Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins
Hearty, perfectly spiced and loaded with carrots, raisins and nuts, these healthy carrot cake muffins are a delicious (and good-for-you!) springtime breakfast. While traditional carrot cakes are saturated with sugar and butter, these muffins give you carrot cake flavor, but without a myriad of unwholesome ingredients!
Spring is just around the corner, and guess what’s also coming our way? Drumroll please….Carrot Cake Season! Did I make that up?? Maybe….but that’s beside the point 😉 March and April are (well, at least to me) the months of carrot cake, and I definitely make one….or two….or three…. every year. I love the spices, the carrots, the nuts, the raisins, and of course, the cream cheese frosting! While I wish I could eat carrot cake every single day, the truth is, it isn’t exactly healthy. I mean, yes, it has carrots, but I don’t really think it can boast any other health benefits. 🙁
But lucky for you (and me too), these healthy carrot cake muffins actually can boast several health benefits! Just in one recipe, these muffins contain 1 1/2 cups of carrots and 1 1/2 cups of applesauce: that’s three whole cups of fruits and veggies! Not to mention these muffins are also made with whole wheat flour and are low in fat and sugar! Do these muffins taste exactly like a buttery, sugary carrot cake? No. But, they’re a great healthy substitute for when you just need that carrot cake flavor every day, but want to actually feel good about what you’re putting in your body. Carrot cake meets healthy? Its a win-win!
Whole Wheat Flour~ This is my go-to flour for all of my muffins and quick breads because it provides a serving of whole grains and fiber. However, you can also use all-purpose flour instead if you prefer.
Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt~ These ingredients are super-duper important for leavening the muffins and giving them flavor, so please don’t omit them!
Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger~ I know most carrot cake recipes only call for a little cinnamon, but I love a mix of spices. I think all the spices add a lot of flavor, so I don’t recommend omitting them.
Brown Sugar~ I always think brown sugar goes so well with spices, nuts and dried fruit, which is why I like it in these muffins. However, you can use white granulated sugar if that’s what you have on hand. I haven’t tried using a liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup, so I cannot vouch for those results.
Shredded Carrots~ I love that this recipe has a large amount of shredded carrots for added “secret veggie power”! Personally, I prefer to use the small holes on a box grater because I think the carrots blend into the batter better, but you can use the larger holes if you wish.
Unsweetened Applesauce~ Applesauce adds a lot of moisture to the muffins, without having to add extra fat. And, you get an extra serving of fruit too! I’m sure that mashed bananas would work as a substitute, but be aware that there would be an underlying banana flavor. Also, canned crushed pineapple would probably be really good too. Let me know if you try it!
Eggs~ Eggs help leaven the muffins and give them a softer texture. For a vegan option, you can substitute flax eggs.
Raisins~ I like raisins in carrot cake, but if you don’t prefer them, you can omit them. Or you can substitute with dried cranberries instead.
Chopped Pecans~ I love nuts in carrot cake, like pecans or walnuts, but if you don’t like nuts or have an allergy, you can omit them. You could even add shredded coconut instead.
I love a good one-bowl recipe, so I enjoy only having to dirty one dish with these carrot cake muffins! Simply whisk together the wet ingredients, then stir in the dry ingredients before folding in the nuts and raisins. Your batter should be fairly thick.
Scoop the batter into muffins tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. View video below for a recipe visual:
Serve these healthy carrot cake muffins as a nutritious breakfast or as a filling snack. For best results, top a warm muffin with almond butter, serve with a hot cup of tea and enjoy! 🙂
Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots about 3 medium carrots
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 heaping tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F and line 18 muffins cups with cupcake liners, or grease well with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, shredded carrots, eggs and brown sugar. Add the whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger to the wet ingredients and stir together until just combined. Fold in the raisins and chopped nuts.
- Scoop batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.