Carrot Cake Cupcakes are a perfect way to enjoy carrot cake flavors in an individual dessert! Fresh grated carrots, warm spices, moist crumb, and homemade cream cheese frosting just like the original recipe…in cupcake form!
Homemade carrot cake cupcakes are easy to make and a welcome dessert treat any time! Complete with classic tangy cream cheese frosting, these moist carrot cake cupcakes are perfect for Easter or any time you are craving classic carrot cake flavors.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Flour. Use regular All Purpose Flour or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend. We use and recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour for gluten-free baked goods.
Milk. We used whole dairy milk though any fat content milk should work fine.
Shredded carrot. You’ll need 1 cup shredded carrot; which is about 2 large carrots worth. Shred or grate fresh carrots at home with a box grater. Do not use pre-packaged shredded carrots from the grocery store. They have a particular flavor (probably from a preservative) that isn’t pleasant and doesn’t bake out as well as tend to be dry and hard..
Vegetable oil. This is used in the cupcakes and keeps them soft and moist. Use regular vegetable oil, canola oil or another flavorless oil.
Unsalted butter. Be sure to start with room temperature softened butter (for the frosting).
Cream cheese. You’ll need 4 ounces with is half a regular size block of cream cheese. Start with it softened before making the frosting.
Powdered sugar. You’ll use confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) to make the frosting. Be sure to sift out any large, hard lumps (if any) before starting the frosting. You can pass it through a flour sifter or a fine mesh sieve.
Food coloring. For an easy food coloring option, use 1 teaspoon of green liquid (or ½ teaspoon gel). Two favorites are Wilton “Grass” or Americolor “Forest” colors. For an all natural color, use 1 teaspoon of Wilton Nature’s Inspiration “Sunflower” color mixed with ½ teaspoon of Wilton Nature’s Inspiration “Sky Blue” color.
Chocolate bunny topper. If making these for Easter adding a mini chocolate bunny really makes them special. The bunnies shown on the cupcakes are from Lindt. Be sure to choose a small topper so it will fit on top of the cupcake. NOTE: if gluten-free be sure to select a chocolate bunny that is gluten-free.
How to make Carrot Cake Cupcakes – Step-by-Step
Full printable recipe at the end of this post.
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
STEP 2. Make the cupcake batter
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla (photo 1).
Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine (photo 2).
Gently fold in the shredded carrots into the batter (photo 3). Make sure not to overmix (photo 4).
Divide the batter between the prepared muffin pan cavities filling each about ¾ of the way full (photo 5).
STEP 3. Bake & Cool
Bake the muffin tin in a preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove cupcakes from the oven and set on a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
STEP 4. Make the frosting
Combine the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or to a bowl and use and handheld electric mixer). Beat on medium speed until well combined (about 1 minute).
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. When all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla.
Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 1-2 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy (photo 6). Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the desired food coloring (see notes) and mix to combine (photos 7 and 8).
STEP 5. Frost cupcakes
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip (we used a Wilton #21 tip) and frost the cupcakes as desired. Add a chocolate bunny to the top of each cupcake.
How to Store
The carrot cake cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store without the chocolate bunny on top.
How to Freeze
The easiest way to freeze the cupcakes is to freeze the unfrosted cupcakes then to frost them after they are thawed.
Allow the cupcakes to full cool. Place them in a freezer safe container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator then frost and serve.
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Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup milk we used whole dairy milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 4 ounces (½ 8-ounce block) cream cheese softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar sifted to remove any hard lumps
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Food coloring see notes below
- 12 mini chocolate bunnies optional for toppers
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 cavities in a muffin tin with paper baking liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla.Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine.
- Whisk in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Gently fold in the shredded carrots into the batter. Do not to overmix.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cavities filling each about ¾ of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from the oven and place onto a wire cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.
- Combine the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl if using an elective hand held mixer). Beat on medium speed until well combined (about 1 minute).
- Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add the powdered sugar.
- When all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 1-2 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add desired food coloring (see notes below) and mix to combine.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip (we used a Wilton #21 tip) and frost the cupcakes as desired. Add a mini chocolate bunny to the top of each cupcake (optional).