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Cupcakes

Ultra-Moist Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

4.71 from 77 votes
If you'd rather not make an entire cake, my Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe is a new take on my Best-Ever Carrot Cake — all those amazing flavors in smaller packages.
Three carrot cupcakes arranged on a plate.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPEThese classic carrot cake cupcakes are made quicker and easier to enjoy from my Best-Ever Carrot Cake – naturally sweetened and moistened by carrots, enriched and further softened by brown sugar, spiced with warm cinnamon, elevated by aromatic vanilla, and perfectly balanced by creamy tangy Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting. Beyond all, packed with nutritious vegetables yet incredibly delicious! 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated and improved on 4/5/2023, to include detailed notes for important ingredients, answers to the most frequently asked questions (why both sugars & why both baking powder&soda), and Pro Chef Tips. 

For me, this classic sweet treat is hands-down one of my favorites even not in Spring or Easter. When the Best-Ever Carrot Cake is transformed into more potion-controllable-size moist Carrot Cake Cupcakes with less baking time and just as wonderful, I’m all about it!

Table of Contents

What Are Carrot Cake Cupcakes?

Carrot cake cupcakes are a tiny twist on an old favorite, my Best-Ever Carrot Cake. Carrot cake can often be too dry, but this recipe calls for brown sugar, which will add a lot of moistness to the cupcake.

I know what you’re thinking — despite carrots in the recipe, these cupcakes will not taste “carrot-y!” 

And, you simply cannot have carrot cake cupcakes without my Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting. I’m sorry, I won’t budge!

My moist carrot cake cupcake recipe in a silver lining and best-ever cream cheese frosting.

Tools You Need To Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes 

Ingredients You Need to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes and WHY

For Cupcakes-Dry Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has a protein content of around 11% to form the perfect amount of gluten for Carrot Cake’s texture. Bread flour with protein content of 13% will be too chewy and cake flour with protein content of around 9% will be too weak to support all the mix-ins in spiced cakes.
  • Granulated sugar: Granulated sugar adds sweetness, stabilizes air bubbles in cake batter, and binds ingredients together.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar not only sweetens baked goods but also adds lovely caramel flavor, moisture, and color.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds warmth. You can also add a touch of nutmeg, ground ginger, or use my Mixed Spice recipe.
  • Baking soda:

1)Baking soda is not only a raising agent.

2) Baking soda delays the ingredient-setting process and allows fat to melt, sugar to dissolve, and proteins to bind.

3)Baking soda encourages and speeds up the Maillard reaction contributing to the browning of cakes.

4) Baking soda enhances flavors with its sodium. Find the science behind this, check out the article Baking Powder VS. Baking Soda .

  • Baking powder:

1) Baking powder is the main raising agent to make baked goods rise. 2)Baking powder also balances baking soda’s browning effect.

  • Salt: Salt brings out all the flavors!
  • Toasted pecans: Pecans add nutty aroma and crunchy texture. finely chopped (optional)

For Cupcakes-Wet Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil:

1) Texture-wise, oil tends to create a denser result than butter because of its higher fat content which suits spiced cakes very well.

2) Flavor-wise, neutral flavor oil is a better option than butter for a flavorful spiced cake because butter may get overwhelmingly nutty.

  • Eggs: Eggs not add richness in flavor but also incorporate air to help cupcakes rise. Make sure eggs are at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances flavors.
  • Milk: Milk hydrates flour to form gluten also enriches flavors. You can also use greek yogurt, sour cream, or even unsweetened applesauce for a softer result!
  • Grated carrots: Carrots add sweetness, moisture and texture to cakes.

For Frosting

How To Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so easy, and maybe because they have a serving in veggies in them, you can make even more excuses to make them! (And don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below.)

  1. Preparing the Cake Batter

    • The dry mixtureIn a large bowl, whisk together your flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    • The wet mixture: In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. 
    • CombiningCombine your wet ingredients into the bowl of your dry ingredients until well mixed. 
    • Mix-ins: Fold in the carrots and nuts (if you are using). 
  2. Baking:

    • Pour batter into a 12-cup muffin tin lined with paper liners until each cup is 3/4 full.
    • Bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake.
  3. After Baking:

    • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. 
    • Once cooled, frost the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I also like to scatter extra toasted pecans on the top! 

FAQs

1. How Do I Store Carrot Cake Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting?

  • These cupcakes will store for up to 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • If you wish to keep them for longer, they can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost for 2 hours at room temperature before serving!

2. Can I make Egg-free Carrot Cake cupcakes?

Yes, you can! Check out my Egg Substitute Guide for alternatives.

