Carrot cake lovers rejoice! Now you can eat your favourite sweet treat for breakfast in a healthy, gluten free form. Grab those carrots and let’s get baking!Carrot cake is high on my list of favourite cakes. It’s right up there with coffee and walnut (my absolute favourite), funfetti, and orange and poppy seed. But, alas, I cannot eat cake for breakfast anymore and so, these muffins came into existence. I wanted the classic flavour of carrot cake but packed into a portable, and healthy, breakfast item. When it comes to carrot cake there are a few points of importance that must be achieved:
- Moist crumb
- Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
- Sweet, but not too sweet
- Studded with tasty bits and pieces
These four important points provided my guide posts for the perfect healthier version of carrot cake in muffin form.A moist crumb isn’t always easy to achieve when you are trying to create a healthier version of a baked good, but we have four ingredients working to ensure our healthy muffins aren’t hockey pucks: apple puree, oil, Greek yoghurt, and a touch of brown sugar. These four ingredients work together to weave a magically moist but still healthy muffin. Moist crumb: check!
My healthier muffin is spiced with my favourite warm and welcoming spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. These are the holy trinity for carrot cakes in my opinion, and each brings a little something special without overpowering the others.Keeping baked goods healthy but still tasty requires smart use of sweeteners and natural sugars to back them up. These muffins are still sweetened lightly with some brown sugar and maple syrup, and the apple puree provides a background of natural sweetness too. I don’t like my breakfast baked goods too sweet, so these are lightly sweetened. If you want a special treat, serve them warm and spread them with honey for extra sweetness. Or perhaps a little cream cheese for that true carrot cake touch.
Now, I understand that the inclusion of, and variety of nuts included, in a carrot cake is a controversial issue (or is that just my circle of friends?). Are you a walnut person? A pecan person? A no-nut person? There is room for all in this healthy carrot cake muffin recipe. If you like pecans, simply substitute them for the walnuts. If you don’t do nuts in your perfect carrot cake, then leave them out. Simples. Similarly the issue of dried fruit. My Mama is not a fan of the sultana, and it is not welcome in her baked goods. Because I filled her freezer with these muffins so that she has quick, healthy snacks when she gets back from holidays, I left out the sultanas. But I would totally add them in if I was making them for myself…
I made these on a Sunday morning before heading out for a big walk under a cloudy grey sky. When I returned they made the perfect morning snack with a big cup of sweet tea. They are fluffy and light. No dense, dry, or gluey gluten free muffins here. These rise up tall and proud and beckon you back for ‘just one more’ every time you think you’ve eaten your fill. I hope there are some left by the time Mum and Dad come home…
Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins
Gluten Free | Makes approximately 20 muffins | Best eaten on the day of making. Freeze leftovers well-wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months
Note: If you do not need these to be gluten free you can replace the first four ingredients with 250 grams plain flour.
- 60 grams brown rice flour
- 60 grams white rice flour
- 50 grams buckwheat flour
- 80 grams sorghum flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple puree
- 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
- 1/4 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrot (2 medium carrots)
- 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for topping muffins if desired.
- Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and spray 2 x 12 hole muffin tins with cooking spray. Make sure you coat them very well to prevent sticking.
- In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In a medium size bowl whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, apple puree, rice brain oil, yoghurt and eggs.
- Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
- Add carrots and walnuts to the batter and stir until distributed.
- Divide batter between muffin cups. Fill to about 3/4 of the way. This will ensure nice tall muffins.
- Baked for 15-20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through cooking time. Bake until tops are slightly golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
- Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling to room temperature.