Healthy muffins! That taste like carrot cake! Oh, I think this might just be a dream come true.
Truth be told, carrot cake gets me every single time. I fell in love with it a few years ago and my craving for cake has quadrupled since then. I can’t get over the spices, flavor, and that thick-n-creamy cream cheese frosting that pairs so wonderfully with the cake. I’m not sure it gets better.
But wait, it does. Because now you can officially have carrot cake for breakfast in muffin form. I know, it’s probably not quite the same, but my goodness does it crush a carrot cake craving like no other.
In fact, I’ve been wanting to tell you about these for a few weeks; believe me everyone I’ve been around me has had their fair share of muffins as I tried time and time again to perfect the recipe. Basically shoving muffins down everyone’s throat. Pleasant, right?
In all seriousness, these muffins are packed with good-for-you ingredients. Here are a few highlights:
White Whole Wheat Flour: Same nutritional benefits as whole wheat flour, but much lighter in flavor and texture. You can usually find it at your local grocer. If you can’t, try looking for whole wheat pastry flour.
Pure Maple Syrup instead of Sugar/Honey: I prefer maple syrup to honey after reading this interesting article comparing the two.
Unsweetened Applesauce instead of excess oil: I love baking with applesauce because it gives baked goods a nice texture without having to use as much oil. Even though I use a few tablespoons of healthy oil in this recipe, I didn’t want it to be packed with fat. The other healthy fats come from walnuts/pecans.
Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut Milk: Have you ever tried this stuff? It is amazing! I love the flavor of the almond coconut milk and the fact that it’s packed with vitamins and calcium. Baking with it adds a nice flavor to the muffins. If you can’t find it or don’t like coconut flavor, try Almond Breeze almond milk instead!
Other optional add-ins: Try adding coconut, raisins or pineapple to these muffins. I left them as optional as I feel like everyone prefers their carrot cake differently.
Obviously I didn’t include the cream cheese glaze as healthy, but it’s really quite delicious on top of the muffins. Plus it’s only a tiny amount. If you want though, you could leave off and enjoy them as is.
A quick note: The muffins really do get better after sitting in an airtight container for a day; they sweeten up a bit and get super soft. Served with a big glass of almond milk and a side of zero guilt.
Let me know if you bake these by tagging #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram; I’ll be looking for your creations! xoxo
- Serves: 12 muffins
- Serving size: 1 muffin with cream cheese glaze
- Calories: 170
- Fat: 7g
- Carbohydrates: 25.1g
- Sugar: 13.4g
- Fiber: 2.2g
- Protein: 3.9g
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 carrots)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened coconut almond milk or Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes (optional and not included in nutrition info)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional and not included in nutrition info)
- 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons Almond Breeze unsweetened coconut almond milk or Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with liners and spray the inside with nonstick cooking spray to prevent batter from sticking to the liners. You can also omit the liners and generously spray the muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; I prefer this method.
- Next add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a medium bowl; stir to combine and then set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, add carrots, maple syrup, olive oil, applesauce, egg and vanilla. Whisk to combine wet ingredients then slowly stir in almond milk and flour mixture until just combined. Fold in nuts (plus coconut flakes and raisins if you'd like). Divide batter evenly between muffins cups or liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan then transfer muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Once muffins are completely cool, you can make the cream cheese glaze: Place cream cheese in medium microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30-45 seconds or until cream cheese is somewhat warm and a little runny. Stir gently and add in powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a few tablespoons of milk; stir again until glaze reaches desired consistency; not too runny and not overly thick. Dip each muffin top into cream cheese glaze then place back on wire rack. Sprinkle with extra chopped walnuts or coconut flakes if desired. Makes 12 muffins.
To make gluten free: Try using almond flour and 3 eggs instead of just one. I have not tried this option, but am quite certain it would work.
Important notes about nutrition: The nutrition information provided includes everything except raisins and shredded coconut. If you add both, your muffins will be around 200 calories of good nutrition.
This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze. All opinions and text are my own; I love their products and bake with their almond milks all the time.