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Parsnip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

COOK TIME
25 mins
PREP TIME
25 mins
YIELDS
1 (9-inch) layer cake or 24 cupcakes
RATE THIS RECIPE
(4)
Parsnip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe
Lauren Salkeld
COOK TIME
25 mins
PREP TIME
25 mins
YIELDS
1 (9-inch) layer cake or 24 cupcakes
RATE THIS RECIPE
(4)

Ingredients

Parsnip cucpakes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated on a box grater (about 3 cups total)
Cream cheese frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
Fulfilled by

Chef notes

Parsnips are a severely underrated root vegetable that don’t get nearly as much love as vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and even beets — but this holiday season, we’re going to give the gift of a deliciously sweet cupcake recipe starring this vegetable, which hails from the Apiaceae family. An entire pound of parsnips (about 4 to 5), which have a sweet, slightly bitter flavor, are used in the batter for these cupcakes. If you’ve ever made carrot cake or zucchini bread before, the process for making these bite-sized beauties should be familiar to you. The parsnips are peeled, grated and folded into the batter just before baking. A team of ground allspice, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are also added to the batter to bring warm, spiced notes to every bite. 

This holiday-ready cupcake recipe is perfect for sweet tooth-skeptics. It’s sweet, but not cloying, and it’s an unexpected twist on ever-popular carrot cake. 

While the cupcakes bake, make the cream cheese-based frosting. It’s made with equal parts of unsalted butter and cream cheese, plus confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. It’s a natural pairing for these cupcakes inspired by their orange-hued relative. Plus, the contrast of the snow white frosting against the spiced cupcakes feels seasonally appropriate for any holiday gathering

This recipe makes two dozen cupcakes or two 9-inch cakes; if you choose to bake two cakes, stack them with a generous smear of cream cheese in the middle for one epic layer cake. 

Swap Option: If you only have pumpkin pie spice in your pantry, you can use that in place of the four individual spices that are called for.

Technique Tip: Use a rubber spatula to fold the grated parsnips into the batter, rather than incorporating them with the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, to avoid overworking the cupcakes.

 

Preparation

Make the cupcakes:

1.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.

3.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the brown sugar and 1 egg. Beat on medium until smooth and incorporated. Add the remaining 3 eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until smooth and incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and paddle. With the mixer on low, add the oil in a thin steady stream. Continue beating until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches and use a rubber spatula to fold it into the batter. Using a spatula, fold in the grated parsnip.

4.

Divide the batter between the cupcake tins and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the tins on a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Beat on medium, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes.