It’s one of my favorite seasons – carrot cake season! That’s a thing, right? My favorite carrot cake recipe is from the Silver Palate Cookbook, the use of pureed carrots and crushed pineapple really takes it to the next level. I used this recipe as inspiration since I’ve been on a muffin kick lately as a great way to use up a few ingredients and make a homemade snack even my toddler enjoys. Muffins are really just less-sugary versions of cake, and after a few trials I ended up with this delicious carrot cake muffin recipe that is both adult and kid approved – no frosting necessary!
Carrot cake is supposed to be dense and bursting with flavor. I’ve never really cared for carrot cakes that have shredded carrot, I find that you don’t get the full carrot flavor, instead you end up with dried out carrot pieces throughout your cake.
Cooking and pureeing the carrots might seem like an unnecessary step but believe me, it’s key. To take some of the day-of work out, feel free to cook, puree, and the freeze your carrots beforehand. I keep ice cube sized chunks of pureed carrot in the freezer to add to the kiddo’s smoothies, so I just pull a few of those out and left them defrost in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight before making these muffins (or carrot cake). Then it’s just a matter of throwing the ingredients together, which is easy as pie… errr, cake… or in this case, muffins!
You don’t even need a mixer to throw these little guys together just a plain old bowl and spoon, although you do have to dirty your blender to make sure the carrots and pineapple are nice and smooth. Repeat after me: it’s worth it. When you pull these bad boys out of the oven you are going to thank me.
Carrot Cake Muffins
3/4 c carrots, cooked
1/2 c crushed pineapple, drained
2 tbsp juice from pineapple can
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp shredded coconut (optional)
Steam carrots until fork tender, drain and cool. Add carrots, pineapple, pineapple juice, and applesauce to food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with liners.
In small bowl combine all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl (or stand mixer) mix together brown sugar and butter. Add in egg and mix on low to medium speed until fully incorporated, stir in vanilla. Pour in carrot, pineapple, & applesauce mixture and continue to mix on low to medium (if using, add in coconut). Mix in dry ingredients on low just until combined.
Fill each muffin liner 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for 17-20 minutes for standard sized muffins and 20-25 minutes for larger muffins, or until tester comes out clean. Cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes then remove to rack. Once completely cool, store in airtight container.
Thinking about Easter and how to celebrate with the little ones? Here are some Easter basket and egg ideas, and if you’re in need of something to put those goodies in, this is a great roundup of adorable Easter baskets.
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