These incredibly moist carrot cake cupcakes are perfect handheld versions of carrot cake! They are so good that you could eat them plain and still be happy – not that you would want to skip the decadent cream cheese frosting.
While carrot is the predominant flavor in these cupcakes, I like to load my cupcakes up with complementary ingredients. You’ll find spices, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and raisins throughout each cupcake. (If you don’t like any of those, they can easily be left out.)
The cupcakes are also made with crushed pineapple. That is more about moisture than flavor, though. The secret to making moist carrot cake cupcakes is using crushed pineapple. The pineapple adds so much moisture to the cupcakes without making them taste like pineapple.
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
To make carrot cake cupcakes, start by mixing together sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.
I love the taste of cardamom, but it’s fine to leave it off if you don’t. For a variation, you can also add other spices like ginger or nutmeg.
Mix in VERY finely chopped carrots. The easiest way to chop the carrots is by using the food processor. Process them until they are the size of couscous.
Before adding the pineapple, make sure that you’ve drained out the liquid from the can. You won’t be able to remove all of the liquid and that’s OK – just be sure to remove the extra liquid that the pineapple is sitting in.
I use unsweetened shredded coconut in this recipe, but sweetened coconut or coconut flakes would also work well. Again, if you don’t like coconut, just leave it off!
Once all of those ingredients are mixed together, add the oil and butter. I like to use a mix of oil and butter in cupcakes (a lesson I learned after gobs of testing for my vanilla cupcakes). The oil makes them extra moist and the butter gives an irreplaceable flavor.
In this recipe, I use unrefined coconut oil as I like the mild coconut flavor. However, you can substitute for any oil of your choice.
Lastly, mix in eggs and all-purpose flour. The eggs also assist in making the cupcakes nice and moist.
Divide the batter evenly between twelve cupcake liners. It will come up almost all the way to the top of the liners.
How to Decorate Carrot Cupcakes
Top cream cheese cupcakes with a hefty swirl of cream cheese frosting.
I like to use a large star tip like the Ateco 827.
You can then sprinkle some chopped pecans on top as shown earlier in this post. Or, top with candied carrot curls. See my post on candied carrot curls for all of the details on how to make them.
You can also break up the curls to make little carrot sprinkles.
Or, if you want to go the more traditional route, top the cupcakes with a sugar carrot decoration like Handle the Heat does.
If You Like This Recipe, You’ll Also Like…
- My healthy carrot cake (This one is gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo diet friendly.)
- Carrot curd (Slather it on bread or use it as filling in cake or cookies.)
- Adorable Easter cupcakes (This is another great recipe for spring!)
- Carrot pie (This is a fun alternative to carrot cake and the brown sugar crust on this pie is incredible!)
- Carrot cake whoopie pies from The Novice Chef (They are adorable!)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Carrot Cupcakes Ingredients
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup finely chopped carrots about 2 large carrots, food processed until the size of couscous
- 1 cup drained crushed pineapple
- 1 cup shredded coconut optional
- 1/2 cup raisins optional
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans optional
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, combine everything but oil, butter, eggs, and flour.
- Add oil and butter and stir vigorously to combine.
- Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.
- Add flour in 2 batches, mixing until just combined.
- Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners and divide batter evenly between them. It should come almost all of the way to the top.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
- Remove cupcakes from tin immediately and set on a cooling rack to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions
- Use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese and butter until creamy and light, about three minutes on high speed.
- Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time. You can add more or less to get your desired consistency.
- Mix in vanilla until fully integrated.
- Spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
- Leave at room temperature for up to three days or refrigerate for up to one week.
- Leave off any of the optional ingredients.
- Swap out a different kind of oil if you don't like coconut oil.
- Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature when making the cream cheese frosting.