Friday, April 20, 2012

Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins

I don't even know where to begin with these.  These are amazing muffins.  Full of crazy delicious flavor, pretty to look at, and a wonderful treat for brunch or a pot luck.  And I don't even like carrot cake.  Not sure why, it was just never a flavor that I could get into.  If carrot cake was an option, I'd most certainly choose anything else, and if it was the only thing, then I'd just forgo dessert.  I like veggies and I like desserts, but I guess I just preferred if they minded their own business and kept to themselves.  But these.  Oh, these are a muffin I can get behind.  I took them to work for a morning meeting where they were well received.  Then around 3 pm the meeting chair wandered into my office, asking, "Do you have anything sweet left from the meeting?"  I did, shared with him, and he said, "These are so good.  What are they?"  Is that not the best compliment?  It screams "job well done" when someone admits they have know clue what they are eating but it's so damn good I just want more.

This recipe is a recovery from a carrot cake I tried to make that FAILED.  Ug.  It was beautiful, fragrant, perfectly golden and the cream cheese frosting smeared beautifully on it.  Then I sliced into it to find it was completely undercooked despite my having tested it numerous times.  (Stupid just wait until the appliance guy shows up and gives you what for.  Or at least I hope he gives you what for and doesn't tell me I need a new oven.)  (Don't worry--I'd sliced the cake before I took it to work and was able to have enough time to whip up something else to take that day.)  The next week, discouraged by my cake catastrophe, I took to Pinterest hoping to find something I could make in a carrot cake-style.  I searched "carrot cake muffins" and this pin was practically the only picture that showed up.  I remembered that months ago I'd actually pinned this King Arthur Flour recipe myself, but forgot.  This recipe is amazing.  It was super quick to put together, even with layering the batter and filling.  It uses Fiori di Sicilia, which I realized I'd picked up last fall when I visited the King Arthur Flour store but hadn't used yet.  It's a wonderfully unique flavoring that provides a subtle citrusy flavor (don't worry if you don't have any, you can omit it and still have a lovely muffin).  I actually really liked how the filling broke through the surface of the muffins--they look very inviting and delicious, but I think next time instead of doing two scoops of batter on the bottom and one on top of the filling, I'd do the reverse.  I just didn't seem to have enough batter to cover the top of the filling in the muffin tins.  Either way, these are amazing and have definitely made me a carrot cake convert!

Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins

Ingredients (for muffins)

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup carrots, grated or finely chopped (about 2 medium-large carrots or 8-10 baby carrots)

Ingredients (for filling)

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/4 sugar
a few drops of Fiori di Sicilia (optional)

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, water and oil.

Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir to incorporate.

Fold in carrots to combine.  Set batter aside while preparing the filling.

In a microwave-safe bowl place the cream cheese and microwave on low power for 40 seconds.  Stir in sugar and flavoring until smooth.

In a greased muffin tin (Note: I use a stoneware muffin pan, but the original recipe suggests lining a regular muffin tin with paper liners and greasing the cups), drop about 2 Tablespoons (I used a medium cookie scoop) of batter into each cup.

Then drop 1 Tablespoon (I used a level small cookie scoop) in the center of each muffin. 

Finally, top each muffin with another scoop of batter (Note: The original recipe said I'd actually have enough batter leftover to make one more muffin, but I barely had enough to cover all 12.  Start sparingly; you can always go back to the beginning and add more.)  Muffins cups will be very full; mine were almost all the way full.

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Muffins are done when tops are set and firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the cake part (at an angle on the side of the muffin) comes out clean.

Remove from oven and when cooled for a few minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Warning: If you serve warm, be careful--the filling will be VERY hot.  When cooled, the filling will firm up.

Makes 12 muffins.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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  1. I have never had a stuffed muffin-yum! Yes, we have all had ones with berries in them, but that is not really stuffed.
    This is a great way to get some flavor into a muffin. Cream cheese and carrots are a classic combination, so you choice was spot on! Enjoy the weekend as well as those tasty muffins.

    1. Thanks Tina! I can see using this cream cheese filling stuffed in other muffins, or a Nutella version in a chocolate muffin maybe. It's such a cool idea. Have a great weekend!