Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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These carrot cake cupcakes are easy to make with simple ingredients! They are moist with a perfect crumb and completely irresistible frosted with the best cream cheese frosting!

a Carrot Cake Cupcake decorated with nuts and piped frosting carrots


These carrot cake cupcakes are an irresistibly delicious spring dessert.

They are light with a perfect crumb, and richly flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. Plus, they’re easy to make in one bowl – no mixer required. Topped with the best cream cheese frosting, you will not be able to eat just one!

I adapted them from my recipe for the best carrot cake, because cupcakes are easier to serve to a crowd than slicing a cake – making these perfect for all your spring celebrations like Easter, Mother’s Day, etc.

a Carrot Cake Cupcake with a bite taken out of it

Carrot Cake Cupcakes: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the ingredients in this Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe
  • All-purpose flour. cake flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour.
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter, canola oil or coconut oil are acceptable substitutes for salted butter. I recommend using butter for the best flavor.
  • Granulated sugar. organic cane sugar or regular white sugar are both good choices.
  • Light brown sugar. for a richer molasses taste, use dark brown sugar.
  • Unsweetened applesauce. canola oil can be used in place of applesauce.
  • Cream cheese frosting. See this post for possible substitutions. You could use regular vanilla frosting if you prefer.
overhead view of 8 Carrot Cake Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Follow along as I walk through how to make carrot cake cupcakes step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Begin by grating the carrots. I prefer to use the finest grating size. You can also shred them in a food processor.

grating carrots to make this Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe

Next, combine the dry ingredients (not the sugars) in a small bowl and set it aside.

Note. If you want to make this recipe in one bowl, you can wait and measure the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients after they are mixed.

two photos showing how to make this Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe - combining dry ingredients

Then, whisk together the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.

two photos showing how to make this Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe -combining butter and sugars

Once the mixture is smooth, add the eggs, applesauce, and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Next, add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.

two photos showing how to make this Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe - combining wet and dry ingredients

Finally, stir in the carrots and desired mix-ins (optional) until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

We are carrot cake purists, and prefer not to add mix ins. But if you would like to add some here are my suggestions:

  • Nuts (pecans and walnuts)
  • Raisins
  • Shredded Coconut
two photos showing how to make this Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe -stirring in carrots

Bake

Once the batter is finished, fill each prepared cupcake liner with ¼ cup of the batter.

Then, bake the carrot cake cupcakes in the preheated oven until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

carrot cake cupcakes in a muffin pan before and after baking

Cool

Place baking pans on a wire cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

While the cupcakes are baking, make the cream cheese frosting. I have an entire post on how to make cream cheese frosting, definitely check it out!

a mixing bowl of cream cheese frosting

Frost

When the carrot cake cupcakes are cooled, frost them with this homemade cream cheese frosting and serve! You can also use this homemade vanilla frosting, but cream cheese is my preference. I use the following tools to decorate cupcakes:

10 frosted carrot cake cupcakes on a wire cooling rack

Store

Store these homemade carrot cake cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve at room temperature. 

a carrot cake cupcake with the wrapper peeled down, frosted with cream cheese frosting

To Freeze

It’s really easy to bake and freeze these cupcakes. Simply follow the recipe and let them cool completely. Then transfer the unfrosted cupcakes to an airtight container and freeze in a single layer until you’re ready to frost and serve. 

Thaw them at room temperature (do not microwave or heat in the oven).

a carrot cake cupcake with a bite taken out of it

Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe FAQs

Why do carrot cakes use oil instead of butter?

This recipe actually does not use oil! We use butter and applesauce for moisture.

Should carrot cake cupcakes be refrigerated?

Yes, I suggest storing these cupcakes in the refrigerator and serving them slightly chilled.

What is the best frosting for carrot cake cupcakes?

This Cream Cheese Frosting is my absolute favorite.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, you can double the recipe and bake it in two standard muffin tins to make 24 cupcakes.

7 frosted carrot cake cupcakes on a wire cooling rack

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Laura
These carrot cake cupcakes are easy to make with simple ingredients! They are moist with a perfect crumb and completely irresistible frosted with the best cream cheese frosting!
5 from 5 votes
Course cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Cupcakes
Calories 201
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooling30 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Ingredients  

Instructions 

Make the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners and lightly grease.
  • Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.
  • Add eggs, applesauce, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  • Add dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.
  • Stir in carrots and desired mix-ins (optional) until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 19-21 minutes, or until the top is set and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost

  • While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting following this recipe: cream cheese frosting.
  • When the cupcakes are cooled completely, use your favorite piping tip and frost them with the cream cheese frosting. Chill for 30 minutes to set the frosting and serve.

Video

Notes

*Nutritional information was calculated for just the cupcakes and does not include the frosting. 
Ingredient Substitutions
  • All-purpose flour. cake flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour.
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter, canola oil or coconut oil are acceptable substitutes for salted butter. I recommend using butter for the best flavor.
  • Granulated sugar. organic cane sugar or regular white sugar are both good choices.
  • Light brown sugar. for a richer molasses taste, use dark brown sugar.
  • Unsweetened applesauce. canola oil can be used in place of applesauce.
  • Cream cheese frosting. See this post for possible substitutions. You could use regular vanilla frosting if you prefer.
How to store carrot cake cupcakes
Store these homemade carrot cake cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve at room temperature. 
To Freeze
It’s really easy to bake and freeze these cupcakes. Simply follow the recipe and let them cool completely. Then transfer the unfrosted cupcakes to an airtight container and freeze in a single layer until you’re ready to frost and serve. 
Thaw them at room temperature (do not microwave or heat in the oven).

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 2061IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My 7 year old grandson and I made these together and they were so yummy! He rated them 10 out of 10! We topped them with the delicious cream cheese icing which put them over the top! Easy and good! Thanks for another great recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe came out amazing! Everyone at the party loved it. It was easy to make, and the frosting was so good! We had a-lot of leftover frosting so I decided to make your banana cake for the second time which was also delicious!