Sunday, October 31, 2010

Carrot Molasses Cakes

Featured Ingredient: Carrots

I’ve been meaning for sometime to adapt iconic carrot cake to the muffin tin. And now that the mercury has begun its descent here in Ontario, what better time to make this cherished comfort food dessert.

Nutritionally, carrots are a winner. Bugs Bunny’s food of choice is well-endowed with beta-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A which functions to improve immunity and eye health. On its own, beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant so it helps disarm those pesky free-radicals that prowl our bodies looking for cells to attack.

The problem I often have with many carrot cakes is that they are much too sweet. Not only is the cake overloaded with sugar but the frosting is pumped full of the sweet stuff, too. And let’s face it, carrot cake is really all about the frosting and the layer of loveliness it provides. This one is delicately sweetened with maple syrup with a whisper of vanilla that brought the home cook much approbation from his girlfriend. I am starting to think that she whishes the frosting could be a food group on the pyramid.

I was not sure about adding the molasses at first, but I think it gives the cakes a little kick of robustness that works well. I added some coconut flour for added nutrition and the hint of sweetness it provides. You could use other flours as well or just a cup and half of whole wheat pastry flour. Forget the all-purpose white stuff – it's a nutritional dud.

Next time I make these I would consider tossing in some raisins as well. Anyone have other thoughts for some tasty additional ingredients?

Carrot Molasses Cakes


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup coconut flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp salt

2 eggs

½ cup sugar of choice

2 Tbsp molasses

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup oil

1 cup shredded carrot


5 oz (about 5 Tbsp) cream cheese, room temperature

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine pastry flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and stir in sugar, molasses, water, vanilla, oil and carrot. Combine wet and dry ingredients until no dry flour remains. Divide mixture among 10 greased or paper lined muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

As the cakes bake, whip together cream cheese, maple syrup and vanilla. Unmold cakes and top with cream cheese frosting.


  1. Carrot cake is a real favorite for any special occasion in our house but you are right it can be overwhelming with the sweetness. I really look forward to trying your recipe and the recipe for the icing.
    Thanks so much, not going to tell the family and lets see if they notice.

  2. These sound delicious! I agree that most carrot cakes are way too sweet - for me anyways. :)

    As for fun and tasty additions, crushed pineapple, chopped dates, figs, crystallized ginger, dark chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, pepitas...

  3. I was thinking of adding chocolate chips but I just finished writing a feature article on chocolate for Women's Health magazine so was a little chocolated out (well, not really!). I love the idea of crushed pineapple.

    Two votes for less sugar, yeah!

  4. I totally agree that many carrot cakes are way too sweet. Let the natural sweetness of the carrot shine! A touch of molasses sounds like a great alternative to excess sugar.
    Of course I love that these are muffin-sized too!


I love hearing from fellow muffin tin fans, so let me know what is on your mind.