Carrot cake muffins made from leftover cooked carrots – frugal, delicious and healthy!

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I’m lazy.

Honestly, I am far too lazy to wash, peel and grate carrots just to make carrot cake. In addition, unless I want to eat carrot cake just in the autumn, I would also need to make a trip to the grocery store.

I would far rather wash, peel, cut up and pressure can a few bushels of carrots when they’re in season (and inexpensive), and then just warm up a jar of home-canned carrots from my pantry. Two or three days of intense work and then I have cooked carrots ready to warm up all winter.

But it leaves me with a problem when it comes time to make carrot cake (or carrot cake muffins) because I never have raw carrots around the house.

And I really like carrot cake. My children love carrot cake muffins – easier for little hands to hold and to pack into lunch bags.

This recipe came into existence because I like carrot cake, never have raw carrots on hand, and wouldn’t take the time to grate them if I did.

Life is too short to grate carrots.

But I have another problem that also needed addressing – what do you do with leftover carrots?

They come up from the pantry, are gently heated and coated with butter … and then not all of them are eaten. Uh-oh.

They don’t reheat very well a second time, and it’s such a waste to toss out something you worked so hard to put up.  Especially when you also have that little bit of Cranberry Fruit Sauce – too little to put back in the fridge.

Carrot cake muffins from leftovers

I can’t be the only one who looks at that and sees muffins?

This recipe is based on my Carrot Cake from A Cabin Full of Food. Well, it’s the same recipe – except that some of the carrot was replaced with cranberry sauce, and I added some chocolate chips/Smarties. And I put them in muffin tins because I have an awesome new muffin pan.

Doesn’t look too appetizing when I mash everything up and add eggs.

Pouring honey is fun. It’s starting to look more appetizing, isn’t it?

Almost like muffin or cake batter.

Now this looks like carrot cake (muffin!) batter, doesn’t it? I didn’t have enough carrot/cranberry sauce, so I added a little bit of mashed banana.

This recipe is flexible like that.

Just beyond where you can see, a big bowl of banana is getting brown and fermenting for another round of banana muffins.

Here’s a tip if you haven’t figured it out on your own – any quickbread (that is, a bread made without yeast) can be made in a loaf pan, in an 8×8″ baking dish, doubled and made in a 9×13″ baking dish, or made into muffins.

The cooking time will be a little different – muffins cook quickly.

But in my experience, every oven cooks just a bit differently, so learn to watch your baked goods and not the clock.

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Like pretty much everything I make, this is flexible. I really don’t care how you get a cup and a half of mashed carrots.

They can be leftovers – and if they’re buttered carrots, just reduce or eliminate the butter in the recipe.

They can be cooked just for the purpose of making this cake.

Or you can go to your pantry and grab a quart of home-canned carrot chunks. A quart of carrot chunks, drained and mashed, makes about 1 1/2 cups.

If you don’t have quite enough mashed carrot, make up the difference with a little more mashed fruit – banana, applesauce, even some cranberry sauce.

Or both, like I did.

And you could toss in a handful of yummy stuff. The children were more excited by those blue candies than they were about the chocolate chips.

Can’t blame them. Blue chocolate covered candies in otherwise healthy carrot cake muffins? Oh, yea.

Words really can’t express how much I love my new muffin tin, by the way. It’s a Gotham Copper Muffin Pan.

I don’t like washing out muffin tins because I find that stuff sticks even inside the non-stick ones. Not with this pan, though. Everything washes out like a dream. It’s dishwasher safe.

My children are happy because now I’m making muffins every day.

The copper is so amazing – the muffins cook and brown evenly.

In case you’re feeling guilty and thinking these have to be terribly bad for you – carrots, cranberry sauce, flour, butter, eggs, and a very small amount of honey. If the chocolate bothers you, add raisins.

Or craisins.

Hey, it’s practically health food. 😛

Printable Recipe

Serves 12

Carrot Cake from Leftovers

Carrot cake muffins made from leftover cooked carrots - frugal, delicious and healthy!

10 minPrep Time

45 minCook Time

55 minTotal Time

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  • 1 1/2 cups carrot, cooked and mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey or sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce, or other fruit sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • 1/4 cup nuts, seeds or raisins, optional
  1. This is very adaptable. To get 1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed carrots, you can either cook 3 fresh or stored carrots, or drain 1 quart canned carrots and discard the liquid. You can also save leftover cooked carrots from dinner.
  2. Mix together carrot, eggs, butter, honey or sugar, and applesauce.
  3. If you don't have applesauce, or want a different flavour, you can use peach sauce, rhubarb sauce, mashed banana ... even a bit of baby food!
  4. Mix flour, baking powder, salt.
  5. Add ginger, if you like it. Or don't - I like the carrot taste, personally.
  6. Add nuts or seeds or raisins, if desired. Again, if you don't want them, don't.
  7. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 350F.
  9. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then turn out on cooling rack.
Recipe Type: Breakfast


There is a typo in the print cookbook --- please don't use 2 Tablespoons ginger in this. Holy moley, that would be awful. Try 1/2 teaspoon.

128 cal
3 g
22 g
3 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Just Plain Living

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