Apple Carrot Cupcake

It’s as if carrot cake and apple cake decided to get together and have babies. This apple carrot cupcake is the best of both!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes


  • 2 cups (260 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 (150 g) cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (236 ml) vegetable oil (light olive oil or canola 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 (125 g) coarsely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) sweetened shredded coconut


  • 8 ounces (225 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260 g) powdered sugar, sifted


1 Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place rack in the center of the oven.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Stir in oil and eggs. Stir in carrots, apples, pecans, and coconut.

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3 Place cupcake holders in muffin tins. Spoon the batter into the cupcake paper cups, three quarters of the way to the top. Bake 20-25 minutes (testing after 20 min), or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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4 Beat the 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.

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  1. 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!

  2. james


  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Nagi@RecipeTinEats

    Love this Elise! Love both apple and carrot cake, so obviously combining them in cupcake form is a winner! <3 N x

  8. Nadia@maisontravers

    Looks gorgeous1 I wanted to lick my screen.

    • Sandy S

      LOL – Me too! Mentioning that ‘one’ could make these cupcakes without the frosting is such a tease, with that perfect peak of frosting in the picture saying, Guess what you are going to eat first?! These will get made! And, not just because I have some old carrots in the fridge that need to be used up.

  9. Leece

    Great photography !

  10. M Bruce Berberich

    If I want to bake this as a cake, what size pan would I use? I have an 8X8, a 9X9 and a 9X13.

  11. Jenny

    These look great. I am going to try and make them gluten free.

  12. Julie

    What kind of tins are you using? They remind me of some my granny had. I bet this tin makes for a nice brown crust which I love on a cake.

  13. Kurt

    I need to make this in a loaf pan. Any advice?

  14. Penny

    I make muffins for my daughters for school and I’m always looking for new ones. These are going to be my go to for a while. They’re DELICIOUS. Being a neurotic mommy, I did change a few things – 1 cup oat flour, 1 cup WW flour and 1/2 cup whole oats, cut the sugar and oil (used coconut) to 2/3 cup and omitted the nuts (I just didn’t have them upstairs but I’ll alternate!!). These were great. I used 4 carrots and two apples and these were flavorful and moist and I think will be a HUGE winner with the girls. Thank you!