Tender deliciously spiced carrot cake muffins with a hidden cream cheese surprise center and a crisp sugar finish!
Ready in: 50minutes
1cuplightly packed, finely grated carrots, about 2 large carrots
2TbspRaw Turbinado Sugar or Sanding Sugar, divided
Cream Cheese Filling
8ozcream cheese, softened (I softened in the microwave for 30 seconds on HIGH)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp vanilla on low speed until mixture is smooth, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, blend together 1 cup granulated sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, applesauce, eggs and 1 tsp vanilla for 30 seconds. Add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in grated carrots.
Fill paper lined muffin cups with an 1/8 cup muffin mixture (Note: it's important to keep these measurements even. Also, if you don't have an 1/8 cup measure out 2 Tbsp). Gently drop 1 Tbsp cream cheese mixture on top, in the center of each filled muffin cup, then cover the cream cheese mixture with an additional 1/8 cup muffin mixture. Sprinkle each muffin evenly with 1/2 tsp Raw Sugar. Bake 20 - 23 minutes until edges are lightly golden.
If necessary, run a knife around the edges of the cupcakes to remove from pan (note: I haven't tried this yet but spraying the top of the pan with non-stick spray before baking may help muffins remove more easily). Enjoy warm for a slightly runnier cream cheese filling or allow to cool 30-40 minutes for a set cream cheese filling. Store muffins in an airtight container.