This easy Carrot Cake Muffins recipe is the perfect brunch treat. A few changes to your typical carrot cake ingredients results in soft, moist muffins with a crunchy crumble topping so you can’t stop at one.
I have been absolutely dying to share this recipe with you. I’ve never minded carrot cake but I’ve also never loved it. These Carrot Cake Muffins I love and I’ll make them over and over.
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What’s so good you ask? The flavour is just divine. Ok, that tells you nothing but they have a good carrot cake flavour but with an extra something, something. I am craving another one right now.
This perfect brunch treat is soft, moist, fluffy and incredibly easy to throw together plus they’re absolutely loaded with a crunchy streusel.
Typical Carrot Cake Ingredients
Carrot cakes are made with all the usual suspects like flour, sugar, leavener and eggs but there are a few key ingredients that you need to add for true carrot cake flavour.
- Carrots – of course! There is a large amount of finely grated carrot in a carrot cake.
- Nuts – often walnuts or pecans but most will work – pick your favourites
- Spices – cinnamon and nutmeg are common but also things like all spice and ground ginger can be added.
- Oil – most carrot cakes are made with oil as opposed to butter. This way the carrot flavour really shines plus it makes for a very easy to mix batter.
What makes these Carrot Cake Muffins really special is the pistachios and honey. They both add a little something special you can’t put your finger on with these. An extra special dimension.
Then there is the crunchy crumble topping which is added in two parts – before baking and then the remainder half way through.
And my top tip for any carrot cake recipe is to use your food processor to get the carrot superfine. This way, you can control how finely chopped the carrot is chop it to your personal choice. If you’re grating the carrot by hand, use the finest side of the grater.
How to make carrot cake muffins
Muffins are such a great treat not only for their flavour but also for their absolute simplicity.
Start by making the crumble topping. Blitz the pistachios in a food processor to break them up a little first, then add the other ingredients except for the milk and blitz it all to crumbs (photo 1). While the processor is on low, drizzle in the milk until it clumps together (photo 2).
Next prep the carrots and pistachios for the batter. Peel the carrots (otherwise the skin will add bitterness to the muffins) then chop and place them in a food processor (photo 3) and blitz quite finely. Add the pistachios and blitz it all together until the mixture is quite finely chopped (photo 4).
Now, for the batter, whisk the dry ingredients together so they are well mixed and the sugar lumps mostly removed (photo 5). Add the wet ingredients (photo 6) and stir until just combined.
Add the finely chopped carrot and pistachios (photo 7) and, again, mix until just combined (photo 8).
Grease a muffin tin with oil spray (flour it as well if the it isn’t non-stick, or you can use muffin cases).
Portion the batter out between the 12 holes (photo 9) – I use a medium ice cream scoop to make this quicker and more even – then scatter over just half of the crumble topping (photo 10).
Bake the muffins for about 8 minutes, then scatter over the remaining crumble topping (not pictured) and bake for another 10 minutes.
How to serve carrot cake muffins
My favourite way to serve these is still warm from the oven with butter (salted if you have it) – pure muffin perfection. If you are in the lucky position to have any leftover, these keep really well so you can reheat them in the microwave or oven if you like them warm, otherwise just eat them at room temperature.
Can you freeze carrot muffins?
Yes! You can freeze these delectable carrot cake muffins so you have them ready to go whenever you need a fix.
Freeze the muffins, wrapped individually in plastic wrap (best) then in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge for a few hours or on the bench top in ½ an hour.
You can even reheat them straight from the freezer, unwrapped, in the microwave – high for 30-40 seconds.
How long will Carrot Cake Muffins keep?
These muffins keep really well, just stored in an airtight container in a cool spot for 4-5 days. If it’s warm where you are, keep them in the fridge then bring to room temperature or heat before serving.
If frozen, they should be eaten within 3 months.
- Nuts – use your favourite nuts. If you aren’t a fan of pistachios, try the traditional walnut or pecan or maybe some cashews.
- Spices – a little allspice, pumpkin spice or ground ginger would not be out of place in these muffins.
- Honey – the honey to my mind is the perfect addition but you could swap it out for maple syrup or golden syrup too. You could try molasses for a really deep, dark flavour.
Please, please, please make these gorgeous Carrot Cake Muffins. Pinky promise, you’ll love them and so will your family. They’re so simple you could even get the kids on this one.
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FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
- ¼ cup (40g / 1.4oz) pistachios
- 95 g (3/4 cup) plain (all-purp) flour
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 75 g (2/3 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 2-3 teaspoons milk
FOR THE CARROT CAKE MUFFINS
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1/2 cup (80g / 2.8oz) shelled pistachios
- 1 1/2 cups (195g / 6.9oz) plain (all-purp) flour
- 1 cup (200g / 7oz) light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (125ml) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (125ml) flavourless vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons (1/6 cup) honey - (notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with liners if using (or grease and flour the holes if you aren't but your tin is not non-stick).
FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
- Place the pistachios into a food processor and just pulse a few times until they are roughly chopped but still chunky. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter and process until you have fine crumbs.
- With the processor on low, drizzle in the milk. The mixture should clump between your fingers.
FOR THE CARROT CAKE MUFFINS
- In a food processor, process the carrots until fine. Add the pistachios and pulse until desired texture.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg until well mixed.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, oil, eggs, honey and vanilla. Mix with a spatula until just combined. Stir through the carrot and pistachios.
- Use a medium ice cream scoop to portion the batter out between the muffin holes. Scatter over half of the crumble mixture.
- Bake for 8 minutes, then scatter over the remaining crumble mixture and bake for a further 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out with just a crumb or two attached.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- Make sure to peel the carrots - the skin can add bitterness to the muffins.
- These muffins keep well stored in an airtight container in a cool place for 4-5 days.
- Serving suggestion: Still warm with a little salted butter. They can be reheated
- These muffins can be frozen. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, then freeze in an airtight container.
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPES
- I use these silicone muffin trays
- A silicone spatula will make sure nothing gets left behind
- A food processor
- A medium ice cream scoop
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