These are the most delicious carrot cake cupcakes, sweetened with pure maple syrup and topped with creamy, cream cheese frosting! They’re dotted with bits of sweet, crushed pineapple, crunchy pecans and grated carrots. I love these cupcakes because they’re not too sweet and the creamy frosting perfectly complements the cake! These carrot cupcakes are perfect for springtime holidays such as Easter or Mother’s Day, but don’t wait all year to enjoy them! They’re great for any occasion! This recipe is also great for muffins; read on for the instructions!
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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe!
If you enjoyed my original Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake, you’ll love these maple carrot cake cupcakes, too! The cake is extra moist, rich and delicious! I love to add crushed pineapple to the recipe because the sweet fruit adds extra moisture, sweetness and incredible flavor to the recipe. And, I love the bits of crunchy pecans in the cupcakes as well. If you’re like me and don’t enjoy desserts that are too sweet, this recipe is for! These carrot cupcakes have the perfect amount of sweetness and the cream cheese frosting isn’t too sweet either, making these the best carrot cake cupcakes! Plus, I love the addition of ground cinnamon in this recipe. It adds a little bit of warmth and incredible flavor to the cupcakes!
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Making these delicious cupcakes is a breeze! First, I get my oven preheating to 350F and line 24 cupcake tins with paper. Next, I combine all the wet ingredients and the sugar in a large mixing bowl: buttermilk, cooking oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. The buttermilk makes these cupcakes extra fluffy! In a separate bowl, I combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Next, I sift the dry ingredients into the wet and combine them all together. Once I have my cake batter ready, I add the fillings: diced pecans, crushed pineapple and grated carrots.
I fill the cupcake liners approximately two-thirds of the way; don’t overfill them or they will go over the top! These cupcakes bake for about 18 minutes, then I let them cool completely before frosting them. Always wait for them to cool!! You can even place the warm cupcakes into the refrigerator to cool down faster. If you frost the cupcakes while they’re still warm, the frosting will melt and slide off the cupcakes.
Using Maple Syrup for Baking
If you’ve been following my work for a bit, you’ll notice I have a few dessert and cakes recipes using pure maple syrup in place of regular sugar. I absolutely love the flavor of this natural sweetener! It adds the perfect amount of sweetness and light hint of maple flavor to these carrot cake cupcakes! Because of the extra liquid that the maple syrup adds to the recipe, I’ve increased the amount of flour in this recipe, compared to my original recipe. I recommend using pure maple syrup, not artificial syrup! Artificial syrups are made with corn syrup and artificial flavors and will typically be a lot sweeter than natural syrup.
How to Use Sugar for This Recipe
Looking to make these carrot cake cupcakes with regular sugar instead of maple syrup? Not a problem! Maple syrup can be a bit pricy so I’m also including instructions for making these with white sugar. You’ll need 1 cup (200 g) of white granulated sugar and you’ll need to reduce the amount of flour from 2 ½ cups down to 2 cups (250 g) of all-purpose flour. That’s it! Keep the rest of the recipe the same and enjoy!
Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting
My all-time favorite frosting for these carrot cake cupcakes and any carrot cake is my easy, creamy Cream Cheese Frosting! I have a separate video recipe for this frosting so make sure to check it out, too. I’ve been using this frosting for many, many years for many different recipes. It complements these cupcakes so well!
This type of frosting can be a little soft and creamier than a regular buttercream. My solution is to refrigerate the frosting for at least an hour or two in the refrigerator. This allows the frosting to thicken, making it easier to work with! Try this trick next time you’re making cream cheese frosting!
Alternative Maple Frosting Recipe
Looking to make this recipe without any sugar, just pure maple syrup? You’ll love my Maple Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting! I used this recipe for my Maple Berry Cake and absolutely loved it! It’s made with maple syrup, mascarpone cheese, vanilla and heavy cream. Here’s the recipe:
16 oz (455 g) mascarpone cheese, softened at room temp
¾ cup (180 ml) pure maple syrup
3 cups (710 ml) heavy cream, extra cold
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Place the softened mascarpone cheese into a large mixing bowl and add the pure maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk on medium speed for 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour in the chilled heavy cream next and whisk on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Carrot Cake Muffins Instructions
Not a fan of frosting or cupcakes? You can also use this recipe to make carrot cake muffins! You don’t need to change anything at all in the recipe. Just use the same recipe but line a muffin tin pan with paper liners instead of a cupcake pan. The muffins will need a couple extra minutes in the oven at 350F/177C. Once the muffins have cooled on a wire rack, keep them stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Enjoyed these carrot cake cupcakes? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake – this is my original and favorite carrot cake recipe! So delicious and easy to make!
- Pineapple Bundt Cake – another fantastic cake recipe made with crushed pineapple and topped with whipped cream! Super easy and delicious!
- Pistachio Carrot Cake – if you love pistachios, you’ll love this spiced pistachio cake with caramel and cream cheese frosting!
- Coconut Cream Cupcakes – fluffy coconut cupcakes topped with coconut Italian buttercream! So delicious!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- Pure Maple Syrup – my favorite brand of maple syrup, from Canada!
- Cupcake Tins – this set includes 2 pans, perfect for 24 cupcakes.
- Paper Cupcake Liners – you can either spray your cupcake pan with baking spray, or line the cups with these liners.
- KitchenAid Hand Mixer – this small but powerful mixer is perfect for small baking jobs!
- Jumbo Decorating Tips – this set of cake decorating tips includes most of my favorites!
- Disposable Pastry Bags – never wash another pastry bag with these durable disposable bags.
Maple Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe (video)
For Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup light cooking oil, I used canola
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup grated carrots, about 2 large carrots
- 6 oz crushed pineapple, drained
- ½ cup diced pecans
For Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F/177C and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners, or spray the tins with a non-stick baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, cooking oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes on medium speed until the eggs are well beaten and the mixture is smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir the ingredients together, then sift them into the wet ingredients. Mix for about 1 minute on medium speed, just until the flour is incorporated.
- Last, fold in the diced pecans, drained crushed pineapple and grated carrots. Use a scoop or a spoon to drop the batter into the prepared cupcake pans, filling each tin about two-thirds of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes for approximately 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once baked, remove the cupcakes from the pans and onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Place the softened butter into a mixer bowl and beat on medium to high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the butter is fluffy and white in color; scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl occasionally. Next, add in the softened cream cheese and mix again on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and no clumps of cheese remain.
- Next, add in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and tiny pinch of salt. Mix again for 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high speed, until the frosting is smooth. Place the frosting into the refrigerator for at least 1 to 2 hours to thicken. This frosting can also be made the day before and stored in the fridge; soften the frosting for about 1 ½ hours at room temperature when ready to use.
- When ready to frost the cupcakes, transfer the frosting into a pastry bag; I used decorating Ateco tip #847. Pipe generous dollops of frosting on completely cooled cupcakes. The cupcakes are ready to enjoy right away, or can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.