Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes
You are going to love this super easy recipe for carrot cake cupcakes! They are made from scratch with basic ingredients to create a super moist texture and perfectly spiced flavor. The rich cream cheese frosting complements the cupcakes perfectly!
Carrot cake is a popular dessert with its spiced flavor and incorporation of shredded carrots. This cupcake version guarantees perfectly moist cakes topped with the rich cream cheese frosting. It’s a timely dessert for Easter, but it can also be made in the fall and winter when carrots are in season.
Why this recipe works
The cupcakes are not only incredibly easy and quick to make, but they always turn out perfectly moist and fluffy. Two heaping cups of shredded carrots adds color, taste and moisture to the cake. Finally, my go-to cream cheese frosting is the best complement for these spiced cupcakes.
- Carrots: Shred the carrots use a medium or fine grate. Freshly shredded carrots add more flavor and moisture than store-bought pre-shredded carrots.
- Vegetable oil: You can also use canola oil or, for a healthier swap, use 1/3 cup applesauce and 1/3 cup oil.
- Spices: Make sure your spices are fresh and not expired for the best flavor.
- Cream cheese: The block of cream cheese is best for frosting. Make sure it is softened, but still cool.
Carrot cake cupcakes taste delicious with some chopped nuts or raisins. If that is something you like, you can mix in 1/4 cup of walnuts, pecans or raisins when stirring in the carrots. My personal favorite is golden raisins!
While cream cheese frosting is the frosting of choice for most spice cakes (like my spiced zucchini cupcakes), you could also do a classic buttercream frosting or the cinnamon frosting I used on my apple spice cupcakes. If bite-sized desserts are something you’d like to serve, you can use this recipe to make mini cupcakes (reduce baking time to 10 to 12 minutes).
How to make easy carrot cake cupcakes
- Whisk dry ingredients together. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients. Mix sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix just until incorporated.
- Mix in flour mixture. With the mixer on low, spoon the flour mixture into the batter and mix just until combined.
- Stir in shredded carrots by hand. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl as you stir and avoid overmixing.
- Bake cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes at 350° F. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
- Make frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy. Briefly mix in the vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix just until combined. Transfer to a frosting bag and frost cooled cupcakes.
Bring all your cupcake ingredients to room temperature. This will create a consistent batter and uniform cupcakes. If you have a kitchen scale, use it for accurate measurements. Otherwise, remember to spoon flour into the measuring cup and level it with a fork (never pack flour down into the cup).
For the frosting, use butter and cream cheese that are softened, but still cool. 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!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, once cooled cupcakes can be frozen for up to a month. Individually wrap them in plastic wrap for best results and store in an airtight container. When ready to serve, defrost the cupcakes in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and frosting.
Yes, but you will need to double the recipe. I suggest following my recipe for layered carrot cake.
Use freshly grated carrots (not pre-shredded). It will naturally add more moisture. Measure your flour properly and avoid over-mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
Carrots are a sneaky way to add vegetables to baking. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
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Get the Recipe: Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cup (156 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ pound (about 2 cups) shredded carrots
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup (160 g) vegetable oil, or canola oil
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup (225 g or 8 oz block) cream cheese, softened, but still cool
- ¼ cup (57 g or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool
- 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 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.
- Make the 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.