Tag Archives: carrot cake

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

There are two kinds of people: the ones who love carrot cake and the ones who don’t. I’m decidedly the former, as evidenced by posting two carrot recipes in a row. To those of the latter persuasion, let me say this: sorry, not sorry.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

Where last week’s carrot cake was vegan and gluten-free, this week’s muffins are quite the opposite. Made with a carrot-flecked batter and filled with a little well of sweetened cream cheese, these Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins are a delightful addition to your Easter repertoire.

If these look familiar, it’s because they are…kind of. They’re inspired by some cream cheese-filled muffins Starbucks used to have (and maybe still does) that looked cute, but didn’t taste very good. These muffins, however, look cute *and* taste great. I should know—it took eight batches to get them just right!

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins are simple to make, but require some special assembly. Once you’ve whisked up the carrot muffin batter, put 3 tablespoons in each well of a standard muffin pan. Next, pipe some sweetened cream cheese into the center of each well of batter. It’s about a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese per muffin, but since that’s impossible to measure while piping, I have a little trick. The wells are about 3/4 full before the cream cheese, so when I pipe it in, I watch for the batter to juuuuust reach the top of the well. It’s the perfect amount every time.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

These muffins bake up in just about 20 minutes, getting some lift from a 425F start, then baking to perfection at 375F. The cream cheese will rise to the upper third of the muffins and expand a bit, which is a very good thing as far as I’m concerned. If you’d like a well that goes further into your muffins, bake them at 350F for 20 minutes. You should know, though, that if you go for the lower temperature, you’ll have flatter muffins.

That said, they’re delicious both ways. There’s no wrong way to get your carrot cake on, after all.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins
makes 12 muffins

Carrot Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)

Cream Cheese:
1 8-ounce brick full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

Make the carrot batter. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil and water. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Set aside.

Fold shredded carrots into the dry ingredients. Add liquid in two installments, stirring to combine. Batter will be thick. Let batter sit 5 minutes while you prepare the cream cheese.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until it’s fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar until combined. Load mixture into a piping bag, twist to close and snip off a corner.

Assemble muffins. Put 3 tablespoons of the carrot batter into each well of the prepared muffin tin. They will be about 2/3-3/4 full. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Pipe cream cheese into the center of each well until the batter reaches the top of each well (or within 1/8-inch of the top). Wet your finger and smooth down any peaks on the cream cheese to prevent burning. Tap pan 5 times on the counter again to help the cream cheese settle.

Bake muffins 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 375F for another 15-16 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the non-cream cheese section comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​

With Easter coming up next weekend, I’ve got carrot cake on my mind. To be more specific, I’ve got this moist, flavorful and incredibly simple Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake front and center in my brain. It’s everything I love about the classic cake—the texture, the spices, the frosting—just made a little more accessible. I totally love it!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

To make this sweet little cake, I began with my go-to vegan, gluten-free cake formula and then slowly, but surely, figured it out. I toyed with all sorts of different ratios of pumpkin to grated carrots, and adjusted the spices until they were just right. Ten practice cakes and two scrapped photoshoots later, I think I’ve finally nailed it.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

My Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake is tender, fragrant, and packed with carrots, raisins and walnuts, though you can leave out those last two ingredients if you’re not a nuts-and-fruit-in-your-cake kind of human. Paired with my go-to Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, it’s so good, even the non-gluten-free, non-vegans (like me!) will go back for seconds.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​

This recipe is written for a single layer of cake and a corresponding amount of frosting. I kept it simple because making layer cakes has seemed exhausting lately and it’s no fun to make something that exhausts you. If you’d like to make this recipe into a layer cake, I’d double the batter for two 9-inch round cake pans and triple the frosting. You could even quadruple it—nobody worth knowing has ever been unhappy about extra cream cheese frosting, especially when piped into little carrots.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​
Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
makes a single layer 9-inch round cake

1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons pure pumpkin purée or unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

If you would like a layer cake, double the recipe for two 9-inch pans. Triple the frosting recipe that follows.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Place chopped nuts of choice (if using) on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and set aside to cool while you prepare the cake batter.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add non-dairy milk until liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in pumpkin (or applesauce) and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, potato starch, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, almond flour, and salt. Stir in grated carrots, raisins and toasted nuts (if using).

Add liquid ingredients in two installments, stirring until combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure thorough mixing.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs (not wet batter).

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release.

Place cake on desired platter. Frost as desired with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below).

Frosted cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Unfrosted cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
makes enough for the top of one sheet cake

2 ounces (1/4 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons, 1/8 of an 8 ounce tub) vegan cream cheese, slightly softened
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
green food coloring, for piped carrots (optional)
orange food coloring, for piped carrots (optional)

Frosting may get very soft at room temperature depending which vegan cream cheese you use. Plain Miyoko’s brand vegan cream cheese is my gold standard for flavor and holding up well at room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter, shortening, and vegan cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners sugar in two installments, mixing until combined and fluffy. Mix in salt, followed by vanilla.

