Inside-out carrot cake: Carrot Cake Muffins

Spring = bunnies

Bunnies = carrots.

And carrots =

Carrot cake!

Oh, the deep-gold, moist, flavorful cake! The rich, sumptuous cream cheese icing!

The time it takes to bake a layer cake, turn it out, cool, frost, slice, and serve…

The solution? Carrot cake muffins, a less-sweet carrot cake clone oozing baked-in, barely sweetened cream cheese filling.

You get the carrot cake experience, with slightly less sugar and fat. Or a lot less, depending on your favorite carrot cake recipe.

These muffins are handy to transport; simple to serve.

And easy to love.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-well muffin pan.

Or line the pan with paper muffin cups, and grease the cups. More on this later.

Let’s start with the filling. Place one unwrapped, 8-ounce package cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on low power for 40 seconds.

Stir in 1/4 cup granulated sugar and a few drops of Fiori di Sicilia flavor. The Fiori is optional, but adds wonderful, subtle flavor to the filling.

Stir until smooth. Set the filling aside while you make the muffin batter.

Whisk together the following:

2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt

Place the following in a measuring cup or small bowl:

2 large eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Whisk until well combined.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Add 1 cup grated carrots, lightly packed; about 2 medium-large carrots.

Stir to combine.

Note the word “stir;” beating isn’t necessary, and will toughen your muffins.

OK, time to experiment. To paper, or not to paper… that is the question. Will papers affect how the muffins bake? Will it make them easier to get out of the pan? And, is it necessary to grease the papers? We shall see.

Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom.

Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

Whoops! A little off center. That’s what I get for trying to do this left-handed while using my right hand to take the photo. Where’s that third arm when you need it??

There, those are better.

Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups quite full. The batter will come to within about 1/4″ to 3/8″ of the top of each muffin cup.

There, all nice and tidy.

Except for one thing: I had about 1/3 cup of batter left over.

DARN! What to do? Reformulate the recipe to yield 1/3 cup less? Overfill the cups and see what happens?

Neither of the above. Life is imperfect; so is this recipe. I ended up baking the extra batter in a silicone cup set next to the muffin tin.

A scattering of coarse white sparkling sugar across the top is never amiss when you’re making muffins. The sugar adds crunch, glitter, and flavor.

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes. Notice the extra batter in its silicone cup.

When they’re done, a toothpick inserted into the cake part of one (not into the cream cheese filling) will come out clean. The tops of the muffins will feel firm to the touch.

Remember our paper/no paper experiment? The muffins on the left are in papers; on the right, no papers. Clearly the no-paper muffins rise more quickly. Which makes sense; there’s no paper insulating them from the oven’s heat.

By the end of the bake, though, the papered muffins had caught up, height-wise. So far, then – it’s a tie.

Remove the muffins from the oven, and immediately tilt them in their cups; a fork works well here.

I found it easier to tilt the papered muffins; they didn’t stick at all. The muffins without papers needed to cool a bit longer before they’d release from the pan. And, as they cooled, they were steaming a bit; which made their bottoms a bit tough.

Score one for papers.

Shall we break one open now, or wait for them to cool?


The center is molten. It’s actually a decadent experience, licking the melting, sweet cream cheese off your fingers.

But, if you’re not the finger-lickin’ type, wait 30 minutes or so for the muffins to cool a bit; the filling will stiffen up.

Oh, let’s finish our muffin papers experiment. Should the papers be greased, or not?

Definitely greased; the greased papers released the muffins without any sticking at all, while the ungreased papers tended to cling a bit, taking off a layer of crumbs as you removed them.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. "sandra Alicante"

    I can just imagine those fluffy, floppy ears…

    Is the US cream cheese very firm? The ones over here, I can’t see a need to heat it to mix in the sugar? Or is it that you need it at room temp so as not to interfere with the baking?

    Every time I eat anything with cream cheese frosting, one of our cats sits on my lap, gazing at me, adoringly…ever hopeful that I may abandon my plate.
    Hi Sandra,
    The cream cheese here is firm when cold, just slightly less firm than butter. At room temperature it is softer and easier to spread but still thicker. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

  2. amgbooth

    These look great and I can’t wait to try them out. Your photos are always wonderful, but you have mentioned here and before how they can be tricky to take. Do you have a gorillapod? I love mine. It is a flexible tripod. Here’s a link to the manufacturer, but you can get them at marts and electronic stores as well.
    Susan and I both have Gorillapods, but PJ is just fantastic, how she can bend, twist and hold a camera just so, even when she’s practically upside down! ~ MaryJane

    Thanks, Alissa – I’m usually in too much of a hurry to use a tripod, but MJ and Susan swear by theirs… PJH

  3. Sue

    Did you try putting the filling on top of the batter? I’m wondering if the batter would rise up around the filling, eliminating the need to layer the batting, filling, and then batter?

    I did try that, Sue – if I put it on top before baking, it sank to the bottom; if I put it on partway through the bake, it sat on top. It was more reliable to just put it in the middle immediately. But that’s just me – give it a try, you might have different results. PJH

  4. tryaches

    I’m thinking about using freshly grated ginger for extra zing. Do you think that I’d need to cut back on the water a little bit?

    Not unless you use a huge amount – I’d think a couple of tablespoons wouldn’t make enough difference to warrant a change in the liquid. Sounds good! PJH

  5. Sarah

    How do you think these would freeze? I really want to make a batch right away but 12 muffins is just too many for my husband and I to consume before they go bad. I’m kind of worried about the filling getting the whole inside soggy if I freeze them.
    Generally, we don’t recommend freezing baked goods that contain a cream cheese filling. You could make them without the filling and freeze and then use a cream cheese icing on them once they are thawed. ~Amy

  6. "jenni miller"

    Do you think I could safely halve this recipe to make just 6 muffins? It looks like straightforward division, since the original recipe calls for 2 eggs (dividing 1 egg is…interesting! haha!), but sometimes the “chemistry” of a recipe can be affected by halving it. Opinions? Suggestions? And thanks for the experiment with the papers/no papers. I appreciate the info!!
    I don’t see that there would be a problem halving the recipe. Have fun! ~Amy

  7. Brenda

    Variation on a theme of Tryaches…I was thinking some minced candied ginger in with the filling would make this about perfect.

  8. Lee G.

    I want to send some of these muffins to my son in college for Easter; however, I was concerned that the filling might cause the muffins to need refrigeration several hours after baking. Would these delicious-looking muffins hold up to a journey through the mail?
    I wouldn’t recommend that you send these through the mail as they do need refrigeration after a few hours. ~Amy

  9. marykh

    These look fantastic! I may have to do a grocery store run tonight to get some cream cheese!

    Silly question – what do you use to grease the muffin papers?
    Just a simple pan spray will be sufficient. ~Amy

  10. glpruett

    YUM, YUM, YUM!!! I just made the Peanut Butter Muffins (with chocolate chips, of course) from the King Arthur’s Whole-Grain Baking cookbook yesterday, and now you give me another muffin recipe I must make today! As if that were a sacrifice!!!

    For anybody who hasn’t tried spraying the insides of your paper liners, what are you waiting for??? I did it for the first time with yesterday’s muffins, and couldn’t believe the huge difference it made. The muffins practically fall out of the paper liners.

    So, I’m off to grate carrots. I’ll be using 100% whole wheat pastry flour in these, as I did with the Peanut Butter muffins yesterday. I can’t wait to taste these! Thanks in advance for another great recipe!

  11. LHartmanRN

    Do these little beauties need to be refrigerated after baking?
    Yes, they should be refrigerated after a couple of hours because of the cream cheese filling. ~Amy

  12. ginc13

    HI, We love carrot cake so this is a recipe I want to try. Question is: Did you use vegetable spray to grease the paper liners and how much to use without it settling in the bottom of the cups. Thank you so much for a great recipe.
    A vegetable spray would work fine for this. ~Amy

  13. LeeB

    LOVE carrot cake! Great idea for the muffins! I know whole wheat will work since the coarser texture of carrot cake stands up to whole wheat (IMO) but my question is the filling. Can I use maple syrup or honey instead of white sugar? Or will it be too runny? I usually use Sucanat in place of granulated sugar but it doesn’t dissolve quite as well and I’m afraid it will make the filling grainy in this case so was thinking of a liquid natural sweetener like the syrup or honey.
    Now if you could do a scone in this same flavor. 🙂
    I don’t recommend using a liquid sweetener for this filling as it will not be substantial enough during the baking process. I would use the sucanat instead of the syrup. You could try the honey option because you would actually use less (1/8 cup) than sugar because it is sweeter. This may hold up better as a filling than one with 1/4 cup syrup. ~Amy

  14. bloodroot

    These look amazing! I am wondering if I could use all KA white whole wheat flour or at least 1/2? what adjustments would I need to make in the rest of the recipe to do this?
    If you have never used the WWW flour, I suggest using 50% white and 50% white whole wheat to start and you can always increase the next time if you wish.

  15. marcin

    From my Joy of Cooking, 1964: About Muffins, page 580: “The mixing is held to an absolute minimum, a light stirring of from 10 to 20 seconds, which will leave some lumps. Ignore them. . . . If the batter has been beaten too long, the gluten in the muffin will be course and full of tunnels.” I read that about a year or so ago, and ever since, I’ve been counting 20 strokes, including the incorporation of any fruit and the liquids, which I now beat the heck out of in another bowl and warm up just a tiny bit over a bowl of hot water. Just thought I’d share that because I’ve been enjoying making muffins ever since. The kids laugh when they hear me counting, but 20 seems to work. I can’t wait to try these Inside Out Carrot Muffins on my family over Easter. I have some carrot-cake-and-cream-cheese-icing monsters in the house. They will love these. Thank you.
    And thank you for sharing your tips with us. ~Amy

  16. leapyeardz

    Do the muffins need to be stored in the fridge, or will an airtight container do?
    They would be best stored in an airtight container in the fridge. ~Amy

