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Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling (REDUCED FAT & 231 Calories)

Posted Jan 13 2011 7:22pm

My cousin, my brother, my friend

Today is my favorite cousin's (Ajay) birthday.  He is my cousin, yet a brother to me, he was a mean bully, but also a best friend to me.  I have countless memories of our childhood together, most of those stories are hilarious and are at my expense so I won't bore you with the details.  Haha!  Thankfully though, I have many good memories that I can shed light on.  When I first moved to the United States, Ajay was sort of the friend I never had.  My siblings are much older than I so hanging out with them wasn't exactly fun at 9 years old.  Ajay and I are 2 1/2 years apart so he quickly became my best friend who taught me so much about the American culture.
He was into sports, especially baseball, and he taught me all the rules of baseball.  Till this day it is the only American sport I know all the rules to.  We often played baseball outside his home where he taught me how to bat, throw, and catch a ball, although my catching skills are still a bit weak.  He gave me his mitt that I used throughout middle school and high school.  His favorite team were the New York Mets and they quickly became my favorite team even though I knew nothing about them.  Darryl Strawberry was his favorite batter and Dwight Gooden was his favorite pitcher, and yes you guessed right, they quickly became my favorites, too.  At one point I even started collecting baseball cards after Ajay gave me a few of his own to keep.  I soon realized I didn't quite understand how to perform trades and didn't understand the value of those cards.  Yes, it is apparent that I idolized my cousin and his interests became my interests.  Of course, I didn't mention any of the mean things he did to me, and we certainly had our fair share of fights.  However, when he wasn't actually a bully, I realized he was a really nice person.  :-)

And that's my little story on Ajay.  He has been such a huge influence in my life and has given me great advice over the years.  Although we don't speak as frequently as before, it is nice to know that some things just never change - that's the truth about family and good friends!  I just wanted to wish you, Ajay, a very Happy Birthday and I hope you have an amazing day with N&N!  I wish you could have tried these muffins today, but I guess I'll bake something next time I visit.  Love h.

Now lets talk food.  I found this Low Fat Carrot Cake Muffin recipe on  My version has more calories and fat because I added walnuts and a Neufchatel cream cheese filling.  You can save a significant amount of fat by skipping the walnuts, but why would you because they are loaded with Omega 3s.  Try this recipe, and I promise you, you will not be disappointed. 

TELL ME: Do you have a favorite Cream Cheese Filling recipe?  Share with us!

NUTRITION: Carrots are LOADED with Vitamin A (eyes).  Also, it is a very good source of Fiber, Vitamins C and K.  Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  Yogurt and milk are good sources of Protein and Calcium.  Whole Wheat Flour adds some fiber and protein to these muffins.

  • Although the recipe called for Whole Wheat Flour, since I was using a cream cheese filling, I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour.  Measurements below.
  • I reduced the oil amount from 3 tbsp to 2 tbsp - this saved about 14 grams of fat.  
  • I added a 1/4 tsp of salt to bring out the flavors of the muffin.
  • Instead of 1 (8-ounce) can of crushed pineapple, I used 1 (6-ounce) Chobani Pineapple Yogurt - I wasn't really looking for a pineapple flavor in these muffins.
  • I added 1 (2.5-ounce) jar of Carrot Baby Food for added moistness.
  • I added 1/2 cup of walnuts, although if you skip the walnuts, you will save a good amount of fat.  Keep in mind though, walnuts are good for you and an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. 

  • Calories: 231 cals
  • Fat: 7.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8 g
  • Carbs: 47 g
  • Protein: 5.4 g
  • Fiber: 2 g

~ yields x @ 350 degrees using a cupcake/muffin baking tray
~ fat and calories were not really reduced based on the original muffin recipe, however since this is a cream cheese filled recipe, this recipe is reduced fat in comparison to those recipes that are Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling
INGREDIENTS (my version):
    Whole Wheat Flour - 3/4 cup White Flour - 3/4 cup Baking Soda - 1 tsp Baking Powder - 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon - 1 1/2 tsp Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp Ginger - 1/4 tsp (next time I will omit this, a little dominating) Salt - 1/4 tsp Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup Egg - 1  Canola Oil - 2 tbsp Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp Milk 1% Low Fat - 1/2 cup Chobani Pineapple 2% Greek Yogurt - 1 (6-ounce) container Gerber Carrots Baby Food - 1 (2.5 ounce) container Carrots - 1 1/2 cups (grated - 4 to 5 medium carrots) Raisins - 1/2 cup Walnuts - 1/2 cup (or 2 oz.)
  • Neufchatel Cream Cheese - 3 ounces
  • White Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2. Line the muffin/cupcake tray with cupcake liners.  

    3. Grate carrots.  I just used my Food Processor.  

    4. Add carrots to a medium size bowl and set aside.

    5. Chop walnuts, set aside.

    6. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients... wheat flour, white flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar.  Combine.

    7. Add the chopped walnuts to the flour mixture and set aside.

    8. In a medium sized bowl, combine all the wet ingredients... oil, egg, vanilla extract, milk, Chobani Pineapple yogurt, and carrots baby food.  

    9. Whisk.

    10. Pour the liquid mixture over the carrots.

    11. Mix, but do not over mix.   

    12. Add raisins.  

    13. Combine.  

    14. Pour carrot liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.  

    15. Really get in there and mix, but DO NOT OVER MIX!

    16. Using an ice-cream scoop, fill in each muffin liner.

    17. Combine Neufchatel Cream Cheese, White Sugar, and Vanilla Extract in a small bowl. 

    18. Mix.  

    19. Add about a teaspoon of the cream cheese filling on top of each muffin.

    20. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  I baked for 22 minutes.  

    21. So pretty!

    These muffins are so good and they don't even taste reduced fat.  I felt I could lowered the oil by another tbsp and it would have still tasted just as good.  The yogurt, the milk, and the carrot baby food definitely added more moisture to these muffins.  In addition, the cream cheese filling added a nice touch to these muffins - they baked really well.  The texture is more cake-like, but I didn't mind that at all.  I'm sure you guys will love them.

    TELL ME: Do you have a favorite Cream Cheese Filling recipe?  Share with us!

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