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Spiced Parsnip Cupcakes

With the sweetness that comes with spring dug parsnips, I thought to vamp up the classic carrot cake! Cardamom brings out the earthiness and the pistachios and cream cheese frosting pair perfectly with the flavor.


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups grated parsnips
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ stick butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Chopped toasted pistachios, for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and parsnip.
  4. Stir in flour mixture.
  5. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Divide batter among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  7. In a large bowl, with a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, and remaining teaspoon vanilla until combined. Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
  8. Top with chopped pistachios.