  17. poody15538

    Oh my – these look so delicious, I’m drooling all over the keyboard!!
    2 questions: Please pardon the apparent silliness of the questions … BUT when you “grease the paper cups” do you put the grease (Crisco or butter?) on the outside of the paper or the inside? Either way, it seems like a very-messy job!? AND – can this recipe be made in Bundt pans? I just purchased (from King Arthur!) 2 half-size Bundt Pans, and am wondering if I can make this recipe in the 2 Bundt Pans? If the filling sets up a bit, will I be able to slice the cake – with the filling staying intact? This would be for a pot-luck, and sometimes slices of cake are easier to eat than cup-cakes. CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS!
    This recipe would at least make one bundt pan, but may be just shy of a second. It’s worth giving it a try. The worst case scenario, you would have one cake that is slightly smaller. The filling should hold up for slicing just fine. ~Amy

    Grease the inside of the cups, the part the batter touches. I just use non-stick vegetable oil spray – I don’t think I’d bother if I was going to grease by hand with shortening… PJH

  18. biobaker

    Ah! The perfect solution to my always wanting carrot cake to be a bit less sweet and sticky. Well, almost perfect… I’m one of those sadists who despises frosting, including the cream cheese kind. I’ll hazard a guess that omitting the cream cheese filling will simply mean being a bit short on batter (that extra silicone cup will go away, but I imagine I might end up with 11 1/2 instead of 12 muffins) but that they’ll bake up at the same time and temp. Have any of you tried this? A bit of non-frosting embellishment would be nice, too. A spoonful of chopped raisins and candied ginger simmered in apple juice with a pinch of cloves, perhaps? Do you think that the fruit would harden too much during baking or that, converse, moisture would ooze out of the fruit into the cake and create squishyness?
    I really like your idea- go for it!!!!! ~Amy

  19. argentyne

    oh yay! That would be so much faster! I make carrot cake muffins at least once a year (minimum) because carrot cake is my parrot’s most favorite cake in the whole wide world. And so I bake a batch of muffins (with a few mini muffins on the side) in February for his birthday. Then for a couple of days, he gets one entire mini muffin in his breakfast veggie cup and he goes bonkers.

    I normally do frost the cupcakes, but this year I couldn’t get the cream cheese to warm up enough to make the frosting. My house was too cold. This will save the day totally!

    I may have to make them in a couple of weeks. I only just got to add bread back into my diet after my throat surgery, so haven’t graduated to cake yet. 😀

    Definitely flagging this recipe for later though! Thank you!
    Thank you for sharing the amusing story about your parrot 🙂
    In the future, if your cream cheese needs to be softened, you can soften it in the microwave gently (take off the foil wrapper) or you can (leaving it in the wrapper) put it in a blowl of hot water to soften. This works great for butter also. ~Amy

  20. epicharis

    Yummmm! Do you think these might work as mini-muffins, or would they be too small and tough?

    I actually think these would be fine – just don’t overbake… Enjoy – PJH

  21. NothingChocolate

    These are AMAZING looking!!! My all-time favorite cake! I don’t think I can attempt these, they look a bit out of my baking league. Although the photos are wonderful and there are many, 1 for each step… Maybe…
    Great job!!! You wonderful bakers you!!!

    Hmmm… I’ve always said, if you can read, you can bake. In the interest of making the directions easier and the recipe more accessible – what could I do to make you believe this is in your league? My goal is to make baking accessible to everyone, no matter their experience of skill level – so any input you give me would be greatly appreciated! Thanks- PJH

  22. alohahawaii1964

    These sound very similar to the Inside Out Carrot Cake I did back on my blog in February. I came up with the cake out of necessity because I didn’t want the mess of a frosting on top. I guess the muffin idea works to.

  23. ecentipede

    argentyne, re: baking for parrots–i do that as well (make a mini or two on the side for the parrots when i make appropriate muffins) but i have been told by several reputable sources to be sure to use the aluminum free baking powder.

    also on the avoid list are alcohol (so go *very* easy on extracts or omit), chocolate, avocado, rhubarb, and spinach.

    our two particularly love corn muffins with cranberries also, and anything with applesauce or yogurt in the recipe!

  24. "sandra Alicante"

    NothingChocolate –

    Go for it! You will be fine! Just measure out your stuff carefully beforehand, get your oven heated and your utensils ready. Read through the recipe again before you start and keep it with you as you work. If reading from a laptop, increase the zoom or font size to make easier reading. Get rid of distractions and enjoy the experience. Afterwards you will wonder what you worried about.
    PJH has done a great job with the recipe.

  25. lorrainesfav

    I love your idea for the cream cheese filling! For this amount of batter, I think JUMBO muffins would be perfect. Usually for 12 regular muffins, 2 cups of flour does the trick. But then then rest of the ingredients must be scaled down too. My computer program is great at this kitchen math stuff. Don’t we love baking experiments?

  26. "Jane C"

    Oh boy!!! Can’t wait to try these! Maybe I need to try out the recipe before bringing them to my friend’s Easter gathering…. geeee….. Carrot cake is my favorite. I think I’ll make a trip to the store! But the nuts are missing!

  27. glpruett

    I made them, and they are GREAT!!! Unlike on your blog, I ended up having enough for 14 filled muffins with a little extra filling left over. I decided to tint some of it orange and some green. Voila`–tiny carrots piped on top of wonderful carrot cake muffins!

    The 100% whole wheat pastry flour worked great, and I decreased the granulated sugar in the batter to 1/4 cup. Perfect! Thanks again, KAF!!!
    Thanks for sharing your results. I think the carrot idea is brilliant! ~ MaryJane

  28. smpat

    These muffins look amazing. How did you prepare the carrots? In the photo they appeared to be finely chopped. My box shredder wouldn’t produce anything near yours in appearance.
    Sandy P.

    Sandy, you’re right, I chopped them in a food processor. Use whatever the finest holes are on your grater; that should be just fine. PJH

  29. Cassie

    Just made my own (, and goodness, they are wonderful. I rather like my carrot cake to have little flecks of visible carrot throughout, so I didn’t mind using the larger hole on my grater for my cupcakes.

    For the sake of posterity: I also had enough batter for 14 standard sized muffins with a bit of frosting left over even after that. I liked another commenter’s idea of using a piping bag to make little carrots as decoration, but I’m far too lazy for that sort of thing.

    Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  30. gottliebmir

    I made them with 1/2 white whole wheat flour & the batter was much thicker than in your pictures, took about 5 min less to bake & seems to be just as wonderful. I used a drop of lemon oil & a few of vanilla in the filling and it is fabulous. We & the neighbors are delighted this evening & I’m sure my coworkers will be in the morning as well. Thank you!

  31. Nate Houck

    Tried these two nights ago with some skepticism. Was I relieved to hear from the hardest critic in the house, ‘These are keepers’. Reminded me of a more flavorful version of a popular creamy filled cupcake purchased at the local store. The baking mastery of P. J. H. shines through on this one!

    Thanks, Nate! Glad these passed the “tough audience” test… PJH

  32. Todd

    I made these and they are excellent. I also used the large holes on my grater for the carrots. I will make these again.

    Thanks for the positive feedback, Todd – PJH

  33. Jen

    These turned out great. I put the remaining batter at the end in a mini muffin pan and ended up with a few bite-size carrot cake muffins. I’d guess that I let those bake for about 12 minutes, not the full 20, and they were perfect. I really like the flavor of these — not too sweet! Thanks for the great recipe.

  34. fran16250

    I wonder how it would be if you put an egg in the filling, almost like a cheescake batter. What do you think?
    The only potential problem is if you beat an egg into the batter, it may expand a lot and ooze out of the muffin batter and make a mess. If you incorporate an egg into the filling, be sure not to whip a lot of air in with it. ~Amy

  35. KeshaB623

    Hi. I made these tonight and they tasted delicious! I am wondering why some of my muffins had big air pockets between the top layer of the batter and the cream cheese filling? The carrot cake tasted delicious! I just wish the insides didn’t have the big air pocket so they would have been prettier when you cut them open.
    If only some of the muffins came out that way and others didn’t, I suspect that you may just have had air gaps between the batter and the cream cheese filling to begin with on those particular muffins. Next time, it might be worth a try to give your muffin tin a firm slam on the counter top before putting them into the oven. This will settle the batter over the filling and eliminate any possible air traps. ~Amy

  36. robbytracey

    I made these tonight and they were FABULOUS! I only had one though that didn’t crack and the filling didn’t come out of the top. I don’t mind though, everyone is still amazed at how good they taste. I have to disagree with the paper wrappers… I enjoyed the several that I made without the wrappers better then ones with the wrapper.

  37. neesha

    Just FYI- If someone you hold dear who loves carrot cake finds out at 50 that they’re allergic to dairy…this recipe does not work very well at all with vegan cream cheese. It’s a great waste of perfectly good batter!

  38. Mary Cay Martin

    My youngest son gave up sweets for Lent and I promised him any sweet treat of his choice after Easter.When I just mentioned this recipe in passing on Easter, he said”Why don’t you have all the ingredients ready and waiting?”and reminded me that the groom’s cake at his wedding last December was carrot cake.We bought the missing cream cheese on the way home from church!

    Hope they turned out well for you, Mary Cay – bet your son was one happy guy! 🙂 PJH

  39. Julie

    The filling oozed out of the muffins on a bunch of mine, and while some stayed nicely domed, a bunch sank down in the middle where the filling was. I hope they will still taste fine.

    Julie, they may look a bit messy, but I’m guessing they’ll be delicious. Remember, beauty is only crust deep… 🙂 PJH

  40. Nicole

    Mine look more like a science experiment! Mine ruptured like little volcanoes! I used some left over cream cheese frosting that I had…must have over-filled. But, the idea is fabulous (as is the taste) and worth giving it another shot!

    Well, Nicole, that’s a lot of what baking boils down to (pun intended!) – live and learn. I’m guessing the frosting was too sweet/without thickener, and thus was able to become molten enough to erupt. Glad you like the concept, though – PJH

  41. christina

    How well would these work with Gluten-free flour? Anyone tried it yet? Any suggestions to adapt the recipe? Thanks!!!
    Sorry Christina, we don’t have a gluten-free carrot cake or cupcake recipe yet, and we do not have any substitutions available at this time for turning this into GF. ~Jessica@KAF

  42. Lindsay

    Should you use vanilla extract if you don’t have Sicilli de Fiori? Can’t wait to try these!
    You can certainly use Vanilla instead, Lindsay. Or Almond, or pecan, or… Any flavoring you like can be used! Or, it can also be omitted from the recipe to let the cream cheese shine right through. 🙂 ~Jessica

  43. CakeLover

    I was wondering if you can use a carrot cake mix instead of the listed ingredients since they cake mixes are also used for cupcakes?


