These muffins are moist and tender, studded with grated carrots and lightly spiced with ginger and cinnamon. They hold a tasty surprise within: a melting pool of sweetened cream cheese filling.
- one 8-ounce package cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cups (269g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (53g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (170g) water
- 1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (135g) grated carrots, lightly packed; about 2 medium-large carrots
- Course sparkling sugar, optional; for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners and grease the cups.
To make the filling: Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat on low power for 40 seconds. Stir in the sugar and flavor. Set aside.
To make the muffin batter: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold in the grated carrots, stirring to combine.
Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here) into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom. Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling (see Picture 1 below). Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups quite full. The batter will come to within about 1/4″ to 3/8″ of the top of each muffin cup. But don’t try to use all the batter; unless you have particularly deep cups, you’ll have about 1/3 cup batter left over. Bake it in a separate custard cup, if desired.
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
Bake in preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the cake part (not into the cream cheese filling) comes out clean. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.
Should the paper liners be greased? Definitely grease the muffin paper – the greased papers released the muffins without any sticking at all, while the ungreased papers tended to cling a bit, taking off a layer of crumbs as you removed them.
Remove the muffins from the oven, and as soon as you’re able to handle them, transfer them to a rack. If you serve the muffins warm, the filling will be molten. If you wait for them to cool, it’ll firm up.