originally published 5.2.2019 | updated 3.24.2023
Baked with the rich spices of masala chai and topped with cream cheese frosting, these coconut carrot cake cupcakes are sweet, moist and full of flavor!
I’ve never been a huge fan of cake — traditional wedding cake, birthday cake — it’s just not for me. If I’m going to make a cake or cupcakes, I prefer them to have a bit more flavor and texture, which is probably why I love carrot cake!
For Easter, I decided to make mini carrot cakes with a few twists! I flavored the batter with more spices than your average carrot cake by adding warming chai spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom. Then I added coconut flakes to up the sweetness. And finally, because these coconut carrot cake cupcakes still aren’t overly sweet, I paired them with an easy cream cheese frosting for the perfect finish!
So let’s talk about the spices. To get the warmth of masala chai, we use a blend of the following:
Do you need to use all of them? Nope — if you’re missing one or two of the spices you could definitely just add a bit more cinnamon or ginger.
Shredding Carrots for Carrot Cake
Now onto the carrots. For the perfect texture, we recommend first peeling the carrots and then shredding them on the small holes of a box grater. You’ll need about four medium carrots to get 1.5 cups (180 g) of shredded carrots.
Make sure to stay away from pre-shredded carrots as they can be quite dry. Freshly shredded carrots add a ton of moisture to the batter and are definitely the way to go for this recipe.
Making the Cupcakes
Once you’ve rounded up your spices and shredded the carrots, the cupcake batter comes together quickly!
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- Mix together the wet ingredients: vegetable oil, eggs, brown sugar, sour cream and vanilla extract. Then combine with the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the shredded coconut and shredded carrots.
Then just divide the batter among a cupcake tin and bake! You’ll need about 20-25 minutes at 350°F (180°C). The cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean (a few dry crumbs are okay).
Cream Cheese Frosting
And the perfect sidekick for your carrot cake cupcakes? Cream cheese frosting of course! It’s made with just five ingredients: cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, salt and powdered sugar. We recommend starting with about 3 cups (360 g) of powdered sugar and adding more until you reach your desired consistency.
One quick note: You could probably get by on half a batch depending on how much you like frosting. Half a batch should be just enough to lightly frost the cupcakes.
Making Flat Top Frosted Cupcakes
While you can definitely just use a spoon or knife to frost your cupcakes, we decided to top our desserts with mini carrots. And to get the perfect blank canvas we made flat top cupcakes. Here’s how to do it:
- Pipe a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the center of each cupcake.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the frosted cupcakes upside down on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly press the cupcake down to spread the frosting.
- Place in the freezer for one hour. Then peel off the parchment paper and decorate!
And a quick tip for success: For this to work well, you’ll most likely need to use the full amount of powdered sugar so that the frosting is quite thick.
Decorating the Carrot Cupcakes
And here’s how we made the mini carrot decorations:
- Step 1: Mix a small bowl of cream cheese frosting with a bit of orange gel food coloring.
- Step 2: Fit a piping bag with a small round decorating tip (I used Wilton Tip 5) and fill with the orange frosting.
- Step 3: Pipe the carrots, starting with the top and tapering off pressure as you make the points.
- Step 1: Mix a small bowl of cream cheese frosting with a bit of green gel food coloring.
- Step 2: Fit a piping bag with a round decorating tip smaller than what you used for the carrots (I used Wilton Tip 2) and fill with the green frosting.
- Step 3: Pipe the green tops by making three short lines.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes: FAQs
Shred fresh carrots on the small holes of a box grater. Stay away from pre-shredded carrots, which tend to be hard and dry.
You can store these cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can freeze the cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Although if freezing with the frosting, I recommend not decorating until thawed.
And if you’re looking for more cupcake inspiration, make sure to check out these recipes!
- Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Guava Cupcakes + Guava Frosting
- Gingerbread Cupcakes + Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
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