    Sure thing – mixes are a great time-saver. Our King Arthur carrot cake mix is absolutely delicious! 🙂 PJH

  44. Jenn

    What about zucchini instead of carrots? Would you use the same amount as carrots?

    Jenn, I think zucchini is a lot wetter than carrots; I’d suggest grating a bunch of zucchini, pressing it for several hours in a colander, then measuring. Should work if you do that – PJH

  45. Sara

    I just made these except I didn’t have any carrots so I substituted the carrots with pumpkin puree. I am very excited to try them and will let you know how they turn out!

    Great – We’re looking forward to your results! Irene @ KAF

  46. Lindsey Blum

    I would really like to try these but i am currently dieting. just curious how many calories is one muffin?

    Sorry, Lindsey, it’s on our list, but at this point we don’t have the nutritional software to be able to provide calorie counts for all our recipes. 🙁 PJH

  47. sarahfoxx

    These look delicious, but I can’t imagine carrot cake without nuts. Have you experimented with adding nuts? Would I just add them to the batter?
    Funny, because I just made some Morning Glory muffins and left out raisins and sunflower seeds to please other members in the family. I left in the nuts only to find out they were not chopped small enough (according to one member)! Add NUTS, Sarah! And add some for me and leave them coarsely chopped (just the way I like them!). Anywhere from 1/2 -3/4 cup will do. Elisabeth

  48. Penny

    Ok one would have thought I was a newbie baker. I got everything ready, all 3 bowls and as I was pouring the wet into the dry, I’m thinking “that doesn’t look like very much dry”. It was sooo soupy. OK, forgot the flour, so had to start all over with the wet and dry. I finally get my papers filled and I’m running out of the mix. I put too much on the bottom layer so the top was rather thin. Everyone of the muffins exploded (yea, the cream cheese mix burst outward;) but, let me tell you….these are soooooo good!! Next time, pretty maybe, but I bet they won’t taste any better!! Ummmmmmm.

  49. Marika Fleri

    Just tried these and they are fantastic:) Thanks for sharing recipe. Do you think that changing water to milk will work?

    Milk will tend to toughen the finished product a bit. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  50. Aralyn

    I would love to make this recipe for mum but she’s a vegetarian. Can I use an alternative to eggs such as egg substitute?
    That should work just fine. The soy or flax subs seem to work pretty well in the test kitchen for these types of recipes. ~ MaryJane

  51. Becky

    I just made these and they are DELICIOUS!! The only thing I changed about the recipe was that I added twice the amount of sugar (1/2 cup) to the cream cheese filling. It’s definitely not as sweet as a carrot cake, but still very good.

  52. Ellen Marie

    I just made these to welcome back my mother from her trip to Florida and we both absolutely loved them!!! The only thing that I substituted was Sugar In The Raw for inside and out, and I used some maple flavor for the cream cheese and it worked wonderfully! Thank you for the recipe, I’ll definitely use it again in the future! 🙂

  53. Julie

    I really liked the concept if these and they turned out pretty good. Not a huge fan of this carrot cake recipe…not sure why but it wasn’t what im used to. But overall, pretty good!

  54. AnneInWA

    I was wondering if I could substitute butter for the oil? Would I use the same amount? These look wonderful, and I was thinking of making two batches, one with just carrots and another with carrots and crushed pineapple. Thanks again for the wonderful ideas!

    In this recipe the fat needs to be in liquid form. You may substitute an equal amount of melted butter for the oil. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  55. jgarnett

    I really wanted to love these…the pictures are great! But, I was wondering if it’s possible the recipe is wrong? I followed it exactly, but the batter ended up much more like pizza dough than muffin batter…it was so thick I couldn’t stir it. So, I added more liquid ingredients to make it more like an actual muffin batter, but that obviously messed up the chemistry and they were dense and tasteless. Maybe the “batter” is supposed to be more like a dough? It just doesn’t look that way in the pictures. I’d love to know how to fix this, because they do look so tasty!

    First thing to try: watch our video on measuring flour, because this is usually the issue when a batter or dough is much thicker than it should be. Also – did you use large eggs? And did you use all-purpose flour, not bread flour? If you measured your flour using the “sprinkle and sweep” method, and answered yes to both of these questions, please call our baker’s hotline, 802-649-3717 – they can help. PJH

  56. Rebecca

    I just made these, they are in the oven now, I cannot wait to eat them! I was wondering if next time, while making the batter, I could chill the cream cheese mixture in order to work with it
    Ore easily. I had a hard time keeping it centered when dolloping it. I tend to be a perfectionist with these things!

    Yes, you could. But a chilled center will alter the baking time and look. Another option would be to use a piping bag to deliver the filling “dead center”. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  57. BexlyP

    OMG! My husband loves carrot cake, and after a little Googling for carrot cake cupcake recipes, found this one. I made them tonight and they came out fantastic! I don’t have a cookie scoop, so my lumps of frosting were a bit uneven and poked through the crust in some of them, but they were SO GOOD. Definitely a recipe to keep handy!

