Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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This Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe is unbelievably (yes, I’m going to use the “m” word) moist and perfectly spiced and loaded up with fresh carrots, and topped with the most heavenly cream cheese frosting.  You’re going to love it.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Springtime always = carrot cake time in our house. 

For years and years, I’ve had the tradition of baking up my favorite carrot cake recipe to celebrate the start of the new season, stacked high with three unbelievably delicious layers of carrot cake and an always-generous spread of cream cheese frosting.  But ever since we moved into our small Barcelona kitchen with its teeny little oven that can only fit one round cake pan at a time, only a baby hand mixer to tackle all of that frosting, and officially zero fun cake stands to show off our baking triumphs (mine sadly didn’t make the cut when we were packing to move abroad) — I’ve had to admit that three-layer cakes just aren’t quite my style here.

So, we’ve pivoted to a new tradition this spring — carrot cake cupcakes.

And I have to say, I forgot how much I love a good cupcake!  Especially when it involves my all-time favorite kind of cake (Team Carrot for life!) and my all-time favorite kind of frosting (I’m a firm believer that cream cheese frosting can go with any kind of cake).  This carrot cake cupcakes recipe is basically just a sized-down my the three-layer cake recipe.  So you can trust that the recipe itself is already well-vetted and well-loved.  I can vouch that it’s also easy to make entirely by hand without any kind of mixer.  And while I personally prefer to hold the nuts and raisins when baking my own carrot cake, I have included lots of options for extra add-ins below so that you can bake the cake — or cupcakes — of your dreams.

Let’s get to baking!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Ingredients:

Alright, let’s talk about the ingredients to make the carrot cake cupcakes themselves.  You will need:

  • Oil: Any mild-flavored oil will do.  I typically use avocado oil, but vegetable or canola oil would work too.
  • Sugars: Both granulated and brown sugars.
  • Eggs and vanilla extract: The other wet ingredients.
  • Flour: I always indulge here with classic all-purpose flour.  But you’re welcome to sub in white whole wheat flour instead.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Baking soda and powder: This recipe uses both.
  • Salt: I used fine sea salt.
  • Freshly-grated carrots: Either grate them by hand with a box grater, use the shredding attachment on a food processor, or save yourself a step and buy them pre-grated.

Optional add-ins can include chopped nuts (such as pecans or walnuts), shredded coconut, and/or raisins.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

When it comes to carrot cake, I go all the way. ♡  This cream cheese frosting is 100% indulgent and 100% delicious and 1000% worth it.  It’s made with:

  • Cream cheese: Full-fat or low-fat will both work here.  Room temperature, please!
  • Butter: Also room temp.
  • Vanilla: Just a hint.
  • Powdered sugar: Basically, however much is needed to reach the consistency you prefer.  (If you’re going to pipe the frosting on, you may need a bit more.)  I usually don’t have much patience in life for sifting ingredients, but if you want a super-smooth frosting, sifting your powdered sugar is worth the extra step.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe

How To Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes:

To make these cupcakes, simply:

  1. Make the cupcake batter.  Mix together the oil and sugars, followed by the eggs and vanilla, then the dry ingredients, and then the shredded carrots.
  2. Fill and bake.  Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full of batter.  (<– I always do this with an ice cream scoop, which makes transferring the batter much easier.)  Then bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temp on a wire baking rack.  Meanwhile…
  3. Make the frosting.  Be sure that your cream cheese and butter are both room temp.  Then stir them together with the vanilla until smooth.  (It’s easier to do this with a mixer, but you can also just do it with a spatula by hand.)  And finally, stir in however much powdered sugar you need to reach your desired consistency.
  4. Frost the cupcakes.  Once the cupcakes reach room temperature, go ahead and frost them however you prefer.  Top with any sprinkles you might desire.  And…
  5. Enjoy!!  Or if you are saving the leftovers for later, refrigerate the cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Possible Cupcake Variations:

To each, her or his own when it comes to carrot cake preferences! ♡  Feel free to:

  • Add nuts: Feel free to stir 1/4 cup chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, pepitas or hazelnuts) into the batter, and/or sprinkle extras on top of the frosting.
  • Add raisins: You also have the option of stirring in a few tablespoons of raisins.
  • Add coconut: Or a few tablespoons of toasted shredded coconut.
  • Spice the frosting: If you would like a bit of extra flavor in the frosting itself, I recommend stirring 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger into the frosting.
  • Make the recipe gluten-free and vegan: Just halve this recipe this recipe to make 12-14 cupcakes.

Carrot Cupcakes Recipe

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 -14 cupcakes 1x

Description

This Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe is unbelievably moist and perfectly spiced and loaded up with fresh carrots, and topped with the most heavenly cream cheese frosting.  See notes above for possible ingredient variations.


