There was a 0% chance I was going to make it through a vegetable week without trying to make that vegetable into a dessert. Since parsnips resemble carrots and are sweet in their own unique way, it was a no-brainer: parsnip cupcakes!

Recipe #7: Pecan & Parsnip Cupcakes


parsniplongerEvery other week GreenMade will be featuring a new vegetable and a number of recipes starring it. This week GreenMade is showcasing the sweet and buttery root vegetable known as a parsnip!

The other dishes we made with parsnips this week were: Parsnip, Yam, & Apple Juice, Parsnip Fries & Parsnip Chips, Parsnip & Chive Hash Brown Cakes, Parsnip Gnocchi with a Veal Shank Ragu, and Parsnip, Carrot, and Potato Soup.


Carrot cake has always been one of my favorite cakes, so I had absolutely no anxiety in creating a parsnip version. This is mostly due to the fact that I simply replaced the carrot in my favorite recipe with parsnip, so it was a super easy fix. I also upped the spices because if there is one thing I love, it’s a spiced dessert.


I have seen carrot cake recipes call for walnuts, but I have been on a pecan kick lately (probably due to moving south) so I decided to use them instead. I also really wanted to candy the pecans for an added sweetness, however, my attempt never candied perfectly, and were still “wet” 24 hours later. I used them in the recipe anyway, but, since I failed, I will not be including candying instructions.  Most recipes just call for toasted nuts, so I am sure those will suffice. THE DECISION IS YOURS AND YOURS ALONE.

Candied Pecans that Never Dried

Candied Pecans that Never Dried

For the frosting I used the delicious carrot cake standby, cream cheese butter cream, but I am sure a maple or honey based frosting would be delicious as well. Maybe even a nut extract frosting! I have included a recipe for the cream cheese butter cream I used.


If you have been following along my other entries, I mention my boyfriend’s co-workers a lot. I make a lot of sweets and since eating all of them would be detrimental to my health, we tend to package them up and he takes them to work. My parsnip cupcakes were a hit! Even though a quizzical eyebrow was risen when informed about the inclusion of parsnips, they were practically inhaled (the frosting played a helpful role in this, of course).



Pecan & Parsnip Cupcakes

Adapted from Alton Brown

Makes approximately 16 cupcakes


1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 large eggs
1/2 c  canola oil (hazelnut oil or walnut oil would be delicious as well)
1/2 c whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c (packed) peeled and grated parsnips
1/2 cup pecans, candied or toasted, chopped roughly.


1. Preheat oven to 350. Fill each well of a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and all the spices.

3. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla.

4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and stir until just combined. Fold in grated parsnip and chopped pecans.

5. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full and bake for 22 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove to counter to let cool completely.

6. Once cool, frost with frosting of your choice (recipe for a cream cheese butter cream below) and enjoy!



Cream Cheese Butter Cream


8 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 c of butter, at room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice


1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy.

2. Add powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time until frosting is velvety. Beat in lemon juice.

3. Frosting works well being spread on with a knife, or piped with a pastry bag!


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