Carrot cakes have long been one of my favourites to have when out at a café, although I’ve never thought to try making it myself at home. Muffins have long been one of the few types of baked goods I feel confident at baking, but after playing around with different berries and chocolates and spices, I was starting to wonder how I could make them a bit more exciting. Then along comes this fantastic idea of combining a carrot cake and a muffin and it was too good to refuse.
I tried one in town and we set about finding recipes that would help us to make our own versions of it. As always, I found myself tweaking the recipe and fixing some glaring errors in the ones we found so that we’ve ended up with something perhaps more unique anyway. Still, it is quite easy to make but is a little more time and energy consuming that your average muffin – but well worth it in the end! These turned out to be the best muffins we’ve ever made, and I do mean we as my kitchen-shy girlfriend helped out a lot!
For the muffins:
- 1 1/2 carrots (just get 2, you’ll need the other half later anyway), peeled and finely grated
- 100g softened butter
- 2 eggs
- 4/5 cup (200ml) sugar
- 2/5 cup (100ml) milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (we used a citrus juice that was lemon and lime and it turned out fine)
- 1 3/5 cup (400ml) wholemeal flour (it’s very important you use wholemeal and not just normal flour – this is part of the taste)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting:
- 100g cream cheese (Philadelphia is fine)
- 75g softened butter
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 carrot (the other half from earlier), peeled and finely grated
- Warm up the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 F), or a little bit less if using a fan forced oven.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar (not the icing sugar) and 100g of butter by hand with a wooden spoon (I won’t lie, we used a fork). Add eggs one by one, mixing each thoroughly. Add milk, mix well. Add lemon juice, mix well.
- In another bowl, mix together remaining dry ingredients for the muffins – the wholemeal flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and carrots. Once mixed together, add to wet ingredients and mix together well but don’t over-stir. If too dry, add a splash more milk (though these measurements worked perfectly for us – you don’t want it too wet either).
- Line a muffin tray with cases and fill up each case two thirds full with the mixture. It should spread evenly for 12 muffins. Place in oven for 15 minutes (I know, it doesn’t sound like much but it is long enough – check with a skewer in the middle to see if it comes out clean if you want to be sure). Pull out of oven, after a few minutes remove muffins from tray and let cool with a towel over to keep fresh.
- While the muffins are baking/cooling, make the frosting. Quite simply mix all the frosting ingredients together in a bowl and stir thoroughly – start with the icing sugar and butter and then add the cheese, then carrots and lemon juice. Once combined well, cover the bowl and place in fridge while the muffins cool. By the time the muffins are properly cool, the frosting will be ready to spread over each muffin with a butter knife.
- The muffins are now ready to eat, but whereas most muffins are nicer warmed up these ones are much tastier when they have been placed in the fridge for a few hours. The second day after baking was when these muffins tasted the nicest, in my opinion. Either way, keep them in the fridge to make them last longer. Enjoy!
Let me know if you make these muffins – I’d be curious to see what others think of this recipe!