You won’t be able to stop eating these amazing carrot cake muffins with cream cheese filling – and the crispy sugar on top is an absolute must!
Why you’ll love it: If you love carrot cake, these muffins are for you! Healthier than carrot cake, too!
How long it takes: 44 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: mixing bowls, muffin tins, oven
Servings: 18 muffins
In The Raw® sweeteners asked me to come up with an Easter-inspired recipe using their new Sugar In The Raw Organic White® and my mind almost immediately went to carrot cake.
My mom and I brainstormed recipes for awhile. I mean, we brainstormed a lot of recipes. Some of hers I immediately shot down, and some of mine she immediately dismissed. We had a few ideas that were almost perfect, but not quite right.
Finally we settled on these carrot cake muffins with cream cheese filling. Something about carrot cake just reminds us of Easter — maybe it’s because the Easter bunny loves to eat those carrots!
About These Muffins
These carrot cake muffins are a perfect breakfast before you head off to church, and they’re great for brunch. Or with your afternoon cup of coffee.
And of course, the best thing about carrot cake is the cream cheese FROSTING! We put “frosting” in the middle of the muffin instead of on top for a hidden surprise. Kind of like the little plastic Easter eggs with a hidden treat, the cream cheese filling is a creamy sweet treat hidden in the center of your muffin. Perfect!
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine sure is! I’ll give you a few tips here before we get started.
As always, you’ll find a printable recipe card at the end of this post with measurements and instructions.
What You’ll Need
- Carrots! Well, of course you’ll need carrots. Instead of shredding raw carrots, I cook the carrots and smash them. If you have leftover cooked carrots from dinner, these muffins would be a delicious way to use them. Mash the cooked carrots so you still get small pieces of carrots throughout the muffins but you’re not left with huge chunks or icky strings. If you prefer, use very finely grated raw carrots.
- Currants: Also starring in these muffins are currants instead of raisins. Smaller in size than raisins, they give a perfect bite of sweetness without overwhelming everything with their flavor. However, if you prefer raisins, either regular or golden are just fine.
- Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce replaces some of the oil usually found in muffins. A snack size container is just perfect (or a half cup). You’ll also need just one fourth cup of Canola Oil, or any mild flavored oil.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom: A wonderful trio of warm sweet spices, along with Vanilla Extract makes these muffins memorable.
- Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt: Normal muffin ingredients. If you like, replace some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Any brand of granulated sugar is fine.
- Eggs: The recipe calls for 2 eggs, plus 2 egg whites. If you prefer, substitute another whole egg for the egg whites.
- Cream Cheese Filling: So easy, you just need a block of cream cheese, another egg, and granulated sugar. Make sure you take the cream cheese out of the fridge an hour or two in advance so it’s softened.
How To Make Carrot Cake Muffins
They’re pretty easy really. Prepare your carrots first, whether you’re using leftover carrots, cooking carrots for this recipe, or using finely grated carrots.
Make the filling by creaming together the cream cheese, egg, and sugar.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, including the currants. It’s best if the currants have a coating of flour — it keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.
In a large bowl, blend together the carrots, eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and oil. Fold in the dry ingredients, and stir gently. Don’t overmix the muffin batter. Just stir it until there isn’t any powdery flour left and everything is moistened. The batter will be lumpy.
Fill greased muffin tins partially with batter, then a plop of filling, and then more batter. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar and bake. They smell so good!
Seriously, I want to make these muffins on a weekly basis!
A note about Sugar In The Raw: Their Organic White is perfect for baking. So perfect and versatile that I was able to use it in the muffin batter, the cream cheese filling AND the irresistible crunchy sugar topping. If you can’t find this product in your store, feel free to substitute any brand of granulated white sugar.
Almond flour can be substituted for one fourth of the all-purpose flour. I haven’t tested this recipe with it but if you like, use one half cup almond flour and one and a half cups all-purpose. For more about almond flour, check out this blog by King Arthur Flour.
Often carrot cake is loaded with sugar and fat especially when it’s topped with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. These muffins are a much healthier choice because there’s very little oil and much less sugar than you’d find in traditional carrot cake.
If you’d like to try an even healthier muffin (with no cream cheese), try these healthy carrot raisin muffins. We also love carrot cake slow cooker oatmeal for a delicious and healthy breakfast.
So much depends on how the muffins are made. Bakery muffins are usually very large and contain a lot of sugar and fat. Homemade muffins are a better choice because you can control the size and ingredients.
Replace part of the flour with whole wheat flour to add more nutrition. Substitute mashed bananas or unsweetened applesauce for much of the oil or butter. Reduce the amount of sugar added. Add fruit, raisins, or vegetables to your muffins.
Keep reading for more healthy muffin recipes.
Because of the cream cheese filling, leftover muffins should be stored in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Carrot cake muffins can be frozen in a freezer bag or container for up to one month. They are wonderful lunchbox treats.
More fabulous muffin recipes
- Gingerbread Muffins with white chocolate
- Triple Chocolate Banana Muffins — healthier than you would think!
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Blueberry Strawberry Muffins – healthy!
- Morning Glory Muffins — with carrots, pineapple, coconut and raisins
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins
- Apple Cider Muffins
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
for the muffins:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup Sugar In The Raw Organic White® organic cane sugar (or granulated white sugar)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup currants
- 2 cups diced cooked carrots
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup canola oil (or other mild-tasting oil)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the filling:
- 1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup Sugar In The Raw Organic White organic cane sugar (or granulated white sugar)
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray muffin tins generously with nonstick cooking spray.
- In medium bowl, blend together softened cream cheese, egg, and sugar until well-combined. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and currants.
- In a large bowl, mash carrots using a potato masher or fork, mashing until no large chunks remain. Add applesauce, canola oil, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
- Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Mixture will be lumpy.
- Fill muffin tins one third full with muffin mixture. Drop a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into middle of each muffin. Top with remaining muffin batter. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 3-4 minutes in muffin tin before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve warm or store in fridge in a covered container.
- Great way to use leftover carrots! If desired, substitute finely grated carrots for the cooked carrots.
- Muffins can be frozen for up to one month in freezer bag or container.
- Raisins or golden raisins can be substituted for the currants.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Sugar In The Raw Organic White® is from the maker of Sugar In The Raw® and is part of the In The Raw® family of sweeteners, which also includes zero-calorie Stevia In The Raw® and Monk Fruit In The Raw®, and Agave In The Raw®.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of In The Raw via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.