Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Super spiced and moist carrot cake cupcakes filled with shredded coconut and topped with creamy cream cheese frosting. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Up until today, you couldn’t find a carrot cake cupcake recipe on my blog. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Considering carrot cake is simply known as “birthday cake” in my family, I’m ashamed. No miniature version of the world’s best cake flavor? Who even am I?

Super spiced and moist carrot cake cupcakes filled with shredded coconut and topped with creamy cream cheese frosting. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

In my defense though!! I published a recipe for them in Sally’s Baking Addiction. But let’s make room for carrot cake cupcakes on the website. They’re a long time coming and I have a feeling they’ll fit right in with this crowd.

(By the way. Remember when I told you hummingbird cake was better than carrot cake? I was pregnant and being silly. It’s obviously a tie.)

Carrot cake cupcake batter on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s be honest. Carrot cake is only good if it’s SPICED and if it’s MOIST. Under-spiced carrot cake tastes like nothing. Dry carrot cake tastes like you forgot you were baking a cake and frosted a vegetable instead. Best not to stray from the recipe below.

From the oil and the brown sugar to the eggs and Greek yogurt, there are many moist-makers in these carrot cake cupcakes. Two stand out the most:

THE CARROTS

There are dry carrot shreds and there are wet carrot shreds. Carrots that you buy pre-shredded are much drier and thicker than freshly grated carrots. Use those and you’ll miss out on a ton of moisture, not to mention experience large chunks of carrot in each bite. Buy carrots and freshly grate them at home.

THE COCONUT

While the main player in this recipe is the carrot, we can’t ignore the coconut. Best to use sweetened shredded coconut in these cupcakes. Unsweetened is fine, but it’s typically drier and less flavorful than sweetened.

Not a fan of coconut? I got ya. Check out the recipe note below.

Carrot cake cupcake batter on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Coconut carrot cake cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Carrot cake cupcakes are great, but they’re muffins without a swipe of cream cheese frosting. (Super moist and spiced and delish carrot cake muffins, ok?)

Cool, creamy, and smooth-as-silk cream cheese frosting complements the warm spices in carrot cake. Want to jazz it up? Try my brown butter cream cheese frosting or cinnamon cream cheese frosting. You can even add a little coconut extract to really amp up the coconut flavor.

Cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I used an Ateco 808 large round piping tip.

The coconut carrot cake cupcakes taste even better after a few hours because the flavors have settled, mingled, and married. The moisture prevails and the cream cheese frosting sets into the tops. They’re the perfect treat to make ahead of time– even a day or 2 before. I had these in the fridge for a couple days before our friends came over for dinner last weekend. And, 2 days later, they tasted AWESOME.

Super spiced and moist carrot cake cupcakes filled with shredded coconut and topped with creamy cream cheese frosting. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Super spiced and moist carrot cake cupcakes filled with shredded coconut and topped with creamy cream cheese frosting. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (156g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH ground nutmeg and ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75g) plain yogurt, sour cream, or unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 cup (130g) freshly grated carrots (about 2 medium)
  • 1 cup (80g) sweetened shredded coconut*

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners' sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • toasted coconut flakes for topping*

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the oil, brown sugar, eggs, yogurt, vanilla and coconut extract (if using) together until combined. Whisk in the carrots and coconut. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a mixer or whisk until completely combined. Batter will be thick.
  3. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 12-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  4. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners' sugar, vanilla, coconut extract (if using) and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it).
  5. Frost cooled cupcakes however you'd like. I used an Ateco 808 large round piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Top with coconut flakes.
  6. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

For extra coconut flavor, you can add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract to both the cupcake batter and cream cheese frosting.

Don't use pre-shredded carrots found in the produce aisle. They're on the dry side. Rather, freshly grate 2 medium carrots to yield approximately 1 cup of moist carrot shreds.

I suggest sweetened shredded coconut in the cupcake batter. You can use unsweetened coconut, but unsweetened coconut tends to be drier and milder in flavor than sweetened. Keep that in mind if you make the switch. You can use either for the garnish on top, though. I used sweetened coconut flakes for the topping. To toast them, simply spread on a lined baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes at 300°F (149°C).

Not a fan of coconut? Leave it out! You can replace with 1 cup chopped nuts or raisins. Or if pineapple carrot cake is your thing, sub in 1 cup of crushed pineapple. If doing so, leave out the 1/3 cup yogurt.

What about pineapple coconut carrot cake cupcakes? We can do it! Sub 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple in for the 1/3 cup yogurt.

