It’s March 4, and we got three inches of snow today in Grand Rapids.
What is that? Seriously, what. is. that. I know, I know, usually it’s snowing until April, but I if spring could just go ahead and get a move on in here, that would be great.
In all seriousness, though, it’s been a relatively tolerable winter and I’m just being a brat because I’m super excited about cooking spring foods.
Spring foods, you say? Yes. There are foods that lend their light, airy selves to brunches, showers, and Sunday mornings when the sun is shining. These muffins, for example, are just crying for the snow to melt so they can go to Easter brunch.
I was out to breakfast with Ben a few weeks ago and the “muffin of the day” was carrot. I was intrigued, but heartily disappointed when I bit into a dry and bland corn-like muffin with some dried up carrots in it.
This isn’t doing carrots any good! I wanted a carrot cupcake without frosting, duh. So I set out to do a little better. I used a basic zucchini muffin recipe as my base, but altered it a little since carrot isn’t quite as moist as zucchini. To compensate, I added some canned pineapple tidbits.
And because the prettiest muffins have streusel, I did some of that too.
And because carrot cake has cream cheese frosting, I did some of that too. This medium, though, calls for a glaze. I’m willing to call a cupcake a muffin before 11 a.m, but c’mon. We can’t actually put frosting on it that early in the day.
A warning, these muffins are a little labor intensive and you’ll probably use every bowl you own. Clear that dishwasher so you can put those suckers right in there and get on with your day.
Hope you enjoy!
Measure your flour, baking soda, and spices into a bowl and whisk. I do like using cake flour in muffins, I think it gives them a better rise and a lighter texture. You can use AP flour, if you prefer. Certainly don’t go out and buy a whole box just for me, but it’s great to have on hand for cakes.
Mix all the wet ingredients for the muffins in a bowl. It’s important to make sure that your eggs are room temperature if your butter is to be used melted or softened, otherwise your eggs will scramble. It’s not the end of the world, though, especially if you’re pressed for time.
So now you can dump all your dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix just until combined. There might still be some flour that’s not mixed in and that’s ok. This is not the time to pull out your big mixer, trust me. Just use a wooden spoon.
I normally use liners to save the trouble of getting the muffins (or cupcakes for that matter) out of the pan, but I recently discovered how amazing Wilton Cake Release is. I just put a little drop in each of the muffin tins and used a paper towel to spread it around in each tin. Worked like a charm.
Go on and pour that batter in the tins about 3/4 full and set them aside. It’s time to make the streusel. Mix together the sugars and the spices, then add the butter and flour in alternating batches. It will go from a paste-like consistency to one you could easily pick up and crumble with your fingers.
And crumble it all on those muffins. You’re going to have plenty so add a lot.
Bake and let cool. While the muffins are cooling, you can make that delicious cream cheese glaze!
(Now you can get out your mixer.)
Whip up that cream cheese and add your confectioner’s sugar in alternating batches with the milk. Add your vanilla, and spoon this goodness over the muffins. Add a little or a lot, it’s up to you.
Yum-my. I will say that I had these both room temperature and cold and the glaze kept more of the cream cheese taste when cold.
Recipe below, please let me know how you like them if you make them!
For the muffins:
- 2 eggs, well beaten and room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
For the streusel:
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
For the glaze:
- 3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
- 3 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 425. Place muffins liners in a muffin pan, or grease pan well. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, butter, vanilla, carrots, and pineapple. Add the dry ingredients and mix until evenly moistened. Mix in walnuts until evenly distributed in the batter. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with mixture. Set aside while you make the streusel.
In a medium bowl, mix the sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Alternating in batches, add the flour and melted butter. Work the mixture together with your hands until it’s crumbly. Sprinkle topping over the muffin batter. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then turn down temperature to 375. Bake for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow muffins to cool completely, then make the cream cheese glaze. With an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner’s sugar in batches, alternating with milk. Add the vanilla. Spoon glaze over muffins and allow to dry.