Maple parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream: Autumn cupcake quartet; cupcake with sprinkles
Cakes & biscuits,  Yum

Unusual maple parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting

Maple parsnip cupcakes: another recipe that I could not find anywhere. t least the recipes I found were not quite what I was envisaging. Many of them have ingredients that don’t go with parsnip in my opinion or mask the flavour of the parsnips. I wanted something more subtle so that the nuttiness of the parsnip could shine. After some trial and error, this is what I came up with.

Maple parsnip cupcakes with two parsnips on a blue background: Autumn cupcake quartet

Creative recipes

Do you ever have that: you know how you want something to taste, but you can’t find a recipe that gives it to you the way you want it? Do you get frustrated in those cases?

When I have a recipe like that, my first thought is: surely I cannot be the first person to think of doing it a different way? Surely?

This was a recipe that I honestly thought would be easy to find. It turns out I was wrong. Instead, with a little trial and error (thank goodness for the apple!), I think these maple parsnip cupcakes turned out quite well, even if I do say so myself!

Mmmm, parsnips

I definitely get my love of parsnips from my Dad. I especially love the combination of parsnip and maple. One of my very favourite side dishes is roasted parsnips with maple chilli glaze (a recipe I will have to share at some stage!)

Good parsnip has a delicious nuttiness to it. I wanted this to be the main taste in these cupcakes. Basically, I wanted a carrot cake with less spice so that this nuttiness could shine. The maple syrup not only goes perfectly with the parsnips, but it means that the cupcakes are not as sweet.

Fresh, delicious and unusual maple parsnip cupcake with maple cream cheese frosting and Autumn coloured sprinkles: Autumn cupcake quartet

Tips for making the maple parsnip cupcakes

If you have a food processor, use it to grate the parsnip and the apple. I don’t have one yet (but I have my eye on this one) so I used a hand grater. The parsnips can be a little difficult to grate by hand – tends to break off in chunks – so watch out for chunks in the batter. You may even need an additional parsnip if you have too many chunks.

These cupcakes will not rise much. That is normal. However, they will bake better at a lower temperature. Higher oven temperatures will result in very dark cupcakes before they are cooked in the middle – I know, I tried it. The middle will be sunken, too.

If you like nuts in your cupcakes and particularly in your carrot cake, chopped pecans or walnuts could be great. Add about a cup when you add the parsnip and apple.

Tips for making the maple buttercream frosting

Sometimes, adding the maple syrup can make the maple buttercream frosting runny. Start by adding just half the amount to the mix. Add more, little by little, until good consistency and taste are reached.

If you feel like you might have to add more icing sugar to get the consistency right, you can. However, before you do, put the frosting in the fridge to firm up the butter (and thus the frosting). This might eliminate the need for more icing sugar. Too much icing sugar can make the maple buttercream too sweet and it can overpower the more subtle maple flavour.

Alternatively, you can use this recipe for maple cream cheese frosting we made to go with our pumpkin spice cupcakes. It is definitely delicious and works just as well with our maple parsnip cupcakes.

Ready for devouring: maple parsnip cupcake with maple cream cheese frosting and Autumn coloured sprinkles: Autumn cupcake quartet

Try our maple parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting today – or any of the other cupcakes in our Autumn cupcake quartet!

Yes, parsnip might be an unusual choice for cupcakes, but it is the perfect taste of Autumn and a great addition to our Autumn cupcake quartet. This maple buttercream frosting is the perfect accompaniment.

If you are not a fan of parsnips in general, these are probably not the cupcakes for you. Don’t worry though, we have three more cupcakes to choose from in our Autumn cupcake quartet!

What do you think: will these maple parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting be your new Autumn favourites?

Maple parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 hour



Servings: 24 persons

Maple parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream; Autumn cupcake quartet; half eaten cupcake with fork

This moist cupcake has the subtle nuttiness of parsnips and the sweetness of maple syrup. Unusual, but delicious.


    For the cupcakes
  • 250g parsnips, grated
  • 1 apple, peeled and cored
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 1 packed cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking (bi-carb) soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
    For the frosting
  • 125g butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups icing sugar


    For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°c. Line your cupcake tin with patty pans.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over a gentle heat, then allow it to cool slightly.
  3. While you are waiting, grate the parsnips and the apple.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Once the maple syrup mix has cooled to room temperature, whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the sifted dry ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Fold in the grated parsnip and apple (and nuts if you wish).
  7. Fill the patty pans to 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 mins until a skewer inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cakes slightly in the tin before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
    For the frosting
  1. Beat the butter on high until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the maple syrup and salt and mix to combine.
  3. Add one cup of icing sugar and beat well.
  4. Add the second cup, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.


If you have a food processor, use it to grate the parsnip and apple. Otherwise, you might need an extra parsnip as some will come off in chunks when you are using a hand grater (and we don’t want chunks in the cupcakes).
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Maple Parsnip cupcakes with maple buttercream: Autumn cupcake quartet; cupcake with parsnips on a blue background


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