Carrot Cake Muffins with Maple Icing + 5 Muffin Recipes for Spring!

Tess had just finished feeding her cat when a familiar face appeared in the window of the old wooden door that had kept her safe inside her home and the world safely outside for so many decades.  The face was framed by the molding on the door her father installed when she was a child, and backlit by the sun, making it hard for Tess to discern who was outside looking in.  Dark eyes, thick, unkempt eyebrows, long, messy hair pulled away from a woman’s face was all she could make out.

The face watched her. Tess hated being observed by anyone, especially by someone she couldn’t place in time, though certainly, this familiar face had existed in one moment or more, in one place or many, together they had gazed at each other briefly or for many hours. Tess now forgot.  She hated the forgetting that came with age, and even more, she detested unannounced visits.

A worried face, much like her own, and yet, she couldn’t place it. Was she hallucinating…again? And if she was? Good, Tess thought.  It was time for this miserable process of dying to get on with it.  The waiting had become unbearable, leaving her restless and angry.  Angry with cancer that took its time eating away at her; angry with her dead husband, envious of fast-moving cancer that took him away many years ago leaving her to deal with this alone, and angry with her remaining family for their visits and calls.  Their concern felt half-hearted, as she knew, as the almost dead do, the living just want you to go.  They are waiting, anticipating the tsunami of grief.  And like Tess, they wanted to get on with it.

If Tess were a dog, she would have walked to the woods that surrounded the back of her property, curled up on a pile of dead brown leaves under the black maple tree and stare at the bluebird sky.  Alone, free, ready.  Why is it so damn hard to die?  Tess thought as she reached for the doorknob.  She figured she would let the face in, see what she wanted.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Mom! I’m freezing out here.”

“Come in, come in.  Watch out for the cat.” Tess said.

“It’s time to put that cat down, Mom.”

“Like, hell.  When I’m gone, do what you want with it.”

Her daughter was back again, this time with muffins.  Carrot muffins.  Muffins Tess would thank her for, but not eat because eating did not make much sense anymore.  She never cared much for carrot muffins anyway.  Tess would keep this to herself.  The last thing she wanted was for daughter to feel useless.  And she certainly didn’t want another visit from the hospice nurse, poking at her or asking her stupid questions.  How are you feeling today? Are you in pain? On a scale of 1 to 10, one being no pain and ten being the worst pain where do say you are?  Assholes.  All of them.  I’m dying and I just want to forget it.  

Tess moved slowly to her favorite chair and sat down, grateful to be off her feet.  The walk to the door felt like a mile.  Her daughter sat in the chair next to her and grimaced when the matted cat jumped into Tess’ lap.

“I know he is pretty sad lookin’,”  Tess said.

Her daughter smiled, let out a small laugh.  Tess had forgotten her face at the door, misplaced it in time, let it dissipate from her memory in just a matter of days.  It must be part of the dying process, Tess thought.  How could she leave while still holding on so tightly?  Damn near impossible.  Tess loved her daughter’s smile, knowing laugh, dark eyes.  She was a good girl, always had been.  She would miss her.  Tess couldn’t say that about many people.

Tess’ eyes felt heavy.  “I’m so tired.”

“Rest, Mom.  I’ll stay for a while.  I need to pick up the kids in a couple of hours.”

As Tess dozed off, she watched her daughter holding on tightly to her little computer, tapping away a message to the outside world, a message to the rest of Tess’ family.  Soon Tess would be gone and maybe before she left, Tess would take a bite of the muffin.

Carrot Cake Muffins with Maple Icing

recipe adapted from My Recipes

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients for muffins:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple extract

3 medium rainbow carrots or regular carrots, finely grated, about 2 cups

1/2 cup of golden raisins optional


Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.  Lightly coat muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.   Make a well in the center of the dry mixture.  In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, egg whites, extracts and grated carrots.  Add wet mixture to dry mixture.  Stir until just combined. Do not overmix!

Spoon batter into baking cups, about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 22 to 25 minutes.  Be sure to check the muffins at 22 minutes.  You do not want to over bake them.

Remove muffins from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Spoon icing over muffins and serve.  Muffins taste best slightly warm the day they are made but will taste great for breakfast the next day as well.  Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.  Enjoy!

Maple Icing


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 or 2 tablespoons of milk, any kind


Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup.  Add 1 tablespoon of milk and whisk.  Add more milk to reach desired consistency.  Spoon icing over muffins.  Enjoy!

5 Spring Muffin Links

If you love berries in your muffins check out Baker’s Royale strawberry muffins recipe and Diethood’s raspberry muffins recipe.

