Spring is in the air! Indulge yourself with an adorable skinny carrot muffin made with very little sugar and topped with a delicious coconut whipped cream.
Yes, it’s this time of the year again when the sun is finally back, warming us up a little bit, and flowers are blooming everywhere. March has been quite strange in Chicago, with alternatively snow, boring grey days, and warmer sunny days sometimes. Finally, I want to believe that Spring is now here for good, while I am currently installed at my desk enjoying my very last carrot muffin, gently caressed by the sun going through the window, with a beautiful bouquet of tulips in front of me. Obviously, I am in the perfect mood to talk to you about this little carrot muffin.
I always link carrot cakes to Spring and Easter. Last year, I was about to take a flight to Washington D.C. for the long weekend of Easter, when I published my Best Ever Carrot Cake at the airport (yes, crazy bloggers write everywhere, whenever they find time… let’s say we are just a little bit obsessed about it). Now that I mention that, let’s talk for a second about this “best ever”. Yes, I believe I found the perfect decadent carrot cake recipe, and one reader even told me it was the exact same one her grandma used to bake back in the time. How cool is that? Just a few words to describe it: it’s rich, decadent, extremely moist and juicy, with just the right amount of crunchiness brought by the pecans. Seriously dangerous for all carrot cake addicts (but eh, it’s veggies after all, right?). The secret? A mysterious ingredient is hiding there – have a look at the recipe to find out what makes this cake so incredible.
This year, I am back with a new version. While my Best ever carrot cake was rich and perfect for huge celebrations or gatherings, these lovely carrot muffins are small and skinny, the perfect treat to indulge yourself whenever you fancy it. And you don’t even need to feel guilty about it. Tiny, skinny, featuring veggies and very little sugar, each bite has about 150 kcal only, which makes a perfect glory muffin for breakfast. I usually don’t pay attention at the calories because it does not tell everything about a recipe, but here I know I can, and I will tell you why in a minute.
But before that, let me briefly tell you how I made them. Shredded carrots are of course the main ingredient of the recipe, giving the muffins their beautiful orange color and their slightly naturally sweetened taste – yes, do not forget that carrots are sweet. For the rest, I just used plain flour, a dash of milk, one egg and one white, one tablespoon of canola oil only, and the regular baking ingredients (baking soda/powder, suitable spices for a carrot cake). For the texture, I added a few chopped walnuts and some shredded coconut. I did not go for raisins here, a simple matter of taste, but this very personal, and you can totally add some if you want. If so, I would advise you to use about one tablespoon only.
So what makes them so skinny? Of course there are veggies in the recipe, but not only. There is only one plain egg and one white in the recipe – the white being a great source of protein without the cholesterol (which is contained in the yolk). I used it here to bring more texture. More important, I played with the sugars, with the idea in mind to keep a sweet taste anyways. While the classic carrot cake recipe usually features enormous quantities of white and brown sugar, here I cut the sugar and replaced it partly with unsweetened apple sauce, partly with coconut palm sugar. Funny thing: no one actually guessed there was no refined sugar involved in the carrot muffin!
But to me, carrot cake or muffins means frosting! Again, a cream cheese frosting is just delicious but extremely rich in sugar, cream and butter. I discovered lately how to make a coconut whipped-cream and loved the idea. Here I slightly adapted the recipe and used plain coconut milk (only the solid part), just a dash of icing powder and shredded coconut. Don’t be fooled, coconut milk contains significant amounts of fat, but unlike butter and cream, it provides fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs). I am totally in love with the texture of this coconut whipped-cream too: it’s airy, yet creamy… no, you won’t regret your traditional cream cheese frosting.
- 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch of salt
- ¼ cup (50g) coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) milk
- 1¼ cup (75g) shredded carrots
- ¼ cup (250g) unsweetened applesauce
- 2 Tablespoons (20g) chopped walnuts
- 3 Tablespoons shredded coconut
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk, very cold*
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) confectioners sugar
- 1 Tablespoon shredded coconut
- 3 Tablespoons shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9-cup muffin pan with liners and spray with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, beat coconut sugar, vanilla, oil, egg, and egg white together until creamy. Add in milk and beat again.
- Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon fold in carrots and applesauce.
- Mix in flour mixture until just combined (do not over mix!). Fold in the walnuts and the coconut flakes.
- Spoon the batter into the liners and bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.** Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the coconut cream: extract the solid part of the coconut milk can only (keep the liquid part for another recipe). With a hand mixer, whip the coconut milk with the confectioners sugar and shredded coconut until creamy. Start on low and move to a higher speed.
- Transfer into a piping bag and pipe onto each carrot muffin. Store in the refrigerator until using.
- For the toasted coconut: heat a small pan on medium heat. Add the shredded coconut and toast until slightly golden, stirring constantly. Let cool completely and top each carrot muffin with the toasted shredded coconut.
** Oven temperatures vary so you may find you need more or less time depending on the flours you use.