Loaded with all of the good things, these not-so-classic Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple and coconut are topped with the dreamiest cream cheese icing and will make you the crowd favorite anywhere you bring them!
Folks, these are not your mother’s carrot cake cupcakes (and if they are, your mother and I should hang out).
I promised “loaded,” and these babies deliver.
I set out to make a healthier carrot cake cupcake (similar to this Healthy Carrot Cake and my favorite EVER Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake in my cookbook), so I knew I’d need plenty of shredded carrots for moisture and natural sweetness.
Carrots alone, however, were not enough for the tender, flavor-packed cupcake of my dreams. These beauties needed (and deserved) more!
5 Star Review
“These cupcakes are amazing! Thanks for a great recipe. I will definitely make these again!”— Susan —
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
More is definitely what you get with these carrot cake cupcakes.
They’re moist, tender, and multi-dimensional thanks to a round up great-tasting ingredients that are great for you too!
- Flour. I use a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flour in this recipe. I love the slightly nutty flavor the wholesome whole wheat flour lends the cupcakes.
- Carrots. Shocking, I know. This recipe has not one, not two, but THREE cups of shredded carrots which lend plenty of moisture and natural sweetness to the recipe.
- Crushed Pineapple. A winner for extra moisture, natural sweetness, and all around deliciousness.
Be sure to drain the pineapple well prior to adding it to the cake batter. We want moisture but not that much moisture.
- Shredded Coconut. For a nuanced note that makes it nearly impossible to stop at just one.
- Walnuts and Cinnamon. This is a carrot cake cupcake after all. These two add that soulful, earthy flavor and spice that is essential in any good carrot cake cupcake (or Carrot Cake Muffin) recipe.
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk helps to tenderize baked goods. If you’ve never baked with buttermilk before you’re missing out!
- Brown Sugar. Gives the cupcakes extra depth and tasty molasses flavor.
- Eggs. This recipe uses a combination of whole eggs and egg whites. The whole eggs add essential fat for richness, while the egg whites keep the cupcakes light and fluffy.
- Canola Oil. While butter can add great flavor to cake recipes, with everything going on in these cupcakes, oil is a better choice for their tender texture and to let the other ingredients shine.
- Cream Cheese Frosting. Bring these baked beauties to carrot cake perfection. This is my absolute FAVORITE tangy cream cheese frosting. It’s creamy, dreamy and down-right delicious.
- Combine the dry ingredients for the cupcakes. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the wet ingredients.
- Add the carrots. Stir in the pineapple shredded coconut
- Gradually add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the wet ingredients, alternating between the two.
- Fold in the walnuts.
- Fill a standard cupcake tin 3/4 full with batter and bake. Remove and let cool.
- Beat together the cream cheese frosting.
- Frost and ENJOY!
Cream cheese frosted carrot cake is utter perfection. Personally, I like to stick with a simple swirl of cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts. However, you can pipe, garnish and decorate carrot cake cupcakes however you please. Here are a few classic ideas:
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Candied pecans
- Carrot-shaped candies
- Edible flowers
- To Store. Cover frosted cupcakes in an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Unfrosted cupcakes may be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Prior to freezing, wrap each individual cupcake tightly with plastic wrap.
- To Thaw. Transfer frozen, wrapped cupcakes to the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Decorate, as desired.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Stand Mixer. If you love to bake, this will make your life so much easier.
- Mixing Bowls. I reach for this glass nesting mixing bowl set almost daily.
Though these carrot cake cupcakes include some less-traditional ingredients, they stay true to everything you crave about carrot cake: natural carrot sweetness, warm spice, and outrageous melt-in-your-mouth moisture.
Go ahead. Bake yourself a big batch of carrot cake cupcakes. You won’t regret it!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
For the Cake:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 cups shredded carrots (about 2 large or 3 small-medium)
- 1 cup crushed pineapple drained
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans toasted and roughly chopped, plus additional for topping the cupcakes
- 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut you will need 1 and 1/2 cups total if preparing coconut cream cheese frosting below
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin(s) with paper liners or lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, egg whites, brown sugar, and canola oil.
- Add the carrots and beat for 1 minute. Add the pineapple and 3/4 shredded coconut and beat until incorporated.
- With a wooden spoon, stir in half of the flour mixture, just until incorporated. Stir in buttermilk. Add the remaining flour mixture, continuing to stir in by hand, just until combined. Gently fold in walnuts.
- Fill prepared tins 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Gently remove cupcakes from tin and let cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Reduce speed to low, then gradually add the powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating just until combined. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes, then top with chopped pecans or walnuts. Serve and enjoy!
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