Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Super soft and moist coconut carrot cake cupcakes are loaded with coconut, sweetened with brown sugar, and flavored with warm spices. They’re topped with silky smooth cream cheese frosting– like carrot cake in cupcake form! If you aren’t a fan of coconut, see my recipe notes.

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

Up until today, you couldn’t find a carrot cake cupcake recipe on my blog. 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?

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 think you’ll appreciate this recipe, too.

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

Why You’ll Love These Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Deliciously moist
  • Perfectly spiced
  • Coconut-y
  • Quick and easy to prepare
  • A great make-ahead recipe
  • Garnished with cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake cupcake batter on

Carrot Cake Should be Spiced & Moist

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. I encourage you to stick to my recipe below for best results! This recipe yields flavorful and moist carrot cake cupcakes. From the oil and brown sugar to the eggs and Greek yogurt, there are many moist-makers in these carrot cake cupcakes.

Two stand out the most:

Carrots: Pick up whole carrots and freshly grate them at home. 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.

Coconut: While the main player in this recipe is the carrot, we can’t ignore the coconut. It’s best to use sweetened shredded coconut in these cupcakes– it’s a little sticky and adds mega moisture to these cupcakes. Unsweetened is fine, but it’s typically drier and less flavorful than sweetened coconut.

Carrot cake cupcake batter on

How to Make Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Just like hummingbird cake, these cupcakes are simple to make!

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together. Add the carrots and coconut.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be thick.
  4. Fill cupcake liners. Pour the batter into cupcake liners– only about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake.
  6. Make the frosting.
  7. Frost the cupcakes. Make sure they’re completely cool before frosting.
  8. Garnish with coconut flakes.
  9. Enjoy!

Coconut carrot cake cupcakes on

How to Frost Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot cake cupcakes are great, but they’re muffins without a swipe of cream cheese frosting. (Albeit super moist and spiced and delish carrot cake muffins!) Cool, creamy, and smooth-as-silk cream cheese frosting complements the warm spices in our carrot cake cupcakes. It hold its shape when piped, too– I used the Ateco #808 large round piping tip for today’s pictured cupcakes. For even more coconut flavor, try adding a little coconut extract to the frosting.

These coconut carrot cake cupcakes would also be delicious topped with the brown butter cream cheese frosting from my banana layer cake recipe or the cinnamon cream cheese frosting from my banana cupcakes recipe. Have fun mixing and matching flavors!

Cream cheese frosting on

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

These 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.

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

Ingredient Substitutions You Can Make

Here are ingredient substitutions I’ve tested with success.

  • Coconut: Use either type of coconut– sweetened or unsweetened. For best results, however, sweetened coconut adds the most moisture. If coconut isn’t for you, leave it out! You can replace it with 1 cup of chopped nuts or raisins.
  • Coconut Extract: Totally optional for amped up coconut flavor. If you can’t get your hands on it or don’t enjoy coconut, simply leave it out.
  • Yogurt: Use 1/3 cup of sour cream or unsweetened applesauce instead. Or try using 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple in place of the yogurt. They’ll taste like pineapple carrot cake!
  • Oil: Instead of vegetable oil, try melted coconut oil for even more coconut flavor.

Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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


  • 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 pure 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*


  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.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer, Glass Mixing Bowls, Measuring Cups, Box Grater, Cupcake Liners, Cupcake Pan, Frosting Bags, Ateco #808 Tip, and Marble Cake Stand
  3. Coconut Extract: For extra coconut flavor, you can add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract to both the cupcake batter and cream cheese frosting.
  4. Carrots: 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.
  5. Coconut: 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).
  6. Not a Coconut Lover? 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.
  7. Pineapple: 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.
  8. Cake Recipe: Follow my carrot cake recipe (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.
  9. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: coconut carrot cake cupcakes

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


  1. 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!

    1. 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. 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. 

    1. 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.

    2. 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:

      1. 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. 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!!

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

  5. Hi Sally do you know which of these unsalted butter is the best for any type of buttercream frosting or cakes:

  6. 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! 

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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 🙁

  10. 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! 

  11. 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!!

    1. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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 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!

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

  16. 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! 🙂

    1. Hi Lucy, My oven is not fan assist. However most peoples ovens are off and even a few degrees can make a difference. I highly recommend getting an inexpensive oven thermometer. See #1 in this post:

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

  18. Hi Sally, love your blog and recipes, they are delicious every time including these! I decided to try them with unsweetened coconut to cut back on the sugar and love how they came out! They are so moist otherwise I think you can totally get away with it. Also has a good texture. I tried them plain so with the frosting I’m sure they will be plenty sweet! Yum!

  19. Two questions: 1.) my kids are allergic to eggs and I usually use plain yogurt as a substitute, but you already have that in your recipe, how much yogurt should I use? 2.) if I want to leave out the coconut and not add the nuts or raisins, do I need to add anything else to make it come out right? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Jen, I haven’t tried using an egg substitute for this recipe so I’m unsure exactly how they would turn out. But you can leave out the coconuts without adding anything else!

  20. Hi Sally!
    I am a big fan of you! Here in Spain, your recipes are always a big hit!
    We made these cupcakes: they were a fantastic dessert and my whole family loved them! Nevertheless, I have a question: would it be possible to make them “healthier” by using whole wheat flour and agave syrup instead of normal flour and sugar?
    Thanks a lot!

  21. Hi Rachel,

    I don’t need to use Xanthan gum when I am altering Sally’s recipes to gluten free because the gluten free flour I use already has xanthan gum in it. I alternate between using “Better batter” or King Arthur all purpose flour or Pamela’s all purpose flour. Hope that helps.

  22. Hi Sally, I’ve just made those cup cakes, and they are perfect. I love how they don’t come out too sweet, which balance them very well with the icing. I had 2 cups of carrots in my freezer that I kept after I shredded extra for a carrot cake few weeks ago, so I added the 2 cups instead of 1 cup carrots and it still came out perfect. Kept the sweetened coconut at 1 cup. I ended up with 18 instead of just 12 cup cakes. Thank you for all the tips.

  23. Hi Sally. I would like to use both the coconut and some pineapple with this recipe. Will that require me to add more flour? I realize that the sour cream helps to keep the cake moist and that the juice from the pineapple will do the same, but I want it all in there. Is this possible? Have you tried it this way?

    1. Hi Alicia! My suggestion is just that– replace the yogurt/sour cream with crushed pineapple. You could even increase to 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple. Batter should be just fine!

  24. i love this recipe! it has always been a sure hit for parties and snacks. what adjustment should i make if i want to make a yield of 24 cupcakes? do i just double everything on the ingredients list? i’m a beginner baker and your blog is what helps me build my skills! thank you so much Sally!

  25. Hi Sally, I normally have great success with your recipes, but these came out very rubbery in texture. I didn’t think I over baked them. Any ideas? Based on other reviews, I’m guessing I did something wrong.

  26. “There are many moist-makers in these carrot cake cupcakes. ” Ha ha, Sally! I can always count on you for a “Friends” reference!! 🙂

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally