Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe + Video
This carrot cake cupcakes recipe is a delicious and easy way to make these popular treats. The cake is made with carrots, which makes it healthier than most other cupcakes.
In a portioned cupcake wrapper, these carrot cake cupcakes have everything you love about the cake: amazing spice flavor, incredibly moist crumb, and silky cream cheese icing. I’ve adapted my famous carrot cake recipe to make a batch of cupcakes that’s simpler and faster to make, but just as tasty.
I believe we can all agree that carrot cake with Frosting made with cream cheese is a culinary combination that has stood the test of time—it just never goes out of style. Carrot cake loaf, coconut carrot cupcakes, and this carrot Bundt cake are all favorites of mine. Nothing, however, compares to the original carrot cake and its modern cupcake variant. Simply CLASSIC!
Please describe these Carrot Cake Cupcakes to me.
- Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, these cupcakes are delicious. There’s also brown sugar, applesauce, carrots’ inherent sweetness, and the tangy-sweet frosting.
- These cupcakes have a lovely, moist texture that isn’t greasy in the least. (It’s a tricky balance to strike, but this recipe does it well!)
- Beginner bakers will have no trouble with this recipe. The cupcake batter may be mixed by hand, but the Frosting made with cream cheese should be made using a mixer.
- Time: From start to finish, the batch of cupcakes takes around 2 hours, including chilling time. Cupcakes cook more quickly than cake layers, but they must still cool entirely before icing.
Carrot cake is only nice if it’s spicy and moist, as I’ve already said. Carrot cake with no seasoning tastes like nothing. It tastes like you forgot you were making a cake and instead iced a vegetable. For the greatest results, I recommend sticking to my recipe below.
Key Ingredients You Need & Why
Carrot cake cupcakes may be made with just a few common kitchen items, the most significant of which are:
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar not only sweetens the cupcakes, but it also adds taste and moisture. I like to use dark brown sugar in this recipe, much as I do when baking maple brown sugar cookies.
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger provide warmth and richness to the dish without dominating it. I generally add ground cloves to carrot cake recipes, but they’re fairly strong, and I don’t enjoy them in cupcakes as much.
- Vegetable Oil: I like to use butter as the fat in cupcakes with mild tastes, such as vanilla cupcakes, since it enhances flavor. However, when creating a cupcake recipe with tasty ingredients, such as these spiced cupcakes, I find that using flavorless oil allows the spice tastes to show through. (Oil also helps to keep the cupcakes moist!)
- Carrots: Carrots are obviously required. However, shredded apple or zucchini would be a delicious substitution in this recipe!
- Unsweetened applesauce: Applesauce gives these cupcakes even more moisture without making them greasy. I like the mild taste it imparts, although sour cream or plain yogurt would also work. Canned pineapple, which many bakers enjoy in pineapple carrot cake, is another common substitute for applesauce.
You may be shocked to see that just 1 and 1/3 cup of flour is used, which isn’t much given the amount of wet ingredients. Remember that although shredded carrots aren’t technically a dry ingredient, they do thicken out the batter. More flour would have resulted in a thicker muffin-like texture. This recipe works for cupcakes, so trust it!
Carrot Shredding as a Success Tip
The time you save by peeling and shredding whole carrots yourself is not worth the few minutes you save by buying pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store. Carrot shreds from the store are dry and gritty, which will show up in your carrot cake cupcakes. Grab some whole carrots, a peeler, and a box grater, and get ready to grate!
Furthermore, after you’ve done shredding the carrots, give them a rough chop so the bits are finer and can be distributed equally in each cupcake, as follows:
You can notice the change in this shot. Chop those shreds if you want more carrots (moisture! taste!) in each bite:
Video & Photos: How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
The whole printable recipe can be seen below, but first, have a look at some images of the process.
Expect a semi-thick dough for the cupcakes:
We’re going to make my favorite cold and creamy Frosting made with cream cheese, which goes well with warmly flavored sweets like carrot cake, spice cake, and pumpkin cake. When it comes to Frosting made with cream cheese, one of the most common questions we get is:
What’s the Best Way to Keep Frosting made with cream cheese Thick?
Buttercream is thicker than cream cheese icing. While you’re waiting for the cupcakes to cool, chill the frosting for a few minutes to thicken it. This means that when piped, your smooth Frosting made with cream cheese will keep its form better. Stick to simple piping tips and avoid anything complicated; the frosting will not keep its form as well as a firm buttercream, even when cold. The piping tip I use is the Ateco 808.
