Carrot Raisin Thyme Muffin Tops

I've had a muffin pan in my cupboard for years that hasn't had much use.  The point of it from what I can remember was to create only muffin tops, and not an entire muffin.  I guess there are some individuals who prefer eating the puffy crispy top of a muffin and not the entire thing?

I can't imagine, because I don't hesitate for one second when I'm eating any part of a muffin.  But I bought the pan anyway. I'm incorrigible when I see something that is different.  Different as in — that's the strangest thing I've seen — and then toss it in my cart.

It's been used for tarts, mostly, because the cups are so shallow.  And it's been used for brownies because they pop right out and there's no cutting necessary.  It's also been used for a dessert I still haven't posted that keeps taunting me because I can sort of remember how I made it, but not exactly, so there the lovely photos of it sit, reminding me I should be more organized when I experiment.  Right.

But recently, I actually made muffins in the pan — finally.  The recipe I used to make these Carrot Raisin Muffins caught my eye because it was staring at me from the back of a box of Sun-Maid California Golden Raisins one morning when I was trying to dig my cereal out of the mess that is my son's pantry area.  I'd had carrot cake on the brain for a while and had been looking for a recipe that wasn't drowning in oil.  Instead, this recipe uses some butter and buttermilk. 

Maybe if I used the shallow muffin pan, I'd have little carrot cakelets…okay, muffin tops.


Carrot Raisin Muffin Tops
makes 12 regular muffins or 6 muffin tops

for the muffins…
1-1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 lg. eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1-1/2 c. coarsely grated carrots
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
2 T roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme

for the topping…
1 T unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c. mascarpone
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T milk
1/2 c. powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and prepare pan by lining with paper cups or spraying lightly with oil.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until well combined and add the carrots, raisins, buttermilk, and 1/3 c. melted butter.  Mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moist.  Spoon into prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes if you're using the muffin top pan, and 16-18 minutes if using a regular muffin pan.  Let cool in the pan about 5 minutes before removing, then pour on the topping. 

To make the topping, mix together the mascarpone and 1 T melted butter.  Add the remainder of ingredients and mix well.  Drizzle topping on warm muffins.




  • The pan turned out cakelets just like I'd thought.  If it's called a muffin top pan, then I would think the end product would be high topped and a bit crispy, but these weren't and that's just fine by me.  If you've got a recipe you tried in a pan like this, by all means, please share!
  • They were quite the pleasant and tasty surprise.  Moist, light, fluffy, and very much like the carrot cake I'd been wanting.  Now I'm wondering about how it would work as a larger cake.


  • The golden raisins are nice.  Although I'm not one to pick anything out of food when I eat it (don't even get me started…) and I enjoy raisins in baked goods, I always have a reaction when I see them in recipes.  It's sort of a pause, then acknowledgment that raisins are in the recipe.  Like, "oh."  No jumping up and down or twirling or anything.  And then I move on and enjoy whatever I've put them in.  But if I, the Queen of the Unpicky Eaters, can admit that weakness, then I know lots of others could think similarly.  You're laughing, right?  But still.  So the golden raisins are disguised in these.  They blend right in with the color of the crumb and lend a pleasant sweetness that could go unnoticed by individuals who could benefit from the healthy aspects of raisins, but won't eat them.  Okay, except the ones that end up on top and get a bit brown…Sneaky, huh?
  • The seed and thyme were very nice in these, but I think I'd add more.  Definitely.
  • The topping is lovely — mascarpone is a favorite flavor, but if cream cheese is all you've got then that works too, of course.  I happened to have the mascarpone.  It's lightly sweetened as compared to cream cheese.  You may have to play around with the consistency of this a bit by adding either more milk or more powdered sugar.  I prefer toppings that aren't cloyingly sweet, so this mix of ingredients is just right for me.  For best results drizzle on right before you eat it instead of letting it sit on the muffin.
  • One of these muffin tops is easily split between two people, which is still more than enough.


Thanks very much to Blonde Duck for loving my blog!  A little heart always makes work more rewarding, right?  


And here's a bit of Sunny San Diego cheer for you!


18 thoughts on “Carrot Raisin Thyme Muffin Tops

  1. Those look so nice, specially with the topping… I like carrots and raisin salad, a sweet muffin version sounds good too.
    I have the same “old-photo-no-post” problem…can’t quite remember the recipe….

  2. Cathy, my mom used to make the best carrot raisin salad. Loved it!
    Hey peabody — hopefully you can show me how to use this pan correctly, then. They just seem like little cakes to me.
    Hi Rita. Yep, I’ve heard others have the same problem. I have a book I keep notes in , but forget to get it out sometimes. Now, all my recipes are lined up against the dining room wall in a semi state of planning. I’m hopeless.

  3. Kelly, the muffin top mould is something even I found to be quite peculiar. It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine used to eat the muffin top and discard the rest of it. I could never associate with that – why would anyone waste muffins? Things are really strange sometimes!
    Your muffin tops look beautiful, Kelly.

  4. cakelets, eh? i like it. i also like, nay, love the little drizzle you’ve got going on. very picturesque, and undoubtedly a lovely touch. this is a great post. 🙂

  5. The muffins looks absolutely decadent and did you know you can use that pan to make Hamburger buns too ! Thanks Kelly

  6. I’ve seen these pans before and have thought they’d be fun, but I just run out of room in my cupboards! I do like the sound of adding thyme – what an unexpected ingredient!

  7. I’m loving the thought of a muffin top pan, almost as much as I’m loving the looks of this carrot cakelet! Who cares if it’s a cross between a mini-cake and a muffin? These are fun, different, and have the ability to break out of the muffin monotony. I love them! Now, where to find one…

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