If piping carrots, dye 2 tablespoons of frosting green and 2 tablespoons orange.

Use plain frosting to frost the top of the cake as desired. If piping carrots, put colored frostings in separate piping bags, snip small corners and pipe as desired. I make carrots by following the method on this video.

Carrot Cake Petit Fours

Carrot Cake Petit FoursJust in case you thought I had this baking thing figured out, know that these far-from-picture-perfect Carrot Cake Petit Fours were the fourth test batch and by far the least hideous.Carrot Cake Petit FoursPart of me wants to try again, but it’s not a good part. As a rule, any part of you that can feel utterly demoralized by cake (!) doesn’t deserve too much of your attention. Or maybe it deserves all of your attention? Maybe it should to go to therapy…?

As another rule, you should not take mental health advice from food blogs.Carrot Cake Petit FoursSo, uh, back to Carrot Cake Petit Fours. These sweet little squares are basically miniature layer cakes. They’re super cute and delicious, and just the right amount of cake so that you don’t feel any guilt about going back for seconds. I can eat one in about three bites—four, if I’m being ladylike. <—But why start now?!Carrot Cake Petit FoursTraditional white almond petit fours are my family’s Easter dessert of choice, so I have been trying my hand at these little cakes for the last couple of years in an effort to recapture my youth. Last year, I went for Funfetti. This year, I’m combining my family’s favorite with an Easter classic: Carrot Cake!Carrot Cake Petit FoursNow, I’ve learned a lot of things in these efforts, chief among them that petit fours are a pain in the ass labor of love. There are many steps to making them and one is applying poured fondant. They take a minimum of 2.5 hours to assemble, and that’s after you’ve baked and chilled a sheet cake. There are SO MANY dishes. So many.

I wouldn’t even bother, except that each batch—even batch 3, after which I swore I was giving up until next Easter and was so deflated that I had to leave work early to go home and go to bed—has sent me down Childhood Easter Memory Lane. And so, I trudge on with the hope that I will one day make flawless petit fours.Carrot Cake Petit FoursAlas, today is not that day. But I’ll be the first to tell you that while my poured fondant skills leave something to be desired, my carrot cake game is strong 💪 Flavored with dark brown sugar and warming spices, and studded with the perfect amount of shredded carrots, this cake is seriously phenomenal. And it should be—it’s a streamlined version of my favorite carrot layer cake. Since the batch is 3/4 of the original recipe, I’ve adjusted the volumes of the sugars and slightly reduced the oil. Nothing major; just some tacked-on tablespoons that were bothering me.

You’ll also notice that I left out the raisins and pecans. I usually like those in carrot cake, but figured all the slicing, frosting, and decorating petit fours require would be made easier without any variance in texture.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursAs for assembly, the cake is baked and chilled before being torted (sliced in half equatorially to produce two thin layers) and filled with my favorite fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. I don’t usually like to say that any of my recipes are the “best ever,” but I make an exception for my Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s the best ever.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursAfter being stacked back together, the cake is trimmed to remove any crispy or uneven edges. Then the remaining cake is sliced into 1 1/2-inch squares. Those are crumb-coated (lightly frosted), and then the real fun starts.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursPetit fours are traditionally coated in poured fondant for a clean finish. Easier said than done! The good news is that poured fondant is mercifully quick and easy to make—just some melting and whisking over a double boiler. The less good news is that I tried three different methods of applying it to the cake and the best is a squeeze bottle. It allows for the most control, with spooning/spreading coming in as the best alternative. Dipping is a big no for these—crumb city. As I said before, this is a pain in the ass labor of love.Carrot Cake Petit FoursBut when all is said and done and decorated with little piped carrots, it’s totally worth it. The moist carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, and even the poured fondant assembly—totally worth it. Because they are just that delicious and that frigging cute, imperfections and all.Carrot Cake Petit Fours

Carrot Cake Petit Fours
makes about 2.5 dozen petit fours

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups coarsely grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Poured Fondant:
2/3 cup hot tap water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips (a little more than a 12 ounce bag)
2 lbs confectioners sugar

For Decoration:
1/2 cup Cream Cheese Frosting
orange food coloring (or red and yellow)
green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments. Use a silicone spatula to fold in carrots.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread to edges. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times to release air bubbles. Bake for 33-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use a thin, flexible knife to release cake, and then use overhang to lift it onto a rack. Allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, until completely combined. Beat in vanilla. Once combined, beat on high for two additional minutes, until light and fluffy. Set 1/2 cup of frosting aside.

When you are ready to assemble, line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Top each with a cooling rack. Set aside.

Line a cutting board with parchment. Remove cake from refrigerator, unwrap and place on cutting board. Use a serrated knife to even the top of the cake. Torte cake (slice into 2 very thin layers). Remove top thin layer so you can frost the bottom thin layer. Return the top thin layer to cover the frosting. Crumb coat (lightly frost) the top.

Use serrated knife to trim off crispy cake edges (about 1/4-inch on all sides). Slice cake into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Use an offset icing knife to crumb coat squares on all exposed sides. Place on prepared racks/pans.

