• Spiced Carrot Muffins with a hidden cheesecake centre!

Spiced Carrot Muffins

Muffins are just a delight. An individual serving of carrot which is totally permissible as breakfast, simply because of the lack of frosting. Sneaky, I know. But I don’t make the rules, I just enjoy them.

The extra little bonus you get with my Spiced Carrot Muffins is you are getting both a vegetable and two types of nuts in! Ok, I should probably stop touting these as some sort of health food, instead, I’ll extol their mood enhancing properties by the addition of all that warming pumpkin pie spice. Ground cinnamon or ginger would be lovely if you don’t want to mix your own or if in the UK, pay an exorbitant premium to have it shipped across from America.

Here’s the recipe I use to mix my own (and once you’ve got your hands on a jar full, try my Pumpkin Pie Spice Baby Donuts too) – I would grind the whole spices myself but you can get away with ready ground versions if that is all you have:

Pumpkin pie spice recipe

Back to these muffins. Oh, they are soft and sweet and spicy. The pecans in the muffin mix give a soft crunch and the pistachios on top give both a flash of glorious lime green and their own subtle spiciness. As carrot cake (in particular, this one) is one of my most favourite cakes in the world to eat, and for no less reason than for the cream cheese frosting, I simply had to add a secret dollop of cheesecake filling to each muffin to complete you carrot cake eating experience. My Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins are so moist with the softest crumb they last very well unlike a lot of other muffins so don’t feel you can’t make them if you don’t have 12 hungry mouths to feed at once.

Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins-5

Spiced Carrot Muffins
Soft and moist carrot muffins, studded with pecans and topped with spicy pistachios. And oh, don't forget the secret cheesecake filling!
: 3371 kcal
Author: Just Jo
For the filling
  • 100 g full fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
For the muffins
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 ml milk
  • 90 ml vegetable oil
  • 180 g soft brown sugar
  • 300 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 25 g finely chopped pecans
  • 100 g coarsely grated carrot
To top
  • 20 g crushed chopped or slithered pistachios
  1. Make the filling first - beat the cream cheese to slacken then beat in the icing sugar and the orange extract.
  2. Preheat oven to 200˚C and line a muffin pan with paper cases.
  3. Beat the egg, milk, oil and sugar together in a large jug until well combined.

  4. In a large bowl, sift the flour, raising agents and spice then stir in the pecans. 

  5. Stir the carrot into the flour mix to distribute it evenly throughout the mix and then pour in the liquid ingredients, stirring until only just combined. Remember, a few lumps are just fine in muffin making!

  6. To make sure you don't run out of mix to cover the cream cheese filling, take out 4 tbsp mixture then divide the rest between the muffin cases. Dollop on a tsp of cream cheese filling then cover with a tsp of muffin mixture. 
  7. Bake for 22 minutes (check at 20 and be prepared to leave them in for 25) until well risen and browned on top. If pressed towards the side, they will spring back but you'd need to avoid the cheesecake to check for doneness with a skewer.
  8. Cool for 5-10 mins in the tin before transferring to a rack (or your mouth!). These muffins keep very well for a couple of days.
Recipe Notes

You can use 1 tsp finely grated orange zest if you don't have extract for the filling.
2 tsp of ground cinnamon would be a lovely substitute if you don't have pumpkin pie spice to hand.

Nutrition Facts
Spiced Carrot Muffins
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3371 Calories from Fat 1404
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 156g 240%
Saturated Fat 98g 490%
Cholesterol 283mg 94%
Sodium 1520mg 63%
Potassium 2713mg 78%
Total Carbohydrates 460g 153%
Dietary Fiber 20g 80%
Sugars 206g
Protein 51g 102%
Vitamin A 487.6%
Vitamin C 7.2%
Calcium 100.3%
Iron 123.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a little commission if you chose to buy items I’ve advertised, helping me to bring you all these recipes for free!

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  1. Ramya Menon @ War and Cheese 18th February 2016 at 9:12 am - Reply

    These look just perfect! And yeah I know all about those ridiculously priced arrivals of pumpkin spice from the states. This recipe sounds lovely are really easy too!

    • [email protected] 18th February 2016 at 7:05 pm - Reply

      It’s mad how expensive exports from the States can be. Lucky we can make a spice blend for a matter of pence without missing out!

  2. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry 18th February 2016 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Yes please to anything with 2 types of nuts in (esp when the second nut is pistachios)

  3. Shihoko 18th February 2016 at 10:50 am - Reply

    yum This recipe has got a lot of spice!! I have just found my favourite Kabocha pumpkin in Brisbane so I will try this very soon with my Kabocha

  4. Fareeha 18th February 2016 at 11:29 am - Reply

    Jaw Drop!!!!!!!!! So simple!!! Few Ingredients!!! Why cant we grab it from the screen and taste this deliciousness… This is so unfair that technology hasnt advanced so far as yet….

    • [email protected] 18th February 2016 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Lol, scratch and sniff screens should be Apple’s next invention 😉

  5. peter @feedyoursoultoo 18th February 2016 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Love the flavors and the crunch from the pistachios.

  6. Marlene 18th February 2016 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Perfect timing, Jo! I just discovered three cans of pumpkin in my pantry. These look fantastic, love the surprise filling and addition of orange flavor.

    • [email protected] 18th February 2016 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      Aw sorry Marlene these use pumpkin *spice*, not actual pumpkin. But I bet you could use some instead of the carrots to good effect 😀

  7. Felesha 19th February 2016 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Pistachiosand carrots!! How delicious! Looking forward to trying this one!

  8. Beverley 1st March 2016 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Most delicious and I always have some pumpkin spice in my cupboard. Great recipe and wonderful photos xoxo

    • Just Jo 1st March 2016 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      Thank you Beverley, I’m so glad you liked them!

  9. Cliona 1st September 2016 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    What a great idea! These look delicious!

    • Just Jo 1st September 2016 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      They really are Cliona! Xx ?

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