Scale

Ingredients

Carrot Cake Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup avocado oil (or any mild-flavored oil)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8 ounces finely-grated* fresh carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 34 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 12-cup** cupcake pan with baking liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture into the egg mixture, and stir until smooth. Fold in the grated carrots and stir until combined. If you would like to add nuts and/or raisins, stir them in at this time as well.
  4. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners so that they are 3/4 full.  Then bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Transfer the baking pan to a wire cooling rack and let the cupcakes cool until they reach room temperature.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl and stir until combined and smooth.  (You can either do this with a spatula, or with a hand or stand mixer.)  Gradually stir in the powdered sugar and mix until it is completely combined.  Feel free to add more/less powdered sugar to achieve your desired consistency.
  6. Frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

Notes

**You can either grate fresh carrots by hand with a box grater, or grate them with a food processor by using the shredding disk.

**This recipe makes between 12-14 cupcakes, so you may have a little extra batter to make more than a dozen.

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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31 comments on “Carrot Cake Cupcakes”

  1. Carrot cake is without a doubt my favorite cake. When making the cream cheese frosting, I like to brown the butter first. The browned butter and a splash of vanilla extract make a cream cheese frosting that is next level delicious with the warm spices in the cake.

    • mmmm, browned butter! I make ghee and also browned butter pretty much weekly, and they and the browned milk solids from my ghee have become my signature mystery ingredient which has everyone asking, “What is different about this? I use the family recipe, and mine doesn’t taste this good!”

  2. This looks scrumptious! Do you have the nutritional breakdown for the cupcakes – just the cupcakes without the icing?

    • This what I got when I used the recipe calculator on VeryWellFit-

      Nutrition Facts
      Servings: 14
      Amount per serving

      Calories
      224
      % Daily Value*
      Total Fat 12.8g
      16%
      Saturated Fat 1.4g
      7%
      Cholesterol 35mg
      12%
      Sodium 278mg
      12%
      Total Carbohydrate 24.9g
      9%
      Dietary Fiber 0.8g
      3%
      Total Sugars 12.8g

      Protein 2.8g

      Vitamin D 3mcg
      17%
      Calcium 26mg
      2%
      Iron 1mg
      5%
      Potassium 82mg
      2%

  3. I look forward to trying these so some can be frozen and I don’t eat them all day after day. I use https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8270/sams-famous-carrot-cake/ when I need to make a full size cake for a function. Do you know how much liquid I should leave out if I put the crushed pinapple in your recipe?

  4. These looks absolutely delicious. I’m definitely going to have to try these! B x

    www.babblesnbooks.wordpress.com

  5. Sounds nice, and I’m looking forward to trying a variation in the next few days, but a few questions:

    First, is there any reason you don’t use coconut oil? How about subbing applesauce for the oil?

    And I’ve always added pineapple, do you not like pineapple?

    As for raisins? Ewwww! Yuck! Grapes are wonderful, those nasty little dried old things? Patooey! ;o)

    And yes, you MUST include nuts! lots of fruit and some nuts are hugely important in carrot cake!

    I love that you use both granulated and brown sugar. We’re doing that in all sorts of recipes which would benefit from the carmel-ish addition. Yum! And I put aside the browned dairy solids which I strain out when making ghee and throw them in the freezer. They add a wonderful nutty taste to so many things, bit sweet and savory. You wouldn’t believe how fantastic the crumbles are when combined with Bragg’s Amino Acid or soy sauce. Try it on any of the cabbage/brassica/cruciferous family… or on popcorn? Divine!

    Sorry I got so off track! I’ll report back how our carrot cupcakes turn out. My hubby hates cream cheese – with the sole excepting of having it on a bagel with ham or corned beef, so I’m going to have to modify a frosting.

  6. Thanks, Ali! My youngest daughter just asked me yesterday, while playing outside, if we could make “food for the bunnies.” Your easy cupcake recipe comes just in time for all three of my own little bunnies.

  7. 5 stars
    Girl!! I just made these cupcakes for Easter and they are Amazing! I’ve never made cupcakes before and I’m happy with the result. They are moist (sorry!), full of cinnamon flavor, and just yummy. I only had a mild olive oil to use and at first, I was afraid they would taste like cinnamony (a word?) olive oil cakes but the cinnamon and clove neutralized the olive oil flavor, thankfully. The other change I made was that I only used two cups of powdered sugar and that was enough for me. I think the 3-4 cups would have been too sweet for my liking. Ali, I love many of your recipes and I really appreciate you, your blog and your creative ideas. Thanks for all you do!

  8. 5 stars
    Me encanta la tarta de zanahorias, pero, en casa, una tarta entera es demasiado, así que, cuando vi tus cup cakes, pensé que eran perfectos para congelar. Me han salido 14 y he agregado solo 2 cups de azúcar a la cobertura. Saben realmente a carrot cake. Gracias por la receta, es estupenda.

