Carrot Muffins with Cream-Cheese Frosting

I know that I recently featured muffins in this blog, but I’m rather enamoured by these ones… The cream cheese (lactofree!) frosting is divine with the carrot flavour.  I made these – along with some other cakes – last week for a photo shoot for this blog over here (called Chef of the Moment), that I’ll be featured in soon!  Anyway, it’s basically an easy-peasy healthy carry-round-in-a-lunchbox muffin version of a normal carrot cake.

Carrot Muffin with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

300g self-raising flour
110g sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp mixed spice
100g raisins (or sultanas)
1 egg
90ml (3 fl oz.) vegetable or olive oil
240ml (8 fl oz.) soya milk (those who are fortunate to be able to eat dairy can substitute this for real milk!)
1 carrot (around 170g)

Frosting*:

50g cream cheese (I buy the Lactofree range, which tastes exactly the same as normal Philadelphia).
10g soft spread (dairy-free, I use olive spread, or vegetable spreads)
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g icing sugar

* I accidentally made a mahoosive amount of cream-cheese frosting.  I’m talking icing 16 muffins liberally and having a whole margarine tub full still left afterwards… (I use old margarine tubs for cheap storage solutions – a handy and super-cheap habit I’ve picked up from my parents!).  So yeah, I have since scaled down the ingredients for the frosting.  In the meantime, I will be needing to bake – *sigh!* – another batch of muffins in the next couple of days to use up the rest of the frosting… Though considering how quickly they disappeared the last time I made them, I’m sure my housemates will be pleased!

Recipe

1)    Measure out all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, mixed spice, and raisins) into a bowl.

2)    Measure out milk and oil into a separate bowl.  Add the egg and whisk until mixed.  Add the carrot to this.

3)    Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix, being careful not to stir too many times.  Muffins are great as they don’t need to be stirred too much before putting into muffin cases.

4)    Spoon out the mixture into muffin cases and bake at 180˚C (Gas Mark 4 / 350˚F) for 20 – 25 minutes, until tops are firm to touch and are golden brown.

5)    Turn out the cooked muffins onto a wire rack.  At this point, they could be eaten warm, without the frosting, or can be cooled in order to put the frosting on the top.

6)    To make the frosting, place the cream cheese, soft spread and icing sugar in a bowl and beat with a whisk (at this point, my electric whisk decided to make worryingly clunketty-clunk-whirr-clunk noises, so I ended up finishing beating it by hand… A bit tiring, but possible!), until smooth and all ingredients mixed.

7)    Ice the cakes with the frosting, and stand for 10 – 20 minutes for frosting to set slightly.  Then serve.

I found that these muffins were surprisingly light in texture (more so than I had imagined), and they are very yummy!  The raisins really plump up when cooked as well, so there’s no need to soak them in hot water beforehand like you do in some recipes.

It was quite exciting for me to have found a great alternative to carrot cake, as I have been avoiding the shop-made stuff for over a year now due to my dislike of walnuts.

So enjoy (whilst I go to the kitchen and make another batch…!).

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