Apple Carrot Cupcakes


It’s as if carrot cake and apple cake decided to get together and have babies. These apple carrot cupcakes are the best of both, and the cream cheese frosting is amazing!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

These apple carrot cupcakes are what happens when you can’t decide between carrot cake and apple cake; they’re the best of both, combined. They are a little sweeter than a muffin, but with all of the texture and flavor from apples, carrots, coconut, and pecans, and topped with cream cheese frosting.

If you like carrot cake, you are going to love this apple carrot cupcake twist.

(Or not. Skip the frosting if you are being virtuous. You can pretend they’re muffins, nobody will know. But watch out, skipping the frosting just may give you an excuse to eat more of these apple carrot cupcakes than you should. Not that I would know anyone who would do that. Ahem.)

Apple Carrot Cupcakes in baking tin

How to Adapt This Recipe

This recipe yield about 2 dozen cupcakes, so if you do not want that many tempting you, you can bake it as written and share them, or you can cut the recipe in half.

If you want to make this as a cake, you can make the batter as instructed, and pour it into two greased 9-inch round cake pans or one 9×13 cake pan and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.

Don’t like coconut? Leave it out. Want to use walnuts instead of pecans? Go for it!

Apple Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Keeping, Storing and Freezing Cupcakes

These cupcakes should keep for 2 to 3 days, frosted and covered. You can freeze them for longer if you have leftover cupcakes, but it’s best to freeze them unfrosted. Thaw on the counter, frost, and serve.


Updated September 11, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Apple Carrot Cupcakes Recipe

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


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 (250 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

For the frosting:

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


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

2 Make the batter: 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.

3 Bake the cupcakes: Place paper liners in muffin tins. Spoon the batter into the paper cups, three quarters of the way to the top. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes (testing after 20 min), or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

4 Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until combined.

Once the cupcakes are cool, apply frosting.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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42 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Tricia M.

    These cupcakes were easy to make and are delicious. And they are healthy as a sweet treat. Definitely will be making them again.


  2. Sandy S.

    So very, very good! And yes one can enjoy them un-iced. I am not the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting, even if it does look beautiful! Love the way the tops crisp up. Might try a simple glaze of lemon and powdered sugar on the next batch.

    BTW – this apple-carrot mix makes a great new slaw! One can eat it as is or play with things like Chinese 5 spice, orangejuice and raisins!


  3. Nan

    Great recipe, I just knew my husband would like them so I doubled the recipe . He loved them! Will be making them often I’m sure. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


  4. Christina

    If I omit the nuts (due to allergies), do I need to supplement with another ingredient, or add more apple or carrot, or will it bake the same?

  5. Alma

    Elise you are magic!!! Recipe is now officially a favorite in our house and I actually did Apple zucchini after I did apple and carrot muffins and I boil down the carrot with the apple and carrot muffin I did a zucchini and apple muffins because I hate tasting the zucchini (I parboiled the zucchini)and they turned out exquisite thank you thank you so much for sharing


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