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Nigella’s Carrot Cake Muffins

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Nigella Lawson’s amazing carrot muffins or cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts.

Nigella’s carrot cake muffins or cupcakes, the best recipe for carrot cupcakes I’ve made until now. Really moist and tasty and when eaten without the icing not overly sweet. The walnuts make a little crunchy while the topping makes them creamy and luxurious.

Carrot Cupcakes

Tips for baking good muffins

Although muffins are normally very easy to make, there are always a few steps you want to consider, if you wish them to be perfect.

There are two kinds of muffins in my opinion. This is probably not a scientific matter, but I feel that there are the soft, cake-like ones, which are usually made with butter, and the moist and slightly denser ones, which are made with oil.

Me – I love them all Nigella’s carrot cake muffins, Sour Cream Muffins – my absolute favorite ones (a basic muffin recipe, if you need one), Cinnamon Apple Muffins, Cherry Muffins… made with butter, oil, yogurt etc… it doesn’t matter, I have rarely met one I didn’t like.

However, I noticed that when looking for a new recipe, I tend to choose yet another one made with oil. The thing is that if there is a chance you might screw up a muffin recipe and get some dry, hard-to-swallow ones, you are more likely to do so with a recipe containing butter. Oil (or the addition of yogurt/sour cream etc) helps them stay moist.

Carrot Cupcakes carrot cupcakes

Ingredients needed

Oil:

  • We’ve already talked about the oil and its benefits when used in baking muffins or cupcakes. The oil helps them stay moist.
  • I used a very mild sort of sunflower oil. Make sure that the oil is rather neutral in taste, otherwise, you will definitely be able to taste it and that is not the flavor you are looking for in a cake.
  • Alternatively, use neutral-tasting canola oil.
  • I’ve made the mistake of baking a cake with really good, organic sunflower oil once. That is not something I will do again. The cake did have the most wonderful and intense yellow color, but it only tasted of sunflower oil, which was really not nice.
  • I’ve learned my lesson and now I only buy regular (cheap) canola oil when baking. I keep the really good oil for salads and cooking.

Carrots:

  • Two medium carrots, which weighed about 150 g/ 5.3 oz together.
  • I grate the carrots with a hand grater, using the finer side of a grater box. I can’t be bothered to wash the food processor afterward for just two carrots.
  • However, you can use the grate setting on your food processor for this, just make sure you don’t overdo it, the carrots should be just grated and not become juicy. A few pulses will suffice.

Spices and nuts:

  • Nigella’s carrot cake muffins are perfectly spiced with lemon and orange zest (don’t skip, they really add a lot to the recipe) and cinnamon, which goes perfectly well with the carrots.
  • The walnuts are just perfect in this carrot cake recipe, adding a touch of crunchiness that complements the creaminess of the cream cheese frosting.

How to make carrot cupcakes?

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Grate the carrots finely. Chop the walnuts.
  • Mix the sugar and oil with the handheld mixer. Wear an apron if you don’t want to ruin your clothes, my t-shirt is full of little oil spots. My daughter’s the same. She helped.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and mix shortly, until creamy.
  • Mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and zest.
  • Add to the egg mixture and then fold in the carrots and the chopped walnuts.
  • Spoon the mixture in the prepared muffin tin.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before decorating with the cream cheese frosting.

How to make the cream cheese frosting?

  • To make the icing beat the cream cheese until smooth, it will take a few seconds.
  • Beat in the icing sugar and add the lime or lemon juice.
  • Decorate the top of the cupcakes using a butter knife.
  • Place half a walnut on top and enjoy.
nigella carrot cake muffins cupcakes

About the recipe

I found the recipe in Nigella Lawson’s  How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking, a wonderful book that I bought recently. I read it through already, but this is the first recipe I’ve made out of it. And it is great (Amazon affiliate link).

And if you like carrot cake, baking this recipe is a must!

More cakes with carrots:

seven carrot cupcakes topped with frosting and walnuts on a vintage platter.

Nigella's Carrot Cake Cupcakes or Muffins

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Nigella'samazing carrot cake cupcakes or muffins with cream cheese frostingand walnuts.

Ingredients

  • Carrot cake muffins:
  • 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 175 ml/ 6 fl.oz/ ¾ cup sunflower oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175 g / 6.2 oz/ 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • zest of ½ orange
  • 2 medium carrots, total weight about 150 g/ 5.3 oz
  • 65 g/ 2.3 oz/ ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Cream cheese frosting:
  • 115 g/ 4 oz/ ½ cup cream cheese
  • 285 g/ 10 oz/ 1 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
  • 12 walnut halves

Instructions

Carrot cake muffins:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Grate the carrots finely (fine side of a hand grater or just a few pulses in a food processor fitted with grate setting, don't let the carrots become juicy).
  3. Chop the walnuts.
  4. Combine the sugar and oil with the handheld mixer.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and mix shortly, until creamy.
  6. Mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, lemon, and orange zest.
  7. Add to the egg mixture and then fold in the carrots and the chopped walnuts.
    Spoon the mixture in the prepared muffin tin.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.



Cream cheese frosting:

  1. To make the icing beat the cream cheese until smooth, which will take a few seconds.
  2. Beat in the sifted icing sugar and add the lime or lemon juice.
  3. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes using a butter knife.
  4. Place half a walnut on top.

Notes

Use a digital kitchen scale when baking, it guarantees for best results (Amazon affiliate link).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 33gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Beth

Saturday 6th of February 2021

This icing is incredibly sickly. I halved the amount of sugar and it was much better!

Adina

Saturday 6th of February 2021

I am glad it still worked.

Adina

Monday 30th of March 2015

Thank you, Thalia. They were really really nice.

Thalia @ butter and brioche

Sunday 29th of March 2015

I definitely am feeling for a carrot cupcake right now.. these look delicious!

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