These carrot cake cupcakes are just as good as actual carrot cake. They are just cuter and more personal since they are for each individual! My late grandma gave my mom this recipe several years ago, and I always love making recipes that remind me of her. I made a few alterations since the original recipe was for carrot cake and not cupcakes, but the flavor is still just as wonderful.
Tips for Making Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- The secret ingredient of this dessert is the carrot baby food! You won’t see shreds of carrots in these bars, but the carrot taste is very deep and flavorful. This is less of a tip and more of a bonus, as you won’t have to worry about staining your hands or food processors orange.
- Mix the batter by hand, and be gentle. Don’t overmix the batter, otherwise the cake will be tough. Gently stir the moist ingredients into the dry, and fold the pineapple and optional ingredients in just until combined.
- Use a simple nonstick spray or butter to coat your sheet pan. You don’t need to flour the pan.
- If adding the pineapple, blend it well, like a smoothie.
- Before adding the pineapple to the batter, press the pineapple juice out through a fine mesh strainer as much as possible so that just the pineapple pulp is left. You want the flavor but not the moisture, as this can weigh the cupcakes down.
- All ovens vary, so start with a lower bake time and add on. It is a best practice to start the baking time 2-3 minutes below the recommended time.
- For the icing, let the cream cheese and butter get super soft before mixing. This will allow the icing to spread on smoothly without resistance.
- Cold cream cheese icing is much stiffer and can be a real mess as it pulls up crumbs from the cupcakes when being spread. Save yourself the frustration and don’t use cold cream cheese or butter.
Baking Essentials for Carrot Cake Bars
- A half sheet pan is the perfect size for this recipe quantity. You can find a basic sheet pan here.
- A good mixing spatula, such as this one.
- A blender or food processor.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 13-18 minutes
- Total Time: 57 minute
- Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 + 1/8 tsp. salt
- 12 oz. pureed carrots (baby food)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 8 oz. can pineapple, blended and strained
- 1 cup coconut (optional)
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4–4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Stir in pureed carrots(yes, baby food carrots), vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- Place pineapple in a blender or food processor and blend thoroughly. Pour pineapple into a fine mesh strainer and press the pineapple against the mesh to get as much juice out as possible. You want very little juice in the pineapple because it will add too much moisture to the cake.
- Gentle fold pineapple(and coconut and pecans if using) into the batter.
- Line cupcake pan with lines and scoop a scant 1/4 cup scoop into each cupcake liner.
- Bake for 13-18 minutes or until the top of the cupcakes bounces back when you touch them. If your finger leaves a slight dent on top of a cupcake, then they still needs to cook a 1-3 minutes longer.
- Turn cupcakes out of pan as soon as they come out of the oven and cool on a wire rack. Wait to frost until cupcakes have fully cooled so the icing doesn’t melt.
Cream Cheese Icing
- Make sure the cream cheese and butter are SOFT before mixing. If they are not soft, the icing will be difficult to spread. Cream butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and mix.
- Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed so a sugar cloud doesn’t form in the air! Gradually increase speed to mix powdered sugar in all the way. Add remaining 2 – 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until icing is super smooth and creamy.
- Spread cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes and refrigerate. Cupcakes will stay good up to 1 week in the fridge.
Keywords: carrot cake, carrot cake cupcakes