• 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar (I subbed 1 1/3 cup with cane sugar)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce + 1 tsp ground flax seed simmered in 3 tbsps water (this can be replaced by another egg and 2 tbsp of canola oil)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3-4 cups grated carrot
  • 1 20 oz. can of Trader Joe's sweet pineapple chunks
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring
  • crushed pecans and walnuts for the topping

This is my absolute favorite carrot cake recipe. I found it about 3 years ago from the Cooking Light website and have not used another recipe since. The pineapple in this recipe produces a super moist and flavorful cake without using any butter in the batter. I also replaced some of the oil with applesauce and ground flax seed and I used one cup of white whole wheat flour. Whether you choose to do the substitutions or not, these cupcakes are amazing and much lighter than your typical carrot cake. I doubled the recipe and made some changes, but you can find the original recipe here. I love how this recipe incorporates coconut, pineapple, and nuts adding so many dimensions of flavor.


Preheat oven to 350° or heat up your cupcake maker.
To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife and sift into a large bowl. Combine flour, sugar, coconut, pecans, walnuts, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Whisk together oil, eggs, apple sauce and flax seed mixture in a small bowl. Add grated carrot to the mixture. Grating the carrots is probably the most time-consuming part of this recipe. Pulse the chunks of pineapple with juice in a food processor until crushed.

Add the pineapple to the egg and carrot mixture.
Spoon batter into prepared cupcake pan. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. If using a cupcake maker bake for 10 minutes.

To prepare frosting, combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cake.

Roll the edges in the crushed nuts and pipe on little carrots. My carrots weren’t as pretty as I had intended, but I think they added still a nice burst of color. I’ll definitely have to practice my carrot piping for next time. If anyone has any suggestions let me know!

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