This recipe for small batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins is a super moist carrot cake from scratch decorated with homemade cream cheese frosting.

Close up of unwrapped carrot cake cupcake

Being a food blog, I noticed the quarantine really changed how people cook.

Back in 2020 when the shut down first started, my recipes for two really took off as everyone stayed home and cooked in smaller quantities.

Fast forward to 2023, people are going back to work and baking in larger batches again.

Still, lifestyles have forever changed. More people are working at home remotely. That means not being able to pawn off baked goods on your coworkers.

If you’re craving cupcakes but don’t want to eat a whole dozen, I got you covered with the best Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple and cream cheese frosting.

They stay incredibly moist thanks to the vegetable oil, brown sugar, buttermilk, and pineapple.

My carrot cake cupcake recipe is almost identical to my Small Carrot Cake recipe. Difference is I reduced the buttermilk a bit so the batter wasn’t as liquidy.

First round the cupcakes were completely flat and sunk in the middle. This told me 1 – I filled the liners too full and 2 – I didn’t have enough flour to support the amount of liquid.

Second round I reduced the liquid and voila – cupcakes!

These small batch carrot cake cupcakes are the perfect ending for your Easter Dinner For Two or even Thanksgiving Dinner For Two if you don’t like pumpkin pie.

Close up of carrot cake cupcake

What is carrot cake?

Carrot cake is a spice cake with grated carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove then frosted with cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients For Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Pineapple

To make this recipe for carrot cake cupcakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour: Make sure when you’re measuring your flour, you use the spoon and level method, not the scoop and pack method.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove: Can’t have a spice cake without spices!
  • Baking soda: This leavening agent reacts with the acidity in the buttermilk, helping the cupcakes rise.
  • Salt:Enhances the other flavors
  • Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cake batter
  • Brown sugar: Using brown sugar in addition with white sugar helps make the batter more moist.
  • Vegetable oil: Using vegetable oil in carrot cake not only makes the cupcakes moist, it won’t mask the other flavors such as tangy buttermilk. You can use melted butter in a pinch, but it may overpower the buttermilk flavor.
  • Buttermilk: You need the acidity to react with the baking soda. If you use regular milk, don’t forget to add some lemon juice!
  • Egg: Use 1 large egg at room temperature
  • Vanilla: Brings out the flavors of the other ingredients
  • Grated carrots: I grate my carrots by hand but you can also use a food processor.
  • Canned crushed pineapple: No need for fresh! Make sure it’s drained well as the excess liquid may throw off your flour ratio.
  • Sweetened coconut flakes: I used the sweetened coconut often found in the baking aisle. You can also use unsweetened for less sugar.
  • Walnuts: Adds crunch to the cupcakes. Can also use pecans.
  • Raisins: Adds little pops of sweetness throughout the cake

Since you won’t use a whole carton of buttermilk, check out my leftover buttermilk recipes.


Unwrapped carrot cake cupcake on turquoise cake stand

How To Make the Best Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot cake cupcakes with pineapple is easier to make from scratch than most because you don’t have to worry about creaming the butter and sugar.

All you have to do to make small batch carrot cake cupcakes is:

  1. Beat together both sugars, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
  2. Add your flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Stir in carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Transfer batter to your cupcake liners.
  4. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes on turquoise cake stand

How much batter do you put in carrot cake cupcakes?

I’ve seen recipes saying to fill the liners 2/3 or 3/4 full. Truth is I can’t tell the difference between the two amounts when I fill them. It’s…more than half.

All I know is you want to not fill the liners completely full or they will rise too much and overflow.

Likewise you don’t want to not fill them enough. Otherwise, your cupcakes will be shorter than your liner.

Best way to fill the cupcakes is to put one scoop of batter in each of the 7 liners then divide the remaining batter into each of the cupcakes again.

This should also help evenly distribute the batter. I hate when the first cupcake is all nice and full but then you’re struggling to fill the last one.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes on cake stand

Is there pineapple in carrot cake cupcakes?

For whatever reason, carrot cake cupcakes with pineapple are controversial. Personally, pineapple is one of my favorite fruit so of course I’m pro-pineapple.

Adding pineapple to carrot cake isn’t just about flavor preference; pineapple plays an important role in keeping your carrot cake moist.

No need to buy fresh pineapple! Crushed canned pineapple is perfectly acceptable. Make sure you drain out the liquid before adding to your batter.

However, if you don’t like pineapple or if you’re allergic, you can leave it out.

Close up of unwrapped carrot cake cupcake

What frosting to use for carrot cake cupcakes?

You can’t have carrot cake without cream cheese! That’s why I frosted mine with Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting.

It makes enough to decorate small batch cupcakes without leftovers.

How To Store Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Store unfrosted carrot cake cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.

Store frosted carrot cake cupcakes in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Let them sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Can you freeze carrot cake cupcakes?

You can freeze unfrosted carrot cake cupcakes for up to 6 months. Wrap it in plastic wrap first then place in a freezer bag.

More Small Batch Cupcake Recipes

Looking for more cupcake recipes to bake? Check out these recipes for small batch cupcakes:

For a full list of recipes, check out my Small Batch Cupcake Recipes guide.

Don’t want to make cupcakes? Check out my full list of 6 Inch Cake Recipes.

Close up of unwrapped carrot cake cupcake

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple

Yield: 7 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This recipe for small batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins is a super moist carrot cake from scratch decorated with homemade cream cheese frosting.


  • 2/3 cup (84 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (26 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59 mL) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature (or substitute 2 tablespoons whole milk + 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (35 grams) grated carrots (roughly 1-2 carrots)
  • 1/4 cup (48 grams) canned crushed pineapple, liquid drained
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup (26 grams) chopped walnuts plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup (33 grams) raisins
  • Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting


    1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line a cupcake pan with 7 paper liners.
    2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, clove, and salt.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together on medium speed the sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
    4. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed then add in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins (do not overbeat the batter or you may end up with a tough cake).
    5. Transfer the batter to the cupcake pan, filling each liner 2/3 of the way full then bake 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
    6. Make the cream cheese frosting (get the recipe here).
    7. Frost the cooled cupcakes then decorate with nuts. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For best results, let sit at room temperature 15-30 minutes before serving.


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Originally published March 21, 2020