When developing recipes for the Garden & Gun Club at the Battery Atlanta, sous chef Darius King puts his pastry background to good use. A Charleston, South Carolina, native, King got his start in the Piggly Wiggly cake-decorating department, and then went on to work in a number of Lowcountry restaurants before moving to Atlanta in 2018. “I’ve always felt a special connection to the pastry side of things,” he says. “At the Club, I try to focus on putting my own spin on the classic Southern desserts you tend to see everywhere.” Similar to his pecan chewies and red velvet cake, King’s recipe for carrot cake muffins diverges slightly from the traditional preparation—and is very home-cook friendly.
“This recipe is a good base that you can take in any direction you like,” King says. “Sometimes I’ll soak some raisins in bourbon for an hour or so and add them to the batter. The bourbon rehydrates the raisins so they don’t burn as they bake, and it creates a much deeper flavor profile.” To amp up the sweetness, King recommends mixing in some crushed pineapple, adding a layer of cream cheese icing (his fail-safe recipe can be found here), or topping the muffins with a brown sugar crumble. King’s favorite thing about the muffins? Their snackability. “This way, you can basically have cake anytime you want,” he says.