These Carrot Cake Cupcakes are incredibly moist and super easy to make from scratch. They’re perfect for Easter, spring gatherings, or anytime you want to enjoy carrot cake in convenient and portable cupcakes. Topped with a simple, yet decadent cream cheese buttercream that makes decorating easy.
Whether you’re a fan of carrot cake, cupcakes, or both, these are sure to impress. We recently brought these cupcakes to a gathering and got rave reviews! People couldn’t stop saying how amazing they were. I’m happy to share this Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe so my friends and you can make them. If you’re new to the blog, you’ve landed on a great recipe that’s sure to impress.
Did I mention how easy these are? You’ll likely have all the ingredients on hand. If not, here’s what you’ll need.
Ingredients for Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- brown sugar
- baking soda
- baking powder
- canola oil
- large eggs
- vanilla extract
- grated carrots
- homemade cream cheese frosting
The prep is also a breeze. The batter ingredients are simply mixed together in one bowl for easy clean-up. Then pour the batter into a parchment-lined muffin/cupcake pan and bake. After that, a bit of cream frosting swirl finished them off and you’re ready to serve.
Tips for Making Carrot Cake Cupcakes
These cupcakes are guaranteed moist and yummy, but here are a few tips for the best carrot cake cupcakes.
Do you need a food processor to grate the carrots?
You’ll want to use fresh carrots and grate them yourself for the best texture. The shredded bagged carrots are too large and aren’t as fresh and sweet tasting. There are advantages to both methods. Here’s what I’ve found:
- Using a food processor saves a lot of time and effort. Use this method for quick and easy carrot cake cupcakes. However, you may not get as fine of a texture. Then means you’ll notice the carrots in the cupcakes more, and the flavor won’t meld as well.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you’re in luck. I prefer to use a hand grater with fine holes to create super small pieces. It required a bit of arm strength, but it’s worth it.
Do I need parchment liners?
This is highly recommended. Otherwise, the cupcakes can stick to the pan, even if it’s greased. It also makes transporting and serving them easier and more sanitary.
Aren’t buttercreams finicky and decorating cupcakes difficult and messy?
You’re in luck. I’m the least coordinated decorator there is, but I was able to easily decorate the cupcakes you see in this image. This was also the first try. No fancy behind-the-scenes food blogger magic or 10 attempts here.
How to make the frosting easy
The buttercream frosting I’ve included is the perfect blend of sweetness and thickness. It’s best if you have a frosting bag with an icing tip. These can easily be found online, and at most grocery or craft stores. Another important tip is to completely let the cupcakes cool to room temp before frosting. Otherwise, it’ll melt some of the frosting as you apply it.
Can this be made healthier?
I haven’t experimented with low, carb, or keto cupcakes, but sure that’s an option. For this recipe, there are a few tweaks you can make to make them healthier. Here’s a few ideas:
- Use organic flour. If you’re familiar with baking substitutes, you could try a gluten-free, keto or whole wheat flour, but the way I wrote this recipe calls for all-purpose flour
- Substitute erythritol sugar for regular sugar. This will cut out a ton of carbs and sugar, and doesn’t affect the baking, texture, or flavor at all. In fact, that’s how I made these and the guests had no idea it didn’t include real ‘sugar’
- Make a keto buttercream frosting. This goes with the tip above. You can use powdered erythritol sugar to make the buttercream. It’s have zero sugar and carbs
- If you or your guests may have nut allergies, but sure to omit the nuts. These cupcakes will be plenty yummy without them.
What about add-ins or substitutes and garnishes?
For extra flavor and texture, you can add in chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans, as well as raisins to the batter. The batter is very forgiving and it won’t affect baking. I’d suggest no more than a half cup of each in the batter though. You can also add the nuts on top after baking and frosting.
I’ve even seen some people add canned pineapple or applesauce to the batter to modify the flavor and texture. It’ll affect the thickness, so you might have to add or remove a bit of flour or milk.
The last batch I made included the super-cute marzipan carrots you see in the photos. I was lucky enough to find them at a grocery store while traveling in Switzerland. I’m sure you could find them here in the states at a specialty grocery store or craft/hobby store. If not, I found this recipe for homemade marzipan carrots you could try.
Can I prep these ahead of time?
These cupcakes are best if made the day you plan to serve them. But you can make them up to 3 days in advance if you’ll be short on time. To prep ahead, bake the cupcakes as directed and store them sealed in the fridge. I recommend frosting them the day before or the day of for optimal freshness and taste.
How to store the cupcakes
Store the cupcakes in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days for optimal freshness, although I recommend making them the day off or the day before. For easier storage, look for muffin pans that also include a plastic topper for sealing and storage.
Technically the muffins (without the frosting) can be frozen if sealed well. But I wouldn’t recommend it as they won’t taste to fresh when thawed. The recipe is so easy to make there’s no need to prep ahead and freeze.
More cupcake recipes you might like:
- Apple Cider Cupcakes
- Chocolate Almond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
- Reese’s Mini Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes
Try these cakes for Easter and Spring gatherings:
Leave a comment below and star rating if you made this recipe or want to share your thoughts.
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Carrot Cake Cake Cupcakes
Carrot Cake Cake Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar, use granulated erythritol sugar for lower-carb
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed, use brown erythritol sugar for lower-carb
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ cups canola or baking oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups grated carrots
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- ½ cup (1-stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar, use powdered erythritol sugar for lower-carb
- Chopped nuts and/or marzipan carrots, as a garnish
To Make the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 º F. Line a muffin pan with 12 parchment or silicone liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined.
- Stir in the oil. Stir in the eggs one at a time, mixing completely between each. Stir in the milk and vanilla extract.
- Stir in the carrots and mix until well combined. The batter should be thick and easy to scoop with a spoon.
- Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling each to about ¾ full. Bake in the middle rack for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. A bit of crumbs is fine, but if it’s still moist batter, bake an additional 2-4 minutes.
- Cool the cupcakes completely at room temp before frosting
Buttercream and Decorating
- Combine butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl until well combined. For best results, beat with a hand or stand mixer.
- Mix in vanilla extract and salt until combined.
- Slowly beat in sugar with a mixer until combined. Place buttercream frosting into a frosting pipe and decorate cooled muffins.
- Optional: Garnish cupcakes with chopped nuts and/or marzipan carrots. Chill until ready to serve.
- Grate the carrots as fine as possible for the best flavor and texture.
- Substitute matching erythritol sugars for any of the sugars in the recipe to reduce the carbs and sugar.
- Use parchment liners to prevent sticking and for easy storage and serving. No need to grease the pan when baking.
- Be sure to bring the butter and cream cheese to room temp before mixing for the correct consistency.
- Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting to prevent melting.
- Store prepared cupcakes in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve.
Recipe adapted from Sugar Spun Run.