Olive's Carrot Cupcakes {Recipe}

"Mummy, I'm hungry. Hungry for something sweet."

Sound familiar?  If only it were "Mummy, I'm hungry for green vegetables!"

Sometimes getting kids to eat something healthy is a battle.  The harder you try, the more they resist.

We've been pretty lucky with Olive - she devours fruit.  And while she's adamant she'll never eat a tomato (too many Charlie and Lola bedtime stories), she will eat green beans, peas and corn (and sometimes raw broccoli!) without fuss.  The one veg she absolutely adores though are carrots.

A carrot stick is a great snack for a hungry preschooler but when they're pining for something sweet, why not make them something healthy and sweet and bake some mini carrot cupcakes?

These mini cupcakes are based on Stephanie Alexander's Simple Carrot Cake from The Cook's Companion. I like this recipe a lot because it uses olive oil which has lots of health benefits.

If you have a food processor, you could easily have these cupcakes ready to serve within half an hour from opening the pantry.

Originally written as a big cake recipe, I've halved it to make 24 mini cupcakes - perfect for morning tea at playgroup, work or to stash in the freezer for a healthy "hungry for something sweet" emergency.

The sugar carrots are a whimsical touch - you can find out how to make them in another post.

Recipe: Olive's Carrot Cupcakes
Recipe by Stephanie Alexander, The Cook's Companion
Makes 24 mini cupcakes

60g self-raising flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup finely grated carrot (approx 2 small carrots)
1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts

For frosting
60g cream cheese or marcsapone, softened

125g pure icing sugar
30g butter, softened
a drop of vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 180C (no fan).  Grease a 24 hole mini muffin tin or line with paper cases.
  • In a food processor, mix together flour, sugar and spices.
  • Add oil and eggs and beat for 1 minute.
  • Add carrot and walnuts and give it a quick whiz to combine.
  • Fill cups 2/3 full and bake for approx  12-15min.
  • Cool in tin before turning out.
  • When cold, decorate with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend.
  • Using a small, plain icing tip, pipe a small bulb of frosting on top of each cake.
  • Leave plain or decorate with a sugar carrot or piece of walnut.


  • Use the grating disk for your food processor to grate the carrots in a minute.
  • Don't have a food processor? Follow the same instructions using your electric mixer.
  • Freshly grated nutmeg really lifts these cakes into a whole new dimension.  But if you don't have them, ground nutmeg is fine.
  • Stephanie originally said to just stir through the carrots and walnuts.  For mini cupcakes, the extra whiz in the food processor makes the carrots and walnuts a little finer so you get a more even texture.


Oh, they're so cute Di. I love olive oil in cakes (and biscuits) too.

I'm forever adding vegies into sweet treats, mainly for the sake of my fussy daughter. I'll be baking tomorrow and whatever it is will contain some or all of sweet potato, zucchini, carrot and/or pear.

Anne xx
Kimberley said…
Oh they look so cute and delicious!! I love that they don't have any butter in them either! :D
Di-licious said…
@Anne - Thanks Anne. Yes, I think olive oil gives you a different texture than butter. Although for my classic vanilla cupcakes, there is no substitute for good unsalted butter. Enjoy your day of baking tomorrow!
Di-licious said…
@Kimberly - thanks! I think the little carrots really make them. Stay tuned next week for how to make them.
Kimberley said…
Looking forward to the tutorial! :D and thank you for the lovely comment on my blog, I really appreciate it!
Hehe I don't recall asking for vegetables ever as a child,only potato chips and cake! :P
Di-licious said…
@Kimberley - You're more than welcome! I'll be in the sugar carrot patch tomorrow so the tutorial will be up before you know it!
Di-licious said…
@Lorraine - I think I would have liked vegies a lot more growing up if my mother hadn't insisted on cooking them within an inch of their life. Just blanched green beans are a taste sensation compared to khaki green soft ones! But I'm sure Olive thinks cakes ARE one of the major food groups! ;-D
These will be the cupcakes I make for my sister's 52nd bithday this weekend.Thanks for a wonderful recipe.They will be a hot I am sure. Your blog is so good and useful to me, I just love it. Thanks
Di-licious said…
@TMV - Thanks! Be sure to let me know how you go. They really are yummy. I'm making two dozen regular sized cupcakes tomorrow for a special birthday order.
tori said…
These look so incredibly precious. I've loved that carrot cake from Stephanie for years, but never thought of putting it in such a delicate form. Just gorgeous
Olive sounds sooo cuteeeee, in every way :-))

So these were the super cupcakes that had the little carrot atop?
Its nice that it has some olive oil , will make them moist too.
That they come together so fast is always an advantage.
Di said…
@Sugar Plum Fairy - Yes, these are the cakes. Olive will vouch that they are moist and di-licious!

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