Spiced Parsnip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Light, tender, cardamom-scented cupcakes. Parsnip turns out to be delicious in dessert!
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Ok, this is turning into a cupcake-heavy week so far. Are you alright with that? Do you want to eat your feelings with me? 

These are the delicious Parsnip Cupcakes I promised I'd share from Martha Stewart's Vegetables, the wonderful cookbook I recently reviewed and have been using constantly. 

(Incidentally, there are lots of gorgeous recipes in there for a holiday table, the Herb and Scallion Bread Pudding, in particular looks divine. Ooh, and the Twice-Cooked Potato and Leek Casserole topped with fried leeks, OMG. And the carrots and chard I pictured in my review are a stunning side, too.)

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I had never baked with parsnips, and I was equal parts skeptical and curious. Curious won, obviously, and I'm so happy it did.  Because these were scrumptious! The earthy-sweet vegetable is akin to a carrot, but makes a lighter-coloured cupcake, really pretty - perfect for a wedding (honestly, they're that good). I'm totally hooked. 

It was such a lovely surprise that the "spiced" part of the recipe referred to cardamom and not cinnamon, as you've come to expect from veggie desserts (like carrot, pumpkin, et al.

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They were so light and tender. Excellent cupcakes.  The swirl of cream cheese frosting was a perfect finishing touch. And that gorgeous cake stand is from Martha's collection at Macy's. 

Now I'm obsessing over what other vegetables I could cupcake - beets maybe?!  This is happening, get ready. 

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  • Duration
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  • 12 cupcakesServings

Ingredients

For Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup safflower oil (*I used grapeseed, any neutral vegetable oil will work)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups coarsely grated parsnip

For Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and the grated parsnip. Stir in flour mixture until combined. 

Divide mixture evenly among lined cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached (*I always press gently on the center of the top - it should spring back), 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  

Make frosting: In a large bowl, beat cream chesse, butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla until combined.  Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes. (Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.)