The title is a mouthful, and so are these Coffee Cake Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling! This is carrot cake in a muffin, and I guess coffee cake in a muffin, too. For me, any baked goods with carrots need a cream cheese and toasty walnut element. These muffins have all of that, which makes them extra special for that Easter brunch, breakfast, or snack. The best part? They’re indulgent without making you feel like you’re going to tip the scale. These muffins are whole grain, with minimal sugar and oil. You can have one of these for breakfast, and still have dessert later with no guilt! 😀 Gotta love that.
Carrot cake is one of my all time favorite cakes. I’ve loved it forever. Making it in muffin form made perfect sense for me. I actually made a carrot coffee cake last Easter for brunch, and while I was hankering for it the other day, I wanted to make something like it that was easier to put together. I adapted this recipe from my Chocolate Zucchini Muffin recipe. I did a little research on cream cheese filled muffins just to make sure I had the baking time and methodology right. I found one on the blog Scientifically Sweet, and used the cream cheese filling that I found in that recipe. I added the coffee cake streusel topping just so I could get that coffee cake that I was yearning for. It totally did the trick. 🙂
First things first, line your muffin tin with liners. I thought the gold was perfect for these muffins….like 24 carrot gold. Sorry, I had to say that! 😉 Because of the cream cheese filling, you only fill the muffin cup halfway full. From there, make an indentation in the center of the batter and immediately add about a tablespoon of cream cheese filling.
I didn’t make a large enough indentation this time, so I wasn’t able to get enough of that glorious filling in there. 🙁 I won’t make that mistake next time! Believe me, the more cream cheese the better, as long as it doesn’t explode out of the muffin! 😆 Repeat the process, then use the remaining batter to cover the cream cheese filling entirely. Top with the walnut streusel.
This Easter, or any old time you’re in the mood for carrot cake without the guilt, make these muffins. This way, you can have cake for breakfast without being judged. I certainly won’t judge you for it! 😉
- Muffin Batter:
- 1 1/14 cups finely grated carrots (2 large or 4 smaller, peeled)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat or whole wheat white flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ¾ cup low-fat buttermilk
- ⅓ cup crystallized ginger chips
- Cream Cheese Filling:
- 4 ounces ⅓ less fat Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Streusel Topping:
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup walnut pieces
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼" dice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
- Make the filling:
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- Make the Muffin Batter:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ¾ cup brown sugar and canola oil. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Whisk in the orange zest.
- Add half of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking just until combined, alternating with the buttermilk. Repeat with the other half. Stir in the crystallized ginger chips.
- Fill each muffin cup halfway full. Using the tip of a spoon, make an indentation in the center of the muffin batter. Immediately fill with one tablespoon of the cream cheese filling. Repeat until there is cream cheese filling in each muffin cup. Use the remaining muffin batter to completely cover the cream cheese filling in each muffin cup.
- Prepare the Walnut Streusel:
- In a small bowl, combine the ¼ cup flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, and walnut pieces. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingers, until the topping resembles small pea-sized crumbles. Top each muffin with the streusel. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin, and cool completely on the wire rack.