Carrot Cake Muffins packed with sweet fresh carrots, warm spices, and a delicious maple cream cheese filling. Everyone loves these delicious carrot cake muffins!
All the spring vegetables are officially planted and while we are still mid renovation for the moment I have access to the stove again!
Our youngest requested carrots at the store the other day for muffins. Okay, he may have said cupcakes but I chose to hear muffins. He LOVES all things carrot cake and has officially requested a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for his birthday in June.
I decided to not only bake the requested carrot cake muffins but to add a fun surprise! We all love maple cream cheese frosting so these carrot cake muffins have a maple cream cheese filling made from three simple ingredients.
It tastes like carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting but in muffin form. Our entire family loved these muffins and were so sad when they were gone. I will definitely be making them a ton when the carrots we planted are ready to be harvested.
These carrot cake muffins are perfect for Easter Brunch, spring picnics, or even breakfast but if cream cheese isn’t your thing, checkout this Carrot Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze recipe instead.
Carrot Cake Muffins and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
Carrots: freshly grated carrots. You can grate them with a box grater or food processor but fresh carrots have a naturally sweeter flavor that is so much better in cake!
Eggs: because we are working with melted butter you want room temperature large eggs.
Butter: melted butter gives this carrot coffee cake a rich soft crumb that melts in your mouth. You can substitute with a neutral oil but you will lose some of that richness.
Sugar: I like to use a mix of brown sugar and white sugar with these carrot cake muffins.
Flour: no fancy flours needed just your standard all purpose flour.
Baking Soda: a little baking soda gives these carrot cake muffins cake a light fluffy texture!
Vanilla: the vanilla enhanced all the other flavors in these muffins.
Spices: cozy warming spices are a must in any good carrot cake and these muffins are no exception. I like to use cinnamon and pumpkin spice.
Cream cheese: Any room temperature cream cheese will work for this recipe. Original, non-dairy, fat free…it all works!
Maple Syrup: a little pure maple syrup balances out the tang of the cream cheese and gives it so much flavor! You can substitute with a little maple extract.
Mixing bowls: you need a large and two small mixing bowl for this recipe.
Grater: you need a box grater or food processor to grate the carrots. Grated carrots make better carrot cake muffins.
Whisk: you can also use Hand Mixer but I find the whisk faster then digging mine out!
Spatula: a flexible silicone spatula is great for folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients without over mixing.
Muffin tin: any 12 cup muffin tin will work for this recipe.
Muffin liners: you can also lightly grease the muffin tins but you will get a slightly different texture on the bottom of the muffins.
How to Make Carrot Cake Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners or by lightly spraying them with something neutral like avocado oil . Set the prepared pans aside.
Prepare the maple cream cheese filling. In a medium bowl whisk together softened cream cheese, maple syrup, and confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy. Set aside. You can also use a hand mixer if you prefer.
Peel and grate carrots with a box grater or in the food processor. You need 1 1/2 cup of grated carrots which took us 6 smaller carrots.
In a large mixing bowl combine the sugars, melted butter, vanilla and eggs. Stir in the grated carrots. You can also mix these in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Whisk until the flour mixture is well combined.
Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. I like to use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients in until just combined. Carrot cake batter should be quite thick because the carrots release moisture while they are baking.
Fill each muffin cup with about 2 tablespoons of muffin batter. Add a spoonful (about 1 tablespoon) of the maple cream cheese filling to each muffin. Top the muffins evenly with the remaining batter. The muffin cups should be about ¾ of the way full.
Sprinkle the top of the muffins liberally with turbinado sugar.
Bake until muffins are golden and cooked through. The muffins should spring back gently when touched.
Cool the muffins for several minutes before moving to wire rack to finish cooling.
Tips and FAQs
Storing cream cheese filled carrot cake muffins
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To freeze, allow muffins to cool. Once cooled, put muffins in a freezer safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Doubling this Carrot Cake Muffin recipe:
This recipe work great for making a double batch. Just double everything and prepare two 12 count muffin tins instead of one.
Selecting carrots for cake
Most carrot cake recipes recommend grating your own carrots and there is a reason or that. The pre grated carrots at the store are too thick, dry, and have less flavor. You really want to grate your own carrots for cake. They will be sweeter, have better flavor, and give you a moist cake. For the best flavor look for small or medium carrots with the tops still on. These have a natural sweetness to them that is delicious in baked goods!
Fun additions to carrot cake muffins
- shredded coconit
- chocolate chips
Add 1/3 cup to the carrot cake batter of any mix ins you like in your carrot cake!
Substituting applesauce for butter
For a healthier carrot cake muffin you can swap the butter in this recipe for unsweetened applesauce. Use the same amount of applesauce in place of the butter. You will have a slightly tighter crumb but the applesauce will not change the taste of the muffins.