Sweet parsnips are used instead of carrots in this moist morning glory maple coffee cake. Enjoy warm with a cup of coffee or tea!

maple coffee cake with slice missing

We are off to a great start in maple sugaring season here in Vermont, so I am temporarily straying from my usual vegetable side dish and weeknight meal line-up for a brief moment to bring you this moist and fragrant Morning Glory Parsnip Maple Coffee Cake. I couldn’t stop obsessing about the idea of using parsnips instead of carrots in a morning glory recipe. I wondered if it would taste good, so I just had to make it happen.

I ended up making morning glory coffee cake instead of muffins; a celebration-worthy recipe, if you will. And I’ll just cut to the chase… it came out amazingly well. The maple syrup and naturally sweet parsnips and raisins make this ultra moist and fragrant. You can serve it for Easter brunch or during maple sugaring season or just for any reason really! It’s a delicious way to enjoy parsnips in baking!

slice of maple coffee cake on a plate

In the spring when we get parsnips in our CSA, I’ll just simply roast parsnips or add them to stew. But I was recently thinking about the fact that they are so similar to carrots, that they seemed like a likely candidate to shred and add to a baking recipe, just as you would for carrot cake or… morning glory muffins. Then the idea of making a festive spring celebration worthy coffee cake came to mind and I was grabbing my whisk in the blink of an eye.

maple coffee cake next to eggs and parsnips

Parsnips are very sweet naturally, so the amount of added sugars needed to sweeten the cake was less than a typical coffee cake. I ended up dropping the maple syrup down to 3/4 cup. Partially because the cake was TOO MOIST (yes apparently there is such a thing) but also because I felt it was too sweet for a breakfast cake. Plus, the raisins really help to sweeten it up quite a bit. When I dropped the maple down, the flavor of the parsnips was more pronounced, which I really loved.

slice of maple coffee cake on a plate

Baking Tips for Morning Glory Parsnip Maple Coffee Cake

  • With this recipe, I definitely confirmed that indeed you can bake with parsnips, and they are a great sub for carrots in this morning glory recipe!
  • Parsnips have an aromatic earthy yet caramel/honey flavor that goes very well with the flavors typically used in a morning glory recipe.
  • I used applesauce in place of butter in the cake, and also used avocado oil (only 1/2 cup for 12 servings!)
  • I added ground ginger to the spices because the flavor works well with the parsnips. Plus cinnamon in both the coffee cake batter and streusel topping.
  • I didn’t use coconut in this recipe because I didn’t want to overpower the flavor of the parsnips or maple.
  • The streusel topping I used is the same as in these apple streusel muffins– which means I called for natural cane sugar. The contrasting crunch it adds is such a delight!

slice of maple coffee cake next to parsnips

Please make sure you visit my maple resources page. It is filled with tips and tricks to how to cook with maple syrup plus you can read about our home-made maple syrup and order a signed copy of my maple cookbook.

Don’t miss this Ultimate Guide to Parsnips!

Maple Parsnip Morning Glory Coffee Cake #baking #healthy #parsnips #easter #brunch #coffeecake

parsnip maple coffee cake

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


Maple Parsnip Morning Glory Coffee Cake made with applesauce, whole-wheat flour avocado oil. Flavored with raisins, cinnamon, walnuts and crunchy sweet streusel topping.



Streusel Topping

  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  • ¾ cup dark pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup organic canola or avocado oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded peeled parsnips
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 10-inch spring-form pan or mist with cooking spray.
  2. Make Streusel: Rub together oats, flour, cane sugar, butter and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl with clean fingertips until crumbly. Set aside
  3. Make Coffee Cake: Whisk maple syrup, applesauce, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine with a silicone spatula. Add parsnip, raisins and walnuts and stir to combine. Spread batter in the pan, top with streusel and transfer to the oven. Bake until the cake is puffed and the top is golden, about 55 minutes.
  6. Let cake cool at least one hour. Cut into wedges and serve.


  • Serving Size: 1/12 cake
  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 16
  • Carbohydrates: 34
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 4

More Baking Recipes You’ll Love:

Mini Gluten-free Sweet Potato Praline Bundt Cakes

Maple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sweet Potato Coffee Cake

Healthy Zucchini Oat Bread

Leek and Parmesan Savory Muffins