  58. kimwelch131

    I tried these and they turned out fantastic! I would love to add some raisins and coconut to these for Easter? Can you tell me how much you would suggest and if I would need to adjust the other ingredients at all? Thanks, KimW.

    Kim, I’d add about 1/2 cup each coconut and raisins; you’ll end up with maybe 3 extra muffins due to the extra volume, so downsize your filling for each accordingly, OK? Good luck – PJH

  59. joit

    These were delicious, but the directions were confusing to me. Two tablespoons of batter, check. One “heaping” “level’ tablespoon of filling? Heaping is usally “overflow”… I had a lot of filling left over. I’m going to make again and add more filling.

    “Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.” A tablespoon cookie scoop, which mimics the soup spoons people used to use to drop cookie dough onto a baking sheet, actually holds about 4 teaspoons, so is equivalent to “1 heaping tablespoon.” Hope this helps demystify those directions! PJH

  60. Sarah

    Could you use vanilla extract to replace the Fiori flavor in the middle? I don’t think I could find that, but am wondering if vanilla extract would work. Can’t wait to try these! THey look so good!

    Absolutely, Sarah – use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, it’ll be delicious. Enjoy – PJH

  61. Vicki

    Would you be able to give me the calorie count per muffin? These look amazing and I want to try them but am trying to stay within a 1100 calorie a day plan!
    Thank you

    Vicki, unfortunately we don’t have the calorie count on this – or on a lot of our recipes (yet). It’s a work in (slow) progress. However, I’d venture that this particular treat wouldn’t fit very well nto an 1100/cal a day diet… With the filling, it has more calories than a regular muffin. PJH

  62. CJ

    I was planning to make carrot cake muffins this weekend….using the carrot pulp left from juicing carrots. when I juice carrots I usually juice a little apple and grapes, too, and don’t think it’ll hurt the muffins. Looking forward to the experiment!
    It sounds great to me! We love experiments as there is no better way to learn than to venture into the unknown. Let us know how they turn out. ~Amy

  63. Heather

    just made these but with 1/2 goat cheese 1/2 cream cheese…sooo good, also substituted coconut oil + apple sauce instead of veggie oil and threw in a few chocolate chips (never hurts). The goat cheese gave it a very rich, complex surprise

  64. Lori

    I made these and they were delicious! However, my cream cheese seemed to burst out of the batter and it made them look like the muffins had a huge ugly growth. They were still yummy to eat, but can you tell me what I may have done wrong? The cream cheese was covered with batter (although it did seem to be kind of thin on top) I couldn’t find the Fiori di Sicilia, so I used about a tsp of vanilla flavoring in the cream cheese instead. I also didn’t use the sugar on top because I couldn’t find any that was coarsely chopped (which I was quite sad about). Other than that I pretty much followed it exactly. I don’t typically bake much, so I would love some tips because I definitely want to make these again!!!
    If the filling burst out on the sides or top, it was most likely because there was not enough batter coverage. If you used a mixer to make the filling, you could have stirred too much air into it, which would make it expand a considerable amount in the oven. ~Amy

  65. Kailey

    Thank you so much for posting this! They are delicious.
    One question, my muffin batter came out kind of sticky or doughy and didn’t have the same consistency muffin batter usually has… Any idea why this happened? Thanks x
    You may have had too much flour in your batter, or perhaps it was over-mixed??? ~Amy

  66. Jodelene

    Thanks for the step by step instructions!
    These were delicious!
    A few things –
    8oz = 250g package of cream cheese (for the Canadians)
    Use parchment cupcake liners for easy removal! (No spray needed)
    My dough was sticky as well but still came out great.

  67. Jo

    The recipe looks great! I doubled it and the batter and filling turned out perfectly. I filled 2 paper-lined, but not greased, muffin pans with four extra muffins and filling leftover. The only problem – they seem to have burned! I cooked for 20 minutes on 400 as directed. Any ideas? My theory is the filling sunk far enough into the batter to touch the bottom of the liners and that’s what burned. Perhaps I needed more flour to make the batter thicker? I’ll be interested to see what they taste like, though! They still smell good! Thanks!Because the muffin pans were not full, they will cook a little faster.

  68. kim

    these look great! do you think if i froze the muffins overnight, they’d survive a 8-10 hour journey the next day? i love how easily transportable they are!

    I think they’d just be better in a cooler for the trip, Kim – never mind the freezing. Would that work for you? If you need to freeze (no cooler), then it would depend on how hot the trip was… I don’t think 8-10 hours at 90°F-100°F would be a good idea, but at 65°F, maybe OK. PJH

  69. Mar

    Can I use prepared cream cheese icing with this recipe?
    We haven’t tried it, but as long as it is pretty sturdy and not too soft icing, it should be okay. Give it a try and let us know. ~ MaryJane

  70. Val

    Omagosh these look so amazing… Can’t wait to make these with my daughter:)
    Also have to add…I found your trial and error tutorial, fun, and cute to follow along with! Thanks for doing a great job with the detailed pics and directions!


