Food + Wine

Pineapple Parsnip Cupcakes with Mascarpone Buttercream . how I fed my fever

Oy boy.  Guys… I have had me a rough week.  I’ve been insanely ill, with something rendering me simply useless… except that I had to be useful and adult and mother and function while my husband was away.  It was a true testament to how amazing and strong the human mind is.  I just shut down and went into autopilot.  All day yesterday I slept.  All.  Day.  I did not/COULD not get out of bed.  But I woke up today without the high fever I’d had for several days straight and, although I’m not even close to 100%, I feel so much better and so very thankful to be…. here.  Just existing.

And in the vertical position.

Once I came to, so to speak, I realized that at some point during it all (towards the beginning when I was still upright and such) I had developed a new recipe.  And then executed it.


So, today I took their pretty picture for proof and am pleased to share them with you all!

My favorite cake is Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  (NO nuts.  NO raisins, please.)  And that’s coming from someone who isn’t really a cake person… I’m more of a pie gal.  But carrot cake was my birthday cake as a child, and is now my son’s.  I have my own recipe that you can find HERE. I use whole wheat flour, replace half the oil with applesauce, and cut WAY back on the sugar in both the cake and the frosting.  I also add crushed pineapple to the cake, which is an incredible flavor addition, plus it helps keep the cake insanely moist.

But the other day (while in a terrible state, mind you) I got the idea to replace carrots with parsnips and see where that took me… and, um… it took me to great places.  Y’all, these are so good!!!  If you like carrot cake, you will LOVE these.  The parsnips give them more of an edge… a bite… almost a hint of spice… dare I say, an attitude?

Gotta love a sassy cupcake.

And instead of the usual cream cheese frosting I use, I decided to stick with the altered reality theme and go with some mascarpone.  YUM.  Again, if you love cream cheese frosting, you’ll love this. Mascarpone is a little sweeter and less tangy than cream cheese.  Cream cheese is sharper… and mascarpone is more velvetty and rich.  So I used the two together and achieved a great balance of flavor here.

I gotta say, it’s pretty damn fun to ‘wake up’ and see what you did while completely out of your body and most of your mind.  I’ve almost never been prouder 😉

And now back to resting…




( whole wheat .  low sugar )

makes 24-26 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill your cups

In a large mixing bowl, combine the following dry ingredients…

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour OR whole wheat pastry flour*
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tsp cinnamon

(*I do not recommend using standard whole wheat flour, as it would be too coarse.  But if that’s what you have, you can go half and half with AP white and whole wheat for similar results. And I use King Arthur brand White Whole Wheat Flour.)

Whisk to combine.  Set aside.

In a food processor, for the quickest way… or by hand with a box grater, shred…

  • 1 1/2 lbs parsnips / 3 large (= about 5 cups total shredded)

Set aside.

In the bowl of your standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add the following…

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

Mix well, until the sugar has dissolved into the eggs and the eggs have fully broken down.

Add in…

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (unsweetened) applesauce
  • big splash vanilla extract

Mix well to combine.

Then with the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients, about 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the sides as needed.

Once the dry is completely mixed in and you have a smooth batter, add in…

  • your 5 cups shredded parsnips
  • 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained well

Mix again until fully combined.

Scoop your batter using a medium, greased ice cream scoop into lined and greased muffin tins – you will need 2 standard (12 cup) sized tins plus potentially a couple cups extra.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick/wooden skewer comes out with moist crumbs (no wetness) when inserted in the center.

Allow to cool in the pans until safe to touch.  Then cool completely on a rack.

Once cool, frost with…

. mascarpone buttercream .

In a mixing bowl, combine the following…

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 (8 oz) tub mascarpone
  • 1 (8 oz) brick reduced fat neufchâtel cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • splash vanilla extract
  • smaller splash almond extract
  • pinch kosher salt

Use an electric beater if you have one and beat until mixed well and light and fluffy.

Frost as you like.

Top with sprinkles if you desire.

Devour as needed.

…at least I think that’s what I did 😉

Thanks for reading, y’all!  Enjoy your weekend.

And that cute Foodie Kitchen Dish Towel comes from DII on Amazon.  It’s a set of 5 and this is the coral shade.








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