|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 16g||21%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||15%|
|Total Carbohydrate 27g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 18g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||4%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
These delightful little carrot cake muffins could not be tastier or easier to assemble. You make them in a single bowl with a whisk and a spatula, and all the ingredients you need are likely already in your pantry.
Cream Cheese + Carrot Cake = Heaven
We stuff these cuties with tangy, unsweetened cream cheese because cream cheese and carrot cake are a match made in heaven. The cream cheese also provides a nice contrast to the lightly sweet muffin. Think slice of carrot loaf cake with a smear of cream cheese and you'll understand what you're getting into here.
Sugar and Spice Swaps
We prefer brown sugar in this recipe for the molasses-like flavor it imparts, but you can substitute granulated sugar if desired. To streamline the recipe, we kept the spices to a minimum—just some cinnamon, in fact—but feel free to add a little ginger or cardamom if that's how you roll.
How to Grate the Carrots
Using oil instead of butter in a muffin recipe makes them really easy to mix together and keeps them super moist (oil + carrots = moist muffins for days). The most "difficult"—if you can call it that—part of this recipe is grating the carrots. We like to use our food processor's grater attachment, but you can also use a box grater.
When to Serve These Muffins (Hint: Anytime)
These muffins are obviously perfect for breakfast, but would also make a great late morning snack with a cup of coffee, an after-school snack for the kids (or you), or a lovely late-night treat while binge-watching tv. Bottom line: they are fantastic whenever the craving hits.
“These have a great mix of savory and sweet thanks to the addition of the tasty cream cheese center and the crunchy turbinado sugar topping. These are definitely at their best when served warm so make sure to give them a quick reheating before indulging.” —Noah Velush-Rogers
1 cup (213 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups lightly packed grated carrots, 2 to 3 medium carrots
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Turbinado sugar, for garnish
Gather the ingredients.
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F.
Whisk the brown sugar, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time.
Sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into the bowl one at a time, vigorously whisking after each.
Gently fold in the flour with a silicone spatula just until a few streaks remain.
Fold in the carrots.
Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of batter in the bottom of each muffin cup.
Dollop 2 teaspoons of cream cheese into the center of each cup.
Place another 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of batter over the cream cheese.
Sprinkle each muffin with turbinado sugar.
Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until a wooden skewer inserted into the side of one of the muffins comes out with a moist crumb or two attached (you don't want to insert it into the middle, or you'll jab the cream cheese). Serve warm or at room temperature.
- When finely grating the carrots, you can use a food processor or a box grater.
- Do not aggressively pack the measuring cups with the grated carrots. They should be loosely packed.
- Add the carrots when you can still see streaks of flour in the mixing bowl, so you don't over mix the batter.
- A small 2-tablespoon portion scoop works great for portioning the batter into the muffin cups, if you have one.
- You will know the muffins are done when they are dry to the touch (but don't burn yourself) and when a wooden skewer inserted into the side comes out with a moist crumb or two attached.
- The tops of the muffins may pucker and dip a little once baked due to the cream cheese filling. If you do not use the cream cheese, they will dome.
- Use granulated sugar instead of light brown sugar.
- Add additional spices for a more complex flavor, such as 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom.
- Divide the cream cheese into teaspoon-size bits and fold the bits into the batter before you fill the cups, rather than placing two teaspoons in the center of each muffin.
- If you want straight-up carrot muffins, simply omit the cream cheese.
- For carrot cake cupcakes (instead of muffins) omit the cream cheese centers and dip the cooled muffins into this cream cheese glaze, or drizzle it on top.
How to Store
The muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Due to the cream cheese, they cannot be left out on the counter. These muffins do not freeze well, again, due to the cream cheese.