Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes

This is our favorite recipe for carrot cake cupcakes! They are 100% made from scratch, easy to make, versatile and utterly delicious. These cupcakes are also inspired by one of our most popular recipes! Jump to the Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and pecans on top

A few years ago, we shared our absolute favorite recipe for carrot cake. Since sharing it, so many of you have reviewed it and shared it with your family and friends. We’ve also been asked about turning it into cupcakes and while we do provide a few quick tips in the cake recipe, we thought it was about time that we shared our go-to recipe for carrot cake cupcakes.

These cupcakes are very simple to make and you don’t need any fancy equipment to make the batter. Let me walk you through the basic process, the full recipe with all ingredient amounts is below.

6 carrot cake cupcakes with creamy cream cheese frosting

How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Making these cupcakes is just as simple as making carrot cake. If you have a couple of bowls and can stir ingredients together then you can absolutely make these cupcakes! Here’s how I like to do it:

  1. Mix the Dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another: I like to whisk my dry ingredients together in one bowl until they are well blended. Then I whisk all the wet ingredients together in another bowl.
  2. Fold the dry and wet ingredients together: For this step, I switch to a rubber spatula or large spoon and fold the two — wet and dry ingredients — together until I don’t see any large streaks of flour. (We use the same method when making blueberry muffins and this buttery blueberry cake. Both recipes are so good!)
  3. Add lots of grated carrots, and if you’re adding them, nuts and raisins: When I’ve got the batter ready, I fold in the carrots and if I have them on hand, some raisins and chopped pecans.

Baking the Cupcakes

We’ve developed this recipe so that it makes about 12 nicely sized cupcakes. I use a standard cupcake pan. They bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

After baking, it is important to let the cupcakes cool before frosting with your favorite frosting (we’ve provided a simple cream cheese frosting in the recipe below).

If you’d like to make a full-sized cake, take a look at our Easy Carrot Cake Recipe.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store the cupcakes? Technically, because there is a cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes, they should be kept in the fridge, but most bakers (even professional ones) are okay with leaving frosted cupcakes on the counter for a few hours (as long as your kitchen isn’t hot). When refrigerated, the cupcakes will last about 5 days.

Can I use applesauce instead of oil in the cupcakes? This is something we have never tried ourselves, so you may need to do some experimenting on your own. That said, you should be able to swap some of the oil for applesauce without too many issues.

Can I add pineapple to the carrot cake cupcakes? Yes, absolutely. It will add even more moisture to the cupcakes so use fresh pineapple or if you are using canned, drain it first before adding to the cake. We do not recommend adding more than 1/2 cup.

More Cupcake Recipes

Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

These carrot cake cupcakes are so simple to make. For the carrots, we prefer to hand grate for the finest carrot pieces that melt into the cupcake batter, but you can also use a food processor. It makes quick work of grating carrots, but the pieces will be slightly larger. Some grocery stores sell bags of grated carrots, as well.

This recipe is forgiving. You can make this with or without the nuts and raisins. We like using both granulated and brown sugar in this, but using one or the other is an option.

Makes 12 Cupcakes

You Will Need

Cupcakes

1 1/4 cup (160 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, optional

1/2 cup (118 ml) canola or other vegetable oil

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (100 grams) lightly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (150 grams) grated peeled carrots (2 to 3 medium carrots)

1/4 cup (50 grams) coarsely chopped pecans, optional

1/4 cup (32 grams) raisins, optional

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces (226 grams) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch fine sea salt

3 cups (360 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners sugar), plus more as needed

Pinch ground cinnamon or ground cardamom, optional

1/4 cup (50 grams) coarsely chopped pecans, optional

Directions

  • Make Batter
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

    In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and the nutmeg until well blended.

    In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugars, and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined.

    Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, gently stirring until they disappear and the batter is smooth. Stir in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.

    • Bake Cupcakes
    • Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes are springy when touched and when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

      Cool cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

      • Make Frosting
      • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt with a handheld mixer on medium speed until very creamy, about 2 minutes.

        For the creamiest frosting, sift the powdered sugar or whisk until most large lumps are gone.

        Beat in the powdered sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time until fluffy. For a thicker frosting, add an additional 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.

        To make spiced frosting, beat in a pinch of ground cinnamon or cardamom.

        • To Finish
        • Frost cooled cupcakes and if you’d like top with coarsely chopped pecans.

          Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Optional spices: In our original carrot cake recipe, we only call for ground cinnamon. We love it this way (as do many of our readers), but I also love a slightly spicier version. The optional ground ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg don’t overpower the cupcakes, but add a lovely warm spice.
  • Frosting: Unless you plan to pipe a lot of frosting onto each cupcake, you will likely have some frosting leftover. The frosting can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for a few months.
  • Recipe inspired and adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. Estimates assume that all the frosting is used (which is a lot).

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1 frosted cupcake / Calories 465 / Total Fat 24.2g / Saturated Fat 9.6g / Cholesterol 70.4mg / Sodium 251.5mg / Carbohydrate 59.8g / Dietary Fiber 0.8g / Total Sugars 48.1g / Protein 3.8g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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8 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Brittany Kowalski August 10, 2020, 1:30 pm

    I made these today and they were to die for. One thing, though, haha. I have enough icing left over to ice an entire carrot cake. I followed the recipe exact (and I sifted my icing sugar and beat it after each cup was added to my mixer). Not sure how I ended up with so much, but I’m not complaining because now I can make another batch (OR TWO!).

    Reply
  • Liz July 2, 2020, 10:50 am

    I made these carrot cake cupcakes for my dad for Father’s Day as it is his absolute favorite dessert- they were amazing!! This was my first time making them and the recipe is so user friendly. It was a breeze! My dad told everyone he could about how delish they were! Highly recommend making them! Also they stay so moist- they lasted for about 5 days before they were all gone!

    Reply
  • Hanny June 19, 2020, 6:59 pm

    I love your recipe, been making the easy carrot cake recipe for countless time and just tried this cupcakes version, it’s even better as each of them has a good amount of frosting. This always be a favorite family cake. And as I don’t like sweeter side, I reduced the sugar into half, and I only use brown sugar and add a lemon juice to the frosting.

    Reply
  • Dorothy M. Long June 17, 2020, 9:07 am

    Excellent recipe and not overly sweet. Will definitely make again!

    Reply
  • Kailey June 4, 2020, 2:57 pm

    I made these and they turned out perfect, first time aswell 🙂

    Reply
  • Ryan Beard May 31, 2020, 12:47 pm

    Wowzer! Just made these and they were soooooo good!! All those little spices make all the difference, don’t miss any if you can help it! Mmm, so delicious…

    Reply
  • Cindy May 28, 2020, 4:33 pm

    This recipe looks great and I’m glad it only makes a dozen cupcakes! To tempting if there are more than that! I’m lactose intolerant and cream cheese really doesn’t set well at all. I often just use a powdered sugar, vanilla coconut milk frosting and was wondering if you have the nutritional info without the Cream cheese frosting? Was glad the other person asked about the applesauce substitution, I will try that as I need to reduce cholesterol but still have a ‘sweet tooth’ to contend with! Was glad to find your recipe! Cindy

    Reply
    • Joanne June 5, 2020, 12:06 pm

      Hi Cindy, The nutrition facts were calculated with the frosting. You may be able to copy and paste the recipe into an online nutritional calculator to estimate the cupcakes without frosting.

      Reply

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