  9. Can I make them mini’s? How would that change the cooking time?

  10. 4 stars
    Flavor was good, but texture was overly oily. I would make again, but cut back on the oil or swap in some applesauce for a portion of the oil.

  11. Hello! I am with you on Carrot Cake is #1!
    For my Happy 55 I wanted to make cupcakes (no real reason just felt it was best) and I found your recipe first! Can’t wait to make these_ I will let you know how they go!
    Also, I want to hear more of how it’s going in Barcelona 😊✨🙏🏻

  12. 5 stars
    This is an amazing recipe for these carrot cupcakes! It’s my first time making them and honestly baking in general. Haha~. I was wondering when I do put it in the fridge overnight should I let it “thaw” out a bit before eating it because I noticed the cake gets harder and not as moist/.

  13. 5 stars
    I’m a fairly new to baking and generally not a fan of carrot cake, but my husband was craving carrot cake so I gave these a go. I LOVE THESE CUPCAKES! Directions we’re super easy to follow and they came out super moist. The cream cheese frosting is amazing and would be a great icing on any flavor cupcake in my opinion. I added a little less powdered sugar, but still amazing recipe.

  14. 5 stars
    My fiance loves carrot cake, so I made these for his birthday. He LOVED them more than any other recipe he’s had. I’ve made them 3 times now and everyone I’ve shared them with has loved them too!

  15. Made two batches of this and it was amazing. Each batch made 16 cupcakes for a total of 32 cupcakes. I didn’t have cloves so I replaced it with pumpkin pie spice, but it still turned out to be good

  16. These were a huge hit. I’m more of a cookie baker and tend to be nervous with cake. Carrot cake is my husbands favorite. I used freshly grated nutmeg and added 1/4 tsp of ginger for warmth. I also added pecans. They turned out great, the flavor was spot on. Spicy and warm, lots of great crumb. They did seem a little oily but I guess that could be translated moist? I added a little maple syrup to my frosting at my sweet husband’s request and it was delicious. All my boys loved them. Thanks for making it so easy!

  17. Nice

  18. I think the 3-4 cups of confectioners sugar in the frosting must be a mistake. It should probably be 3/4 of a cup. Unedible this way.

  19. This recipe also translates well as a snacking/breakfast loaf. I followed the cupcake recipe to a T, but baked all the batter in a loaf pan for an hour. Turned out great. Can skip the frosting and just smear with cream cheese if wanting a less sweet breakfast loaf. But frosting is 👌

  20. I’m so happy I saw this at the end if your carrot cake recipe. This year with being quarantined I didn’t want to make the three tiered cake. So the cupcakes will be perfect. The cake is a favorite of ours that we make often. We are those strange few who don’t like nuts or fruit in our cake!!

  21. I don’t tend to rate recipes, but I’ve made this one dozens of times and it’s always a fan favorite between my family and friends! If you’re looking for a carrot cake/cupcake recipe, this one is great!! Wouldn’t recommend any other recipe! :)

  22. Love this carrot cake recipe! It’s perfect in every way! Added some chopped pecans to the cupcakes and some on top of the frosting! They’re boyfriend approved too :)

  23. Had an urgent need for carrot cake and whipped these up super fast and they were to die for! I halved the recipe and they turned out beautifully… (made 7) used baby carrots and just threw them in the food processor… added just under a half cup of walnuts and some raisins too which is my fav. Amazing and thank you for sharing.

  24. I wanted to try your carrot cake recipe, but I’m in a house with me and my partner and no one to share that much cake with! So, when I then found you had essentially a mini-version of that in the form of this cupcake recipe, I was very excited!

    But, I am lazy and am not into doling out little increments into muffin tins if I can help it. I have very small cake pans — 3 5-inch pans. I found this recipe fit in those perfectly. I reduced the temperature to 325 because I find full heat tends to burn in small pans (probably an artefact of my oven, more than anything). I baked them for about 35 minutes at 325 and they’re beautiful. I am now waiting for them to cool enough to frost.

    Thank you for providing a smaller rendition, even if I did deviate from the cupcake plan. :) It’s sometimes frustrating to find recipes that suit small households, especially when I can’t share anything with the people I love right now.

  25. What an amazing recipe!!! I put my extra batter in a medium sized ramekin and have already devoured that while I’m waiting for the cupcakes to cool so I can frost them lol. This reminds me of a mix between my favorite coffee cake and a carrot cake. I didn’t have cloves, so I used allspice. Amazing. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  26. I usually want to make a small batch of 6. Can I just use half the measurings for each of the ingredients. Will this give me the same yummy result? Just landed on your site. I’m loving each and everything. Thank you

  27. Love this!!!! So creamy!!!

  28. How do I measure out the 8 oz of grated carrot in cups? Is it 1 cup? Thank you.