As I grow older, I find myself returning to familiar flavours I enjoy a lot. Sometimes I look for inspiration in new cuisines and dishes but very often I tend to seek flavour combinations that seem familiar. One such flavour combination is carrots, spices and cream cheese frosting in an all-American Classic Carrot Cake. So making a quicker version of the classic cake was a no-brainer!
The cinnamon and all-spice complement the slightly sweet grated carrots in a familial way, like they’ve known each other for generations. And they do. Many carrot soups and desserts like halwa make use of cinnamon or cardamom to coax out the sweetness in carrots and these spices unwittingly complement them in the process. In a carrot cake, the slightly tangy layer of cream cheese frosting completes the extraordinary experience of savouring it. Just a thin layer of frosting for me though as I’m no fan of thick frosting , especially those cloyingly sweet ones on generic cupcakes. But if you’re really not a fan of frosting or watching your calories then, these carrot cake muffins are just as delicious in their naked unfrosted selves.
These make great Monday morning breakfasts and all-day tea time treats. Mondays deserve special breakfasts that give you enough reasons enough to get out of bed, especially if your bed is warmer than your bathroom floor in winters. So, yeah. Make these anytime you want a quick treat and save some for Mondays and rainy days because they’re so easy to throw together and soft, moist, slightly sweet and partly nutritious (carrots and nuts count as health foods right?).
Carrot Cake Jumbo Muffins
- 3 cups / 384 grams plain flour
- 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp all-spice powder (increase to 1/2 tsp if omitting nutmeg)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- zest of 2 large oranges
- 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins/sultanas
- 1 1/2 cups/ 300g caster sugar
- 3 1/2 cups / about 260 grams grated carrots
- 1 cup/ 227 grams can of diced pineapple in juice
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 1/2 cup neutral flavoured oil (Canola, Grapeseed, Rice Bran etc)
- 1 3/4 cup/ 435 grams cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup/ 125 g icing sugar
- juice from 1 large orange
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line muffin holes.
2. In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients. Using a whisk, mix in all dry ingredients evenly.
3. Stir in chopped walnuts, raisins/sultanas, sugar, grated carrots and orange zest into flour mix.
4. Using a stick blender or food processor, purée pineapple chunks with the juice. Combine with beaten eggs, vanilla and oil.
5. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined. It’s alright if some white flour bits remain.
6. Spoon into muffin holes until 3/4 full.
7. Bake for 30 minutes.
8. For the frosting, beat the softened cream cheese, icing sugar and orange juice until it forms a smooth spreadable consistency. Add more orange juice if too thick.
9. Remove muffins once baked through and cool completely before icing with cream cheese frosting.
10. Add some sliced orange peel on top for decoration. Enjoy!