Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting

Last modified on April 8th, 2019 at 9:42 am

Moist, carroty and perfectly sweet, our Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Icing are UNBELIEVABLE. You’re going to love it, and yes this counts as a serving of vegetables.

Two carrot cake muffins with frosting and crushed walnuts on a wire cooling rack

What’s that old saying? Eat your vegetables. If there’s any indication of what true adulting looks like, it’s when you enjoy a dessert made from vegetables. Used in baking to add moisture, help with binding and sometimes even replacing eggs and fat, vegetable based desserts are a sneaky way to follow the doctor’s orders and eat your cake too.

4 carrot cake muffins, one frosted with a jar of milk and fresh carrots
Raw carrots on a blue and white striped towel

The perfect well-rounded dessert for any season, our Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting are moist, carroty (yes, that’s a word) and subtly sweet from the vegetables. Made with brown butter, a dash of cinnamon and vanilla, it’s a sweet treat that definitely counts as a serving of vegetables.

What is Brown Butter?

As defined by Merriam-Webster, brown butter is butter that has been heated in a pan until it has a light brown colour and a nutty flavour and aroma. The milk solids separate from the fat and it all becomes a beautifully nutty and slightly caramelized flavour that will delight your taste buds. Some also call it burnt butter, although it is not, and when used as a sauce in French cooking it’s called beurre noisette, being used in both savoury and sweet applications.

How to Make Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting

Ingredients for Carrot Cake Muffins

All-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, milk, vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, carrots, icing sugar

Ingredients to make carrot cake muffins

Brown the Butter

Place a package of butter in your pan and heat on medium-high. Once it has melted and starts to bubble, begin stirring. The butter will foam up and start to darken slightly. Lower heat to medium, continuing to stir and scraping any milk solids from the bottom of the pan. Once the foaming subsides and the solids at the bottom of the pan become deep brown, remove from heat and transfer to a jar to cool slightly, scraping all the milk solids into the jar.

Pouring brown butter from a measuring cup into a white bowl

Preparation

Using the fine side of a box grater, grate 5-6 medium carrots to give you about 1 1/2 cups. Preheat your oven to 350° F.

Make the Carrot Cake Muffin Batter

In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoons of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

In a larger bowl, beat 2 large eggs, then very slowly pour in 3/4 cups of brown butter while continuously whisking. Add 1 cup brown sugar and mix to combine then add 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well combined. Stir in the finely grated carrots.

Muffin batter in a bowl, next to grated carrots and a muffin pan

Bake the Muffins

Place muffin liners in a muffin tin. Scoop a little over 1/4 cup of batter into each cup. It should fill 12 liners. Place the muffins in the preheated oven for 23-25 minutes. Check for doneness by piercing the centre of a muffin with a knife. If it comes out clean, they are done. If not, allow to cook for a further 3 minutes before checking again. Allow the carrot cake muffins to cool to room temperature.

Four muffins in a muffin pan

Make Brown Buttercream Frosting

While the muffins are cooling, make the frosting by pouring 1/4 cup of brown butter into a bowl. Add 2 cups of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of milk. Whisk by hand or in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add more milk or icing sugar as necessary to ensure you have very stiff peaks for the buttercream to hold its shape.

Ice the Muffins and Enjoy

Using a spatula or pastry bag, ice the muffins as desired. Finish by sprinkling with finely crushed walnuts.

Styling Tip: use a pastry bag, plain tip for the perfect icing swirl. Start about a half inch in on the muffin so you can still see the base.

Carrot muffins with brown butter frosting next to fresh carrots and milk
Close up of carrot cake muffin with brown butter frosting

Helpful Tools for Making Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting

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Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting

The perfect well-rounded dessert for any season, our Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting are moist, buttery and subtly sweet from the carrots. Made with brown butter, a dash of cinnamon and vanilla, it’s a sweet treat that definitely counts as a serving of vegetables.

  • Author: Chef Sous Chef
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: food and drink, dessert, brunch
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrot

Muffins

  • 1/4 cup brown butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/4 cups crushed walnuts

Instructions

No. 1 | Preheat oven to 350°F.

No. 2 | Place at least 1 1/2 cups of butter in your pan and heat on medium-high. Once it has melted and starts to bubble, begin stirring. The butter will foam up and start to darken slightly, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium, continuing to stir and scraping any milk solids from the bottom of the pan. Once the foaming subsides and the solids at the bottom of the pan become deep brown, remove from heat and transfer to a jar to cool slightly, scraping all the milk solids into the jar.

No. 3 | In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

No. 4 | In a larger bowl, beat the eggs. Very slowly pour the brown butter into the eggs, while whisking until fully incorporated, then whisk in the brown sugar, vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine, then stir in the grated carrots.

No. 5 | Place muffin liners in a muffin pan. Spoon about 1/4 cup into each cup. Bake the muffins for 23-25 minutes until darker brown. Once baked, transfer to a cooling rack to come to room temperature.

No. 6 | While the muffins are cooling, make the frosting by pouring the brown butter into a bowl. Add the icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of milk. Whisk by hand or in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add more milk or icing sugar as necessary to ensure you have very stiff peaks for the buttercream to hold its shape.  

No. 7 | Ice the muffins with a spatula or pastry bag and finish by sprinkling with crushed walnuts. 

Keywords: carrot cake muffins, gourmet muffins, easter muffins, brown butter recipes

Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosing

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Bernice
    April 2, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    I’m drooling over here…I haven’t had breakfast yet and these are exactly what I want right now!

  • Reply
    Jo
    April 3, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Browned butter definitely makes everything better! Great idea for a frosting 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    April 4, 2019 at 12:53 am

    Your recipe for Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting look so yummy, Philip! I need to plan a brunch immediately so that I can make some. I’ll bet that frosting is incredible – anything with brown butter is quite wonderful isn’t it? Thanks for sharing !

  • Reply
    Dana
    April 4, 2019 at 8:28 am

    These are fantastic! I’m on a *huge* muffin kick right now and these are totally going on my list. I can’t remember the last time I indulged in that carrot cake goodness.

  • Reply
    Kristen
    April 5, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    OMG you had me at brown butter frosting. These are next up on the bake list. YUM.

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