While my Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies are a fun twist on a classic, sometimes you need a good old fashioned cupcake, so today we’re sharing my Best Ever Carrot Cupcake recipe and a pineapple-spiked Cream Cheese Frosting that just takes the whole thing right over the top.
Carrot Cupcakes Recipe
It surprised me to learn that a lot of people are intimidated by making homemade carrot cake.
I don’t know if it’s the shredded carrots, hitting the perfect blend of warming spices, or that delicious spongy cake texture that makes carrot cake so intimidating, but I’m here to assure you that this super simple carrot cake recipe results in the best carrot cupcakes with plenty of flavor (and plenty of carrots).
The number of ingredients in this recipe may seem intimidating (12 for the cake batter and 5 for the pineapple cream cheese frosting) but I assure you that every single ingredient exists in this recipe for a reason. For example, combing white and brown sugar allows for the cupcakes to have that perfect tender crumb and allows the cupcakes to take on a slightly caramelized taste that isn’t too overpowering. (And, along with the pineapple juice, they create a reaction with the carrot shreds that assists in the carrot baking down and losing it’s fibrous texture in the cake.)
Can I puree the carrots for carrot cake? Yes, but you will have a more moist cupcake as a result. If you’re worried about having big flakes of carrot in your cake, a micro-pane grater may be a better solution.
Can I freeze these cupcakes? The chocolate cupcakes without frosting or decoration can be frozen for up to 3 months. The frosting can be refrigerated for a week, but the flavor and texture will suffer if frozen.
Can I prepare the carrot cake batter in advance and bake later? No, refrigerating the batter will effect the cake’s ability to rise. Check out this complete answer from Reluctant Gourmet for more information.
Why add pineapple to carrot cake? Now it’s completely fine if you want to just use pineapple juice instead of adding pineapple to you carrot cake (about 3 Tablespoons would do it) but pineapple plays an important part in carrot cake, as the natural enzymes in the pineapple help break down the carrots so they are less noticeable in the finished cake. You can puree the pineapple if you are worried about having pineapple chunks in your cake.
Carrot Cupcake Ingredients
- 1 2/3 cup oil
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg optional
- 1 lb carrots shredded (about 2-3 large carrots)
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, optional
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS
- 8 oz package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2-3 cups powdered icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice, optional
- 24 Walnuts, optional garnish
Tip: swap out the crushed pineapple for pureed if you are worried about texture issues.
Tip #2: you can also add 1/2 chopped walnuts to the cake batter, but I personally dislike the texture.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Smoothie-style blender (if pureeing pineapple)
- Electric mixer
- Cupcake tin
- Offset spatula
How to Make Carrot Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350.
Line two cupcake pans with pretty cupcake liners, and set aside.
In a large bowl, blend the oil and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add slowly to the oil-sugar mixture, alternating with handfuls of the carrots and the pineapple.
Portion out the cupcakes into the liners, about 1/4 cup per liner so that they are 2/3 of the way full.
Bake for 18-22 minutes. Test by inserting a cake tester or wooden toothpick into the center to check for uncooked batter.
Cool on a baking rack for two minutes before removing from the pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by blending together all ingredients. Adjust the pineapple juice and icing sugar amounts to your personal preference.
Use either a piping bag or a simple offset spatula to frost the cooled cupcakes.
Garnish with walnuts, if desired.
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CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS
These carrot cupcakes are super easy to make and result in moist, flavorful carrot cupcakes that are tender without being crumbly.
For more delicious ways to enjoy carrots, check out our Curried Carrot Biscuits or our Carrot Salad recipe.