Apple Carrot Cupcake

It’s as if our carrot cake and our apple cake decided to get together and have babies. (What really happened is that my father wanted to make a great 3-layer spice cake from Sunset magazine for the 3rd time in a month and I convinced him that cupcakes would be a better way to go.)

Apple Carrot Cupcake Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 24 to 28 cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (light olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups packed coarsely grated carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed coarsely grated tart apples, such as Granny Smith (about 2 medium)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 5 ounce fresh, mild chèvre (goat cheese), at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cups powdered sugar

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in the center of the oven.

2 In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices, cocoa, pepper, and salt. Whisk to combine, then stir in oil and eggs. Stir in carrots, apples, and pecans.

3 Set aluminum or paper cupcake holders in muffin tins. Spoon the batter into the cupcake paper cups, three-quarters of the way to the top. Bake approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

4 Beat goat cheese, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until combined.
Once cupcakes are cool, apply frosting.

Adapted from a Sunset magazine 3-layer cake recipe.

30 Comments

  1. Elle

    Oh, these look fabulous! I can’t wait to give them a try. Do you think it would be alright to use applesauce in place of some of the oil?

    Personally I wouldn’t, but do as you like and experiment. Recipes are only guidelines. ~Elise

  2. jennbec

    Oooooo…Yum, yum, yum!!! Great picture! I make a funky carrot cake of my own that uses mixed dried fruit and sweet little locally grown carrots so there’s a tremendous amount of flavor in it. I’ll have to try putting in apples the next time.

  3. jonathan

    I never thought it possible, but I just gained 8 pounds reading a recipe. Amazing.

    Goat cheese and cream cheese and cocoa and apples…these are a few of my fa-vo-rite thiiinggggggsssss………..

  4. chilichick

    This looks so yummy… not sure where to get goat cheese, but I’m making it today. Maybe marscapone? hmmmm

  5. farmgirl

    Oh, Elise! Have you (and your dad) no shame? Tempting all of us to chuck our New Year’s weight loss resolutions when we’re barely into the second week of January (and already doing so poorly)? ;) Of course I can’t think of a better way to ditch the diet than with cupcakes. I love that the apples are grated rather chopped. And of course I believe that cream cheese frosting (we don’t do goat chevre here in the Middle Of Nowhere, Missouri, LOL) is one of life’s greatest inventions. Can’t wait to try them.

    Hah! That’s my dad. Can’t go three days without dessert of some sort. He never used to be that way, when we were kids it was dessert once a month. But apparently when one gets older (dad is in his late 70s) one develops more of a sweet tooth. At least the cupcakes are smaller portions than the cake! ~Elise

  6. Carol Anne

    Thanks for the terrific recipe.

  7. Sally

    How do I make the frosting if I don’t have any goat cheese? Just double the cream cheese?

  8. Lauren

    Great recipe! I used whole wheat flour and ran out of oil so used 1/2 canola oil and 1/2 applesauce and it turned out fine.

  9. Maytal

    It’s been a few days since you posted this recipe and finally I had a chance to make them last night.
    They turned out great! My boyfriend, who hates carrots – loved them! Thanks so much!!!!

  10. Julie

    Delicious, and very moist! I had everything on hand but goat cheese, so I used all cream cheese in the frosting. It was a bit stiff so I added some extra butter, and it seemed to turn out just fine — although I can’t wait to try the goat cheese next time :)

  11. Brilynn

    Whether it was in an enormous cake or little cupcakes, I’m just glad apple and carrot finally hooked up. I’ve been pulling for those two!

  12. Brita

    I’m thinking of making these for my son’s first birthday. They sound great! What do you think about leaving out the walnuts? He hasn’t been introduced to nuts yet.

    Sure, just leave out the walnuts. ~Elise

  13. Inga

    I made these this morning for a fundraiser and just ate one myself. Absolutely delicious! It’s good they’re not in front of me or I’d eat a couple more easily! Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Katie

    These are on the cooling rack and the one I snuck was DE-licious! Thanks for such a great idea. The leftover grated carrots and apple got tossed with mayo, pecans, and cranberry for a salad. Perfect!

