I recently turned 27 and felt rather miserable about the whole thing. I know I should still be jubilant that I’m in my twenties but the fact is I’m closer to 30 than 20. In a fit of pique I informed my ever-patient husband that all the cool people die when they’re 27. He very kindly informed me that I have nothing to worry about because I’m not cool. And that cheered me up. I’m not cool. I own more than 20 dictionaries, I get excited about mixers and I have full conversations with my rabbits. I get a thrill from words that are similar in different languages, dream about woodblock worktops and hide vegetables in cake then lie about it to my husband. I’d like to be able to knit, have a bigger garden to grow more veggies and run my own cake shop.
On the topic of hiding vegetable in baked goods… how about some parsnip in your muffins? I actually think it might be a better dessert vegetable than carrot. Parsnips are sweeter, keep the cake just as moist and delicious and add a sort of fudgy, sticky texture that makes you feel like you’re eating something a lot more unhealthy than you are. The mascarpone frosting is not strictly necessary but it works so wonderfuly well with the subtley spiced muffins. It’s not very sweet (you can probably get away with adding a little more maple syrup) but it’s creamy and rich and turns a simple snack into an indulgent dessert. The original recipe called for nuts which I omitted (I didn’t have any to hand) but I’m certain would be a good addition, especailly chopped and sprinkled on top.
Parsnip and maple syrup muffins with mascarpone frosting
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Makes 12–16 muffins
For the muffins:
- 175g unsalted butter
- 225g demerara sugar
- 100ml maple syrup
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 250g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 250g parsnips (1 large), peeled and grated
- 1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and grated
- zest and juice of 1 orange
For the frosting
- 250g mascarpone
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
Heat the oven to 200°C and place muffin cases in a muffin tray.
In a large saucepan melt together the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Beat the eggs into the melted butter mix then stir in the flour, baking powder and spice.
Next, stir in the parsnip, apple and orange zest and juice and mix until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cases filling ¾ full.
Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins are golden and springy.
Allow to cool.
To make the frosting, stir the maple syrup into the mascarpone and pipe or spread on top of the muffins. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon before serving,