Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins


I am so sorry.


I am sorry for posting another muffin recipe.  I am sorry for any dieters out there.  I am sorry…because these muffins…are pretty awesome.

This was one of those recipes that made me gasp when I came across it.  (Yes, as I am laying in bed at night unable to sleep, looking at recipes I have saved on my computer…yep…that’s me.)  But, I have to be thankful for that sleepless night because it allowed me to find this gem via King Arthur Flour Company (seriously, does King Arthur EVER fail on recipes?).

First of all, I love carrot cake.  I made carrot cake cupcakes last Fall, but I had never tried my hand at muffins.  I would love to find the time to make a full-on, elegant and (hopefully) well-decorated carrot cake from scratch, but with all this extra studying taking up so much time, it will have to wait. Now, these muffins are almost like cupcakes because they are filled with a sweet and rich cream cheese filling.  And, they certainly satisfied my sweet tooth.

But, here is my honest confession to you.  These are a little tricky to assemble.  I had some muffins that had cream cheese explosions out the sides (they still tasted pretty good). I was very diligent about filling them according to the original recipe’s instructions, but I still had some casualties. Do your best to seal the “seams” of the muffin batter around the cream cheese centers-I thought I had done this, but I still ended up with a little mess with a few of the muffins.  If you end up with leftover cream cheese filling, save it to (ahem) spread some more on top of the muffins (I am totally hanging my head in shame as I write this).   🙂

FYI:  To see Annie’s tip on how to avoid those cream cheese explosions, see her comment below.  It’s brilliant!


Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins

Servings: 12 muffins


For the filling:

One 8-ounce package cream cheese

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the muffins:

2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup grated carrots, lightly packed (about 2 medium carrots)

2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

2/3 cup raisins, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

3. For the filling: In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the cream cheese on low power until softened, about 40 seconds.

4. Add the granulated sugar and almond extract to the cream cheese mixture, mixing well, and set aside.

5. For the muffins: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

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

7. Using a rubber spatula, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

8. Fold in the grated carrots, walnuts, and raisins.

9.  Using a tablespoon (or a cookie scoop), drop about 2 tablespoons of the muffin batter into each muffin cup, making sure to completely cover the bottom.

10. Using another tablespoon (or a cookie scoop), drop 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture onto the center of each muffin cup.

11. To complete the muffins, cover each dollop of cream cheese completely with the remaining muffin batter.  ***I found it helpful to wet my fingertips a little bit to spread the batter evenly and thoroughly over the tops of each muffin.

12. Bake the muffins until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

13.  Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.


Source: Adapted from King Arthur Flour Company.





April 19, 2011 - 12:04 pm

Richard - No need to apologize for something so delightful. Of course, you know what they say, “Muffins are for those that are just scared to order CAKE for breakfast!”.

April 20, 2011 - 7:45 am

Annie - Next time you might want to try the method I use with the pumpkin cream cheese muffins in my blog. It requires a little more forethought because of freezing the cream cheese, but it makes all the difference and prevents those little explosions. I love the idea of the cream cheese filling in a carrot muffing though!

April 20, 2011 - 8:19 am

srlacy - AHHHH! SO brilliant. That would have totally helped. I’m so glad you wrote that because I was so disappointed. I’m going to add that in the recipe part so people can use your tip! Thanks, Annie!

April 20, 2011 - 11:48 am

natalie (the sweets life) - I’ve made muffins with cream cheese before but just globbed it on top–I need to try stuffing them next time. This looks SO good!

April 20, 2011 - 2:17 pm

Caroline @ chocolate and carrots - Yum. No apologies needed here! Those look delicious! 🙂

April 20, 2011 - 6:39 pm

Matthew Kadey - I found these gems on Baking is Hot. What a wonderful riff on carrot cake. I just got my hands on some coffee extract so I’m going to try that in the filling. I don’t have a microwave. Can I just use room temp cream cheese?

April 20, 2011 - 7:20 pm

srlacy - Hi Matthew! Absolutely-as long as it is soft enough to mix well, you are good to go!

April 21, 2011 - 8:21 pm

Claire - Yummy!! Vegetables for breakfast, yes please! 🙂 Sometimes, to make carrot cake even healthier, I’ll swap baby carrot food (basically a puree) or my own carrot puree for the vegetable oil. Results have been great! For carrot foods, I prefer carrot puree over the apple sauce swap because it keeps the carrot flavor strong. Thank you!

April 22, 2011 - 7:47 pm

Katarina - I like the cream cheese filling!

April 26, 2011 - 4:40 am

Catherine - Hi Shannon – Do you have any yummy recipes to share for carrot cake? I had a craving this weekend and was going to make it. Would love to know what you have up your sleeve. Thanks, Catherine

April 26, 2011 - 11:30 am

srlacy - Hey Catherine! How are you?

I took a carrot cake recipe and adapted it to make cupcakes. Here’s the link.

For baking time, I would adjust the baking time to 35-45 minutes if you are using round cake pans (make sure to check) or a 13 x9-inch cake pan.

You can’t go wrong with a Baking Illustrated cake recipe. The frosting is to die for!

April 26, 2011 - 11:33 am

srlacy - HI Catherine! How are you?

Try this one:

It was originally a recipe for a 9 x 13″ carrot cake, which I adapted to cupcakes for a party. You could also use round cake pans to make a double layer cake, if you want. I would increase the baking time to 35-45 minutes to account for the change in the pan size. You cannot go wrong with a Baking Illustrated recipe. The frosting is to die for!

April 27, 2011 - 4:11 pm

Josie - mmm I think I NEED to make these. I don’t care that Easter is over and carrot cake is now passe.

February 25, 2012 - 7:39 am

n i k a - I’ve just put my muffins into the oven 🙂 They look GREAT!! Thanks a lot for an inspiration! 😀

March 30, 2012 - 2:21 pm

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Muffins - […] Adapted from The Curvy Carrot […]

February 1, 2013 - 1:25 pm

Holly - This looks awesome! I was wondering though – I saw the recipe on the King Arthur site and they included 1/4 tsp of baking soda and you didn’t. Is it necessary or is there a reason you left it out? I am looking forward to asking these soon and don’t want to mess them up. Thanks!

February 1, 2013 - 1:26 pm

Holly - *making not asking – oops!

February 1, 2013 - 3:26 pm

srlacy - Yikes! Thanks for catching that mistake, Holly! I have corrected the recipe….omitting the baking soda would be a bad, bad thing.

February 25, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Alexandra - I LOVE the idea of putting cream cheese into the middle of a carrot cake muffin – fantastic. And these sounds just about as good as eating actual carrot cake, plus you can eat them for breakfast, which is even better. Dessert in breakfast form is always a good thing. 🙂

November 3, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Muffins - […] Adapted from The Curvy Carrot […]