Quick Easy Carrot Cake Muffins are the answers to your prayers when you want carrot cake but just don’t have the time to make it from scratch. I am sure you are all bored with me moaning about how busy I am right now. With school, work and having some kind of life there is very little time for baking and this blog. But the craving for carrot cake hit the other day big time! So I committed the cardinal sin of baking and grabbed a carrot cake box mix and went to work.
Cardinal Sin of Baking
Yep, it’s true I committed a baking sin, I used a box mix. I used to be so anti-box-mixes but I have come to understand they have their place. They are a great time saver and if you lack baking confidence they can be a godsend. Unless you do something super weird you are guaranteed good results. Even with all these good points, they can be a little, bland shall we say? My first batch was made as the box suggested and while edible they were pretty flavourless and I felt like I was just eating them for the sake of it.
The second time I added a few things, you would expect to find in a carrot cake and changed the required ingredients to better, richer tastier ones. Now, the result was something more akin to homemade easy carrot cake muffins.
Mixing it up
Instead of using water as the box suggested I used milk. I kept with the suggestion of using oil, I find a lot of muffins work better with oil and I didn’t want these turning into naked cupcakes! Also instead of using medium eggs, I upped them to large.
But it was the inclusions that made these easy carrot cake muffins seem like homemade and baked from scratch. One serious flaw in boxed carrot cake mixes is the serious lack of carrots. I mean, like, how weird is that? I think there are teeny tiny little candied bits of carrot in the mix. But nothing that was really relatable to a carrot. So that was the first thing that was added, freshly grated carrot.
Raisins, currants and dried cranberries were added next, after all, what is carrot cake without dried fruit? Then I chucked in a few crushed pecans. I know traditionally it should be walnuts but pecans are what I had so in they went. To combat the relative blandness of the box mix, I boosted it with a blend of sweet spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice, these three spices gave these easy carrot cake muffins a real flavour boost.
Would I Do It Again?
As previously mentioned, box mixes certainly have their place. I have used them a couple of times before to make this simple Lemon and Blueberry Cake and to make this divine Peppermint Chocolate Cake. Each time I have doctored up the mix to make it richer and tastier, just like I have with these muffins. I just find that without doctoring it up a bit box mixes are just a wee tad bit bland. But even with the need to doctor them up a bit box mixes are easier and are a real-time saver. But truthfully they will never beat the real deal made from scratch but they sure do come in a close second.
Quick Easy Carrot Cake Muffins
- 1 box carrot cake mix (I used Betty Crocker )
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- 200 millilitres milk – any milk will work (3/4 cup)
- 3 large eggs
- 130 grams grated carrot (1 cup)
- 75 grams raisins (1/2 cup)
- 65 grams currants (1/2 cup)
- 65 grams dried cranberries (1/2 cup)
- 60 grams pecan halves – crushed (1/2 cup)
- Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin pan with muffin liners.
- In a large mixing bowl add in your cake mix and the spices and gently whisk them together.
- Pour in the oil & milk and add the eggs and mix everything together until everything is well combined.
- Fold in the grated carrot, dried fruits and nuts. Scoop the batter into the waiting muffin tin. Filling each cup 3/4 of the way up.
- Pop the pan into your hot oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Turn your baked muffins onto a wire rack to fully cool down. Once cool keep in an airtight container up to 5 days.
- These muffins will freeze well and last up to 3 months.