Spiced Parsnip Pecan Cupcakes
I was having coffee with a friend the other day, and she was raving about a parsnip cake she recently had at a local restaurant. “Parsnip, you say? How delicious! How timely!” I said (or something to that effect.) Because, you see, even though our winter CSA share ended this past week, we have parsnips coming out our ears. And I’m looking for any – any – new way to cook with them. There’s only so many roasted parsnips, glazed parsnips, and parsnip soup you can eat without going a little parsnip bonkers.
shred the parsnips
But parsnips in a cake? Fantastic idea. I decided to make cupcakes, and mixed some chopped toasted pecans into the batter (because I just love the alliteration in “parsnip pecan.”)
lovely spice colors
And if you, like me, enjoy spice cakes, you’ll love these cupcakes. They’re moist with a tender crumb, and similar to carrot cake in that the shredded parsnip moistens the cake.
round and chubby
smooth and tangy
And, just like carrot cake and spice cakes, these cupcakes are perfect topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting. Lately I’ve been drawn to piping a thick swirl of frosting on the tops of cupcakes (using an Ateco 808 pastry tip) — there’s just something kind of whimsical about the plump curlicue, no?
I’m all about the swirl
cupcakes on parade
A little dusting of cinnamon and a toasted pecan crowned the little cuties, and into my mouth they marched! Talk about a parsnip salvation.
Spiced Parsnip Pecan Cupcakes
For the cupcakes (Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2006)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour [or, you can do as I did and substitute half whole wheat pastry flour]
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (packed) shredded peeled parsnips
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped, plus 12 whole toasted pecans for topping the cupcakes
cinnamon, for dusting
For the cream cheese frosting (From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.)
8 oz cream cheese (full fat), at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a standard muffin pan with muffin cups.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, then pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Stir in the shredded parsnips and chopped pecans.
Fill each muffin cup with the batter and bake for 23-25 minutes, until the tops spring back when gently pressed (or a tester inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.) Cool the cupcakes 5 minutes in the pan, then remove them to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Make the frosting:
In the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice.
Frost the cupcakes however you like. Dust the tops with cinnamon, and top with a toasted pecan.