Want a cake instead? Follow my carrot layer cake (same-ish recipe, doubled). Add 2 cups of sweetened shredded coconut to the batter. You can leave in the nuts or skip them in that recipe.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Measuring Cups | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Frosting BagsAteco #808 Tip | Marble Cake Stand

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Super spiced and moist carrot cake cupcakes filled with shredded coconut and topped with creamy cream cheese frosting. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

100 Comments

Comments

  1. Teara on February 23, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Sally, would these work in as little bundt cakes? If so, what would the time be for baking and how full do we fill the little cakes? Love all your recipes and all you do for this group! You’re little girl is so adorable!

    • Sally on February 24, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Hi Teara! Thank you so much! These carrot cake cupcakes would be wonderful as mini bundt cakes. Fill the mini bundt cake pan cavities 2/3 full. I’m unsure of the exact bake time, but my mini pound cakes take about 20-25 minutes in that specific pan.

  2. Rike on February 24, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Hi Sally, carrot cake isn’ something you will see every day where I live. I had it once during a holiday in Ireland and always wanted to bake some myself, but somehow I never got around to do it – until today! My better half wanted “anything with cream cheese frosting “ and I was about to bake pumpkin cupcakes (again, your awesome recipe!) when those turned up in my inbox.
    I cut the sugar by half (I know you’re not supposed to do this because of the sugar’s influence on the texture, but it didn’t do any damage here) and also halved the frosting. They are great! I still like the pumpkin cupcakes a tiny little bit better, but you cannot actually compare them and I am definitely baking the carrot-coconut-version again! I used yogurt, but I will try applesauce next time, I imagine this could add a more “fruity” taste. 

    • Rike on February 24, 2018 at 10:16 am

      I just thought of something else: coconut-chocolate would be a good combination in a cupcake – do you have a recipe for that? I did a quick search, but couldn’t find anything.

    • Sally on February 24, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Happy you gave them a try and I honestly like them any which way– applesauce, yogurt, or even sour cream. They’re great. Super adaptable.
      In regards to your chocolate coconut cupcake question– I have these: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/03/22/chocolate-caramel-coconut-cupcakes/

      • Rike on February 24, 2018 at 10:45 am

        Thanks! I am more looking for something with chocolate in the  dough… I wonder if I could make some changes in your chocolate cupcake recipe, similar to those you made in the vanilla version… 



  3. Ksenia on February 25, 2018 at 5:44 am

    Sally, these look amazing! Actually I am (well, locally:-)))) well-known for my carrot cake, it’s definitely my favourite! To the extent I was actually looking for a recipe with both carrot and coconut!! I’m so grateful I found your website) you are now my go-to place for baking ideas!!

    • Sally on February 25, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      YAY! Let me know when you try these!

  4. Iram on February 25, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I just made these with gluten free flour as we have Celiac disease in the family. Amazingly moist and delicious. An excellent recipe.

  5. Laura | Tutti Dolci on February 26, 2018 at 1:43 am

    Beautiful cupcakes, and that frosting looks absolutely dreamy!

  6. Kat on February 26, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Hi Sally do you know which of these unsalted butter is the best for any type of buttercream frosting or cakes:
    -lurpak
    -organic
    -anchor
    -president
    -british

  7. Kayleigh on February 26, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Oh wow Sally, these look fantastic! My whole family is a huge fan of carrot cake, so I will for sure have to try them in cupcake form. Perfect for Easter coming up! And the toasted coconut on top is perfection! 

  8. LaTrice on February 27, 2018 at 2:24 am

    Carrot cupcakes are my weakness!!! 🙂

  9. Peter L on February 27, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Oh my God! you really got me here lovely Sally , this is so @#$% beeep good and worth trying it, I looove all your cupcakes with passion!

  10. Jessic on February 28, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    These are absolutely AMAZING!! I have had carrot cake only one other time and didn’t like it at all. I haven’t tried a recipe on your site that I don’t absolutely love, so I gave this a try. I am definitely going to make these again. Although, I am going to add some chopped nuts next time to give it a slight crunch. Thanks Sally for all your amazingly delicious recipes.

    • Sally on March 1, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      I’m so happy that you decided to give carrot cake another try!
      Nuts would be a wonderful addition 🙂

  11. Regina on March 2, 2018 at 6:39 am

    These are so freaking fantastic, I am a bit in love with them. I made 16 of these little guys yesterday, because a friend was coming over in the evening. One had to be tested right out of the oven, because you know, what if they wouldn’t be good? (haha, yeah right…)

    I have three left, and we were two people, thats how good they were. I didn’t make the frosting though, as I felt they were already so good, and I think we wouldn’ve have managed to eat 13 cupcakes between the two of us with Icing on top. Or at least while still being able to say, hey it has carrots, it’s healthy.

