Healthy Pineapple Carrot Cake Muffins are a lighter version of this decadent dessert! Made with whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt these pineapple carrot cake muffins are perfect for breakfast or a snack.
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Are carrot cake muffins healthy?
When you hear the name carrot cake you might think a dessert with carrots this must be healthy, right? While carrots are a vegetable with lots of nutrients this cake is usually sweetened with loads of sugar in the cake as well as a rich and decadent cream cheese frosting. Then take into the consideration the amount of oil that is usually added to these cakes and you have a total calorie bomb!
Don’t get me wrong I looove a good carrot cake! However, I’m looking for a lighter version that I can eat for breakfast and not feel guilty! By adding a combination of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour I am adding a little extra fiber. Also, for sweetness I add pure maple syrup instead of refined white sugar and pineapple to give extra flavor. The pineapple not only adds a terrific sweet flavor it gives these muffins a lot of moisture. These little changes keep the carrot cake muffins moist and sweet without lots of butter or sugar!
How do you make carrot cake muffins?
I love making muffins! I have so many different versions I’ve made over the years, everything from Banana Coconut Muffins to Chocolate Chunk Raspberry Muffins. For the most part the method of making muffins is the same. I always use two separate bowls, one for dry and one for wet ingredients. This way you can evenly distribute the ingredients so you do not end up with a little clump of baking soda or salt.
First, I grate the carrots using a hand grater and added that to a bowl with raisins, Greek yogurt, avocado oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Then drain the crushed pineapple and add that to your wet ingredients. The pineapple is a terrific addition to these muffins because it keeps them very moist but also adds great flavor and sweetness.
After I have mixed together the wet ingredients I mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. I simply stir the dry ingredients together, making sure everything is incorporated well. Then I make a little well in the center of the bowl. Slowly pour in the wet ingredients and with a spatula stir everything together scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Don’t over mix or you’ll have tough muffins. It’s ok if your batter is a little lumpy, this will bake out!
Evenly divide muffin batter between prepared muffin tin and place in a preheat 350 degree oven for about 18-20 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the muffins for doneness. When a toothpick comes out with wet crumbs it still needs more time, if it’s clean it means they are finished baking.
How do I make moist carrot cake muffins?
Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than biting into a dry muffin. Sometimes it’s caused from over baking but it could also be from not having the right ratio of ingredients. Muffins rely on a few key ingredients to keep them really moist.
Here’s my favorite ingredients for moist muffins:
- Greek yogurt-I use whole milk
- maple syrup or honey
- bananas, apple sauce or pineapple
- avocado oil or coconut oil
I love baking with Greek yogurt. I find this always helps me get a great moist muffin without adding lots of fat!
I used pure maple syrup in this recipe because I thought the flavor would be great in the carrot muffin but you could substitute an equal amount of honey.
Of course in this recipe I used pineapple to not only give moisture but a little tangy sweetness. I think the other fruit options would change the recipe too much but feel free to experiment!!
I use a very small amount of either avocado oil or coconut oil in most of my muffin recipes just to help with keeping them extra moist. I switched from vegetable oil years ago because of an allergy my mom has.
Make sure you also test your muffins using the toothpick method a few minutes before the indicated baking time. Ovens can run slightly differently so bake times can vary by a few minutes.
Do muffins with cream cheese frosting need refrigeration?
Many people question whether or not to store a cake with cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator. While these muffins have only a very small amount of cream cheese, I feel better storing them in the refrigerator especially after reading this article from Cook’s Illustrated.
Honestly I thought these muffins were delicious without the cream cheese glaze. So you can skip it and then not worry about the refrigeration. They will keep on the counter for 3-4 days in an airtight counter without the glaze.
What are the best additions to Pineapple carrot cake Muffins?
Every cook has their opinion on what does and does not belong in carrot cake muffins. There’s a lot of people who feel absolutely no raisins or pineapple but must have walnuts. I guess it depends on what you personally like or grew up with. I always love golden raisins and walnuts in my carrot cake muffins. I think the pineapple in this was a great added twist. You could use pecans instead of walnuts or leave the nuts out all together. The raisins can be left out as well too but the pineapple is a key ingredient to the moisture to the recipe.
Looking for more delicious muffin recipes? Try these!
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Healthy Pineapple Carrot Cake Muffins
Carrot Cake Muffin
- 1 cup grated carrot
- ½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup walnuts
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
- Start by peeling and grating carrot. In a large add wet ingredients, grated carrot, crushed pineapple, raisins, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla extract and avocado oil. Mix well and set aside so the raisins can begin to plump.
- In another large bowl begin to mix together dry ingredients both whole wheat and all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together well.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pou wet ingredients into the well. With a spatula mix all dry ingredients into wet ingredients being cautious to not over mix. Add walnuts and give finally stir.
- Evenly add muffin batter into prepared muffin pan. Tins should be filled about ¾ way full.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Glaze* optional
- After muffins come out of oven allow to cool before adding cream cheese glaze. Make the cream cheese glaze by mixing together the cream cheese, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup.
- Once you add the glaze the muffins should be refrigerated. If it is easier to store in an air tight container and add glaze before eating.