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.

Combining walnuts, apple and carrot shreds for apple carrot cupcakes Batter in bowl for apple carrot cupcakes

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.

Half dozen uncooked carrot cupcakes in muffin tin Half dozen baked apple cupcakes with carrots in muffin tin

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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  • Tati

    I made it twice and it was AMAZING!!! I gave them to friends and church’s members and everybody love it. I compared this recipe frosting with other and this is the best one. I love to make this cupcakes. Thank you so much for share for everyone.


  • Sylvie Gauthier

    Could these be done with a streusel (sp?) topping, and if so, any thoughts how to go about it? Streusel and apple go so well together. I look forward to trying these!

    • Sylvie Gauthier

      I forgot to mention that I’m not an experienced baker and don’t trust myself to change recipes too much.

  • Lana

    I did it as a cake with half of an amount of everything. Baked it for 55 min at 350F and extra 5 min with 335F in a round glass form. It came out pretty much perfect, family loved it. I changed frosting a bit –less cheese more butter. Favorite cake now. Lana.

  • Karen

    Have you tried this as a cake?

  • shannon

    A great recipe! I didn’t have coconut or nuts but had plenty of carrots and apples, I diced the apples which made for a nice texture! The dough was wet and glisteny! The cupcakes were DELICIOUS!! Super moist, even a few days later! I’m glad I found this recipe! , Thank you!

  • Jan

    Not a fan of coconut? Can these be made without coconut?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jan, I would just skip the coconut if you don’t like it. The recipe doesn’t call for much.

  • Alaa

    Wow these cupcakes look so good! I love how different this is than other cupcakes. And I bet they’ll taste just as good as they look since you’re combining two great things together. How many cupcakes does this recipe make? Is this your first time making this recipe or was it passed down to you? How can I make this recipe nut and gluten free?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Alaa, the cupcakes were inspired by a 3 layer cake recipe from Sunset magazine. The recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes. I’ve made this recipe several times. To make the recipe nut-free, leave out the nuts. As for gluten-free, I haven’t tried making it with gluten-free flour but my guess is that is should work.

  • Laurie Gathje

    Your recipe looks so yummy. Do you think it’s okay to use grape seed oil? I use it in your fresh apple bundt cake and like how it works. Your blog is truly my favorite, my main “cookbook”!! Thank you :)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Laurie, I don’t see why not. Try it and let us know how it turns out for you!

  • Deborah

    These muffins are wonderful! I received compliments from all of my family members. I peeled the apples before grating. Would grating with apple peel on be okay?

    • Elise

      Hi Deborah, I grate the apples after they’ve been peeled, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

  • SkinnyMe

    Can I freeze them to make them last longer? I could like to give them as a gift to someone on the 12th. Can they last that long?

    • Elise

      You should be able to freeze the cupcakes just fine. I would frost them before serving them though.

  • 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!

  • Kurt

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

  • 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.

  • Jenny

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

    • Jody Kinney

      Oh, please let us know how you do it and how well it works.

  • 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.

  • [email protected]

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • james


  • 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!