Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe

Is there anything better than a classic carrot cake? It's hard to think of anything that is better...except for carrot cake cupcakes, that is! These cupcakes pack all the delicious flavor of a full carrot cake, from the moist cake base to the irresistible cream cheese frosting. Recipe developer and nutritionist Hayley MacLean has done all the legwork with this recipe that is sure to impress even the pickiest of guests. Best of all, as far as treats go, this one is arguably "healthier."

"I personally like to think the addition of carrots to these cupcakes makes them much healthier than a regular vanilla or chocolate cupcake," MacLean explains. "Carrots are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and beta carotene among many other antioxidants. They have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer and they help support eye and digestive health." Ultimately, these cupcakes are meant to be a treat, but who doesn't love to get a healthy dose of vegetables in with their dessert?

Gather the ingredients for carrot cake cupcakes

You will need quite a few ingredients to whip up these carrot cake cupcakes, so let's get right into it. You'll need all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, canola oil, vanilla extract, milk, eggs, walnuts, and of course, some grated carrots. For the frosting, you'll need cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, a little more vanilla extract, and a little bit of salt.

"Using both baking soda and baking powder helps these cupcakes become soft and fluffy, both having different leavening actions," MacLean notes about her choice of ingredients. Also, she notably uses whole milk, which helps retain flavor and keep the cupcakes nice and moist!

Mix your dry ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a muffin tin with paper liners. While the oven is heating up, pour the flour, baking soda, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg into a bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together until they're thoroughly combined.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients

Grab a large bowl for the next step. In that large bowl, use a spatula to combine the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, the canola oil, 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla, and the milk. Next add the eggs one at a time, mixing all of this together until well combined. Once you have a cohesive wet mixture, it's time to combine both bowls. "I use a whisk for the dry ingredients, a spatula for the wet, and a spatula for mixing the dry and wet together," MacLean explains. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing it throughout the process. Once everything is well-combined and there are no clumps, fold in the carrot and walnuts. Make sure to spread that throughout the mixture evenly.

Fill the carrot cake cups

Divide this final batter between the cupcake liners, about ⅓ of a cup in each. Each cupcake insert should be about ¾ full — you definitely don't want to overfill these. Bake the cupcake tray in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for about five minutes in the tin before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

"These cupcakes take about 15 minutes to cool to the level of being able to frost them," says MacLean. "Although I often wait longer just to be safe! They should be room temperature to the touch."

Make your icing and serve

For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla and ¼ teaspoon salt and beat for another one to two minutes. "The frosting can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use," adds MacLean. "Just take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before using so it is soft enough to top the cupcakes!"

Gradually add in the powdered sugar until your desired balance is reached. Frost the cooled cupcakes and decorate with more chopped walnuts, if desired. "You can test to see if they are cool enough by topping one with just a bit of frosting and seeing if it starts to melt and slide off," explains MacLean. "If not, you are good to go!"

While you can spread the frosting on with a knife, a piping bag makes things cleaner and easier. "To frost these cupcakes, I used a piping bag and a star-shaped piping tip. My hack for making filling a piping bag easier is to put it in a tall glass or vase first and then fold the edges over the side to hold it open while filling with the frosting."

Serve the cupcakes immediately, or store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or, eat some now and stash some away so you can enjoy a sweet treat every day of the week!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
These carrot cake cupcakes incorporate all of the goodness of a typical carrot cake, but in a single-serving form!
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
12
cupcakes
cupcake cut in half
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups grated carrots
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed
Optional Ingredients
  • extra walnuts for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  3. In another large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla, and milk. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold in the carrot and walnuts.
  5. Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, about ⅓ cup in each, or ¾ full.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla and ¼ teaspoon of salt, and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until your desired consistency is reached. Frost the cooled cupcakes and decorate with more chopped walnuts, if desired.
  9. Serve the cupcakes immediately, or store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 526
Total Fat 32.0 g
Saturated Fat 10.2 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 72.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 57.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 45.2 g
Sodium 303.1 mg
Protein 4.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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