(This recipe was originally published in 2017 but I've updated it to make the instructions more concise, and offer ingredient substitutes.)
When you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about baking, you know it’s a sign you should probably do it. Such was the situation I found myself in three nights ago: awake at about 3am dreamily convinced I needed to make carrot cake muffins.
I’m not sure if I knew carrot cake muffins were a real thing prior to my dream, but I can assure you I do now. And they’re delicious.
I’m particularly proud of the cream frosting because, being someone who stays away from refined sugars, frostings and toppings of any kind can be a bit of a challenge to make. I think I’ve nailed it here, and I hope you do too. This topping is definitely on the creamier, more yoghurty side as opposed to a traditional sugary icing.
Carrot Cake Muffins: Recipe Tips
Feel free to substitute a vegetable for the grated apple if you don't have it. I've successfully made these muffins with zucchini instead and I couldn't tell the difference. You could probably also try using beet, but be prepared for the muffins to come out very pink!
If you don't have brown rice flour, any gluten-free flour blend will work well in these muffins. My personal favourite alternative is Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose Flour.
You're also welcome to use pecans instead of walnuts in this recipe if that's what you have. Both work really well.
Finally, although the frosting is delicious, it's absolutely not essential to the muffins. They are delicious without it so feel free to skip it if you’d rather just eat them naked!
Carrot Cake Muffins (vegan & gluten-free)
- 1½ tbsp ground flaxseed, mixed with 4 tbsp water and set aside
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup coconut nectar/maple syrup/agave syrup
- 1 large apple, grated
- 1¼ cup grated carrot
- ½ cup almond or other plant milk (unsweetened)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1¼ cup ground almonds
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup raisins
Frosting (optional) - ensure all ingredients are chilled
- 1 cup coconut cream (Chill a can of high quality coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Use only the hardened cream that separates from the liquid.)
- ½ cup coconut yoghurt
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp vanilla essence
- ½ tsp lemon juice
For the muffins
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and grease a 12-muffin tin with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flaxseed, coconut oil and coconut nectar for 2 minutes until combined.
- Add all other ingredients and stir with a metal spoon until combined.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin tins and bake for approximately 35-45 minutes (until a knife comes out of the centre of each muffin clean).
- Leave the muffins in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting (optional)
- To make the frosting, chill a large bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes. Also ensure all ingredients have been refrigerated (if ingredients are different temperatures it causes the frosting to curdle).
- Using an electric whisk, beat the coconut cream in the chilled bowl until thick and all lumps are removed.
- Slowly add in the yoghurt, coconut nectar, vanilla and lemon juice one at a time, whilst continually whisking until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes total).
- Refrigerate the frosting until ready for use, then using a spoon or icing bag decorate the top of each muffin with it. Enjoy!