Carrot Cake Muffins


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Usually when I see a recipe for Carrot Cake Muffins, there’s a lot more emphasis on the cake than the carrots, which means it’s more about dessert than breakfast. (Yes, most carrot cake is so good because it’s filled with butter and sugar!) But these were also called “Healthy Applesauce Carrot Muffins”, and I knew with some slight adjustments I could do something interesting with them. And so I did. They came out great. Flavorful, fluffy, and worthy of the carrot cake name without the carrot cake decadence.  The spices are balanced perfectly and these muffins make breakfast worth celebrating.

The recipe started, as these things do, with carrots. I grated them first, because it’s such a pain to be halfway through a recipe and THEN have to stop the presses to grate. Bakus interruptus, so to speak. Does grating the carrots before count as “pre-grating”, like heating up the oven before you need it?

grated carrots

pre-grated carrots

With the carrots grated/pre-grated and the oven heated/pre-heated, I started scooping out the flour. I recently learned to fluff up the flour before measuring, so I fluffed, then scooped. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, so I switched that to whole wheat white and then supplemented some with wheat germ. The one cup was easy math, 2/3 flour and 1/3 wheat germ. For the half cup, I just poured some wheat germ into the bottom of the measuring cup, like so:

wheat germ in measuring cup

And then filled up the rest of the cup with (fluffed) flour.

To that I added baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

dry ingredients

I whisked.

dry ingredients, whisked

Then I put all the gloppier ingredients together in a separate bowl: melted butter, honey, vanilla bean paste, applesauce, and yogurt. (I was supposed to use a whole cup of applesauce but I used 1/2 applesauce, 1/2 yogurt to avoid that applesauce-y taste, which I do not enjoy.)

wet gloppy ingredients

I whisked that all together thoroughly, then poured it into the bowl with the flour mixture.



I folded just until everything was incorporated. then added the carrots and folded again. Like origami, but messier.


batter with carrots on top

batter with carrots folded in

I scooped the batter into muffin tins, and sprinkled just a bit of turbinado sugar on top. I enjoy the sweet sparkle.

batter in tin

batter in tin with turbinado sugar

The recipe said to bake at 350, but that seemed too low for muffins, so I heated the oven to 400, then reduced it to 375 when I put them in. I started checking them at 15 minutes , but it was 23 minutes before they were done! Ovens are so unpredictable. Sometimes mine takes half the time, sometimes double. It’s all part of the mysterious world of baking. Precision, my ass.

They came out looking good, though.

carrot cake muffins in tin, baked

carrot cake muffins on cooling rack

These Carrot Cake Muffins are a new addition to my breakfast collection. Perfect fluffy texture, well balanced flavor combination, they’re like a reward for getting up in the morning. They also make for a great late-night snack, not that I’m supposed to be eating late-night snacks. Oops.

Carrot Cake Muffins


My version of Carrot Cake Muffins (adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)


2/3 + 1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 (slightly heaping) teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup finely shredded carrots
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)


Shred the carrots and melt the butter, then set it aside to cool. Heat the oven to 400 degrees, you will reduce the temperature later. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, salt, sinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Make a well in the center of the ingredients.

In another bowl, beat the egg. Then combine it with the butter, honey, vanilla, applesauce, and yogurt until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the liquid mixture into the well in the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the carrots with as few strokes as possible to prevent overmixing.

Scoop the batter into muffin cups and sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar if desired.

Reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for 15-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let sit in the tins for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack.

carrot cake muffins


  1. I’m always on the hunt for nutritious homemade snacks to include in my (picky) daughter’s lunchbox, so thanks for the inspiration (I actually made a few changes like swapping coconut oil for butter). These are baking now and are looking and smelling good. Just thought I would mention that it would be helpful to note the temperature adjustment in the actual recipe. You do say to heat to 400 degrees but I had to go hunting in the blog to figure out when to reduce the temperature. 😉

  2. OKAY, I need these now. Seriously, ASAP. They sound perfect!

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