Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These Carrot Cake Cupcakes are incredibly moist and tender with lots of tangy cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of toasted pecans on top.

Spring cupcakes are a hit with everybody! Be sure to also try our Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes, and Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes with Strawberry Whipped Cream.

An image of carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and pecans.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

There is something truly incredible that happens when you combine grated carrots with classic cupcake ingredients. Like zucchini bread, you won’t eat carrot cake cupcakes and think vegetables. Instead they are just super moist, perfectly sweet and spiced cupcakes with a tangy smooth cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans sprinkled on top for a little crunch.

It’s a great little handheld dessert that is perfect if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making a full-size stacked carrot cake. This recipe is so easy you can make it by hand!

What you need to make carrot cake cupcakes

The cupcake ingredients:

  • Sugar: I like a mix of granulated sugar and light brown sugar for extra flavor in these cupcakes.
  • Eggs: These are a binding agent that help hold the cake together.
  • Canola oil: Oil keeps cupcakes moist for days, although you could substitute butter if you need to.
  • Vanilla extract: Be sure to use pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
  • All-purpose flour: I find that cake flour is too light and doesn’t hold up to the shredded carrots in these cupcakes.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: For leavening so the cupcakes rise and dome beautifully.
  • Salt: Just enough to bring out the other flavors in the recipe.
  • Warm spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are perfectly balanced so they don’t overwhelm the flavor of these cupcakes.
  • Finely shredded carrots: Don’t use preshredded carrots from the store. They are too thick and too dry for these cupcakes.

The cream cheese frosting:

  • Cream cheese: Obviously!
  • Butter: I prefer using salted butter in this frosting recipe.
  • Powdered sugar: Just the right amount so the frosting isn’t cloyingly sweet.
  • Vanilla extract: For the best flavor.
  • Coconut extract: Just a little bit of this gives the cream cheese frosting that something extra that we love.

An image of an unwrapped carrot cupcake.

How to make carrot cake cupcakes

Make the cake

  1. Prep a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat the sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla together in a bowl. You can even just do this with a whisk by hand.
  3. Stir in the freshly shredded carrots.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, stirring until everything is combined. I find that if I sprinkle the spices over the batter, I can avoid whisking everything in a separate bowl. Just don’t dump them in clumps or you might end up with one cupcake getting all the cloves.
  5. Divide evenly between the 12 cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, just until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back to the touch or a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Cool completely before frosting.

A collage of images showing how to make carrot cake cupcakes.

Make the frosting

  1. Here’s where you whip out the hand mixer to beat softened cream cheese and butter together until light and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix just until combined and smooth. Don’t overmix this frosting as it tends to lose it’s structure the more you beat it.
  3. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and frost the completely cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with a few chopped pecans for decoration and crunch.

An image of homemade carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

How to store carrot cake cupcakes

You can keep these cupcakes on the counter in an airtight container for 1-2 days, even though there is cream cheese frosting because the sugar in the frosting helps preserve it. Any longer than that and I recommend storing them in the refrigerator where they will keep for 5-7 days.

You can also make the cupcakes in advance and freeze them plain for up to 3 months.

More cupcake recipes you’ll love!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Author Amy Nash
Servings 12 cupcakes

These Carrot Cake Cupcakes are incredibly moist and tender with lots of tangy cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of toasted pecans on top.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword carrot cake cupcakes, carrot cake cupcakes recipe

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, for garnish

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, beat the sugars, eggs, oil, and vanilla with a hand mixer or even just by hand with a whisk. Stir in the freshly shredded carrots with a large spoon. 

  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, stirring until everything is combined. Don't overmix the batter.

  4. Divide evenly between the 12 cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full.

  5. Bake for 18-22 minutes, just until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back to the touch or a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Cool completely before frosting. 

Frosting

  1. Beat softened cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until light and creamy.

  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, mixing again just until combined and smooth. Don't overmix.

  3. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and frost the completely cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans for decoration and crunch.

Nutrition Facts
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving (12 g)
Calories 434 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 51mg17%
Sodium 237mg10%
Potassium 139mg4%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 38g42%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 2954IU59%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Amy Nash

Amy is a former lawyer, now stay at home mom, who is the creator of House of Nash Eats where she shares modern comfort cooking and family friendly recipes. She and her husband have two daughters and live in the California Bay Area. Amy enjoys hiking, travel, catching up on her favorite t.v. shows, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

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Comments

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  1. These look so luscious – absolutely perfect for Easter and springtime in general! Plus carrots keep forever in the fridge, so I’ve been keeping them on hand all the time. Thanks for the lovely inspiration!

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