These Carrot Cake Muffins with Cashew Cream Topping are to die for, seriously! My husband is a big carrot cake fan and I have to say I never was. Most restaurants or stores usually had that thick butter cream frosting with a little carrot decoration on the top that I found revolting. I actually used to work in a restaurant as a waitress and we frosted the cakes and made that little decoration on the top and I never was tempted to sample those nasty little cakes. I just did not like the dark leathery raisins, the either to dry or sticky cake with the disgustingly thick frosting that stuck to the roof of your mouth and might cause you to go into a sugar coma after eating it, YUCK. I just really never understood the appeal for carrot cake that everyone had. But he persisted in suggesting I make carrot cake so finally I decided I would look at some recipes and see if I could make it taste any better than what I remembered.
In my search for a good carrot cake recipe I found this amazing one that the author calls The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe Ever and well, she is right. I only adjusted the type of nuts I put in and adjusted the oil with some applesauce to reduce the fat but otherwise YUMMY!
These little guys were a huge hit here in our house and I sent some to school for my daughter’s birthday and they were even a hit there with the kids and teachers. Most kids don’t want to eat food with visible vegetables in it and raisins and nuts can be iffy for some kids to (like me). I love the use of the golden raisins which or more plump, sweet and less chewy and for the nuts I used a mixture of well chopped pecans and walnuts so it would not be bitter. I soaked the raisins in water for about 30 minutes prior to using them to really plump them up so that when cooked they did not dry out.
I really try and stay away from the oil type toppings for which most vegan frosting is made from (Earth Balance and sugar!) and my favorite topping is the amazingly delicious Cashew Cream! For the pictures and my daughter’s party I decorated them but at home you can just put a big ol’ dollop on top and go to town.
For the muffins pictured I used white flour but have found success in half whole wheat half white. Also date sugar can be substituted for half of the sugar, one day I might try date paste to see how that turns out to make them even healthier.
Carrot Cake Muffins with Cashew Cream Topping
Makes 12-14 muffins
**If you do not have a vita-mix blender then you will need to soak your cashews for the cashew cream topping for at least 2-4 hours or preferably overnight. If you do have a vita-mix then soak your cashews in some water while you make the muffins and the topping can cool while they are baking, see below for the recipe or click the above link.
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cup oil (I split that with half apple sauce half coconut oil)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 golden raisins (soaked in water for 20 minutes then drained)
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 chopped nuts (I used half pecans and half walnuts)
Preheat the oven to 350 then line the muffin tins or spray with cooking spray.
Mix the dry ingredients together then add the shredded carrots and oil (or applesauce mixture)and mix until you do not see any flour.
Add the orange juice and mix again then add the raisins (make sure to drain the water off if you soaked them), coconut and nuts.
Fill the muffin tins with the batter to the top (this will give you a overflowing muffin) and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool completely. You should have already made the Cashew Cream and placed it in the fridge to cool. Once the muffins have cooled completely and the Cashew Cream is chilled frost them however you like and ENJOY!
1 cup raw cashews (If you do not have a Vita-Mix soak the cashews for at least an hour or better yet overnight then rinse well before blending.)
1 1/2- 2 cups water (amount depends on the thickness you desire-adjust as you go)
2-4 Tablespoons maple syrup (adjust amount to sweetness taste–can use a handful of dates or agave nectar if you would rather)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can omit if you don’t have it)
If you soaked your cashews, drain and rinse very well. Add them to your blender along with the lowest amount of water, desired amount of sweetener, vanilla extract. Blend on high until smooth and creamy adjusting sweetener to taste and water as you go to desired taste and thickness.
You may use this right away or store in the refrigerator to thicken it even more and chill. If you care about the color you may add a 1/2-1 teaspoon lemon juice to keep it on the whiter side. ENJOY on everything you can think of!!!