Carrot Cupcakes (Rabbit’s)

Well, here we go with another carrot cake cupcake. I’m hoping these comparisons of carrot cupcakes might help some of you choose a recipe, but I think the truth is that I just really, really like making carrot cake.  It’s relaxing, and it’s nice not having to pull out the stand mixer or cream the butter.

Carrot Cupcakes

My goal, as stated, is to find a favorite carrot cupcake. Even bad carrot cupcakes are good (I call them muffins), but the kind that are the best are sweet, dense, kind of crumbly and have layers of flavor. If you’ve tried a carrot cupcake from Sugar Mama’s here in Austin, then you know what I’m talking about! Their carrot cupcakes are delicious. Another trait I like in carrot cake is when it’s brown rather than orange, and crumbly and moist rather than mushy-moist. This recipe had most of those traits, though it was less dense than Sugar Mama’s and not as dark as I was hoping. But I loved the cupcakes anyway and wouldn’t call them muffins.

The version that inspired these cupcakes was Rabbit’s Carrot Cake from The Fanny Farmer Cookbook. Their recipe is made as two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaves, but I made it as cupcakes. The other changes I made were to cut the variety of spices to just one (cinnamon), add vanilla extract, and use packed dark brown sugar for some of the granulated sugar and use a mixture of melted butter and oil rather than just oil. The cupcakes are moist without being mushy, have a very balanced flavor, and are nice and are dense yet crumbly. One thing I’ve noticed in the past couple of days is I’m getting a crumblier texture when I use baking powder and baking soda as opposed to the 2 teaspoons of baking soda you see in a lot of carrot cake recipes. I read in Cook’s Illustrated that baking soda makes the batter more alkaline which causes the cell walls of the carrot pieces to break down and leak moisture into the batter. The comparison they made was to a plastic bag filled with water that gets punctured. Maybe the baking powder keeps the batter more acidic and lessens the breakdown of carrots into carrot juice?

Carrot Cupcakes (Rabbit's)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Carrot cupcake recipe adapted from Fanny Farmer's "Rabbit's Carrot Cake"
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (6 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple, drained dry
  • 1 1/2 cups (6.8 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tightly packed dark brown sugar**
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsatled butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup golden raisins (or a mix of golden and brown)
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped after measuring
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 22 to 24 cupcake cups or grease and flour two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a small bowl, mix carrots, lemon juice, and pineapple. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your food processor (or just use a bowl), combine flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Pulse to mix, then add butter, oil, and eggs, one by one until mixed. Add carrot mixture and pulse until mixed, then add the raisins and walnuts and pulse lightly just to mix or just stir with a rubber spatula.
  4. Divide evenly among the cupcake cups, filling a little over 3/4 cup full, or divide among two loaf pans. Bake cupcakes for about 25 minutes or loaves for about 45 minutes.
If you don't want to use brown sugar, you may use 1/4 cup granulated sugar in place of the 3 tablespoons of packed dark brown. If using light brown sugar, use 4 tablespoons instead of 3.


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  1. says

    Yes! Dark is what I love in carrot cake! I’ve made carrot bread and muffins with molasses and wonder if that is the ‘secret ingredient’ in some of my favorite dark carrot cakes.

    Although lighter, the texture on that muffin looks perfect.

  2. says

    I JUST made carrot cupcakes yesterday. They were almost fat free, but still hit the spot and were pretty good. Haven’t seen this before, but the carrots are cooked and then made into a puree. It would be interesting to try this method but not have such a low fat/low sugar cupcake. I like nuts and such in them, too, and these didn’t have any.
    I’ll be blogging it next week for SRC.

  3. says

    This recipe sounds perfect, although I love to add a little bit of ginger as well as cinnamon, it just adds another layer and really compliments the deep flavour of the carrot cake. Pleased to see you have walnuts in there, I can’t stand a carrot cake without!!

    Leah x x x

  4. says

    Katrina, I like low fat and almost fat free carrot cakes too. I’ll have to do a different rundown at some point in time comparing reduced oil recipes.

    Leah, I agree. Walnuts (or pecans) are essential. I think pineapple is too.

  5. says

    Nancy, it’s just whipped cream. Normally I use cream cheese frosting, but I didn’t feel like making any so I used some whipped cream that I’d whipped the day before.

  6. says

    Stephanie, thanks for the link! I’d be curious to see how a tablespoon of baking powder works in carrot cake. Also, I love Cinnamon Raisin Swirl bread! I haven’t made it in quite a while, but I’ll see if I can find a good recipe.

  7. Stephanie says

    I thought the same thing. I remembered seeing that somewhere else… perhaps my copy of The Pastry Queen? I’ll check when I get home!

  8. says

    The low fat recipe I made had NO oil and only egg whites. Instead of the skim milk called for in the recipe, I used low fat buttermilk, so that is the only fat. I so agree that carrot cake needs nuts and pineapple, coconut and raisins are good, too.

    A few years ago I made up a “healthier” carrot cake that was delicious. Now I want to make it again. It’s all your fault. 😉

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