Parsnip and Golden Syrup Cupcakes

I recently found out that in Europe, before sugar was widely available parsnip was used in baking to naturally sweeten cakes and jams. Now, clearly the golden syrup and sugar in this recipe ‘enhances’ the sweetness a tad more…

I do feel guilty about this, but it gives me an opportunity to modify the recipe to reduce the sugar (and fat) content to make it a little better for you. Keep your eyes out for that recipe!

In the meantime this one will just have to do, and I promise you it’s a good’n!


Parsnip Nutrition Info

Parsnips contain a good source of potassium, dietary fibre and folate therefore reducing blood pressure, the risk of diabetes and optimising the metabolic process (see more benefits on the Vegetables page).

One of my favourite things about this veggie is that they prevent the release of ghrelin the hunger hormone. This is good news for people who ‘live to eat’ like me!

The Recipe


Makes 12 cupcakes


110 g unsalted butter

160 g demerara sugar

60 ml golden syrup

2 eggs

160 g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

160 g parsnip

1 small orange

30 g pecans (plus 12 whole pecans for decoration)

For the icing:

160 g mascarpone cheese

2-3 tbsp golden syrup


Heat the oven to 180°C, then pop 12 cupcake cases in to a 12 cupcake tin.

First of all melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a gentle heat.


Give it an encouraging stir as the butter starts to melt and until the sugar is fully incorporated. Set aside to cool when complete.


Whilst you give the sugary golden syrup butter mixture a chance to cool down, weigh and measure out the flour, baking powder and mixed spice. Give this dry mixture a good stir to fully incorporate the baking powder and mixed spice with the flour.


Peel the parsnip and zest the orange. Remember not to grate the vegetable until it needs to go in the mixture. Roughly chop the pecans.

The sugar, golden syrup and butter mixture should be cool enough to incorporate the eggs by now – but double check how warm it is – we don’t want scrambled egg!

Whisk the eggs in to the mixture for a good couple of minutes.


Now sieve in the pre-measured flour, baking powder and mixed spice mix to the wet mixture. I tend to sieve in about half of the flour mixture then stir it in, followed by the rest.

At first the mixture will still seem quite runny but as you stir it gradually thickens and becomes a light brown colour.


Now it’s time to grate that parsnip – I did it manually this time, it’s only 160 g so it doesn’t take long!

Pop the grated parsnip, chopped pecans and orange zest in to the mixture. I added a squeeze of the orange juice as well – depends how orangey you want the cake to taste!



Give it a mix to make sure the parsnip, pecans and orange are fully incorporated, then it’s time to divide the mixture between the cupcake cases!



Bake for 12-15 minutes – I would check them after 12!




Whilst you leave the cupcakes to cool you can make the icing by simply mixing the mascarpone and golden syrup together.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, spread the icing on and decorate each one with a pecan. Ta-dah! You have yourself some scrumptious parsnip and golden syrup cupcakes!



Do let me know if you love this recipe as much as I do! But like I said at the beginning, I will try to amend it to use the natural sweetness of the parsnip rather than adding more sugar. Watch this space 🙂

Happy Baking x


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