Looking for a gluten-free muffin option for your next spring brunch?  Head to Dolly + Oatmeal for Lindsay’s strawberry, oat, cacao muffin recipe.

Chocolate muffins are always a good idea. Head to A Brown Table for a sea salt chocolate muffin recipe that is sure to make you smile.

Do you remember the department store, Jordan Marsh?  Me too.  I spent many weekends tagging along with my grandmother to Jordan Marsh, but I never did try their blueberry muffins.  NYT Cooking has the recipe for you.  Check it out!

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting + 5 Carrot Cake Treats You Need To Check Out!


A year ago I made a banana cream pie, sat down at my computer and shared it with you. Why? Something inside of me screamed: do something just for you. The scream was something I couldn’t ignore. It wasn’t you should do something; the scream said you must do something. So I did. For the first time in a long time I started something just for me. I found an outlet. I love being a wife and mother. Bubba is a super supportive and loving husband. The kids are sweet and smart and funny. I have a good life. I just need more of me in this beautiful life Bubba and I created together. I have that now. In exploring food on this blog, I have explored myself. Thank you for joining me. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store.

I made a carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting to celebrate this year. You don’t want to miss this recipe! This cake is light and perfectly moist. The frosting has a nice balance of tang and sweetness, and maple syrup adds a nice depth of flavor to the frosting. My family loved it and I bet yours will too!

cc0028cc0097I found a recipe for candied carrots in Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook. I know, I have a bit of an obsession with her recipes. They are just so good! The candied carrots are very easy to make and adds a simple, yet elegant decoration to the cake. Oh and they taste good!


Sometimes you can’t tell if a carrot cake is a carrot cake. No need to doubt this cake, because it contains one pound of carrots!


Make this cake and share it with friends and family. Or maybe make it just for you, because sometimes something just for you is all you need.

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

cake recipe barely adapted by Baking Illustrated

frosting recipe adapted from Joanne Chang

candied carrots recipe by Joanne Chang

Serves 10-12

Ingredients for Carrot Cake:

21/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

11/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

11/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 pound carrots, peeled ( about 6 to 7 medium carrots)

11/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

11/2 cups canola oil

Ingredients for Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

16 ounces of cream cheese, left at room temperature for 4 hours

1 stick + 21/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

21/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

pinch of kosher salt

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Ingredients for Candied Carrots:

1 small carrot

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

Directions for Cake:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and spray. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a food processor, fitted with a shredding disk, shred the carrots. Add the carrots to the dry ingredients bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the food processor and attach a metal blade. Process the sugars for a few seconds. Add the eggs and process until well combined, about 20 seconds. Keep the machine running and add the oil. Process for another 20 seconds or until the mixture is light in color. Pour the wet mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until well incorporated. No streaks of flour should remain.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The top should be golden brown and spring back when pressed in the middle with your fingertip. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Directions for Frosting:

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and continue to beat. Scrape the sides and add the sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of kosher salt. Beat until well mixed. Cover the frosting and refrigerate for a few hours so it can firm up before spreading. You can make frosting up to 5 days in advance. Be sure to store it in an air tight container.

Directions for Candied Carrots:

Peel the carrot with a vegetable peeler. Using the peeler cut length wise strips from the carrot. You will end up with about 6-10 strips.

Combine the sugar and water in small pan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrot strips and boil for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and let them cool completely in the syrup. The strips can be made up to 5 days in advance. Be sure to store it in an air tight container.

To Assemble:

Once cool, remove the cake from pan. Carefully slice the cake into two layers. Spoon half of the frosting on to the bottom layer. Place the top layer on top and press down gently. Spoon a cup of the frosting on the cake and spread over the top and the sides. This is the crumb coat. Spread remaining frosting on the cake until completely covered. Decorate the cake with candied carrot strips, if using.

The cake will last in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. The cake tastes best a little cold so pull it out a couple of hours before serving. Enjoy!

5 Carrot Cake Treats You Must Check Out!

Looking to make a treat for spring brunches and showers? Try carrot cake baked donuts! Faux Martha has the recipe for you. Check out her other recipes too! They are sure to be just, as good as, these sweet little donuts.

If you love macaroons you should try Tartelette’s Carrot Cake Macaroons! They sound delicious and they are gluten-free!

I love cupcakes. In fact, I never turn one down, but I especially love carrot cake cupcakes. Honey & Jam has a recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese frosting that I need to try very soon!

Carrot Cake sandwich cookies? Yes please! Willow Bird baking has the recipe. My mouth is watering. I went for a long run today so I would not feel at all guilty about eating 1, 2 maybe 5 of these sweet treats.

I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and I love carrot cake. Now I can have both! Baked by Rachel has a recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Carrot Cake Cookies. Yum!