Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

Parsnip Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


Parsnip is the new carrot….didn’t ya know? My sister-in-law introduced me to this very versatile and sweet root vegetable and I have been in love ever since. They can be roasted, plain and simple with olive oil and salt and pepper or boiled and then pureed as a delicious and healthier substitute for mashed potatoes.

Or…they can shine in all their glory in this soft maple spice cake.

I made this as an alternative to the carrot cupcakes I was planning for our Easter party for no reason at all except I was in the mood for them. If you must know the truth, sometimes I wake up thinking about this particular spice cake. This recipe is THAT good and it does not even contain CHOCOLATE! That says a lot coming from the world’s biggest chocolate addict.

Taken from Kosher By Design site featuring Parsnip Bisque

Faith, of Edible Mosaic made this as a cake, and I have her to blame for my little addiction. But really, if you are going to be addicted to any baked good, this may as well be it. It has no refined sugars (without the frosting). Instead it uses maple syrup as the sweetener and most of the flour used is from almonds and finally two whole cups of packed parsnips makes it into this recipe.

I hope you can tell from my up close and personal shot that the crumb is as soft as any cake I have ever made. It’s not as dense as a carrot cake, a little lighter and fluffier. I ended up whipping up a cream cheese frosting with some maple syrup and almond extract added. It was the perfect creamy note to pair with this spicy cake.

Parsnip Spice Cake

Adapted from An Edible Mosaic and from the cookbook, Sweet Magic from Michel Richard
Makes either one, one layer cake or 15 cupcakes
1 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 t. almond extract
1 T freshly grated ginger (or one teaspoon of ground ginger)
2 c. (8 oz) almond meal/flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine salt
1 lb (about 4-6 medium) parsnips, peeled and shredded, preferably in a food processor using the shredding attachment (about 2 c lightly packed)
Sliced almonds, toasted (optional, for decoration)
**OPTIONAL but really yummy…soak 3/4 cup of raisins in two tablespoons of rum for about 30 minutes prior to making the cake. Strain the raisins and stir them into the batter after the parsnips. Do not add the excess rum. It will be too much liquid for the batter).

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – All Mine
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, low-fat is fine (one whole brick of cream cheese)
3-4 c. confectioners sugar, depending on how thick you want your frosting (sifted if you want super smooth frosting)
2 T. Pure, all natural maple syrup
1/4 t. almond extract
dash of salt

To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Either line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper Β and grease and flour or line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Β In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the syrup through the freshly grated ginger (if you are using ground ginger, then add it with the list of dry ingredients below).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour through the salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and then mix on low. Then add the other half and mix again until combined. Stir in the cup of shredded parsnips, lightly packed. Pour into cupcake liners or the cake pan. For cupcakes bake for about 20-25 minutes and for the cake bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cake for about 20 minutes and then loosen the sides and remove from the pan and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Then beat on high speed until creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat on low speed eat time. Add the almond extract, the syrup and salt and beat on medium or medium-high until very creamy. Frost and then sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.

69 thoughts on “Parsnip Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Can I visit you for five o’clock tea, today πŸ™‚

    So beautiful and so delicious, dear Geni Thank you with my love, nia

  2. What a creative and clever cupcake! Like that alliteration? πŸ˜‰ But seriously, these sound great, Geni. And you know that I love the fact that there’s no chocolate in these. Still can’t figure out why I don’t like it. We may never know. Anyways, hope you had a great Easter with the family. πŸ™‚

    • Love the alliteration Caroline. πŸ˜‰ I think you are lucky you don’t like chocolate. I swear it adds five pounds to me every year. I just can’t stay away from it. I hope you can still make it this Sunday with the time change for lunch. Can’t wait to meet you! We need to take a pic for our blogs!

  3. I love parsnips! Though admittedly in pies, roasted etc πŸ˜€
    Never thought to have them in a dessert but the new carrot should be invited to the dark, I mean, sugary side too right? πŸ˜‰
    Looks delish!

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. It is very interesting that you are using parsnips. My mom was just talking about their health benefits and making them in soup the other day. You may be at the forefront of the next big thing!

  5. What an innovative idea! I’ve only ever used parsnips in savoury dishes.

  6. Oh yum, that recipe has my name all over it! And I have some cream cheese frosting in the freezer leftover from the last time I made carrot cake – too easy! Lovely post as usual Geni πŸ™‚ If only maple syrup wasn’t so darn expensive in Australia, I usually have to use the imitation stuff if I don’t want to get out a personal loan.

  7. Oooohhh . . .I love the idea of using parsnips. I rarely ever buy they, but theyre so good. And considering the awesomeness of carrot cake, I feel like this would be equally delicious.

    • I think you would definitely be in heaven with this cake and I think you should just replace all the flour with the almond meal or a GF substitute flour and let me know how it comes out. I think it should be fine.

  8. I heard turnips were the new parsnip. Said it before, I’ll say it again.. no not the turnip thing that was a first… you make GF look good.

    • Unfortunately, these are not GF…I just don’t want to mislead anyone who has real health concerns. This recipe just happened to call for mostly almond flour. My son, the GF sensitive one, would never have gotten within 10 ft. of these cupcakes since they had a vegetable in them so there was no need to go GF. Turnips are the new parsnip?! I am always two steps behind, Greg.

  9. I really enjoy parsnips but never would have thought to use them in cupcakes. And that frosting of yours sounds delicious! What a great pair of recipes, Geni! Thanks!

  10. I have never seen parsnips in a cake form before, so I am very, very intigued. They do look awfully moist and delicious.

  11. At first I thought..parsnip cupcakes? Not. But now that I read this and really think about it…they sound delicious. One of the problems I often have with carrot cake is that is seem so super sweet to me (icing not withstanding) and that earthy and less sweet parsnip makes total sense.

  12. Well you know i’ll be making these. A dessert that Geni endorses that does not contain chocolate. I’m in! And what a better way to introduce myself to parsnips than in a dessert. πŸ˜‰ Love it!

  13. I’ve never had parsnip before but I think I might lose my parsnip-virginity with these awesome cupcakes πŸ™‚

  14. Sadly we don’t get parsnips here 😦 I keep seeing these tempting recipes using them but I can’t find them anywhere

  15. Oh wow, what a great idea – your cupcakes look delicious! I love that they are so different.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  16. Parsnips have been discovery for me too in recent years, wonderful little veggie to use in place of carrots or right along side. Evidently, great in cupcakes too!

  17. Wow ! I am not really fond of this veggie. I had to look up the Hindi name to figure out what you were discussing n I’m impressed. The max we do with it is cut a salad or make a paratha. I have to give these a try. This is the perfect season for, ‘muli’ that is parsnip.

    • I should have taken a pic of the parsnips first for those who aren’t familiar with them or our name for them, but I was running aruond like crazy on Saturday trying to get everything made for our big Easter party. The only reason I have pics of the cupcakes at all is because we had a few left over from Sunday. Have a wonderful week!

  18. I never cooked with parsnips…let alone baking with it. I like the description of new carrot…I like the idea of almond meal and the spices in this cupcakes…something that I’d love to try. Thanks for this interesting recipe.
    Have a great week Geni πŸ™‚

  19. Parsnip cupcakes! Who would have ever guessed!

  20. Geni, I love parsnips! Can you tell the difference in the cake? I would love to try this one.. I’m a big fan of cupcakes and the maple and ginger in this one sounds fantastic!

    • It does not have the same flavor as carrot cake. To me it tastes a lot more like an old fashioned spice cake. I don’t taste the parsnips in there, but I am sure they are lending a unique flavor to the cake. The crumb of this cake very light and moist and does have just a hint of an almond note from the almond meal. Kids and adults both enjoyed the cupcakes on Easter over here.

  21. Wow I should try this or even yet you gave me an idea, how about a parsnip cake πŸ™‚

  22. I’ve never tried parsnip!

  23. This is a wonderful recipe, alternative to carrot cake. I have used beets and sweet potatoes in my baked sweet goods but never thought to try parsnips. The maple frosting looks great too. I’m so hungry and it’s only 7:30am, need to eat breakfast before I eat my computer screen! lol

  24. You know I love anything with maple! And “hidden” vegetables in cake are always a great idea. I’ll have to jump on the parsnip bandwagon too. These look fantastic!

  25. Parsnips are the new carrots? I didn’t know! πŸ™‚ But it just so happens that I have a few parsnips in the fridge and free schedule this afternoon. Perhaps I need to get baking and find out for myself.

  26. Ah, parsnips. A great alternative to using carrots.

  27. I never thought Parsnips and cupcakes would be thrown in the same sentence.. but now I see theres nothing wrong with that sentence at all. I wish I had these cupcakes right now πŸ™‚

  28. This cupcakes seems very good, I ‘ll try this recipe as soon as possible.
    Chantal a french cooker
    please discover my blog http://www.macuisineetvous.com

  29. I love that these are sweetened with maple syrup. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  30. and here I was thinking my hummingbird cupcakes were different and fun. These are amazing! So creative and just beautiful!

  31. Oh boy! Maple cream cheese frosting sounds divine!! Love the way your little cupcakes turned out! Texture seems perfect πŸ™‚

  32. Whoa! How unique is that. I love the maple syrup, yum.

  33. Ok, everything about this is intriguing. I’ve never tried parsnips. I know, I know. I’ve tried a dozen stranger things this year and somehow parsnips haven’t made the list. I need to change that! These sound delicious!

  34. I love parsnips roasted, would never think to use it in a cake, fantastic idea. Your cupcakes look amazng! Great combination with maple. Love this.

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