  15. james

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Lisa Haynes

    Best carrot cake and frosting I have ever had!! Definitely adding this one to my recipe cards! Thanks for sharing:)

  17. Madhu

    Love your website. Thanks for the many lessons in baking. Have been meaning to get your views on the sugar quantity in most American cake recipes. I find the recipes call for nearly double the amount of sugar than necessary. The delicate flavor of the cake disappears with the sweet factor. As an example my basic cream cheese frosting would be 9oz cream cheese, 3oz butter and 3/4 cup powdered sugar with a teaspoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of lemon juice. This is quite close to your frosting for the carrot cup cakes above.(Hurray! :-) Don’t you find the dreamy flavor of cream cheese just disappears with the addition of too much sugar. We are left with just a sweet taste with no flavor. I guess this could be due to our varied preferences. Well, anyway would LOVE your opinion on this.

    I think it is really a matter of taste, and often of regional preferences. In some cases the amount of sugar is necessary for the consistency of the baked good. Sugar contributes to the chewiness or moisture level of a cookie, for example. In other cases sugar is necessary for preservation. Low sugar jams do not last as long on the shelf as jams made with higher amounts of sugar. To some extent I think the pendulum has swung the other way; too often I find published recipes that have removed so much of the sugar and fat from a recipe that the result is dry and tasteless. ~Elise

  18. Rossella

    Hi Elise,
    this recipe earned me a “chef of the day” award from my friends who astutely asked for “a couple” to bring home and eat for breakfast the following morning (I offered them as a dinner dessert and they turned into a less-than-light breakfast…amazing!).
    I am Italian (and so are my friends) but having an American grandfather compells me to prepare American desserts for my friends from time to time…I think your precious site will help me make “bella figura” from now on! :)
    Grazie mille,
    Rossella

  19. kai

    I baked these last week and my family loved it. My mom said it “tastes like Christmas”! I replaced the goat cheese with “kesong puti” which is made with carabao milk and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  20. Kim

    Just made these tonight, awesome recipe. thanks they are delicious.

  21. karamou

    Thank you for this fabulous recipe ! I’m French and all my friends (and my boyfriend!) believe English and American food is horrible. I’ve just proved them the contrary ! I’ve tried about ten recipes from your Blog, and they were all amazing ! Thanks for being so reliable =D The apple and carrot cupcakes were soo good that everybody ate them at once just after they were out of the oven… and there was none left for the little snack we had in view^^’

  22. Eliza

    Absolutely delicious. I was more than a little concerned about the pepper- but the combination of spices, textures and flavor was just outstanding. This is the sixth recipe I have made off of this site and each one has been flawless. Thank you so much!

  23. kookie in London

    Made these today, good but I was expecting the apple flavour to come thru a bit more. They were very tasty but I might dial back the sugar a bit next time. And perhaps chop the apple rather than grate to get that lovely tartness.

  24. Holly

    These look amazing. I have been looking for a good muffin recipe. I am not a huge fan of goat cheese so I think I will make the frosting with all cream cheese.

  25. Krystle

    These were really good! Unfortunately, I bought goatcheese with honey mixed in, and I was not at all a fan of the honey-cream cheese flavor combo. So, I iced half of them and left the other half as muffins. I actually liked the muffins better! They stayed fresh for several days. Thanks for sharing!

  26. sopheavy

    I’m not a nut fan so I’m wondering if I omit the pecan/walnuts if it’s going to affect the texture?

    Yes it will affect the texture, but it will still be good. ~Elise

  27. tartine77

    Hi Elise! Thank you soo much for sharing this dee-lish recipe! I baked 2 batches for Thanksgiving and my family ate them all. I was so excited that I decided to bake them again for my cousins baby shower :)it was a hit! This recipe rules. ♥

  28. illana

    Elise – these are so delicious and delicate! How long do you think I can keep them? I assume room temp is ok, even though the frosting is dairy? Thanks for another great recipe!

    Oh, I don’t know, a couple days? Usually when I make cupcakes they’re gone so quickly storage isn’t an issue. ~Elise

  29. sara

    can i make it with whole wheat flour?

    I haven’t tried making it with whole wheat flour, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  30. Asima

    This is an amazing recipe – moist, not too sweet, and fairly easy! I substituted 50% of the all purpose flour with whole wheat, and it was great. I also agree that you can eat these without frosting and they are still amazing. I will do what someone else suggested next time – chopping the apple instead of grating to appreciate its flavor more.
    This is my first time commenting, but I’ve been following you for a while now, and thank you so much for all the truly wonderful recipes you share!

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