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.
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.
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
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.
Using the fine side of a box grater, grate 5-6 medium carrots to give you about 1 ½ cups. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Make the Carrot Cake Muffin Batter
In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, 1 ¼ teaspoons of cinnamon, ¾ teaspoons of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
In a larger bowl, beat 2 large eggs, then very slowly pour in ¾ cups of brown butter while continuously whisking. Add 1 cup brown sugar and mix to combine then add ¼ 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.
Bake the Muffins
Place muffin liners in a muffin tin. Scoop a little over ¼ 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.
Make Brown Buttercream Frosting
While the muffins are cooling, make the frosting by pouring ¼ 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.
Helpful Tools for Making Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting
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Carrot Cake Muffins with Brown Butter Frosting
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup brown butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups finely grated carrot
- ¼ cups crushed walnuts
Brown Butter Frosting
- ¼ cup brown butter
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoon whole milk
- Place at least 1 ½ 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 after 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- 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.
- Place muffin liners in a muffin pan. Spoon about ¼ 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.
- 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.
- Ice the muffins with a spatula or pastry bag and finish by sprinkling with crushed walnuts.
- Regular butter can be used in place of brown butter, in the same amounts, if desired.
I'm drooling over here...I haven't had breakfast yet and these are exactly what I want right now!
Browned butter definitely makes everything better! Great idea for a frosting 🙂
Chef Sous Chef says
You can say that again;)
[email protected] says
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 !
Chef Sous Chef says
Thanks Denise. I think you'll love them!
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.
OMG you had me at brown butter frosting. These are next up on the bake list. YUM.
These were so good! Perfectly moist and so fluffy. The brown butter icing was a perfect complement. Just wow
Philip + Mystique says
Thanks Rachel! Brown butter everything is the BEST! We're so glad you enjoyed the recipe and took the time to comment. Happy baking 🙂