Simple Carrot Cake Muffins
Updated: Jan 31
Treats don’t have to be 'bad'! In fact, defining foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is unhealthy for the psyche. While things like cakes, biscuits and chocolate should definitely be a more irregular part of the diet, one shouldn't feel guilty or like they've ‘blown it’ simply because of an occasional indulgence. So let me give you permission, right now, to let go of all that junk guilt and stress you may throw at yourself for eating something perceived as ‘naughty’. True health is so much more about balance and awareness than restriction.
However, with that said, there is a ‘good- better- best’ system when it comes to choosing your treats. If you’re currently struggling with health issues or simply desire a healthier, more energetic life – then eating any ol’ store-bought or bakery brownie could really going to set you back! Instead, plan ahead and choose nutrient dense treats so that you can satisfy, heal and nourish the body all in one go. Get creative and find some delicious recipes online that use nourishing ingredients. Or, if you hate cooking, then run down to your local health food store and grab a bunch of healthier snacks to have in your bag for when cravings strike!
This past week, one of those cravings hit me – the kind where you just need cake. Period. So I decided to throw together these carrot cake muffins, because honestly, who doesn’t like carrot cake?
For me, a goooood carrot cake HAS to be super moist and moorish, with a delectably heavy icing…and these muffins tick all those boxes without any of the nasties or sugar highs which can which follow a slice of the conventional stuff!
You’ll find that the majority of my recipes are gluten/wheat-free, low sugar/sugar-free, dairy and egg-free as standard. This is so that they can be enjoyed regardless of what health struggles and concerns you might be bringing to the table. Where I can, I also try to add extra goodies such as veggies, fruits and healthy fats to boost these babies to super-nutrition level.
Just look at all the amazing nutrients you'll be getting from eating these muffins:
For the muffins:
1.5 cups gf flour mix (gram, oat, rice, buckwheat)*
1 cup almond flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pink salt
1 cup sweetener**
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp all-spice
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup grated apple
4 flax eggs (1/4 cup ground flax + ¾ cup water [mix & leave to sit for 5 mins])
¾ cup coconut oil (melted) or EVOO
(Optional: ¼ cup chopped walnuts/pecans/raisins/dates)
For the Date-Cashew Caramel:
1 cup dates (preferably medjool)
1 cup unsalted cashew butter
2 tbsp coconut cream (from the can!, +/- depending on consistency desired)
1 tbsp pink Himalayan salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
(Optional: 1 tbsp carob + 1 tbsp maca)
NOTE: You can switch up the grated fruits & veggies you use as long as they make up 1 cup total. Sometimes I like to add in grated Zucchini, pear or even butternut squash for a more Wintery feel.
*I like to make my own combination of gluten-free flour, you can mix things like buckwheat flour, gram (chickpea) flour, brown rice flour, oat flour, coconut flour etc. Be careful with buckwheat and gram as they have a strong earthy flavour. You can also buy pre-made gf flour mixes such as ‘Dove’s Farm’ or ‘General Mill’s’ gf flour blend.
**You can use any sweetener desired: raw cane sugar, rapadura, coconut sugar, date syrup, maple, honey – I used homemade mulberry sugar in mine.
For the muffins:
Preheat your oven to 180C and prepare your muffin pan. I often like to use pre-lined, cardboard muffin cases as they are so quick & easy to use (aka, no muffin pan washing!).
Add your flax & water to a cup, stir well & put to the side.
In a large bowl, add flour, spices, salt, sugar, baking powder & mix with a whisk until well combined & lump-free. Add your grated carrot, apple, raisins & walnuts (if using) & again, stir until well combined.
Make a well in your dry ingredients & add your flax eggs & oil. Fold together until you have a nice smooth batter.
Fill your muffin cases about ¾ of the way (I like to use an ice-cream scoop to make them an even size) & place in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown & cooked through. This recipe will make about 10 large, 16-20 medium or 24 mini muffins.
For the icing:
De-stone your dates and soak them in boiling water for 1 hour.
After an hour, remove dates from the water without squeezing out the excess juice & add to your blender – you can also do this in a bowl with a hand blender, just make sure the bowl is deep as the dates love to spit!
Blend your dates, adding some of the date liquid as necessary until you have a thick, rich date puree. Add the cashew butter, salt, vanilla & coconut cream and continue to blend until smooth & creamy, but still thick! If you are using carob & maca, add now and blend. You can add more or less coconut cream/maca/carob depending on how thick or smooth you like.
Allow the icing to sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Once the muffins are cool, you can pipe your icing onto the muffins using a piping or zip-lock bag. You can also simply spread using a knife or spoon.