Cakes Icing + Frosting

Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Sarah Kieffer
Parsnips are often overlooked when it comes to baking. I’ll admit I’ve walked straight past them in the produce section, their pale white exterior ignored for other, flashier vegetables. The bold-colored flesh and feathery tops of the parsnip’s neighbor is more familiar, and the root that one associates with muffins and quick bread. So it’s the carrot that is placed in my shopping cart, and then ends up in my cake.

But Martha Stewart changed my mind. Her lovely book Vegetables (affiliate link) showed up at my front door, and after thumbing through so many amazing recipes (Skillet Pizza with Greens and Eggplant! Corn and Scallion Chilaquiles! Beet Risotto with Beet Greens! Broccoli Rabe and Ham Croque Monsieurs! Squash Blossom Frittata! Frisee and Roasted Pear Salad!), I (of course) found my way to one of the few desserts in the book, and decided to start there. I’m glad I did.
Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Sarah Kieffer

Vegetables By Martha Stewart | Photo: Sarah Kieffer
A few things:

It’s not too late to enter my giveaway! If you’ve pre-ordered my cookbook (affiliate link), you can enter to win a Vanilla Bean Baking Book apron and tea towel set. See this post for details.

Last week my site was down for a little bit, and I lost three posts. I was able to get them back, but sadly all the comments were deleted. So if you left me a question and I didn’t get back to you, please try again! Sorry about that.

It’s less than a week from Election Day, which is also the release of my cookbook. The lovely FauxMartha and my husband helped me come up with the perfect hashtag to celebrate both events: #bakeamericacakeagain. I think we could all use a little extra love while we move closer to Tuesday, and baking cake and sharing some is the perfect way to do just that. Tag your cakes on Instagram to play along! 

Although I thought we were terribly clever, there are already a bunch of fun cake/bake hashtags playing on ‘Make America Great Again’ on Instagram. NPR has a post on the history of Election Cakes that you can read about here.

Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Sarah Kieffer
Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Buttercream
Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart Living.

You can double the buttercream recipe, if you want mile-high frosting on top. If the buttercream seems too loose, add 1 tablespoon more powdered sugar at a time to it until it stiffens up (up to 1/2 cup more total). You can also chill it in the fridge until it firms up a bit before using.

Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes
1 cup (142g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (149g) light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, divided
2 cups (200g) grated parsnip (from 1-2 large peeled parsnip)

8 tablespoons (113) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ounces (57g) cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (170g) confectioner’s sugar

For the Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and parsnip. Stir in flour mixture.

Divide batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 14 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

For the buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the salt, maple syrup, and vanilla, and beat again until combined. Turn the mixer to low, and slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Scrape down the sides and increase the mixer speed to medium; beat until the buttercream is light and smooth, 4-6 minutes (see note)
Parsnip Cardamom Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Sarah Kieffer

  • Reply
    Joelle Bradley
    Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Very moist, should be no problem!

  • Reply
    Joelle Bradley
    Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    These thrilled my friends. Next time I may try to grate the parsnips, on the fine grater. For a different texture. I adorned my cupcakes with a large rosette of a rum version on Ermine Buttercream from the 100 Cookies Book. Ermine has been my nemesis, and Sarah’s worked amazing!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Hi! Do you have any idea how long these keep fresh for? I’d love to make the cupcakes a day early, and frost the day of a party. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Diane B.
    Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Did anyone (besides sarah) make these? I’m curious to know how they turned out and how they tasted. Thx.

  • Reply
    ashley marti
    Monday, November 7, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    oh, cannot wait to make these!

  • Reply
    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Is there anything better than cupcakes!

  • Reply
    Abby | Lace & Lilacs
    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Such gorgeous cupcakes and photos, Sarah. xo

  • Reply
    Friday, November 4, 2016 at 8:44 am

    This is a little off subject, but how do you get the frosting to look like that? Anytime I try to straight the sides like that, I get it all over the cupcake liner 🙂 These look so great!

  • Reply
    Virginia Nelson
    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Sarah. Am going to try these as I grow parsnips in my garden (love them) and now I have a frig full of them. I use them when making a roast along with carrots and potatoes. However, Doug isn’t crazy about them and I can only make so many roasts a week, so this will be great. I know he will like the cupcakes as long as no mention is made of the ingredients. Thanks for a great idea.

  • Reply
    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 10:36 am

    I have to make these this weekend! Any excuse to use cardamom…

  • Reply
    Allyson (Considering The Radish)
    Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with parsnips before, and I know I’ve never baked with them. These look fantastic, though- autumnal and warming and elegant but not over the top. I think I’ll have to see what parsnips are all about.

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