the cake batter.
- Eggs - Help to bind the ingredients together and set the cake after baking.
- Sugar - Sweetens up the base of the cake.
- Yogurt - Gives the cake a wonderfully dense texture while still keeping it light.
- Vegetable Oil - Adds a rich texture to the cake. You can use any vegetable oil you desire.
- Vanilla Extract - Infuses the cake with a light vanilla flavor.
- Flour - Helps the cake rise and gives it a lighter texture.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder - The mix of these two helps the cake rise properly when baked.
- Nutmeg - Gives the cake a warming flavor throughout.
- Salt - Balances the flavors in the cake and helps activate the baking soda and baking powder.
- Chopped Hazelnuts - Make a great nutty garnish and adds a crunchy texture.
For the Brown Butter Frosting:
- Powdered Sugar - Sweetens the frosting by dissolving easily into the butter.
- Vanilla Extract - Infuses the frosting with a vanilla flavor that pairs well with the cake.
- Milk - Helps to thin out the frosting so it's spreadable.
- Unsalted Butter - Gives the frosting its rich buttery texture and taste.
Step By Step Tutorial
Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 350F/180C. Line a 9” square cake pan with parchment paper, then grease the bottom and sides with cooking oil or butter.
Mix the wet ingredients: In a bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, yogurt and oil using a hand mixer or a stand mixer over medium speed until fully combined. Then, stir in the grated swede.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients: To the bowl with the mixed wet ingredients, sift in the flour, baking soda and powder, nutmeg, and salt. Gently mix together just until combined.
Bake and cool: Pour the swede cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack. Remove parchment paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the brown butter frosting: While the cake is baking, add the sugar, vanilla, and milk into a large bowl and set aside. Over low heat in a skillet, melt the butter and stir until it becomes nutty, brown, and fragrant. Pour the butter into the wet ingredients, then beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is thick and smooth.
Frost and serve: Once the cake is completely cooled, frost the top with the brown butter icing using a rubber spatula until evenly distributed. Top with crushed hazelnuts, slice into squares and serve.
When purchasing rutabaga, be sure you are not buying turnips as they can sometimes look similar. Turnips will give the cake a spicy bitter flavor that is not pleasant in a sweet dessert.
When preparing the swede for the cake, make sure it is shredded and finely grated. This will prevent large chunks from showing up in the cake and will make it smooth and even.
Before frosting the cake, it's important to make sure it is cooled completely. Frosting a warm cake will result in the icing melting.
If your icing is too thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time until a thick frosting consistency is formed.
When making the brown butter, be sure to watch it carefully and brown it over low heat as high heat can burn it too quickly making the butter taste bitter.
Swede and nutmeg cake pairs well on a cool day with a hot mug of Pumpkin Spice Latte in the fall.
Bring it as a Thanksgiving dessert along with Maple Parsnip Cake with Sweet Potato Frosting.
If you don’t like brown butter frosting, try topping the cake with Tangy Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.
Serve at brunch as part of a Breakfast Charcuterie Platter.
Add even more warming fall flavors to the cake by using Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of nutmeg.
You can use grated carrots or parsnips in this recipe instead of rutabaga to change up the flavor.
Using almond, maple, or butter extract in the cake instead of vanilla will give the cake a unique flavor.
Use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar in the cake for a slight caramel flavor that will also darken the cake slightly.
Try the cake with cream cheese frosting.
Storing: Any leftover cake can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days in an airtight container. A cake dome works best to keep the cake as fresh as possible.
Freezing: If you’d like to freeze the swede cake, place it in an airtight container upright to freeze for 3-4 months. Let it thaw on the countertop before serving.
Some say rutabaga tastes like a cross between cabbage and turnips. This will vary depending on how ripe your rutabaga is.
Yes! It’s a good idea to get rid of the peel as the outside layer can become tough and is also home to dirt and impurities that can make the cake taste bitter.
Check out the Veggie Desserts + Cakes cookbook on Amazon
Swede Nutmeg Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
- 9-inch square baking pan
- 1 cup (150g) packed raw peeled and grated swede (rutabaga)
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar 175 g
- ½ cup plain yogurt 100g
- ½ cup vegetable oil 100ml
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour plain flour (250g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
FOR THE BROWN BUTTER FROSTING:
- 3 cups powdered icing sugar 400g
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- ½ cup 115g butter, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons salted hazelnuts chopped
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and line a 9” square cake pan with parchment paper.
- Beat the eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil and vanilla together well. Stir in the grated swede. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, nutmeg and salt and gently stir to combine.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack, removing the parchment paper, to cool completely.
For the frosting
- Put the icing sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter and continue to heat until it turns brown and smells nutty. Pour into the bowl of powdered sugar and beat until thick and smooth, adding more milk if necessary.
- Top the cooled cake with the frosting and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.