    BIG thumbs up, too bad I ate them too quickly, didn’t even take a pic 🙁

    • Sally on March 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Ha – this made me laugh out loud. Maybe frosting should be marketed as helping with portion control 😉

  12. Dawn Parham on March 3, 2018 at 9:35 am

    THIS! Recipe just just made my day! Nearly every recipe I make comes from your website and I get rave reviews when I make your carrot cake! I always wish there was a cupcake version so I can taste test I can’t wait to make these little gems today! 

  13. Kim on March 9, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    How are these different than if I made your pineapple carrot cake into cupcakes?

    • Sally on March 10, 2018 at 6:18 am

      No pineapple here 🙂 Coconut instead!

  14. Teara on March 14, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    I made these for work today. I did make the pineapple, carrot, coconut version. My coworkers loved these!! I had some pineapple on hand and only had Greek yogurt. The frosting was so delicious. That is the only part I can test due to being gluten free. I did have quite if bit of frosting left which was dangersous so I had to hurry up and throw it away before I ended up having a bowl of frosting for dessert. I’m sure it was a sin somewhere to throw such delicious frosting away, but it saved me 20lbs.  Thanks so much for your delicious recipes!!

    • Sally on March 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      Haha – I know how you feel about not wanting to waste leftovers but being so tempted by them! 🙂 I’m so happy to hear that they went over so well with your coworkers!

  15. Allison on March 25, 2018 at 11:09 am

    so yummy cupcakes!

  16. Michelle on March 27, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Just made these and they are delicious!!! I sifted my powdered sugar and whipped my frosting for a bit longer for a smooth and creamy texture. My bake time was much quicker (16 min) so I’m glad I kept a good watch on them as I had my timer set for 20! I can’t wait to serve these on Easter. Thank you for sharing your recipes

  17. Elizabeth on May 12, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Sally, thanks for this recipe! When my sister asked me to make carrot cake cupcakes for her wedding, I knew exactly where to start my recipe search. I had never even made carrot cake before. Anyway, I just dropped them off at the venue an hour ago! I sprinkled toasted coconut on top, to partially hide my imperfect frosting…it was my first time with the 808 tip so I was learning as I went. I also made candied carrot curls to stick on top of each one to add pizazz. I can’t wait to see how people like them at the wedding! I mean I know they taste good from my test batch last week…but the candy carrots are new.

  18. Destiny on May 29, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Sally I would love to add the pineapple to the recipe. Do I add the juice with the crushed pineapple or drain it before adding it to the batter?

    • Sally on May 29, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Hi Destiny! Pineapple is an awesome addition to carrot cake cupcakes. See my recipe note!

  19. Rebecca Krauss on June 3, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    So I have your cookbooks and have made your recipe from your book before and LOVED it. However, currently trying to be healthier here. So, from looking at your recipe and the one from https://www.texanerin.com/healthier-carrot-cake-cupcakes/ Texanerin and researching flour and sugar alternatives, I made a healthier version. I doubled the recipe and used half whole wheat and half almond flour. Used 1 c coconut sugar, 1/3 c maple syrup and 1/3 c honey, and replaced oil w coconut oil. They were great!

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:08 am

      So glad you enjoyed the modified version! Thanks for letting me know about it. 🙂
      (I love Erin’s recipes!!)

  20. lucy on August 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Hi Sally,

    I love your recipes. However, I feel like the temperature of my oven is never right. Are your temperatures for a fan assisted oven or not?

    Thank you! 🙂

  21. Christina on August 21, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    hi Sally, can this recipe be doubled without any issues or would I need to do it twice to make 24 cupcakes? Thanks!

    • Sally on August 22, 2018 at 7:38 am

      Hi Christina! You can double the recipe or make 2 separate batches. Either works!

Reviews

Questions

  1. Destiny on May 29, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Sally I would love to add the pineapple to the recipe. Do I add the juice with the crushed pineapple or drain it before adding it to the batter?

    • Sally on May 29, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Hi Destiny! Pineapple is an awesome addition to carrot cake cupcakes. See my recipe note!

  2. lucy on August 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Hi Sally,

    I love your recipes. However, I feel like the temperature of my oven is never right. Are your temperatures for a fan assisted oven or not?

    Thank you! 🙂

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