carrot cake muffins

Carrot Cakes

Today I’m still cringing. Have you had an embarrassing instant of saying something without thinking it through, then spent the following hours and day wishing you could correct it and hit replay?  Even on a day like French Mother’s Day today, I can’t ask for that gift.

Such a wincing-induced moment came yesterday. It could have been straight from a Desperate Housewives’ scene; Bree standing in frilly apron, smiling proudly from ear to ear behind the baking stall at the School’s Summer Fête looking at her carrot cakes.

summer school fete at the Lycée International St Germain

Just as the director of the school chose a cake for his offspring and was about to continue the rounds, my mouth somehow opened on my behalf and blurted, “I baked these.”


These three pathetic words constantly tease me. “Excuse me, Sir. That’s what my mouth said.”
The only consoling thought is that everyone seems to love a good carrot cake – now including French hubby, who normally only appreciates spices in a curry or tagine.

carrot mini cakes

For the Fête, I chose to make light cakes, as I was simply too lazy to cut up a large cake! I’m not calling them cupcakes but individual carrot cakes.

carrot cake muffins


Recipe from BBC Good Food. The recipe is super in that there is not as much sugar as other recipes I’ve tried and I love the proportion of carrots, making the cakes very light.  I only adapted it very slightly by lowering the sugar, adding extra zest to the frosting for more zing, and on the icing quantities as I had too much in proportion to the cake mix.

Makes 18 large cakes using muffin moulds and paper cases (@ 7cm diameter) or one large cake.


300g plain flour (or half each of plain and wholemeal flour)
225g light brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp gingerbread or mixed spice
zest of an unwaxed orange (keep some aside for the icing)
3 eggs
225g sunflower oil (or other neural oil)
300g peeled carrots, grated


75g butter, softened
225g soft cheese, at room temperature (e.g. Philadelphia or St Moret)
75g icing/confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract (or add 1 tsp zest from the orange)
Sprinkles to decorate (optional)

1. Heat oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan (Gas 4).
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spice and orange zest.  Whisk together the eggs and oil, then stir into the dry ingredients with the grated carrot.

2. Prepare 18 muffins lined with paper cases. Divide the mixture between cases and bake for 20-22 minutes until a skewer poked in comes out clean.  If making a large cake, then bake for 35-40 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.

3. To make the icing, beat the butter until creamy, then beat in the soft cheese, icing sugar and vanilla/orange zest.  Either swirl the icing on top of the cakes using a palette knife or use a piping bag with a star tip to pipe out spiral toppings and sprinkle with edible glitter to your fancy.

carrot cake muffins recipe

Enjoy!  Just watch what your mouth says.

9 replies
  1. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    I think you were right to say that you baked the cakes. Mass produced cakes are far too sweet these days especially if they have icing on top. More hygienic to offer individual cakes.

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Thanks, Thomasina, but all the other lovely cakes were home-baked too. Hence the cringing part. Never mind, in any case I want to repost this recipe since have a groovy idea…

  2. Liz
    Liz says:

    Oh, I feel your pain! I say all sorts of ridiculous things. I wouldn’t have blinked an eye had you told me you baked those gorgeous cupcakes! It would make me want them even more 🙂

    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Thanks, Liz. I just need to learn to shut up at times. Who cares who made them? As long as everyone is happy.

      • William
        William says:

        I believe people care about who makes their food, what wholesome ingredients are in it, where the ingredients came from and what is special about the food item you are offering. When they can put a face on the item, they know it wasn’t made by a huge, impersonal Willy Wonka machine. That there is human love in every bite.

        • Jill Colonna
          Jill Colonna says:

          You’re so sweet, William – although somehow a Willy Wonka machine brings out the Charlie in me 😉


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