Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Swirl Frost Close

So I had no intention of making carrot cake cupcakes today.  Tomorrow is the first day of school (Yay!) and I wanted to make something quick, but when I was looking through ingredients, I dropped my carton of eggs and three cracked.  This recipe called for three eggs, so I put on Mamma Mia and went for it (Side note: the Mamma Mia soundtrack is hands down the best baking music I’ve ever found).

This is another recipe from my mom’s recipe box, adapted for my own purposes.  The recipe is for a full cake, but since I’m bringing them in for my fellow teachers tomorrow, I thought cupcakes would work out better.  Easy cake-to-cupcake conversion: bake at the same temperature for about 1/3 to 1/2 the time of the cake.

First, mix the dry ingredients.  Yes, that includes the chopped nuts (I used black walnuts because that’s what A&P had, but pecans are especially good) and coconut in addition to the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Again, leaving salt out is totally fine; they still taste delicious, I promise.

 Dry IngredientsMixed Dry Ingredients

Pro Tip from My Mom: coconut flakes are an ingredient that should be packed like brown sugar.  Yes, this means that the 2 and 3/4 cup bag of coconut is actually more like 1 cup, but trust me, if you’re a coconut fiend its totally worth it.

Packing Coconut

Next, add the wet ingredients: grated carrots, wesson oil, vanilla, eggs, and undrained pineapple.  The juice is what makes it so moist – don’t get rid of it!

Add Wet Ingredients

Pro Tip from Me: Apparently I’m feeling very professional tonight.  But if you, like me, usually grate carrots by hand on a grater and generally cut your fingers to shreds in the process, invest in a mini chopper.  It’s better than the wheel.

It turns this:

Mini Chopper

Into this:

Chopped Carrots

In like no time at all.  It’s brilliant.  Everyone should have one.

Anyways, mix until it looks like a cake batter, somewhat liquidy with no dry ingredients left in sight.  Scrape around the bottom with a bowl – sometimes flour pockets like to hide out down there.


Carrot cake batter is supremely underrated in terms of bowls you want to lick when you’re done.  Make sure you try it.  Then, pour it into lined muffin tins, filling them halfway if you want them to be flat across the top, three-quarters if you want them to be rounded on top.

Mix in Tins

As you can see, I only have a 6 spot muffin tin.  This is an extremely inefficient way of baking lots of cupcakes, and this recipe makes lots of cupcakes.  I’ll be buying a 12 spot tin immediately.  Anyways, bake the cupcakes for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.  Let cool on wire rack COMPLETELY before frosting.  See my reasoning in Lil Elephant Sugar Cookies if you don’t believe me.

Unfrosted and Baked

I had a long internal debate on whether or not I wanted to frost these.  I’m planning on giving them out as breakfast, when normal people don’t want frosting, but I felt that it was inherently wrong to have carrot cake without cream cheese frosting.  So I went for it.

To make cream cheese frosting, simply combine the butter, cream cheese, and confectioners sugar in a bowl and follow the highly scientific procedure of mixing until it looks like frosting.

Frosting Pre-MixMixed Frosting

What you do next is up to you.  I wanted to play with my cake decorating toys, so I put the frosting into a pastry bag with a 1M tip and frosted the cupcakes.

Frosting Point 1M

Swirl Frost From Above

Now I know what you’re thinking: how did she possibly make them look all swirly and cool like that?  You can judge me as much as you want, but I use a cupcake pedestal (Wilton makes one) to swirl evenly.  They look like this:

Cupcake Pedestal

You twirl it in your fingers while squeezing frosting through the bag, and end up with cupcakes that look like this:

Swirl Frost - Single

A little closer:

Swirl Frost Close - Single

Yea, they are as good as they look.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, the batch of frosting that you make will not frost 30 cupcakes to look this good.  I got it to frost 10 like this.  Normally, when I’m not making cupcakes for all the internet to see, I just frost them like this:

Regular Frosting - Single     Regular Frosting - Group

And let’s be real, this is all most of us have time to do anyways.  If you are content with these cupcakes, there is plenty of frosting in the batch you made.  Any extra can be frozen.  If you’re going the cake route, you’ll have plenty of frosting for that too.  The swirly frosting just requires way more than one cupcake’s worth of frosting.  So it’s really just an excuse for me to eat lots of cream cheese frosting.

Swirl Frost Group

If you are not serving the cupcakes the same day, store them, unfrosted, in an airtight container in the fridge.  Storing them frosted will just result in hard frosting that tastes more sugary than cream cheesy.  You can freeze them long term as well.  Let them come to room temperature before frosting, and make sure the frosting is room temperature as well – it will spread better.

Because they’re carrots, I can justify the unfrosted variety as breakfast.  But you do whatever you feel comfortable with.

Hope you enjoy your cupcakes!

Swirl Frost Close

Carrot Cake Cupcakes


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups wesson oil (canola oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple, undrained


  1. Mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, chopped nuts, coconut, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add carrots, oil, vanilla, eggs, and pineapple.  Mix until completely wet.
  3. Line muffin tins with wrappers or grease.  Pour batter into each tin, about 3/4 full.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely on wire rack before decorating.

Makes 24-30 cupcakes.


Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter


  1. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.
  2. Mix with hand mixer until combined and of frosting consistency.
  3. Frost, refrigerate covered, or freeze.

One thought on “Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  1. Pingback: Brownie Cupcakes | SMiLes by Meg

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