I was a student when I first developed my love for carrot cake. The thought of having vegetables in a cake, at that time, was new to me (carrots went into casseroles or as accompaniments to roast dinners!). But one bite and I was hooked!
So now, as a grown-up I have made a healthy interpretation of carrot cake, but instead of a cake, I have made them into treat-sized muffins. (The batter can also be baked in a 2Ib loaf tin if you prefer, see cooking instructions below).
The first adaptation was to omit the sugary cheese topping (bleugh! I never liked that). These muffins taste delicious on their own or with a little cream or custard if you want something gooey (coconut cream for vegans). Next was to develop a robust recipe that could be ‘veganised’, by using chia or flaxseed eggs if required. And then a recipe allowing me to supplement the muffins with extra carrot compared to conventional recipes (what’s the point of calling it carrot cake otherwise?). In addition, I have supercharged these muffins with flaxseed, chia, oats and protein powder (if you have run out of protein powder you can use more flour).
I love these muffins, especially in the Autumn and Winter time, when the combination of warm spices and chewy stem ginger, soft golden fluffy sponge, crispy pumpkin seeds and fragrant nuts represent comfort food at its best to me (especially if you eat the muffins warm with some hot custard!).
These muffins are great for the health conscious, coeliacs and (using the vegan options), those following a plant-based diet. They are so tasty, you will find it hard to believe they are actually good for you (and then you start to question what on Earth do they put in the shop bought varieties!). They are so good for you, I sometimes even have these for breakfast!
These muffins are highly portable; great in packed lunches or in your gym bag as a pre or post-work-out snack. They also freeze well making them ideal for batch cooking.
Makes: 9-10 muffins
Preparation time: 25 mins
- 65g wholemeal flour
- 65g plain flour
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped (use sunflower or pumpkin seeds if you want these nut-free)
- 50g rolled oats (instant oats, gluten-free if required)
- 35g coconut sugar
- 25g ground or cracked flaxseed (cracked flaxseed has a little more texture)
- 30g protein powder (soya bean, pea and whey varieties work well)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten or chia or flaxseed eggs
- 130g Greek yoghurt or plant-based yogurt (I love Alpro’s soya yoghurt)
- 50ml maple syrup, date syrup, brown rice syrup or agave or honey if non-vegan
- 70ml milk of choice (I use almond milk)
- 220g grated carrot
- 3-4 balls of stem ginger, diced
Topping: A sprinkle of rolled oats and pumpkin seeds.
- If using, place muffin paper cases in a muffin tray or if not, grease with a little coconut oil. If using a loaf tin (2Ib), grease and line it with some greaseproof paper and a little coconut oil.
- Preheat the oven to 175°
- In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients so that they are evenly combined.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until combined.
- Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Using a tablespoon, spoon equal portions of the batter into each muffin case or well or all of the batter if using a loaf tin. Sprinkle rolled oats and pumpkin seeds. on top
- Bake for 22-23 minutes until golden brown and firm and a skewer comes out clean once inserted. Enjoy!
Omit the walnuts and substitute for chopped apricots or dried pear.
Top with crushed pistachios or almond flakes instead of pumpkin seeds.
Don’t forget you can find my favourite recipes in my FREE eBook here.