Lightened Up Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze

Everywhere I look lately, I’m seeing carrot cake. So moist and full of spice and always, always, always with a smooth, cream cheese frosting.
 I absolutely LOVE seasonal foods and nothing says Hello Spring and Happy Easter like a big ole’ slice of cake packed to the brim with carrots, pineapple, brown sugar and pecans. Hmmm, yes PLEASE!

The problem I was having was that as I looked at the ingredients and various recipes, I noticed a reoccurring  theme….all the cakes were TERRIBLE for you! I saw several that called for obscene amounts of sugar and more than 1 cup of oil….. YIKES!! Now I’m all about the occasional splurge, sometimes ya just gotta go big or go home and have that slice of cheese cake or oreo pie. However …I’m not sure carrot cake is the dessert that I want to sacrifice 1/3 of my days calories on. I’d like a piece of carrot cake at brunch with a cup of coffee or as an afternoon snack…. But I’d like it to be a snack, not a 700 calorie bomb of sugar and fat.  So I decided to do what I absolutely love to do and create a healthy version that is simple and addictively delicious.

 I do refer to these as muffins but honestly they could totally be used as carrot cake cupcakes. I would substitute the cream cheese glaze for a simple cream cheese frosting and BAM…. Cupcakes;) I’m going to keep referring to them as muffins though. It just sounds better saying that I had a couple muffins for breakfast than a couple cupcakes…. Am I right? The first thing I did to healthify these … Ahem… Muffins, was to use  a combo of white and whole wheat flour and then use applesauce and yogurt to replace most of fat. Only 2 tablespoons of oil in the entire recipe!! The pineapple and shredded carrots serve double duty in keeping the muffins moist and in keeping them sweet. Excluding the glaze, there is only 2/3 cup of brown sugar total. Not too shabby when you divide that between 20 muffins. If you choose to omit the glaze, each muffin is only 105 calories. But let’s be honest…. Carrot cake without cream cheese frosting is NOT carrot cake so I HIGHLY recommend the cream cheese glaze if you want the full carrot cake experience. Plus a hearty drizzle of glaze and a crushed pecan half only sets you back 50 calories and those 50 calories are SO WORTH IT!! 100% of carrot cake flavor for only a fraction of the calories, this is one springtime recipe that you’ll find yourself making year round.


Lightened Up Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze

  • Yield: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (in 100% pineapple juice)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (any milk is fine)
  • 1 1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
  • -Simple Cream Cheese Glaze-
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fat free half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 20 pecan halves


  1. -Carrot Cake Muffins -

  2. Preheat oven 350F

  3. In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, applesauce and oil.

  5. Stir in the sugar, egg, vanilla, pineapple, almond milk, and shredded carrots.

  6. Gently stir in the flour mixture being careful not to over mix. (Over mixing will produce flat and chewy muffins)

  7. Fill lined muffin time 3/4 full. ( I got 20 muffins out of this recipe)

  8. Bake For 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be removed cleanly.

  9. Allow to completely cool before adding glaze

  10. -Simple cream cheese glaze-

  11. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and half and half until smooth.

  12. Pour into a small zip bag and snip the corner off.

  13. Drizzle over muffins. Each muffins should get approximately 1/2 tablespoon of glaze.

  14. Top with 1 pecan half.


Nutrition Facts Servings 20 Amount Per Serving Calories 160 Total Fat 4g Saturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Polyunsaturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 14mg Sodium 100mg Potassium 105mg Total Carbohydrate 30g Dietary Fiber 1g Sugars 20g Protein 3g

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