This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

I miss my husband!  He’s away for two and a half weeks to visit his family.  I have to admit though, initially I was a little excited for him to leave, I mean I could finally do what I want, when I want, and not have to play the role of a wife.  However, when the time came to leave him at the airport, my heart sank.  Living alone for me is a challenge, you see I haven’t really been on my own since my husband and I got married, and I come from a BIG family which makes it all the more difficult.  Often times I wonder if I am strong enough to live alone.  Sometimes things come up, sometimes work related, other times family related, and sometimes you just need to drop everything and go.  I want to overcome my fear of living alone and make myself a stronger person.  It’ll be good for me in the long run.  Since this setup is new for me and I’m a scary cat, today I arranged for my friends, Sheetal and Jenna, to sleep over, however tomorrow I’m going to stay alone and be strong. 

So anyway, after leaving the airport, I went grocery shopping.  Waking up super early can be so fun… no traffic, no waiting for a parking spot, no lines… life is good.  I went in to buy a few items for my cupcakes, and ended up hanging out at the grocery store for 45 minutes and even got myself Dunkin Donuts coffee – YUM.  I harmlessly walked down the freezer aisle to pick up some frozen spinach, however I couldn’t help but glance over at the frozen fried food section.  And then, our eyes locked!  I shamefully admit that Jalapeno Poppers with Cream Cheese is my biggest fried food weakness… I absolutely love them… the creaminess and the spice all in the same bite… ooohhhh.  I was so excited, but I promised myself to enjoy them in moderation and workout a little extra.  Done and done!

As you can tell, I miss my husband today based on my various cravings.  I know it’s only temporary and distance does make the heart grow fonder.  In order to make myself feel even better, I decided to bake Ina Garten’s Carrot & Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and tone down the fat with slight modifications.  The cupcakes aren’t exactly the healthiest even though they incorporate walnuts, raisins, and carrots, but I suppose today is an exception, right?  Plus I have a few friends visiting me in the next few days so everyone can enjoy the cupcakes with me.  It’s probably just a trick I use to get my friends to stay over… haha! 

TELL ME: Are you scared to live alone?  If so, how do you overcome it?  If not, give me advice.

NUTRITION: Carrots are LOADED with Vitamin A (eyes).  Also, it is a very good source of Fiber, Vitamins C and K.  Pineapple is an excellent source of Vitamin C.  Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  Raisins are known to be an antioxidant rich fruit.  


  • I halved the original recipe which can be found here by Ina Garten.
  • Instead of Vegetable Oil, I used Canola Oil.
  • Half the recipe called for 2/3 cup of oil, I reduced the oil by 50% and only used 1/3 cup.
  • I replaced the other 1/3 of oil with 1/3 cup of applesauce – I guarantee you will NOT be able to tell the difference.
  • Based on half the recipe… I used 2 eggs instead of 1 1/2 egg.
  • Ideally, I would have liked to use 3/4 cup of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, however I did not have any on hand so I used All Purpose Flour. 
  • Instead of following Ina’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, I used my reduced fat version of Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – recipe below.  I also used Neufchatel Cream Cheese (which is also 1/3 less in fat).


  • Calories: 404 cals
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Carbs: 54 g
  • Protein: 5.9 g
  • Fiber: 1 g

~ yields 12 cupcakes @ 350 degrees – based on half the recipe
~ fat reduced by 39%; calories reduced by 21% – taking the total cupcake (including frosting)  fat & calorie amounts into consideration.  Even when reduced fat, these cupcakes are quite high in fat, however keep in mind most of the fat in the cake portion is coming from the oil and walnuts.  Walnuts are good for you and a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  In terms of the frosting, well, that’s just bad no matter how you look at it… full fat or reduced fat.  🙂  The original recipe contains 513 calories, 31 grams of fat, and 9 grams of saturated fat per cupcake… INSANE!  My version is not that great either, but the fat is reduced by 39% and the calories by 21%.


  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Canola Oil – 1/3 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Unsweetened Applesauce – 1/3 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
  • All Purpose Flour – 1 1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp for walnuts/raisins
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 3/4 tsp
  • Raisins – 1/2 cup
  • Walnuts – 1/2 cup (chopped)
  • Carrots – 1/2 pound or 1 1/2 cups (about 4 medium carrots shredded)
  • Dole Pineapple – 1/4 cup (chopped without the juice)

1. Peel and shred carrots.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

4. In a bowl, blend sugar, oil, and eggs on medium-high speed until frothy and a light yellow color.

5. Add vanilla and applesauce.  Blend until combined.  

6. Sift all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl… flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  

7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.

8. Mix until all the flour is incorporated, however do not over mix.

9. Combine the raisins and chopped walnuts in a bowl.  Add 1/2 tbsp of flour and toss.  This will prevent the raisins and walnuts from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake.  

10. Add the raisins and walnuts to the batter.  Combine until mixed.

11. Add chopped pineapple and carrots.

12. Fold the pineapple and carrots into the batter. 

13. Scoop into cupcake liners.  

14. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  

15. Allow cupcakes to cool before frosting.  I think I baked these too long, I wouldn’t go beyond 35 to 40 minutes.


~ frosts 12 cupcakes @ 350 degrees 


  • Neufchatel Cream Cheese (or 1/3 less fat) – 1 8 oz. package
  • Unsalted Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
  • Pure Maple Syrup – 2 tbsp 
  • Confectioners Sugar – 1 to 1 1/2 cups (start with 1 and work your way up)

1. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and maple syrup.

2. Combine until well blended.

3. Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar.  

4. Combine.  Taste and see if you need more.  I used 1 1/2 cups.  

5. Frost.  I used a 1M tip, however you can skip the decorating.  My frosting was slightly runny which is probably why there wasn’t much of a design on the cupcake.

More Cake Recipes!

The frosting was perfectly sweet, and slightly runny.  I’m guessing this is due to the lack of butter and added maple syrup.  This didn’t bother me, however if you want the perfect reduced fat cream cheese frosting, then skip the maple syrup and add 1 more tbsp of butter.  Adjust the sugar according to your taste.  

These cupcakes were really good, moist, and flavorful.  It tasted like a real carrot cupcake, although I wasn’t able to taste the bits of pineapple.  The walnuts, raisins and carrots were quite obvious though.  The frosting made them even more perfect.  I have to say I slightly over baked these cupcakes by 5 minutes.  
Texture: The texture was good, but again I believe I over baked these slightly so it wasn’t as soft as it should have been.
Moistness: These cupcakes were really moist, however if you are looking for really soft and spongy carrot cupcakes, you may want to increase the oil amount to 1/2 cup instead of 1/3 cup.

TELL ME: Are you scared to live alone?  If so, how do you overcome it?  If not, give me advice.

Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.

Subscribe to get my latest recipes!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hi, I can totally relate to what you have said about living alone! It seems we have lot in common:) I love Ina Garten's recipe for the carrot cupcakes and have made them few times..My husband has a traveling job and I am also very scared to live alone..and lastly I too have a friend Sheetal..:) As it happens she is going to stay over with me while my husband is out of town..gosh…lot in common don't you think? To tell you truth I have not yet figured out a way to not feel lonely when my husband is out of I also come from a place which is full of is darn hard to live alone!! and I hate to bake when he is away since I know how much he loves to have these goodies:)