When you look up Easter baking, the recipes tend to be chocolate based or fruit cake. And indeed you can find those recipes here on the blog like my chocolate muffins or Simnel cake. But if you’re looking for something a little different, these yummy carrot and maple muffins might just hit the spot.
Carrot cake has always been one of my favourite bakes. My first holiday job was working in a health food café – a rarity in the 1980’s! They had a range of yummy cakes, but their carrot cake was the best – it was so delicious. But the recipe was secret and even though I tried to take a peek when they were baking in the tiny kitchen at the back of the cafe, I never got to find out the magic ingredient.
I’ve made carrot cake many times since then, and I wonder whether that version was just delicious as it was the only one I’d sampled at the time – the first is always the best! It’s still my favourite cake but can be a little heavy and dense. These lovely muffins are the exact opposite. Light, fluffy but full of carrot cake yumminess and perfect as an alternative for the Easter Bunny – they must like carrot, surely? 😉
One of the fab characteristics of these muffins is they are super adaptable to different dietary needs. They can be made:
- gluten free
- nut free (leave out the pecans!)
- oil free
- low sugar
- soya free (although they won’t be as light and fluffy)
What they definitely won’t be is taste free!
If you are looking for a completely oil free recipe, the oil can be replaced with apple sauce. Make sure it’s smooth though as you don’t want lumps of apple competing with the carrot. The texture will be denser though as the fat in the oil helps make it lighter. But they still taste awesome. There’s not actually that much oil in them to start; you could also go half oil half apple sauce if you prefer.
I like raisins in my carrot cake; they add moisture, texture and sweetness. However, feel free to leave them out if they’re not your thing.
I can confirm this recipe works really well with gluten free flour – they are just as light and fluffy. They don’t stay moist as long as wholemeal flour ones though, so eat them up quickly (no arguments there!) or pop some in the freezer for another day.
If you haven’t got a good non-stick muffin tray, it’s worth getting one. I have this 12 portion tray. And if you want to make the muffins more Eastery, you can get some cute Easter themed muffin wrappers in bake shops.
These yummy carrot and maple muffins of course are not just for Easter! Feel free to make them any time you like. However, if you do fancy something a little different this weekend, give them a go right now! Let me know how you get on.
Carrot maple muffins
- 220 ml soya milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 280 g wholemeal or gluten free self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- pinch salt
- 30 g pecan nuts, finely chopped (optional) split into 20g and 10g
- 50 grams raisins optional
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 80 ml maple syrup
- 100 ml olive oil or apple sauce for oil free
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 extra tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1 tsp icing sugar to decorage optional
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
- Add the lemon juice to the soya milk and leave it to curdle for a few minutes.
- Mix the 10g portion of chopped pecan nuts in a small bowl with the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the 20g portion of chopped pecans and the raisins (if using).
- Add the carrot, maple syrup, vanilla essence and oil or apple sauce (or half and half) to the curdled soya milk. Whisk well to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix quickly. Don't worry if its a bit lumpy - it's more important not to knock all the air out the mix.
- Spoon the mix into the prepared muffin cases equally. Sprinkle a little of the maple syrup/pecan nut mix on the top of each muffin.
- Tap the muffin tray on the worktop and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the trays.
- Sprinkle a little icing sugar over the top to finish off if required.