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Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins

These Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins are the perfect treat for breakfast, snack time, dessert, or Easter brunch! The cream cheese filling bursts out of the top of the crunchy sugar coated muffin, making them just as pretty as they are tasty!

Make sure to try my Carrot Cake Recipe too…it is the ABSOLUTE best!

This recipe was originally posted back in 2014. The photos and recipe tips have been updated in 2021, but the recipe remains the same.

Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins!

Muffins are pretty under-rated in my house. The lack of frosting piled on top is a deal breaker…sometimes a streusel will solve this issue, sometimes a glaze…but generally no one ever requests muffins.

But I think I have solved the issue with these Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins…because the frosting baked inside, which kinda makes them like cake you can eat for breakfast. And everyone seemed to like that idea.

Carrot Muffin broken in half showing the cream cheese filling

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins Are An Easy Brunch Idea!

These muffins are not only delicious, but they are so pretty! When they bake the cream cheese filling peeks through the tops, which creates a gorgeous, crackly finish that looks amazing on a brunch platter!

My kids enjoy these for breakfast, or as a snack. Even though they claim “carrot cake isn’t their favorite”.

Grated Carrots
Cake Cake Muffin Batter



  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract


  • all purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • ground cinnamon
  • light brown sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  • grated carrots
  • coarse sugar
Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins Assembly GIF


These carrot muffins are really very easy to make, but there are a few tips that I want to share to make sure you have perfect results.

  1. Don’t use pre-grated carrots! I know it’s nice to use shortcuts from time to time, but the pre-grated carrots that you can buy in the produce section of most grocery stores are just too coarse to work well in baked goods. Save those for your salads. Simply use a grater and grate up some whole carrots. The flavor is so much better, there is more moisture and they will be much thinner, giving your muffin a great texture!
  2. You CAN use low fat cream cheese! Look, you don’t have to, but you absolutely CAN use a lower fat cream cheese for the filling and they will turn out great!
  3. Don’t over-mix the batter. Keep these muffins tender and light by just folding the wet ingredients into the dry without over-mixing. That’s the beauty of these as well, no stand mixer necessary! You can use a hand mixer to make the filling creamy, but you also can skip that step and mix it up with a wooden spoon!
  4. Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature! It’s easy to want to skip this step, but the cream cheese filling will be much easier to mix when it’s room temperature, and won’t be lumpy!

Add-In Ideas:

You can get creative with these muffins if you would like! Here’s a few ideas:

  • Raisins. A lot of folks like their carrot cake with raisins, so throw in 1/2 – 3/4 cup to the batter to add a little more sweetness!
  • Walnuts. Chopped walnuts will add texture, so chop them up and add in 1/2 cup or so!
  • Crumb topping! If you want to go the extra mile, add a little crumb topping on top! Ohhh yeah!
Carrot Cake muffin in a cupcake liner on a wire cooling rack

But…Are These Carrot Muffins Healthy?

Ummmm, do you want me to lie to you here? These aren’t exactly health food. There are carrots in there, so I’m going to say that’s something. BUT you absolutely could make these without the cream cheese filling inside.

How To Store:

Since these are filled with that cream cheese mixture you will need to refrigerate these if you want to enjoy them over the next few days.

And yep, they freeze great! Just store them in an airtight container for up to 30 days, and allow them to thaw at room temperature.


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Carrot Cake Muffins on a cooling rack topped with crunchy sugar

Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins

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  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 15 muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Breakfast


Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins are the perfect breakfast or brunch idea!




  • 8– ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup coarse sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)


  1. Filling: Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until creamy, about 1 minute using a hand mixer. Set aside.
  2. Muffins: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners or coat muffin tin with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar together in large bowl, set aside.
  4. In another medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, oil and water together until foamy.
  5. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and fold in the carrots.
  6. Assembly: Place 2 tablespoons of muffin batter into the bottom of each muffin tin. Top with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture and finally drop another tablespoon of muffin batter on top of that, covering the cream cheese. Sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins are set.
  8. Serve warm or room temperature


Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Freeze for up to 30 days


  • Serving Size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 272
  • Sugar: 24.6 g
  • Sodium: 151.7 mg
  • Fat: 10.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40.5 g
  • Protein: 3.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 40.1 mg

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37 comments on “Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins”

    1. Ou could add a little as long as it is well drained 🙂 My Carrot Cake recipe her eon my site uses pineapple and it’s fantastic!

  1. Wow! I love the idea of the cream cheese in the middle! Sort of like a bundt cake muffin! I can’t wait to try this. It looks and sounds, delicious! Thank you for the wonderful tips, too! Very helpful.

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