I’ve been craving something sweet lately. Something to fit with the spice of the fall season. Something simple that my whole family would enjoy. And then I remembered these Fancy Carrot Cake Muffins. And who doesn’t love great tasting baked goods full of healthy veggies?
The burning question in my house as I was making these is “what is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?”. Although the internet is full of funny little explanations like “a muffin is usually less sweet and contains fruit” or “a cupcake is like a small cake”, the jury is definitely out. So are these are muffins or cupcakes? I call them muffins. You can decide for yourself…although after you eat them you probably won’t really care, you’ll just be wondering how long you have to wait until you can have a second one! (My answer to this is eat your second one immediately, no judgement here!)
My 5 year old was my helper today and what a proud helper he was. You can even see the picture he took for me on our Instagram account (@WithTwoSpoons). He was initially not quite sure about these Fancy Carrot Cake Muffins because he was quite aware of how many carrots went into making them. Although he eats carrots frequently, he wasn’t so excited about the idea of my including them in this recipe! His mind was quickly changed after I pulled them out of the oven and offered him a piece of warm muffin to try. Instant happiness. He is still not sold on frosting though so I did leave a few of these unfrosted (I guess these are the not-as-fancy Carrot Cake Muffins!).
This recipe is super simple, full of cinnamon spice and fall flavor. Bring some fancy to your house today.
- 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- extra grated carrot, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, chopped golden raisins (optional-for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Line a muffin tin with baking liners.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
- Set the dry ingredients aside.
- In a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until frothy. (This step could also be done with a hand mixer or just good old fashioned arm power, but a stand mixer makes it simple and quick!)
- Add the applesauce, oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and carrot to the bowl of the stand mixer. Combine well.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and combine until moistened.
- Pour the batter into the lined muffin tin.
- Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, checking doneness with a toothpick (they are done when the toothpick comes out clean).
- Remove the muffins from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
- Make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter in the stand mixer.
- Add the confectioner's sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and beat until thick and creamy.
- Use milk to thin the cream cheese frosting until the desired consistency.
- Frost the muffins and garnish as desired!