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!
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.
Now obviously I wasn’t present at my parents’ wedding, but I always thought it was unique that their wedding cake with 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 a carrot cake cupcake
Carrot cake cupcakes are easy to bake if you can follow instructions. The recipe may call for a few more ingredients than normal cupcakes, but it is so worth it.
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients. Then in a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir just until incorporated (avoid over mixing!)
Finally, stir in the carrots and transfer batter to prepared cupcake tin. Fill the liners only two-thirds full so the batter doesn’t overflow when the cupcakes rise in the oven. Relatively easy, right?
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’s 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.
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. Sift the confectioners’ sugar in a mesh strainer for a smoother frosting consistency. Lastly, add the vanilla for an extra bit of flavor to complement the carrot cake.
Similar to adding flour to the batter, avoid over mixing the confectioners’ sugar with the butter and cream cheese. Mixing for too long will add air to the frosting, which will inevitably make the frosting fall after you frost the cupcakes!
Recipes similar to carrot cake
If you like carrot cake cupcakes, try these recipes…
Whether you love carrot cake so much you’d make it your wedding cake of if you simply need an Easter dessert, these carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting will surely be a hit!
Carrot Cake Cupcake Recipe
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) light brown sugar, packed
- 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. 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.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.