muffins

carrot cake muffins

these carrot cake muffins are moist, perfectly spiced and filled with lots of shredded carrots. the muffins are topped by a spiced brown sugar oat streusel and salted caramel glaze. think of them as the perfect alternative to pumpkin!

it’s officially beyond the first day of autumn so it’s time for all the cozy flavors and textures of the season! while apples and pumpkin take over most of the recipes this time of year, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that carrots are still very much in season. not only are they in season, but they make an exceptional alternative to all the pumpkin recipes! these carrot cake muffins are as cozy, spice filled and “fall” feeling as anything you could want. for even more cozy flavor and texture, these bakery style muffins are topped with a brown sugar oat streusel and deliciously easy salted caramel glaze. make these and you’ll find yourself asking, “pumpkin, who?”

carrot cake muffins

in a few words, these carrot cake muffins are

  • moist
  • fluffy
  • sweet
  • chai spiced
  • filled with over a cup of freshly shredded carrots
  • crunchy oat topping
  • smooth, sweet and salted caramel topping to hold it all together
  • layers of flavors and textures
carrot cake muffins

what ingredients do I need to make these oat streusel carrot muffins?

you only need a handful of ingredients to make these fall ready treats:

  • rolled oats
  • pecans or walnuts
  • chai spice
  • salt
  • butter
  • all purpose flour
  • cake flour
  • baking powder and soda
  • olive oil or other neutral tasting baking oil
  • light brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla
  • sour cream or greek yogurt
  • carrots
  • powdered sugar

from these ingredients you will make the brown sugar oat streusel, carrot cake muffins and quick salted caramel glaze.

do I need any special baking tools to make these bakery style muffins?

you only need a few basic kitchen tools to make these muffins:

  • 12 ct. muffin pan
  • cupcake or muffin liners
  • several mixing bowls
  • whisk and large spoon or flexible spatula
  • small sauce pan
    • this is to make the caramel glaze
    • alternatively you could use a high quality store bought salted caramel
  • box grater
    • to grate the carrots
    • it’s preferred to buy whole carrots and grate them right before using them in the recipe
  • food scale
    • I love using a food scale as it’s more precise
    • these muffins are pretty forgiving, but if you have a food scale, definitely use it!

how can I make my own cake flour?

making your own cake flour is fairly straight forward and easy. here’s how you make it:

  • measure out 1 c (120g) of all purpose flour
  • scoop out 2 tbsp (15 g) of all purpose flour
  • measure out 2 tbsp (15g) cornstarch
  • add the cornstarch to the flour
  • sift the flour together about 3-4 times
  • you now have a cup of diy cake flour

how can I make my own chai spice?

one of the first things I do at the start of a new baking season is mix up a batch of spices.  this blend is one I have used for a long time. it makes a lot, so scale down as needed. 

  • 3 tbsp ground ginger (16g)
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (15g)
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice (6g)
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamon (6g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground nutmeg (3.5g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cloves (3.5g)
  • place all ingredients in a bowl. mix well to combine
  • store in a spice jar or small mason jar

you can also buy chai spice at most well stocked grocery stores or you can order online. I like this one!

carrot cake muffins

tips and tricks for a perfectly delicious carrot cake muffins 

best substitutions for this recipe:

  • chai spice : I love the pairing of chai with almond and raspberries 
    • I highly recommend using all if you can
    • if not, you can easily use a blend of 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp ground ginger 
    • or use a pre-made pumpkin spice blend
  • sugar: you can use an alternative sugar if its one you baked with already 
carrot cake muffins

tips and tricks for the perfect bakery style muffins:

  • read through the recipe before starting 
  • this recipes calls for TWO baking temperatures 
    • 400 F (204C) for 10 minutes 
    • REDUCED down to 350F (177C) for additional time 
  • use a “light hand” when folding the dry ingredients into the wet
  • rest time: this allows the glutens to hydrate and the batter to thicken 
    • the baking powder activates before and during baking 
    • this helps the muffins “pop” for the bakery style appearance 
    • aim for about 30 minutes 
  • look for the signs the muffins are done rather than stick strictly to the baking times 
    • the sides will pull gently from the edges of the pan
    • the top will be golden brown, but not burned 
    • toothpick inserted into the center will come out with a few moist crumbs 
  • cool in the pan on a cooling rack for no more than 30 minutes 
  • cool to room temperature on a cooling rack 
  • the caramel drizzle is optional, but HIGHLY recommend (it’s so delicious!!)
carrot cake muffins

