Change is good, new ideas are welcome, and no one wants to be bored at the dinner table. But when it comes to desserts, I’ve found that most of us are very, very happy with great versions of old favorites. A fancy dessert at a restaurant is definitely fun, but at home, simple baked goods seem to be the most appreciated. This is a lot of folks’ birthday favorite: wonderfully old-fashioned carrot cake in the form of cupcakes, with a chocolaty cream cheese frosting for a modern update.
With the frosting, they are cupcakes. Without the frosting, these are muffins. (You always knew this secretly in your heart, didn’t you?)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: These cupcakes are incredibly flavorful and moist thanks to the crushed pineapple and melted butter.Tweet This
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple
Carrots add moisture to carrot cake, turning from crunchy to super soft, and providing structure to the cupcakes. Don’t use pre-grated carrots, which can be very hard and dry.
The cupcakes are incredibly flavorful and moist thanks to the crushed pineapple (in juice, please, not syrup) and melted butter. If you have the time, you can finely mince fresh pineapple instead of using canned. Make sure to chop it very well so that it fully blends into the batter.
Optional Add-Ins to Carrot Cupcakes
The raisins and nuts are optional; make sure to check with your guests to see if they have any nut allergies if you choose to include the walnuts or pecans. You might only get 10 or 11 cupcakes if you choose to skip both of those items.
Tips for Carrot Cupcakes
Mixing the shredded carrots, raisins and nuts with the dry ingredients coats them and then allows them to blend into the wet ingredients evenly. It also prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcakes as they start to bake.
Make sure to spray the cupcake liners with nonstick cooking spray so the wrappers come off of the cupcakes easily. If you want to make your cupcakes look super Easter-ey, pick up some cute Easter themed cupcake liners.
Try whipped chocolate ganache for another topping option!
Make Ahead Carrot Cupcakes
The unfrosted cupcakes will last, tightly sealed, at room temperature for 4 days. The frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature before frosting the cupcakes. You can wrap the cooled muffins individually in plastic wrap and then freeze them in a container or heavy duty zipper-top bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature. Frost cupcakes after thawing.
Other Cupcake Recipes:
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Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup finely shredded carrots
- ⅓ cup raisins (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter , cooled
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup crushed pineapple in juice (not syrup) , drained, or very well chopped fresh pineapple
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 6 ounces milk chocolate chips or chopped milk chocolate
- ½ cup sour cream
- 4 ounces (½ 8-ounce block) cream cheese , at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and spray them with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the carrots and raisins and/or nuts if using and stir to combine well. In another large bowl stir together the sugar, butter, eggs, and pineapple until well blended. Add the flour in three batches, stirring after each addition just until combined.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin liners, filling each a generous three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick or a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the muffin pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pans and finish cooling on the wire racks.
- While the cupcakes bake, make the frosting: Place a small saucepan inside a larger saucepan and add water to the larger pan so that it comes up about ½ inch around the sides of the smaller pan. Add the chocolate chips to the small pan and heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the water is gently simmering, and the chips are melted. Stir the sour cream and cream cheese into the chocolate and continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth and blended. Whisk in the vanilla. Allow to cool to room temperature (the frosting will thicken as it cools).
- When the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with the cooled frosting.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.