3. Can I half this recipe?

  • Yes, you can half this recipe. Do the same math on all ingredients across the whole recipe.
  • Use the same telltale sign to know when it’s ready: bake them until no wetness on top, firm to touch in the center, the edge pulls away from the mold a little bit or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

4. What mix-ins can I add?

  • You can add raisins, and toasted nuts of your choice such as pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
  • You can also add shredded coconut or drained crushed pineapples.

5. Why are both baking soda and baking powder used?

Both baking soda and baking powder are used for different purposes.

  • Baking soda is not only a raising agent.
  • Baking soda delays the ingredient-setting process and allows fat to melt, sugar to dissolve, and proteins to bind.
  • Baking soda encourages and speeds up the Maillard reaction contributing to the browning of cakes.
  • Baking soda enhances flavors with its sodium.
  • Baking powder: 1) Baking powder is the main raising agent to make baked goods rise. 2)Baking powder also balances baking soda’s browning effect.

To find the science behind this, check out the article Baking Powder VS. Baking Soda .

6. Why are both white sugar and brown sugar used?

Both white sugar and brown sugar are used for different purposes.

  • Granulated sugar does not only add sweetness, but also stabilizes air bubbles in cake batter, additionally binds ingredients together.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar not only sweetens baked goods but also adds lovely caramel flavor and moisture.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • For the best rise and most even mixing, make sure all of the ingredients for your cupcakes are at room temperature. 
  • However, when making frosting, make sure your butter and cream cheese are softened but still a bit cool to the touch. Otherwise, it will get runny.
  • Always wait until your cupcakes are cool before frosting! 
  • Because of the cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes will need to be stored in the fridge — which may dry out cakes. Be sure to store in an airtight container to keep them moist!
  • Brown sugar is KEY to a moist cupcake. You can easily make your own brown sugar at home!

The inside of my carrot cake cupcakes to show texture and consistency.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated and improved on 4/5/2023, to include detailed notes for important ingredients, answers to the most frequently asked questions (why both sugars & why both baking powder&soda), and Pro Chef Tips. 

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

4.71 from 77 votes
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups (6 ¼ oz/177 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (4 oz/115 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (6 fl oz/170 ml) neutral flavored vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups (7 oz/210 g) grated carrots
  • ½ cup (2 ½ oz/71 g) toasted pecans, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups (16 oz/454 g) cream cheese frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, milk and vanilla.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients until well mixed. Fold in the carrots and the nuts (if using).
  • Divide batter evenly, up to ¾ of the way full.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cool, you can frost them with my cream cheese frosting. I scattered extra toasted pecans over the frosting for a little extra something.
  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. For longer storage, these cupcakes can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost for two hours at room temperature.
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Clara Byrne
Clara Byrne
2 years ago

I wanted to make these into more of muffins instead of cupcakes, and I had success! I substituted some of the AP flour for wheat flour, I decreased the sugar, and added in some flaxseed meal, pumpkin pie spice, and raisins. These are incredible, the perfect balance of a moist, yet still light and fluffy texture. Note: be sure to finely grate your carrots, and do it yourself!

Katie Robertson
Katie Robertson
2 years ago

Can I replace the milk with oat milk in this recipe? Many thanks

Dorothy Kerwick
Dorothy Kerwick
2 years ago

Hi can this recipe be used in a loaf tin
Thanks

Tina David
Tina David
1 year ago

Hi Gemma.. I am just a newbie baker 🙂 … And I really love carrot cake eversince. My mother also love this cake however, the sugar level needs monitoring. Is there any other alternative sweetener that I can use?

RTQL8_30
RTQL8_30
2 years ago

Hi Chef Gemma! I tried this recipe early this morning so my 4 yr old son can take a freshly baked goodie to school. I made it more kid-friendly by adding raisins instead of nuts, lessened the sugar too. It came out beautifully and yummy. I skipped the frosting, will definitely try it one weekend when the family can all enjoy in a leisurely brunch. I have also tried baking your small batch cupcakes (red velvet and vanilla) and your mug brownie and they all received a 2 thumbs up rating from my son. I like your no nonsense approach… Read more »

Pauline
Pauline
5 months ago

Hi Gemma. About to make your muffins with Enniscorthy carrots now! Happy Easter

Kellie
Kellie
11 months ago

Gemma, I only have cake flour. Can I use that instead of AP or will I have to change something else as well??

MONICA
MONICA
1 year ago

Cual es la cantidad de huevos que se necesitan, pues no veo en la receta. Gracias

Jessie Jess
Jessie Jess
1 year ago

Why, when I click on “replies”, nothing happens? I’m signed in. 🤷‍♀️

Eileen
Eileen
1 year ago

Can I substitute Gluten Free all purpose flour in this recipe?

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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