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carrot cake muffin

carrot cake muffins with oat streusel and caramel glaze

Megan
these carrot cake muffins are moist, perfectly spiced and filled with lots of shredded carrots. the muffins are topped by a spiced brown sugar oat streusel and salted caramel glaze. think of them as the perfect alternative to pumpkin!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins

Equipment

  • 12 ct muffin pan
  • mixing bowls
  • whisk, flexible spatula or spoon for mixing
  • small sauce pan

Ingredients
  

spiced oat streusel

  • 1/2 c (40g) rolled oats
  • 1/3 c (50g) chopped walnuts of pecans
  • 1/4 c (50g) light brown sugar or maple sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chai spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp (57g) unsalted butter, cubed

carrot cake muffins

  • 1 c (120g) all purpose flour
  • 1 c (120g) cake flour see recipe notes
  • 1 tbsp chai spice see recipe notes
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (118ml) olive oil or other neutral baking oil
  • 1/2 c (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 (106-114g) large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp (10ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c (81g) sour cream or greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 c (140-150g) shredded carrots

salted caramel glaze

  • 1/2 c (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c (79ml) heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp (57g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c (90g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Line a 12 ct. muffin pan with cupcake or muffin liners. Set aside. 
    Preheat the oven to 400 F (204 C).
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients for the streusel topping in a small mixing bowl. Work in the cubes of butter until the mixture comes together into coarse pieces of sand, with some larger pieces mixed in.
    Set the bowl in the fridge to chill while preparing the muffins.
  • Whisk the flours, chai spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
  • Whisk the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla and sour cream or yogurt together until smooth and well combined. 
  • Stir in the dry ingredients with a spoon or spatula until just combined.
  • Fold in the freshly grated carrots.
  • Let the muffins rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. This brief rest period helps to hydrate the flours and will result in a higher lift, making them more "bakery style". 
    *If you would like to skip this step, feel free. I like to use this time to clean up and get everything prepped for the last steps of the recipe.
  • Scoop the muffin batter into each lined muffin tin. Top with the oat streusel. Press the streusel gently into the muffin batter.
  • Bake at 400 F (204C) for 10 minutes. THEN REDUCE the oven temperature to 350 F (177C) for the remaining time. 
    The muffins will bake for an additional 10 minutes (about 20 minutes total)
    The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool the muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. While the muffins are cooling, mix the glaze.

salted caramel glaze

  • In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, cream, butter and salt.
  • Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Stir as frequently needed to ensure the ingredients are melting evenly and are well comibined.
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat for 1 minute. Once boiling, start the time and stir constantly.
  • Remove from heat and cool for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour the warm caramel sauce into a bowl with the powdered sugar. If needed, sift in up to another 1/4 c (30g) of powdered sugar to achieve the desired consistency.
    Pour in the vanilla extract. Whisk or stir until well combined with no lumps of sugar. Taste and add a pinch more salt if desired.
  • Drizzle the caramel glaze over the mostly cooled carrot cake muffins.  Allow 30-60 minutes for the glaze to fully set.
    carrot cake muffins

Notes

cake flour: to make your own DIY cake flour, measure out 1 c all purpose flour. scoop out 2 tbsp flour. add back in 2 tbsp cornstarch. sift together 3-4 times. 
 
diy chai spice: one of the first things I do at the start of a new baking season is mix up a batch of spices.  this blend is one I have used for a long time. it makes a lot, so scale down as needed.
 
  • 3 tbsp ground ginger (16g)
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (15g)
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice (6g)
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamon (6g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground nutmeg (3.5g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cloves (3.5g)
  • place all ingredients in a bowl. mix well to combine
  • store in a spice jar or small mason jar
 
store bought chai spice: I love this particular chai spice blend available online
Keyword carrot cake muffins, carrot muffins with caramel, carrot muffins with streusel
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