Carrot Cake Muffins

You might remember I mentioned making these muffins when I made the banana bread for my dad. For his birthday month, he received 2 unexpected treats. The very first time I made him a treat for his birthday, I was still in college and baking was challenging, but I liked it. I offered to make him anything he wanted. I even let him look at my (limited) collection of cookbooks for ideas. He asked for carrot cake. Of all the possible chocolate treats he could have asked for, he asked for a carrot cake.

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Well…I had never made anything like that before (although, to be honest, chocolate cake was also still kind of new for me, too). I pulled lots of recipes and asked his thoughts on inclusions (raisins? nuts?). My parents were out of the house and I decided to make it that night before they got in. I sat there with a grater and a pile of carrots. As I grated, I was worried about how long it was taking and how it was impossible to use every last bit of carrot before my fingers would get sliced. Then, I had a brainstorm! My mom had a food processor that she cut herself on once and never used again. (I think she just didn’t like it, like my feeling towards a slicing tool we have that I refuse to use after getting a bad cut.) I found the box, managed to figure out how to assemble it (I had never used one before) and ta-da! I grated those carrots like a pro.

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I highly recommend using something other than a grater. It feels like it takes forever to setup the processor, but once you do, those carrots pass through it in no time. It ends up being much faster than a grater, even including cleanup.

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The second time I made carrot cake, it was after I started this whole Dessert of the Month thing for my dad. This time I used shredded carrots from the store (having forgotten my love of the processor from years before). It worked just fine, although America’s Test Kitchen says not to use them. I was not as picky then, and my dad would not have complained, so….I’m not sure. Maybe they are being too critical, or maybe we are not critical enough? It is up to you. If you are time-crunched, give it a go. This most recent carrot cake adventure included grated carrots in the food processor because the grocery store did not have any shredded carrots. This renewed my love for my food processor, though, so all is not lost.

You might be asking yourself, where is the frosting? How are these muffins when there is so much fat in them? Well, I felt bad that my dad has put these on his list a couple times but I could not make them easily because cream cheese frosting does not fly across the country very well, and it is hard to make it with limited baking supplies back in Maryland. So, I decided to give these a shot without the frosting and call them muffins. Sure enough, it works just as well, and if you want to tone down the calories a bit, leaving off the frosting is not the worst idea.

I made these with a regular pan and a mini pan because I wanted to try out my new regular pan, and I love mini cupcakes. I had a bit of batter leftover at the end, but maybe it would have been different with 2 standard pans? You can also make this recipe into a 9×13 pan, but keep in mind the cooking time will be different.

Directions for Carrot Cake “Muffins”

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon all-spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled (you can also use all vegetable oil)
  • 1.25 cups vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon citrus extract (optional) (Here is what I use)
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4/3 cup granulated sugar (1 and 1/3 for the math-challenged!)
  • 1 pound carrots (about 3 large), peeled and grated (use the food processor or a grater)
  • 1.5 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup raisins (if large, chop them)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 standard-sized muffin pans (or 12 normal and 24 mini) with some baking spray. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, and salt.

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Next, whisk the eggs and sugars together in a large bowl until most of the sugar is dissolved. Continue whisking while pouring the oil, melted butter, and extract (if using) into the mixture.

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The mixture will thicken and get shiny (this is it emulsifying) after about a minute.

It looks about the same in the picture, but you will notice it when you do it.

It looks about the same in the picture, but you will notice it when you do it.

Now whisk in the flour mixture.

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Stir in the carrots, walnuts, and raisins.

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Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Large--about 2/3 full

Large–about 2/3 full

I filled the minnies all the way and got little caps on them.

I filled the minnies all the way and got little caps on them.

Bake the muffins for about 15-20 minutes. They are ready when a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached. If baking two pans at once, rotate halfway through baking.

Let them cool for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pans to finish cooling.

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Directions for Carrot Cake “Muffins” (without pictures)

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon all-spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled (you can also use all vegetable oil)
  • 1.25 cups vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon citrus extract (optional) (Here is what I use)
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4/3 cup granulated sugar (1 and 1/3 for the math-challenged!)
  • 1 pound carrots (about 3 large), peeled and grated (use the food processor or a grater)
  • 1.5 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup raisins (if large, chop them)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 standard-sized muffin pans (or 12 normal and 24 mini) with some baking spray. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, and salt.

Next, whisk the eggs and sugars together in a large bowl until most of the sugar is dissolved. Continue whisking while pouring the oil, melted butter, and extract (if using) into the mixture. The mixture will thicken and get shiny (this is it emulsifying) after about a minute. Now whisk in the flour mixture. Stir in the carrots, walnuts, and raisins.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the muffins for about 15-20 minutes. They are ready when a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached. If baking two pans at once, rotate halfway through baking.

Let them cool for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pans to finish cooling.

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5 thoughts on “Carrot Cake Muffins

  1. Pingback: Berry Pie | fudgingahead

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