I know, I know….do I make anything other than friggin’ muffins? Or banana bread…and the answer is yes (proven by this blog). But I admit muffins are my jam and I do not make apologies for that!
As my closest friends know I am a carrot cake fiend. I’m even throwing Will a first birthday party partly as an excuse to order a delicious rustic version from a girlfriend who makes THE BEST carrot cake. But since I unfortunately (well – fortunately for my body and not my taste buds) cannot sit around eating the real thing – cream cheese frosting and all – every day of the week I have to create acceptable substitutes that can absolutely be enjoyed any damn day I feel like it!
These Paleo Carrot Muffins are deliciously moist (I know – that word – but they are!), grain-free, dairy-free and refined-sugar free, and make the perfect snack or breakfast when you kinda want to feel like you’re having dessert while totally patting yourself on the back for not having dessert.
The Natural Blonde
P.s. If you want to go crazy you can totally add frosting to these (I’ve even added a healthier recipe below). And I will happily look the other way while you still pat yourself on the back for not eating REAL dessert. I mean, they have carrots – so really it’s like salad.
Paleo Carrot Muffins (makes 8 muffins)
1¼ cups blanched almond flour
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup refined coconut oil, melted and cooled
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. coconut nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup grated carrots (preferably organic)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond flour through nutmeg). Set this aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, coconut nectar, applesauce and vanilla.
Add the dry mix to the wet mix just until combined and then gently fold in the grated carrots.
Divide the batter evenly into each greased cavity and bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (I found 18 mins was perfect).
Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. These can be stored in an airtight container for 3-5 days or frozen for later enjoyment!
Optional: Tangy Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting*
1½ cups raw cashews, soaked in hot water 1 hour or cool water 6-8 hours
2/3 cup Coconut Yogurt (OR sub 1/2 cup (120 ml) full-fat coconut milk or cream)
3-4 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup melted coconut oil* (adds richness and helps firm up)
1½ – 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (more for tangier frosting)
¼ tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp. sea salt
Soak cashews in very hot water for 1 hour or in cool water for 6-8 hours. Drain thoroughly and add to a blender along with the remaining ingredients.
Blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It’s important to get the frosting as creamy and smooth as possible, so blend on high with a high-speed blender until the texture is silky and smooth.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, vanilla for vanilla flavor, or more apple cider vinegar or lemon zest for tang.
Transfer frosting to a medium mixing bowl (with room to blend / whisk) and cover. Place in the freezer and chill for 45 minutes. Then remove from freezer and whisk. Freeze for another 45 minutes – 1 hour and whisk again. Then leave in the freezer until semi-firm to the touch (cheesecake texture // ~ 2-4 hours) and use a hand mixer (or whisk) to blend until creamy and smooth. Depending on how firm your frosting is, this may take a little work at the beginning as it softens. If too thick, microwave in 15-second increments until blendable (or leave out at room temperature to soften).
Your frosting is ready to use! Or it can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5-7 days (or the freezer 1 month). The nature of this frosting is like most other frostings in that it will soften out of the refrigerator. So, if serving a cake with this frosting, it’s best to keep the cake refrigerated. Once ready to serve, it is fine staying out of the refrigerator for several hours.
*recipe credit goes to Minimalist Baker