Make poured fondant. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together hot water, light corn syrup, and vanilla.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips in the heatproof bowl. When water simmers, place bowl back over the water. Whisk until melted. Alternate adding confectioners sugar and liquid ingredients, whisking constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes (it works best around 100F).

Use a funnel to fill a squeeze bottle with poured fondant.

Working quickly, use squeeze bottle to cover the the top and sides of each square. Use an offset icing knife to adjust sides as necessary. Re-warm poured fondant as needed (I like 8-10 second bursts in the microwave). This may be done with a spoon as well, although a squeeze bottle is simpler. Let poured fondant set for at least an hour.

Divide reserved frosting into 2 small bowls. Tint one with orange food coloring and the other with green. Pipe carrots (instructional video here), if desired. Serve.

Leftover petit fours will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit Fours

Friday Favorites: Easter

Easter is just a couple of weeks away! I’ve got some festive new recipes coming up next week, but if you’re looking to plan ahead, why not try one of these treats from the archives?Friday Favorites: Easter
Hot Cross Buns

These are technically a Good Friday treat, but this blog has no feelings about liturgical specificity, okay? Okay. No matter when you choose to partake in Hot Cross Buns over the Easter weekend, you’re sure to love these spiced, iced, raisin-studded buns 💗 Friday Favorites: Easter
Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake is the queen of Easter desserts! Mine is made extra flavorful with the addition of dark brown sugar, along with the usual raisins, pecans, and spices. A thick coat of extra-fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting and classic piped carrots are the literal and figurative icing on the cake!Friday Favorites: Easter
Carrot Cake Blondies

All that said, not everyone loves the idea of making a layer cake over a busy holiday weekend. If that sounds like you, bake up a batch of Carrot Cake Blondies instead! They’re simple to make and have all the classic carrot cake flavor you love.Friday Favorites: Easter
Funfetti Petit Fours

Carrot Cake is great and all, but my family’s traditional Easter dessert is a big box of petit fours (miniature cakes covered with a thin layer of poured fondant) eaten late on Saturday night. I tried my hand at these confections last Easter, adding a fistful of rainbow sprinkles in the process, and I couldn’t be happier with the cheerful, delicious results.Friday Favorites: Easter
Easter Egg Hunt Cake

If you’re looking for a showstopping finish to your Easter lunch, look no further! Easter Egg Hunt Cake is a towering, coconut-covered vanilla cake that’s filled to the brim with your favorite colorful Easter egg candy. How cute is that?!Friday Favorites: EasterHave you made these or any of my other Easter recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt feels like I’m jumping the gun by posting a carrot cake-flavored recipe in the middle of March, just after the third nor’easter in twelve days, but Easter is on the early side this year, so I suppose I’m right on time.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI get that Carrot Cake is popular around Easter because of the whole Easter Bunny/rabbits + carrots thing but, like, is there ever a bad time for carrot cake?!Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI think not. I could eat it any day, anytime, on a boat/plane/train/any other Seussical place without complaint. Except for the whole general health and well-being and needing bigger pants thing. But if those obstacles weren’t standing in my way, let me tell you, it’d be all carrot cake all the time. That and things made with malted milk powder.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAs it stands though, I just bought a pair of Levi’s 501s that make me feel like a supermodel and I am trying to eat well (outside of the occasional pie, kolaches, and Oreo-stuffed treats—job hazards, you know). So, I made a little compromise and put all the flavors of carrot cake in a delicious and deliciously easy baked oatmeal that works just as well as a make-ahead weekday breakfast as is does as part of an Easter weekend brunch.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealCarrot Cake Baked OatmealThis Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal comes together quickly and easily, and has huge flavor thanks to warming spices, the classic additions of raisins and chopped pecans, and maple syrup.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt bakes up in just half an hour. You could certainly serve it on its own, but I like an extra drizzle of maple syrup, just for kicks. A dollop of yogurt couldn’t hurt either.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAnother great thing about this breakfast? It’s high in protein, so you won’t be starving two hours after you’ve eaten. Oh, and if you use certified gluten-free oats, it’s gluten-free too 🙂 Yep. This is the sort of everyday indulgence I can get behind.Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
makes one 9-inch square pan

2/3 cup raisins, optional
1 cup water
2 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
2/3 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts), optional
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1 1/2 cups grated carrots

For serving (optional):
pure maple syrup
plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

Place raisins in a small bowl. Bring water to a boil and pour over raisins. Let sit while you prepare the oatmeal.

When oven is heated. Place oats and chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Let toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Pour into a medium-large mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Mix in vanilla, maple syrup, melted butter, and milk. Pour over dry mixture and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in carrots. Drain raisins and mix them into the oatmeal.

Transfer oatmeal to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake uncovered for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving with a drizzle of maple syrup and/or a dollop of yogurt, if desired. Oatmeal scoops best initially, but may be sliced after it cools.

Leftover baked oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat individual portions before serving.

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal