Parsnips in CAKE?! Did I catch you pondering this title and shaking your head? Parsnips happen to be glorious in cake silly reader, and they are in season and pair amazingly well with fresh ginger and cinnamon so your shock and dismay are inappropriate at best.
If you’re like me, you are also thinking, “This recipe HAS NO CHOCOLATE and therefore can’t possibly rock my world!” (I do realize this phrase is a relic, but I’m a GenXer which apparently does not even exist anymore thanks to CBS). Yes, I am telling you that this little cupcake, much like J-Lo, has the WOW factor.
My references may all be outdated, but this cupcake is very now. The flour is almost entirely almond meal and therefore has a natural nuttiness to it. The texture, though, is tender, soft, moist and rich. The sugar in the cupcake itself is 100% pure organic maple syrup (You’re welcome Vermont), and it has zingy notes of fresh ginger and cinnamon with a hint of almond extract. I added a cream cheese and maple frosting so unfortunately the saintliness of this cupcake has lost its ground as it now heads to the more devilish side. But I just couldn’t be persuaded to slather this cupcake with anything but luscious cream cheese frosting.
I served these cupcakes to a table of foodies yesterday who “oooh’d” and “aaah’d” when nibbling them. These connoisseurs are the type that mostly eat at Michelin starred restaurants and are all exemplary cooks. My sister-in-law’s dinner could have gotten an M star or two that night for the incredible home made grilled pork Bahn Mi sandwiches. I will try to persuade her to share the delectable pork tenderloin marinade on the blog sometime because I always have your back.
For any of you long time listeners and first time callers, you may remember this recipe from long ago on my blog, but since I remade it yesterday to rave reviews, and changed it up just a bit to take it to even better heights, I felt like it deserved a second showing.
Make the cupcakes, thank me later, and you and I will both be very happy. Guaranteed or your money back. 😉
Parsnip Spice Cake (Easily Made GF, see recipe)
Adapted from An Edible Mosaic and from the cookbook, Sweet Magic from Michel Richard. Newly blinged out by Moi. I’ve made this recipe both GF and not GF and the texture and taste are the same.
Makes a dozen cupcakes or a one layer cake (either use an 8″ square baking pan or 9″ round pan)
1 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. Canola oil (coconut oil would likely work great if you prefer it)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or one teaspoon of ground ginger)
2 c. (8 oz) finely ground almond meal/flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour or GF FLOUR substitute (add 1/2 teaspoon of guar or xanthan gum if your GF flour mix does not already have it)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 lb (about 4-6 medium or 2 large) parsnips, peeled and shredded/grated, preferably in a food processor using the grating attachment (about 2 cups lightly packed), or grate by hand using a cheese grater (same process you would use with carrots when you make a carrot cake).
**OPTIONAL but really yummy…soak 3/4 cup of raisins in 1/4 cup of RUM for about 30 minutes prior to making the cake. Strain the raisins and stir them into the batter after adding the parsnips. Do not add the excess rum. It will be too much liquid for the batter).
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – An S&C Original Recipe (Use a Dairy-Free cream cheese and Earth Balance in place of the butter and cream cheese to make this a DF recipe as well)
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1/3 less fat/low-fat, worked well)
3-4 c. sifted confectioners sugar, depending on how thick and sweet you want your frosting.
2 tablespoons pure, all natural maple syrup
1/4 tsp. almond extract
dash of salt (1/8 tsp)
garnish – Sliced almonds, enough to sprinkle atop the cupcakes (optional, for decoration)
To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Either spray a square baking pan with nonstick spray, line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the bottom and sides, or line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with hand beaters), beat together the syrup through the freshly grated ginger (if you are using ground ginger, then add it with the dry ingredients below).
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour through the salt (add ground ginger if using that instead of fresh). Add half of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and then mix on low speed. Then add the other half of the dry ingredients mixture, and mix again until combined. Stir in the cup of shredded parsnips, lightly packed (and optional raisins if using). Pour into cupcake liners or the cake pan. For cupcakes, bake for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly firm to the touch, and for the cake bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
If you used the round pan, cool the cake for about 20 minutes and then loosen the sides and remove from the pan and cool completely before frosting. Or if you used a square pan, just cool and leave in the pan to frost and serve as-is. The cake must cool completely before frosting. Cream cheese frosting melts easily on warm cake.
To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 20 seconds. Then beat on high speed until creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat on low speed each time until combined well. Add the almond extract, syrup and salt and beat on medium-high speed until very creamy. Frost and then sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. Refrigerate if you are not serving right away. Take cupcakes or cake out of the fridge about one hour before serving to bring to room temperature.