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Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins | Sweet and tender with a marvelous surprise in the middle

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins

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Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins: The divine flavors of a traditional carrot cake are transformed into a portable breakfast or snack!

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffin cut in half on a square white plate with a fok and two carrot slices

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins

There is nothing better than biting through a crisp, sugary crust into a sweet tender muffin. Well, except if that tender muffin has a center of sweet cream cheese filling.  As a riff on carrot cake, these splendid cream cheese filled carrot cake muffins have a surprise filling instead of a topping of cream cheese icing.

I took my favorite carrot cake recipe from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins and tweaked it into mini-versions that are perfectly acceptable for breakfast. Nice, huh?

I shared these cream cheese filled carrot cake muffins with my unbiased taste testers one Friday morning, asking for their honest reviews. “Too much oil?” I posed. “How’s the texture?” I queried. Between bites and swallows, there was only praise.

My non-baking friend, Sally, inquired whether she could make these…”Of course,” I replied. Anyone who can read and follow directions can make these. There’s nothing complicated when it comes to mixing, spraying, and scooping.

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffin on a square white ceramic plate

Rave Reviews for these Carrot Cake Muffins

I promised to type up the recipe ASAP, so I could share it immediately. And I sent as many as I could home with my friends. These babies are dangerous to have in plain view. Even tucked in my freezer, I’ve been dreaming of them all day.

I have a feeling I won’t even wait till one defrosts before I dive in! They may not win any beauty contest, but they will win first place in the muffin category…and maybe even best in show. They are spectacular!!!

Update: Two of my friends made these within a week of sampling my version. One doubled the filling so keep that in mind if you’d like to increase the ratio of filling to muffin batter. She also suggested freezing the filling mounds overnight…which I quickly seconded. It will be easier to roll and hold its shape if it’s fully frozen.

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Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins | Sweet and tender with a marvelous surprise in the middle

Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins

The divine flavors of a traditional carrot cake are transformed into a portable breakfast or snack!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 12 muffins



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar (I used Dixie Crystals brand)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (I used Grimmway Farms)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup crushed pineapple, well drained


  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used Dixie Crystals brand)


Note: You may want to freeze filling balls overnight.

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Add paper liners to 12 cup muffin tin and spray insides of papers with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Make filling by mixing cream cheese and sugar with hand held electric mixer till smooth. Scoop out scant one tablespoon rounds onto a parchment lined pan and place in freezer while continuing with recipe. You will need 12; one for each cupcake.
  3. Place shredded carrots in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, till carrots have softened slightly. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in large bowl. Add the oil, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple.
  5. Scoop a tablespoonful or two of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Remove filling from the freezer and quickly shape into a compact balls with your hands, if desired, and put one ball in each of the muffin cups. Divide the rest of the batter between the muffin cups. Spread batter over filling if necessary.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.


Adapted from the Silver Palate cookbook.

You may want to freeze the cream cheese filling balls overnight

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 muffin

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 205mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 3g


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33 comments on “Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Muffins”

  1. Liz, these sound scrumptious. That crisp exterior and creamy center sound perfect. Pinned.

  2. Oh me! Oh my! These are super! What a superb idea putting the topping as stuffing….next…stuff my face! Great riff, Lizzy!

  3. A great treat waiting inside of really pretty muffins

  4. More muffins for me?? I’ve never tried cheese in muffins, let alone carrot cake………

  5. Oh wow I am definitely loving that cream cheese filling! It’s just like carrot cake but with the frosting on the inside.

  6. What’s better than a homemade muffin? A homemade muffin with cream cheese in the middle! These look amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Love this spin on carrot cake, the cream cheese filling is brilliant!

  8. I love the Silver Palate books and I love this muffin. Perfect for brunch! Happy Mother’s Day, Liz!

  9. i love the generous filling!

  10. Just stop it! I must admit the first thing I thought when I saw these was, “how’d she get that cheesecake inside?!” SUCH a good idea!!! Seriously, cannot wait to make these! I can practically taste the gooey cream cheese filling.

  11. Carrot cake you can hold in your hand and eat! Sounds like a winner:@)

  12. Over the top outstanding, Liz!

  13. I love carrot cake, and in muffin form sounds even better so I can eat it for breakfast without feeling guilty ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would probably double the filling, too – can’t go wrong with double the cream cheese frosting/filling!

  14. Love carrot cake! Especially the cream cheese frosting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Oh my, these look good, Liz! My husband, the carrot cake fanatic, would go wild for these.

  16. Lizzy,
    I’d like 1 or 3 right now. Do I need to wait for brunch to eat these? Pinned. Can’t wait to try them.

  17. Cream cheese fillings make me happy. Love this!

  18. Wow, Liz… my Peter would love these!

  19. Nice, I love the “surprise” inside the carrot muffins…yum!
    Thanks for the inspiration Liz…hope you are having a great week ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. I love carrots cake and these look awesome Lizzy:)

  21. They are perfect for the weekend brunch!

  22. These are gorgeous and obviously successful with two of your friends already having made them. They do look full of flavour and very moist xx

  23. Love that creamy heart! Beautiful muffins, Liz!

  24. I really wish I would have had these for breakfast instead of my lame cereal! I love carrot cake and love that that the filling is tucked right inside so I don’t have to worry about piping anything!

  25. boy oh boy would my husband like these! Not to mention I would to ๐Ÿ˜‰ They look awesome!!

  26. The only thing better than putting cream cheese on top of carrot cake is stuffing it inside! YUM

  27. Oh I love how you stuffed these muffins! Sounds like a great breakfast/brunch to me.

  28. Simply put, I think this is muffin nirvana!

  29. Add me to your list of friends making this recipe…Genius! And the good news about carrot cake is that well, er, it has veggies so it’s a good-for-you dessert =)

  30. Sounds like a great idea to have cream cheese filling instead of frosting ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. I can’t imagine anything better than to bite through a sugary crust to a sweet tender muffins. Oh happy dayz.

  32. The cream cheese filling is calling me!

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