Recipe courtesy of Christina Day

Parsnip and Quince Cupcakes

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes
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4 cups all-purpose flour 

3 cups granulated sugar 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 tablespoon ground ginger 

2 teaspoons ground allspice 

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt 

6 eggs 

1 1/2 cups buttermilk 

1 1/2 cups canola oil 

1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

4 cups shredded parsnips 

Quince Compote:

1 cup seltzer water 

1/4 cup dry white wine 

3/4 cup granulated sugar 

1/4 teaspoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger 

2 quince (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored and cubed 

1 teaspoon lemon juice 

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick (4 ounces) butter, at room temperature 

1 cup powdered sugar 

3/4 cup honey 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, all of the spices and the salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Slowly add the sifted ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Fold in the shredded parsnips. Fill the liners about three-quarters of the way full and bake, 16 to 18 minutes.
  4. For the compote: Bring the seltzer, wine, granulated sugar and ginger to a simmer and heat through until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Add the cubed quince and simmer gently until tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Strain the fruit from the liquid and continue to reduce the liquid in the pot until it becomes syrupy. (You will use this to finish off the top of the cupcake.) Chill both the syrup and fruit in the refrigerator.
  7. For the frosting: In an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth and free of lumps. Add the butter and beat together until fully combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the honey and vanilla and beat until combined.
  8. To assemble: Core out the center of the cupcakes and fill with quince compote. Frost with honey cream cheese frosting and drizzle reduced compote liquid on top.