These muffins are lightly sweetened with honey instead of refined sugar and with the natural sweetness of the carrot. You could use butternut squash in place of the carrot if liked.


Spelt flour has a mildly sweet, slightly nutty flavour. It is a great substitute for wholemeal flour, which I often use in carrot cake recipes, as it has less gluten, making it easier to digest.

These muffins are of course not without their calories, but they are a healthier alternative to the usual wedge of traditional carrot cake.

Makes 12 

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 225g wholemeal spelt flour 
  • 75g oat bran + extra to sprinkle
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 300ml low fat natural yoghurt
  • 150ml honey
  • 200g carrot (about 1 medium-large carrot), finely grated
  • 24 pecan nut halves
  • 125g low fat cream cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C (fan 170C), 375F, Gas Mark 5.  Line a 12 whole muffin tin with muffin cases or for homemade café style cases, cut out 24 x 15cm squares from baking parchment.
  2. Take two squares per hole and place one on top of the other like a star. Push them down into the muffin tin holes, they may pop up a bit but once the mixture is in, they will stay down.
  3. Melt the butter in a small pan or microwave and set aside to cool a little.
  4. Mix the flour, oat bran, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  5. Beat the eggs lightly in a large bowl and then mix in the yoghurt, honey and cooled butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and add the carrot. Stir everything together gently until just combined.
  6. Divide half of the muffin mixture equally between the 12 muffin cups. Divide the cream cheese between each one, putting about 1 teaspoon in the centre of the muffin mix. Spoon the remaining mixture on top, spreading it evenly.
  7. Arrange two pecan halves on top of each one and scatter a little oat bran over. Bake for 25 minutes until golden-brown and just firm to the touch.
  8. Leave to cool a little before removing and allowing the cool completely on a wire rack. These can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Note: The muffins will keep for a couple days in an airtight container or they can be frozen. 

Tip: I love how the pecan nut develops a beautiful caramelised flavour when baked but they can be replaced with sunflower or pumpkin seeds (or a mix of both) if preferred.

Sharon Hearne Smith's Carrot Cake Muffins