Still crisp and crunchy, but a little less than where they were at their "just picked" peak of freshness, I decided to bake them up into desserts. I grew up on the "Cypress Point Carrot Cake" from 'Diet for a Small Planet' as a child; a carrot cake with crushed pineapple, which some find may find heretical. I loved that recipe dearly, but have since realized that while delicious, the pineapple makes it very difficult to create a carrot cake which holds together well, but I was craving carrot cake now. I have come to prefer to do my baking in muffins and cupcakes when it comes to sweets, as it's easier to bundle off a bunch to work and share them there, thus limiting the temptation at home.
I had seen a share on Google+ for an "Inside-Out Carrot Cake" muffin from +King Arthur Flour. Being a fan of any recipe that includes sweetened cream cheese, I was on board for some muffins! For the sake of feeding family *and* co-workers, I increased the recipe listed by half.
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 C All Purpose flour
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 C water
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 C grated carrots, lightly packed
Large granule sugar, to top
1. Heat cream cheese on low power in a microwave safe bowl until soft enough to stir easily. Add sugar and vanilla extract, mix to combine, and set aside.
2. Pre-heat oven to 400° F (204° C)
3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and gently whisk together.
4. Place eggs, water and oil into a small mixing bowl and beat to combine.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until blended.
6. Add carrots and gently fold in to batter.
7. Line a 12 well muffin tin with liners, or lightly grease the tin.
8. Add ~2 TB batter to each cup, then top with ~1 TB cream cheese mix.
9. Fill tins remainder of the way with batter, then sprinkle some large grain sugar on top to finish.
10. Bake approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into cake (not filling) comes out clean. Let cool ~5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
While you certainly can enjoy these muffins warm from the oven, with the cream cheese center still hot and runny, I prefer to let them set overnight so that the filling firms up like a nice dollop of frosting.
Ready for a nice, fresh cuppa.