Best Basic Carrot Cake Cups

beast Basic Carrot Cake Cups

Are you guys sick of cupcake recipes yet?

I’m really sorry. Well… actually that was a lie. I’m not that sorry. Also I still have more. And there are more than that in the works. I promise I’m trying to space them out, even though two in one week probably doesn’t seem so spaced. I have plenty of cookies and bars and family-friendly fast meals in the queue, but it’s about to be Mother’s Day and your mama needs cake.

But maybe I should rephrase that to say that I’m a mama and I need cake.
Yes? Yes.

Best Basic Carrot Cake Cups

Other things that moms (read: Heather) like include flowers, good books, wine, pedicures, and all the funny little handmade gifts that come home from school. I have lots of painted rocks and coil pots. They are basically my favorite things in the universe.

If you’re not sure what to do for your mom to celebrate Mother’s Day, I suggest doing something you said you would that you maybe never did and she thinks you forgot all about. I like in a house full of boy so I have a list of those things 1,000 miles long (they have short attention spans).

Best Basic Carrot Cake Cups

But also make her a card, give her a hug, and hand her cute cake.

This is my favorite recipe for basic carrot cake. It is moist and sweet and full of carrot cake spice, topped with cream cheese frosting which we all know improves everything it touches X 1,000.

Best Basic Carrot Cake Cups
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 24 cupcakes
  • Best Basic Carrot Cake:
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1⅓ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1½ cups packed grated carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Line a standard sized muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl beat the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until smooth (1½ - 2 minutes).
  3. Add in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Beat until just combined. The cake batter will be THICK. You'll think I'm crazy.
  4. Stir in the carrots, pineapple, and walnuts. I like to stir these in by hand.
  5. Dip the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Fill the cups to ¾ full (I use a ¼ cup measuring cup for this; it's just about exactly right.) and bake for about 22 minutes. A pick inserted into the center will come out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool completely.
  7. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until it's whipped and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and beat again until the frosting is nice and fluffy.
  8. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

This carrot cake recipe is slightly adapted from Carrot Cake Cuppies at Pink Pistachio. What a pretty pretty pretty blog! She also contributes to Ballantyne Magazine which makes me think she’s Charlotte girl & that’s where I grew up.

I made these cute little candied curly-cue carrots using this awesome tutorial from The Cupcake Project. They are DELICIOUS. If you decide to make these, a couple of notes: #1- make extra because you will want to eat them #2- add them at the last minute so they stay crisp and candied; don’t refrigerate the carrot curls or they will soften.
Best Basic Carrot Cake Cups

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  1. says

    Too MANY cupcake recipes?! Is that even a thing? I don’t think so. I could always use more. And so could my mom. Especially carrot cake cupcakes. Swoon!

  2. says

    I have a question for you…what do you do with all the stuff your kids make for you? I mean, do you keep it ALL? I have no idea if I’m the only one but I literally have to throw stuff out every week. It’s terrible. I feel so bad!

    Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day Heather! You are a good mom…I hope your kids acknowledged that today. :)

    • says

      Oh my gosh DO NOT feel bad! There is waaaay too much stuff to keep it all. I have a binder full of the funniest papers that I will keep forever. I do keep all the Christmas ornaments. And the painted rocks (because plants and gardens like them). But all the little paper crafts and stuff? It has to go. It gets ruined on the way home anyway.
      Hope your Mother’s Day was AWESOME and frustration-free!

  3. Michele Conner says

    Heather, these were terrific! I deviated just a tad by adding a little bit of fresh squeezed orange juice to the frosting,,,like a teaspoonful. The blueberry farm just opened near my house and I am going to be picking and making blueberry scones soon! Also freezing lots of the berries!

    • says

      Good call on the orange juice! So glad you liked these, Michele!
      We don’t have any local blueberries or blackberries yet (believe me, I looked!!) this season, but as soon as they are available I will be stuffing all the fruit into those scones! I really enjoyed my recipe partner for this month.
      It makes me so happy when I hear from people that tried out a recipe post. Thanks so much for letting me know it worked well for you!

  4. Michele Conner says

    Heather, The blueberry farm just opened near my house and I am going to be picking and making blueberry scones soon! Also freezing lots of the berries!


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