  71. Heather_Lynn

    these look absolutely amazing! I want to make these for Christmas dinner as a desert for my family. I was just wondering, is it possible to use baby food carrots in this recipe instead of real carrots? any time I ever make a carrot cake I use baby food carrots. Please get back to me as soon as you can. Thank you for any help and Happy Holidays 🙂

    Sorry for the delay, Heather – sure, go ahead and use baby food carrots. The batter may be a bit more liquid, but I’m guessing it’ll still rise without falling. Good luck – PJH

  72. Amanda

    Would these be ok to make the day before eating them? I wasn’t sure if they would be the same if they were left in a refrigerator all night.

    The muffins will be fine in the fridge overnight–just be sure to let them get to room temperature before eating as the filling will solidify after chilling! You can always warm them gently in the oven (300F for 5-10 minutes) to refresh them–but only do this to as many as you want to serve–leave the rest in the fridge! Best, Kim@KAF

  73. Lotta

    Well, well, about an hour ago I just decided to lose some weight- but now I’ve changed my mind……Gotta try them out, just have to, I can lose the weight another time, right? Thank you for this great recipe!

    Some things are just meant to be enjoyed! Kim@KAF

  74. plejeune

    I’ve never heard to “Tilt” the cupcake. Is that a “cupcake thing” or only for cupcakes with filling? I’m curious as to the purpose, and for how long do they stay tilted? Thanks. These look scrumptious! Glad I found them in time for the upcoming Easter holiday!

    I like to use a fork, knife, or chopstick to tilt both cupcakes and muffins; it keeps their bottoms from steaming and becoming soggy/leathery. Best to move them to a cooling rack ASAP, though, as soon as you can handle them, lest they end up with a “dimple” in their side! 🙂 PJH

  75. Kim Hennon

    I just have two questions and maybe I missed someone else posting about it but, can you make these cupcakes into a sheet cake? Like instead of having 24 cupcakes have maybe a 13×9 pan? And is this is the case, about how long did you cook it for?

    Should be able to do this, though I haven’t tried it, Kim – 24 cupcakes usually = a 9″ x 13″ pan, volume-wise. You might try cooking at 350°F for, oh, 30 to 35 minutes? Make sure to test when you think it’s done. Good luck – PJH

  76. kathy travis

    Love this recipe!!

    was wondering if anyone has made this in a bundt cake pan? maybe double the recipe and cook like you would another cake would? if anyone has done this and it failed or even worked out great, I would love it if you could reply to me before this saturday (the one before Easter 2013).
    Thank you and I can’t wait to get my mouth around all this yummyness again.

    You are welcome to try this recipe in a Bundt pan, just be sure to grease it very very well and try to avoid the filling from touching the pan at all (to avoid sticking!). Then, be sure to bake until the cake bakes all the way through, approximately 45-50 minutes. Best of luck! Kim@KAF

  77. Clara

    I made these! They were nice and easy. the only problem is that you can see little bits of the filling cracking through the top. Which is fine! But I was wondering what I did wrong. Did I add too much batter on the bottom and not enough on the top? Thanks!
    Although it could have been a lack of batter on top, it was more likely that too much air was stirred into the filling. The aeration would cause the filling to rise upward (potentially even causing a blowout). ~Amy

  78. Ivette

    I just made them last Sunday…. delicious!! Thanks for the recept 🙂


    So glad you liked them, Ivette – thanks for connecting here.

  79. Jett

    I just tried it with GF, the batter turned out way too thick (no idea why) but they tasted good. The cream cheese didnt really sink down into the muffin, so it was more like layered cake, I think next time i think I will add more water and maybe some apple sauce to make the batter thinner. Here’s the recipie I used:

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease muffin pan.

    Heat an 8-ounce package cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl on low power for 40 seconds.

    Stir in 1/4 cup granulated sugar and a few drops of vanilla.
    Set the filling aside. (I added more sugar hahaha mmmmm sugar)

    Whisk together the following:
    1-1/4 cups Rice Flour
    ½ Cup + 1 tsp Potato Starch
    ¼ cup Tapioca Starch
    1 tsp Xantham Gum
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    ¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
    2 tsp Baking powder
    ¼ tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    3/4 tsp ground ginger
    3/4 t tsp salt

    Place the following in a measuring cup or small bowl:
    3 Large eggs
    2/3 Cup water
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    (I think I would add 1/2c applesauce and 1/4c water)

    Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

    Add 1 cup grated carrots, lightly packed; about 2 medium-large carrots.

    Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom.

    Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

    Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups quite full. The batter will come to within about 1/4″ to 3/8″ of the top of each muffin cup.

    Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us, happy baking!-Jon

  80. homemoma

    i ended up with volcanos. the cream cheese statrted to ooze out and all over my oven….

    Oh dear! So sorry about the mess: it’s really important to measure out the batter precisely for these muffins to stay in their cups. Also, if the filling was whipped too much, it would have expanded and pushed outward as the muffins baked. Best, Kim@KAF

  81. Mrs. Boyd

    Please Answer As Soon As Possible:
    Can I Use A Box Carrot Cake Mix, Instead?? Thanks.

    Yes, sure, so long as it makes 12 standard-size muffins/cupcakes. PJH

  82. Brooke kimbrough

    Can I make these the night before or do they harden and taste “less fresh” by morning?

    They’re very moist and will be fine sitting overnight, Brooke. Enjoy – PJH

  83. lybc

    should coconut go in the frosting or in the muffin batter?

    Both will work without a problem, though I would not add more than 1 cup in total to the recipe.-Jon

  84. Donnamarie

    Could this be made in a loaf pan rather than muffins? I’m sure the baking time will change…. Thanks
    Because of the need for the filling to bake through, we would not recommend this as a loaf. ~ MJ

  85. Autumn Allen

    I made these today & they were great but mine didn’t rise but I did deviate by adding applesauce (2 tablespoons) thinking I was some awesome pastry chef….. smile Could this have been the reason. Oh I also added walnuts too.

  86. KTN

    Is it necessary to use grated carrot or can shredded carrot be substituted? I have some carrots that i shredded in the food processor and are much thicker and longer than in your pic. I’m not sure if the long shreds will be too thick. Thanks for replying.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Depends on your personal taste. Obviously the longer, thicker shreds will be much more apparent in the muffin; and depending on their thickness, they may be a bit crunchy. But the only way to find out is to try the recipe and see – you may find these more “carroty” muffins right up your alley! 🙂 PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Never tried it, Kelly, but I don’t see why not – they should act the same. Let us know how it goes, OK? PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Yes, Katie; the filling may become a tiny bit watery, but they should be fine. Thaw at room temperature – remove from any packaging, and re-wrap as soon as they’re thawed, so the air doesn’t make them stale. Good luck – PJH

  87. Kayler

    Did you grease the muffin pans that were paperless? My kids tend to like paperless muffins better – better crust I think and maybe just easier not to peel the paper off.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Kayler, yes, I always grease muffin pans, even non-stick ones. I think the grease helps brown the crust and give it a bit of nice crispiness. PJH

  88. Anne-Marie (New Zealand)

    Hi there, thanks for the fab recipe! I have just made a batch, my mixture nowhere as runny as your and I could only put 1Tblsp mixture, 1Tblsp cream cheese which only just left me with enough to cover the tops.

    But end result, raised very well and soooooo tasty.

    Thank you

  89. Erica

    Hello! Tried these out tonight and had one issue, my batter was more like dough. I believe I followed the recipe exactly, so I am not sure where I went wrong. Any ideas? Luckily, they still tasted amazing! Thank you!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Erica, my first thought is that perhaps you were a bit heavy-handed measuring the flour. Have you watched our measuring flour video? My next thought would be that perhaps your carrots weren’t as juicy as usual… that, combined with a bit too much flour, could produce the dough-like consistency you noticed. Glad they tasted good, anyway! PJH

  90. Annette

    Are these better to make and have sit overnight or make and serve right away? I am making them for a potluck breakfast and not sure if I should make them the night before or get up early and make them that morning?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Annette, they’re better the same day, but they certainly won’t suffer too much sitting overnight; so I’d suggest you do whatever fits your schedule better. Good luck – PJH

  91. Shandra Locken

    I made these without the filling. The reason is that I need to freeze them. I plan to fill them with cream cheese icing before I serve. Will this work out okay? Also, can you explain how to grease a paper cup? This make no sense to me. I gave them a quick spray since I didn’t know how to grease a cup…

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Your plan should work out just fine, Shandra. And you grease a paper cup by setting it into the muffin tin, and spraying it with vegetable-oil spray, whatever brand you usually use. So you came to the right conclusion on that one, too. Enjoy – PJH

  92. Ande H.

    Hi PJ,

    I was thinking of making these a couple days before a family get together. (make on a Thursday, consume on a Saturday) BUT, if you advise that the are best eaten the day they are made I’ll just hold off on making them.



  93. Bonnie

    I would like to prepare these the night before, put them in the refrigerator and bake them for breakfast the next morning. Is that possible or will the filling drop to the bottom. If possible how long would I have to let them out before baking?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Bonnie, I wouldn’t recommend refrigerating the unbaked cupcakes the night before because the filling will very likely sink, but you could mix up the cake and filling mixtures and keep those in the refrigerator overnight and then assemble the cup cakes in the morning and bake. The cupcakes may take a bit longer to bake when the ingredients are cold. Barb@KAF

  94. Rachel

    My 10-year-old daughter LOVES carrot cake; it’s her favorite. Annnnnd, because we had some extra carrots in the house, and for no other reason than I love my daughter, I made these yesterday. I used brown sugar for the cake and the frosting, and these came out sooooooo good. Next time I think I’ll put in more carrots though. Also, the cake part is a bit heavy– maybe from the brown sugar instead of white? I dunno. It made 9 cupcakes with extra frosting– I just put an extra dollop of frosting on the top of each cupcake, and some sprinkles. My daughter wasn’t complaining. 🙂 Thanks for a great recipe.

  95. Ancient Aunt

    PJ, thank you for the most entertaining recipe I’ve ever read. Comments such as “Score one for papers.” and “Shall we break one open now, or wait for them to cool? Now!” had me in stitches. Also many thanks to you and other KAF folks for answering so many questions and dispensing further good advice in the comments section following the recipe. I’ve written down much of the advice and shall be making these for a special Easter treat.


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