Nonnie’s Best-Ever Carrot Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

published May 8, 2022
Nonnie’s Best-Ever Carrot Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The frosting is legendary for good reason!

Makes12 cupcakes

Prep20 minutes

Cook18 minutes to 20 minutes

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Credit: Nico Schinco

My mother-​in-​law’s carrot cake is the stuff of legends. It is a moist, sweet, slightly spiced layer cake, with some sweetened shredded coconut folded in for good measure, and a thick, finger-​licking-​good, tangy cream cheese frosting. Her recipe is so legendary, in fact, that it is an internet darling. There are a lot of recipes out there that are just like hers (2 cups of flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil, 4 eggs, and 3 cups of grated carrot). I’m not sure who originally shared it with Nonnie all those many decades ago, but they clearly shared it with a few others as well. I’ve tweaked it a little here, ​but, if it looks familiar, neither Nonnie nor I are surprised.

Nonnie’s Best-Ever Carrot Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The frosting is legendary for good reason!

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 18 minutes to 20 minutes

Makes 12 cupcakes

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 cup

    all-​purpose flour

  • 1 1/3 cups

    lightly packed finely grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)

  • 1/2 cup

    sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 6 ounces

    cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 cups

    confectioners’ sugar

  • Ground cinnamon for dusting

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-​well muffin tin with paper liners.

  2. To make the cupcakes, whisk together the granulated sugar, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into the bowl, one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Gently fold in the flour with a flexible spatula just until a few streaks of flour remain. Fold in the carrots and coconut. Fill each prepared muffin well about three-​quarters full, using a 1/4-cup portion scoop or measuring cup, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of one of the cups comes out with a moist crumb or two. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, or until you can safely remove the cupcakes from the tin without burning yourself. Let cool to room temperature before frosting.

  3. To make the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-​low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, just until combined. Beat in the vanilla, salt, and cinnamon and then, gradually, the confectioners’ sugar. Beat for an additional 30 seconds on medium speed. Decoratively spread each cupcake with about 2 tablespoons of frosting. Dust cinnamon over each and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up before serving. Keep the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Snackable Bakes: 100 Easy-Peasy Recipes for Exceptionally Scrumptious Sweets and Treats by Jessie Sheehan. Photographs by Nico Schinco. Published by Countryman Press, copyright © 2022.