Carrot cake cupcakes are moist, flavorful cakes topped with rich cream cheese frosting. Share this recipe with your friends and family for Easter or birthdays!
This recipe was originally published March 2019. It was last updated February 2020.
Carrot cake makes me think of two things: Easter and my parents’ wedding. Easter because bunnies eat carrots and my parents’ wedding because that was their cake.
Obviously I wasn’t present at my parents’ wedding, but I always thought it was unique that their wedding cake was carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Needless to say, as one of their favorite cakes, I was introduced to it at a young age and absolutely loved it.
How to make homemade carrot cake cupcakes
Carrot cake cupcakes are easy to bake from scratch. The recipe calls for a few more ingredients than normal cupcakes, but it is so worth it.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- Whisk dry ingredients together. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Beat sugars and vegetable oil together. Mix until combined. The sugars will absorb the oil.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and mix just until combined.
- Mix in flour mixture. With the mixer on low, spoon the flour mixture into the batter and mix just until combined. Avoid over mixing as this will create dense cupcakes.
- Stir in shredded carrots by hand. It’s okay if you see a few flour pockets. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl as you stir in carrots.
How long to bake carrot cake cupcakes
Bake carrot cake cupcakes for 20 minutes at 350° F. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. I like to use an ice cream scoop for this step. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs.
Can you freeze carrot cake cupcakes?
Yes, once cooled carrot cake cupcake can be frozen for up to a month. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers of cupcakes. Place container on a flat surface in the freezer. When ready to serve, defrost the cupcakes in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and frosting.
Can you use carrot cake be made into cupcakes?
Yes! This recipe is the same recipe for my layered carrot cake. However, I cut the ingredients in half to yield 14 cupcakes. If I kept the recipe as is the recipe would yield 28 to 30 cupcakes. If you need more cupcakes, feel free to double this recipe.
Making Carrot Cake Moist
A good cupcake must be moist and full of flavor. These carrot cake cupcakes are both. The average water percentage of a carrot is 87 percent, which means more moisture in carrot cake!
There are also methods to keep carrot cake moist while making the batter. Avoid over mixing the batter when the flour mixture is added in. Beating the flour with the wet ingredients for too long activates the gluten in flour. The gluten forms into strands and that makes cake dense and sometimes tough (read: not fluffy).
Err on the side of caution when adding flour. Mix just until combined. Stop mixing the second you can no longer see white flour in the batter.
Cream cheese frosting from scratch
Carrot cake is almost always paired with cream cheese frosting, which is easy to make from scratch! All you need is cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.
I like a really cream cheese-y frosting so there is no mistaking it for buttercream. This recipe calls for 1 cup cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter. It’s the same recipe I use for my red velvet cupcakes. Here’s how I make it…
- Bring cream cheese and butter to almost room temperature. The cream cheese and butter should both be soft, but still cool. I suggest taking them out of the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before making the frosting. If the two ingredients are too warm, the frosting will be too thin and easily overworked.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together first so the two are well combined. Use a whisk attachment to add volume and just a little air to the cream cheese frosting.
- Sift the confectioners’ sugar and add it to cream cheese mixture. Sifting confectioners’ sugar in a mesh strainer will yield a smoother frosting consistency. Keep the mixer on low as you add the sugar to the cream cheese mixture.
- Add the vanilla for an extra bit of flavor to complement the carrot cake.
Pro tip: Avoid over mixing the confectioners’ sugar with the butter and cream cheese. Mixing for too long adds air to the frosting, which inevitably makes the frosting fall after you frost the cupcakes!
Recipes similar to carrot cake
If you like carrot cake cupcakes, try these recipes…
- Layered carrot cake – recipe I contributed to Spoonful of Flavor blog
- Mini carrot cake whoopie pies
- Carrot zucchini muffins
- Mini sweet potato cupcakes
- Sheet pan carrot cake bars – Together as a Family blog
Whether you love carrot cake so much you’d make it your wedding cake or if you simply need an Easter dessert, these carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting will surely be a hit!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cup (156 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 pound (about 2 cups) shredded carrots
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (187 g) vegetable oil or canola oil
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup (225 g or 8 oz package) cream cheese, softened, but still cool
- 1/4 cup (57 g or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool
- 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. This recipe makes 14 cupcakes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat together granulated sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until incorporated, about 1 more minute.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined, about 15 seconds. Stir in the shredded carrots by hand.
- Fill prepared cupcake liners two-thirds full with batter (I like using an ice cream scoop for this step). Bake cupcakes at 350° F for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Cool cupcakes in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat together cream cheese and butter for 90 seconds, or until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix until combined, about 15 seconds. With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer frosting to a frosting bag fitted with desired tip (I used a Wilton 1A tip). Frost the cooled cupcakes and dust with ground cinnamon as an option. Serve at room temperature.
- Kitchen scale: Weighing ingredients is more accurate than measuring them.
- Stand mixer: This tool works well for the cupcake batter as well as the cream cheese frosting since it comes with a paddle attachment and whisk attachment.
- Muffin tin: A standard size is used for this recipe.
- Ice cream scoop: Yields the perfect amount of batter to fill the muffin tin cups two-thirds full.
- Frosting bag and tips: This is the set I own and love it.
Photography by Our Salty Kitchen.