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Nutritious and Delicious: Carrot Cake Muffins

carrot cake collage 2

Good evening, guys!

I hope both the weather and the workplace are treating you well in 2014. I’m sending lots of warm wishes to friends in the frosty parts of the US. Brrrr! I figured that it might be fun to get the new year off to a sweet start and warm up with a bit of baking. If you’re stuck inside, you may as well have something yummy to eat, right? :)

I made a variation of these carrot cake muffins as part of our New Year’s Eve brunch, and I found them so tasty that it’s taken less than a week to bake a new batch. They’re pretty packed with healthy fiber, they contain a generous dose of vitamins thanks to the carrots and orange, they aren’t overly sweet, and they are virtually fat free. Yippee! That being said, if you’re looking for your typical carrot cake cupcakes or dense, moist cake then I suggest you look elsewhere. If, however, “healthy” snacking is one of your New Year’s resolutions, then let’s go!

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):

  • 4 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup wholewheat
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (or better yet, speculaaskruiden … a tasty combination of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (or add 1.5 tsp vinegar to 2/3 cup milk and let stand for 5 minutes)
  • 1 generous cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
  • the juice of half an orange (optional)

To get started, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Finely grate your carrots.

Next, separate the egg whites from the yolk. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites until they start to foam.

Add half of your brown sugar, and continue beating until the mixture stiffens up. It might sound like a silly step, and you can certainly skip it if you’d like, but beating the egg whites really does help the muffins stay light and airy.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until mixed well and clump-free.

Add the egg yolks, oil, apple sauce, and buttermilk and mix well. Next, fold in the beaten egg whites, carrots, and walnuts.

Spoon the batter into a lightly greased muffin form.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The muffins should be nicely browned on top but perfectly moist on the inside. If you have patience and discipline, allow the muffins to cool.

At this point, you can either enjoy them just the way they are (my personal preference) or choose to top them off with a dollop of traditional cream-cheese-powdered-sugar frosting.

I have a pretty killer sweet tooth in the morning and find these to be super delicious when accompanied by a cup of coffee… or tea… or hot coco. It’s great when something somewhat nutritious can satisfy the constant cravings of a sweet tooth, and boy do these guys hit the spot!

Hopefully you can all enjoy the subtle scents and flavors of carroty-cinnamony goodness, even if it is only virtual. Maybe you can take advantage of any wacky weather and bake up a batch of your own ;)

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