Is there anything else I could use as a frosting? These carrot cake cupcakes would also be delicious as carrot cake muffins (like morning glory muffins!) with whipped icing, Swiss meringue buttercream, or the cinnamon Frosting made with cream cheese from these banana cupcakes.
Is There a Dairy-Free Frosting Alternative?
When prepared with applesauce, today’s cupcakes are dairy-free, so if you’re searching for a dairy-free icing, try this creamy marshmallow meringue.
I added chopped nuts and a white chocolate carrot topping to this batch of cream cheese-frosted cupcakes, but both are optional. Instructions for producing the white chocolate topping may be found in the notes!
You’ll Also Enjoy These Cupcakes
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My classic carrot cake recipe has been scaled down to make these carrot cake cupcakes. This simple cupcake batter may be mixed by hand, but I suggest using a mixer to prepare the Frosting made with cream cheese. It’s not necessary to use the white chocolate carrot topping!
- 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon powdered baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- a half teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- Vegetable oil, 1/2 cup (120ml)
- 1 cup (200g) light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 big room-temperature eggs
- At room temperature, 1/3 cup (80g) unsweetened applesauce, sour cream, or plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure)
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and shredded carrots (200g) (about 3 large carrots)
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans; raisins are optional add-ins.
Frosting made with cream cheese
- 8 ounces (224g) softened full-fat block cream cheese
- unsalted butter, melted to room temperature 1/2 cup (115g)
- 3 c. confectioners’ sugar (360 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure)
- a quarter teaspoon of salt
- white chocolate carrot topping (see Notes) and/or finely chopped walnuts or pecans are optional garnishes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Cupcake liners should be used to line a 12-cup muffin tray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Remove from the equation. Whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla extract until smooth, then add the carrots. Fold or whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed. The batter will be a little thick.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the liners, filling them only 3/4 full to prevent overflowing. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 21–23 minutes. Bake for 12–13 minutes at the same temperature for roughly 30 small cupcakes. Before icing the cupcakes, let them cool fully.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate the frosting as the cupcakes finish cooling—this is helpful if you plan to pipe the frosting with a piping bag + tip. Cold Frosting made with cream cheese holds its shape better.
- If preferred, frost cooled cupcakes and top with optional decoration. I used an Ateco 808 piping tip and swirled the center with a little icing spatula (as shown in the video– this is a completely optional technique of decorating). Leftover cupcakes may be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Plain cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. If frosting is thick/stiff after refrigerating, beat it with your mixer for a minute to help loosen it up. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2–3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Disposable Piping Bags or these Reusable Piping Bags, Ateco #808 Piping Tip, Hand Mixer, Box Grater, Cupcake Pan, Disposable Piping Bags or these Reusable Piping Bags
- Vegetable Oil: Instead of vegetable oil, you may use melted and slightly chilled coconut oil. If you do this, make sure all of the other ingredients in the cupcake mixture are at room temperature to avoid the oil solidifying.
- Applesauce, sour cream, or yogurt: You may use any of these ingredients, but I like applesauce since it provides a little additional flavor. Alternatively, you may use the same quantity of crushed pineapple from a can (no need to drain).
- Carrots: Avoid using pre-shredded carrots from the produce section since they are quite dry. Instead, shred big carrots fresh to get around 1 1/2 cups (200g) of wet carrot shreds. Give the shreds a rough chop before measuring to make the bits finer and more evenly distributed in each cupcake. You may also use shredded apple or zucchini instead of carrots.
- Garnish: How to Make White Chocolate Carrots Melt 4 ounces (113g, or 1 bar) white chocolate in a microwave-safe dish in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until completely smooth. Separate into two bowls (don’t worry if they’re not exactly the same size). Use orange gel food coloring in one dish and green gel food coloring in the other. (Because liquid food coloring may affect the consistency, use gel food coloring.) I enjoy the AmeriColor brand of gel colors, which you can buy in the baking area of craft shops or by doing a fast search online. This set of 6 colors or this set of 12 colors are what I use and suggest.) Fill two squeeze bottles with the mixture. Drizzle the orange melted chocolate into a carrot shape on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper, wax paper, or a silicone mat, then drizzle the green melted chocolate over the tips to form the carrot stems. Refrigerate the pan for at least 15 minutes, or until the chocolate carrots are set. Because the white chocolate carrots soften when they get to room temperature, if you’re baking these cupcakes ahead of time, keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to serve them.
- Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction cookbook’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes. This variation makes fewer cupcakes and they aren’t as thick.
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Carrot cake cupcakes are moist, flavorful, and make a great dessert. The recipe is easy to follow, with step-by-step instructions on how to make the perfect carrot cake cupcake. Reference: moist carrot cake cupcakes.
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