Carrot Apple Snack Cake

A healthy snack for toddlers and kids that’s easy to make ahead! Carrot Apple Snack Cake is lightly sweetened with maple syrup, full of whole grains, and packed with grated carrot. If your kiddos like muffins, they will love this wholesome cake. Enjoy a square with breakfast or as a snack any time of day. Add in hemp seeds or chopped nuts for a little boost in nutrients. I like some raisins in there, but you can easily leave them out.

Kids in the Kitchen:

This is such an easy and fun recipe to make together!

  • Carrot exposure: Peel the carrot then hold the grater and carrot together and shred it up. Placing your hand over your child’s will ensure that fingers won’t get scraped by the grater.
  • Measure: If you want to cut down on the amount of mess you make while cooking with kids (And it can be super messy, right?), pre-measure some ingredients before inviting your little one in the kitchen. Even measuring one or two ingredients together can be a great learning experience.
  • Crack the eggs: Make sure to have your little helper crack the eggs into small a separate bowl, so you can easily remove any shell pieces. If you want some guidance on how to teach kids to crack eggs, check out my video on Instagram HERE.
  • Use a large bowl. Mixing in a large bowl means less mess when cooking with kids. I try and always and demonstrate what speed I’d like kids to stir before letting them have a turn. Most likely, their mixing will result in at least a little spillage, but that’s ok. With practice, kids will eventually learn to better control the spoon or spatula.
  • Top: To make the top look nice and pretty, sprinkle whatever “add-ins” you mixed into the cake batter. If you didn’t add any raisins or nuts, sprinkle a little bit of oats to give the top some texture.

Subs and Tips for making Carrot Apple Snack Cake:

  • No applesauce? Use the same amount of mashed banana instead!
  • Gluten-free? Use a cup-for-cup style gluten-free flour mix and be sure that your oats are certified gluten-free
  • Egg free? I have not tried it, but I think using a flax “egg” or similar egg substitute would work well.
  • No quick (instant) oats? Take regular rolled oats and pulse them in a food processor until it’s broken down into a rough meal (not ground all the way into flour and with a few larger pieces of oat remaining). Then measure the amount you need for the recipe
  • Pan size. I like to use a 9-inch square cake pan for this recipe. However, you can also use an 8-inch pan or other square baking dish. Bake time will be longer for smaller pans and the cake will be thicker. I think a metal baking pan like this one works best.
  • Muffins!: You can bake this batter in muffin cups for a fun, portable oat muffin. It should make 10 muffins.
  • Add-ins: I used raisins and hemp seeds in here. However, you can leave those out entirely, use other kinds of dried fruit, or mix in finely chopped nuts. Pecans and walnuts would be great in here.

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cupcakes

A wholesome and fun breakfast or snack. Lightly sweetened, whole grain, dairy-free, and made in one bowl.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 10 cupcakes


  • 1 large carrot
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey*
  • 1/4 cup avocado or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat, all-purpose, or gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking "instant" rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • other optional add-ins: 3 Tbps hemp seeds and/or 1/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Quick Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 to 6 oz whipped cream cheese preferably NOT Philadelphia Brand
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp maple syrup or honey more or less to taste
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 10 paper muffin liners in a muffin pan or grease the muffin pan with oil spray.
  • Peel the carrot then shred it on the smaller holes of a box grater until you get a packed 3/4 cup of grated carrot.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, eggs, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Add cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Stir in grated carrot.
  • Add flour and oats to the bowl. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, stir until just combined. Add in raisins and any other add-ins, if using.
  • Scoop the batter into your muffin cups. Bake until cooked through and lightly browned on the top, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy the muffins as is or let them cool completely before topping with cream cheese frosting and optional sprinkles.

Quick Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Whip the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla together in a small bowl with a spoon or fork. It may take a few minutes, but it should come together eventually.
    I like to use whipped cream cheese because you can mix in the sweetener and use it as a frosting right out of the fridge. However, if you only have regular cream cheese, leave it at room temp for 30 minutes then whip it with a whisk or use a hand mixer.


*This cake is not very sweet. If you don't plan on adding any raisins/dried fruit, you may want to 1/3 cup of sweetener instead of 1/4 cup.
Keyword carrot cake, healthy snack, snack cake

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Other Make Ahead Snacks to Try:

Strawberry Oat Snack Cake

Banana Pumpkin Blender Muffins

Sweet Potato Snack Bars





  1. Patty Reed on June 10, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    5 stars
    I made this recipe as muffin sized snack cakes with the cream cheese and maple syrup frosting AND a unicorn sprinkle mix, of course! They not only tasted delicious, but also looked decadent and delightful. I love how delicately sweet they are. They may look indulgent, but are totally guilt free! I gave six as a thank you to my physical therapist team and six to my husband, daughter and grandbabies (11 months and almost four years). They all RAVED about how good they are. This recipe is now a permanent fixture in my collection of favorites. Thank you!

    • Heather on June 14, 2021 at 6:56 pm

      Hi Patty,
      Thank you so much for this generous and kind review. I’m so happy you and your family enjoyed the recipe! 🙂 Heather

  2. Kelly on April 5, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    5 stars
    I made this right after you initially posted it and it was a big hit. I made it into muffins today and it was another huge hit. So yummy!!

    • Toni on October 3, 2023 at 1:54 pm

      5 stars
      This cake was easy & tasty. Used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gf flour, homemade applesauce, and a bit more than 3/4c grated carrots. Also included the hemp seeds & pecans. My 6yr old resists anything without chocolate so we threw in a handful of mini chocolate chips and used about 3 Tbsp of maple syrup instead of 1/4c. Hopefully we’ll get to try it without chocolate next time. It was moist and delicious and will definitely be a staple. Love the idea of baking it as muffins. This is the first recipe of yours we’ve tried & I look forward to exploring more. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Michelle Lim on May 9, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Can these be frozen ? (:

    • Heather on May 10, 2022 at 8:29 am

      Hi Michelle, Yes, they should freeze well.

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