These spiced Carrot Cake Cupcakes are soft, moist, and topped with an easy cream cheese frosting. Perfect for Easter or any time of year!
Easter is just a little over a month away and one of my favorite things to make is my homemade carrot cake recipe. Over the last few months, I’ve had requests for carrot cake cupcakes so I decided it was time to create a recipe!
These carrot cake cupcakes are incredibly soft, light, super moist, and jam-packed with freshly grated carrots. I topped these off with a homemade cream cheese frosting, but you could easily use a vanilla buttercream frosting too.
I’ve also included everything you need to know for prepping these cupcakes ahead of time and how to add nuts or raisins!
How To Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
To make these carrot cake cupcakes, you’ll start by whisking together your dry ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour: When measuring your flour for these cupcakes, make sure to spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Do you remember my post on the difference between baking soda and baking powder? There’s a combination of the two in this recipe and it provides the perfect amount of lift for these cupcakes.
- Spices & Salt: You can’t have a good carrot cake cupcake without a good blend of spices. I use a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, plus a little salt in these cupcakes.
Then, you’ll whisk together the wet ingredients:
- Oil: You can use canola, vegetable, or melted coconut oil in these cupcakes.
- Sugar: I use a mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar in these cupcakes. The brown sugar not only adds flavor, but it also adds moisture.
- Applesauce: This is my secret ingredient when it comes to these cupcakes. The applesauce adds more moisture to the cupcakes and keeps them from being too greasy from extra oil. If you don’t have any applesauce on hand, you can use plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- Eggs & Vanilla Extract: You’ll be using a couple of eggs plus some pure vanilla extract.
- Grated Carrots: There are 1 and 1/2 cups of freshly grated carrots in these cupcakes, we’re not skimping on the carrots here!
Once you’ve mixed up the dry and wet ingredients, you’ll mix the two together until just combined. At this point, you can also stir in some chopped nuts and raisins if you prefer. I’ve included notes in the recipe for how to add these to your cupcakes.
Then, evenly divide the batter between 14 cupcake liners. I typically just use two 12-count muffin pans and bake them in separate batches.
Another thing to note is that you don’t want to overfill the liners. Overfilling the liners can cause the cupcakes to overflow and turn out more like muffins. You only want to fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full like the picture above.
The cupcakes will take about 16-20 minutes in the oven, you’ll know they’re finished when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once they’re done, make sure to carefully remove them from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting. For the frosting on these cupcakes, I used my homemade cream cheese frosting recipe. If you want to use a regular buttercream frosting on these cupcakes you can use my homemade vanilla buttercream frosting.
How To Prep These Cupcakes Ahead Of Time
The frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up for up 4 days. I suggest placing them on the counter about an hour before you plan to serve them so they can come to room temperature.
You may also freeze the cupcakes for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature before frosting.
The frosting will also freeze well for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature and mix well before frosting the cupcakes.
- When measuring your flour for these cupcakes, make sure to spoon it into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Don’t have any applesauce? You can replace the applesauce with 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
- I used the Wilton 8B piping tip for these cupcakes. I also have a full tutorial for how to frost cupcakes here.
- Want to add nuts and raisins? You can add 1/3 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts and 1/3 cup of raisins to these cupcakes. If you use both, I suggest making 15 cupcakes instead of 14.
- For the frosting, make sure to use a block of cream cheese and not the cream cheese spread in a tub.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
For the carrot cake cupcakes:
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour spooned & leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) canola or vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) light or dark brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (65 grams) unsweetened applesauce or plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (150 grams) freshly grated carrots lightly packed
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) chopped pecans or walnuts optional
- 1/3 cup (55 grams) raisins optional
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8-ounce) package brick-style cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the carrot cake cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two standard 12-count muffin pans with 14 cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract until fully combined. Stir in the grated carrots.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Then stir in the chopped nuts and raisins.
- Evenly distribute the batter between all 14 cupcake liners, only filling each liner about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in separate batches at 350°F (177°C) for 16-20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Carefully remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool slightly for 2-3 minutes in the pans. Then, carefully remove the cupcakes from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together for about 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost as desired, serve, and enjoy!