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carrot cake muffins with toppings sprinkled on top

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze

Healthy carrot cake muffins packed with carrots, coconut, raisins and nuts. These deliciously moist carrot cake muffins are naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup and applesauce. Top them with a light cream cheese glaze for a delicious snack or healthy treat!

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Healthy, Muffins, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy carrot cake muffins, moist carrot cake muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 180 kcal
Author Monique Volz of Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients

  • Dry ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Wet ingredients
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Optional add-ins
  • 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)
  • For the glaze
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond milk

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. Next add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a medium bowl; stir to combine and then set aside.

  3. 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. 

  4. Fold in 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.

  5. 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 20-30 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. 

  6. Dip each muffin top into cream cheese glaze then place back on wire rack. Sprinkle with coconut flakes if desired. Makes 12 muffins. Store these carrot cake muffins on the counter in an airtight container for a day, then transfer them to the fridge for up to 4-5 days. The muffins really do get better after sitting in an airtight container for a day; they sweeten up a bit and get super soft.

Recipe Notes

To make vegan: replace the egg with a flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal and 3 tablespoons of water. Leave off cream cheese frosting and instead sprinkle tops with cinnamon and coarse sugar.

To make gluten free: try using chickpea flour or an all purpose gluten free flour. I have not tried this option, but am quite certain it would work.

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.

Freezer-friendly carrot cake muffins: Feel free to freeze these babies for later! Allow them to cool completely after baking, then place them in an airtight container or reusable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat them, you can microwave them for 30-45 seconds or until warm. I suggest freezing them without the the glaze and simply adding the glaze when you're ready to enjoy them.

Nutrition Facts
Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze
Amount Per Serving (1 muffin (with glaze but without mix-ins))
Calories 180 Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value*
Fat 3.9g6%
Saturated Fat 1.6g10%
Carbohydrates 34.4g11%
Fiber 2.5g10%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 2.8g6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.