I shed blood to make these muffins for you. Well, let’s be real: I shed blood to make these muffins for me.
My most common cooking-related injury is grated knuckles. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, it will just be grated fingernails-a sure sign that I’ve let them grow too long-but not today; today it was the much-abused knuckles that felt the brunt of the box grater’s teeth. I’m not sure what my deal is. I would estimate that 3 out of 4 grating jobs end in bandaids for me. Too hasty? Likely. Too greedy? Absolutely (I must grate ALL the carrot). Whatever it is, I certainly owe my knuckles an apology or ten. Hell, I’ll give them a hundred and pre-apologize for the next 50 years of scrapes.
I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while. As I’ve mentioned, carrot cake is my favorite cake, but I rarely make it because, well, I’m never making cakes for me, I’m making cakes for you. This seemed like the perfect solution…carrot cake masquerading as a muffin! I love muffins toooooo! They’re so cute! Yaaaaay! (This really is the style of commentary that goes through my head. Really.) At any rate, these seemed indulgent, but not too naughty, and perfect perfect for spring (carrots, bunnies, spring, you know). So I made them.
These guys are delicious! They’re not too heavy on the cinnamon, which can be the downfall of carrot cake, and tender as can be! The cream-cheese middles don’t contain any eggs, so it stays pretty creamy, which is delightful for someone who fiends for cream cheese icing. I could easily see adding any of those extras that can spiff up carrot cake (nuts, pineapple, raisins, coconut!) and ending up with something even more delicious. The one odd thing about the recipe is that it calls for water-not milk, or cream, or yogurt- which seems like a waste of volume…shouldn’t you add something with flavor? But hey, it worked, and the result didn’t seem lacking, so who am I to question? It actually makes me think that in those instances when the only thing keeping me from baking is the complete lack of dairy in the house, perhaps I could sub good ol’ tap water in a pinch. At any rate, these guys were worth the blood, sweat, and tears. Because now I can have my beloved carrot cake….for breakfast.
Inside-our Carrot Cake Muffins
From King Arthur Flour. Makes 12.
These muffins only have 1/3 of a cup of oil in them. If you use reduced-fat cream cheese like I did (never EVER use fat free cream cheese, it is the devil), they really aren’t that bad for you! Plus they’re filled with carrots…so they’re basically health food 😉
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 t ground ginger
3/4 t salt
3/4 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 c grated carrot (~2-3 medium)
Demerera or coarse sparking sugar (optional)
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray lightly with cooking spray
- Place the cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and zap on low for ~30 seconds
- Stir in the 1/4 c granulated sugar until smooth and set aside
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 c granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and oil
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until mixed
- Add the carrots and stir just until combined
- Scoop about 2 T of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner, smoothing it out along the bottom (use a cookie scoop if you have it)
- Dollop about 1 T of filling into the middle of the batter
- Top each with enough batter to very nearly fill the paper liner. It should be ~1/4 inch from the top
- If you have demerera or sparkling sugar, sprinkle it on top of each muffin
- Bake ~20 min or until firm and a toothpick inserted into the outside edge (avoid the filling) comes out clean