carrot cake muffins with cream cheese-walnut spread

October 13, 2010

I recently delved into Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast and this recipe (the first in the book) literally jumped out, grabbed me by the hand and led me into the kitchen to make it. I had no choice!

I am a massive carrot cake fan. Huge. Please ask my very close friend Megan who had one delivered to me and Dan the day we got hitched as a surprise. She also baked me one for my twenty-second birthday. Bet you all wish you had a friend like Megan. Anyway, she can attest to my love for carrot cake. We whiled away many a study hour in Austin with a cup of tea and slice of carrot cake. Sigh…those were the days.

I’ve never attempted to make a full blown carrot cake, or any other kind of “proper” cake for that matter. Why? They scare me. They are big and scary. Generally speaking, if you’re going to be making a big no-nonsense cake then there is probably an occasion for it. Which means pressure and I do not do well in the kitchen under pressure. Seriously. Ask my husband.

But, muffins! Muffins! Pah! No problemo. They are teeny and manageable and cannot scare me.

That’s why this recipe jumped out at me. That and the fact that they are served with walnut cream cheese rather than frosting, making them – ahem – a legitimate breakfast food.

Next time I make these, I will be making some adjustments to the spices, which I’ll include here.

Oh and one last thing – YUM.

Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese-Walnut Spread

adapted from Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast


For the muffins:

  • oil for greasing pans
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground all spice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup low fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed grated carrots (about 2 large)
  • 2/3 grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

For the cream cheese spread:

  • 1 cup plain cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts


  1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F.
  2. To make the muffins: Lightly coat 18 muffin tins/cups with oil.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, ginger, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs. Whisk in the oil, milk, and vanilla until well combined. Pour the oil/egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently. Add the carrots, coconut, and walnuts, and mix until just incorporated. Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each one about halfway.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for a few minutes. Use a butter knife to lift and remove muffins from the pan. Place them on a cooling rack.

To make the spread:

  1. Hardly a direction needed! Simply use a soft spatula to combine the cream cheese and walnuts. Serve aside the muffins or spread on top of them while warm.
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline - Greens and Jeans October 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

Oh my. That cream cheese frosting? Divine!


emily (a nutritionist eats) October 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Cakes freak me out too!!!
Carrot cake muffins do make a perfectly legit breakfast food, I need these!!!


Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) October 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Oh my goodness….I am a sucker for ANYTHING with cream cheese icing :)


Kacy October 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm

So, I was on the plane preparing to fly out to enjoy these with you and the pilot kicked me off because I didn’t have a ticket. It was so rude! ;)

Looks like I seriously missed out. YUM!


Evan Thomas October 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

This really makes me want to lick my screen–beautiful!


Megan (co-carrot cake addict) Gower October 13, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Oh my G, these look like heaven. Let’s share some over a cup of tea and a chin wag?


kate October 14, 2010 at 7:00 am

these look good! plus there is vegetables in them which makes them healthy, right?!? and i share the same sentiments. cakes = scary muffins = doable.


janetha g. @ meals & moves October 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm

That title was enough to send me over the edge. I am making these.


Crunchy Granola Gal October 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm

boy oh boy, these look fantastic. i am the same way about cake – it seems like such a big girl project, a project so big that i can’t tackle it. i’ve made bundt cake before, but that doesn’t count. i am all about the cupcake and might have to give this recipe a whirl!


Holly October 15, 2010 at 10:04 am

walnut cream cheese? i never would have thought to do plain, straight-up cream cheese, but that is seriously genius. and i completely and utterly share a deep love for carrot cake with you. i actually don’t really care for cake – but carrot cake? that’s a whole nother story…


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