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Carrot Cake Cupcakes are fluffy and moist with just the right amount of spices. Easy to make from scratch and topped with the BEST cream cheese frosting. These carrot cupcakes are classic, but versatile. Feel free to add your favorite nuts or raisins.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes on a plate. Focus is on a cupcake with the paper liner pulled down on the sides to show velvety texture of cake.

CARROT CUPCAKES

Everybody has a favorite variation of carrot cake. Maybe grandma used nuts and raisins. Or mom used pineapple and coconut. The beauty of it — is that you can make it your own.

I decided to make carrot cupcakes for individual servings. They look great with a colorful paper liner and a decorative tip for piping the frosting.

These carrot cake cupcakes are velvety soft, light, yet moist, and jam-packed with shredded carrots. There’s no other fillers besides a wonderful blend of spices. Keeping this recipe easy and classic.

Of course there is always the option to add your favorites: raisins, nuts (pecans or walnuts), coconut, or whatever your heart desires. Add no more than 1/2 to 1 cup of mix-ins, total.

NOTE: If adding pineapple, try to drain off any excess juice as to not weigh down the batter, and use no more than 1/2 cup. Using crushed pineapple is preferred.

Cooling rack with cream cheese frosted carrot cake cupcakes.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

What would carrot cake be without cream cheese frosting? My recipe is perfect for piping and is lightly sweet, with only 1 cup of powdered sugar.

If cream cheese frosting isn’t your favorite, you could easily use a vanilla buttercream frosting too.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes on a plate. Focus is on a cupcake with the paper liner pulled down on the sides.

PREPPING THE CARROTS

To make carrot cake cupcakes, you will first need to shred carrots. You could do this by hand with a box grater, but it’s easiest to do it in a food processor with the shredding attachment.

If you don’t have a shredding attachment you can simply use the food processor to pulse the carrots into fine chunks. Don’t overdo it or it will turn juicy.

I used baby carrots so I wouldn’t have to wash or peel the carrots. You actually can leave the skin on (still wash/scrub the carrots first) but it may leave green looking flecks in your cake.

Food processor with the lid off and shredded carrots inside.

HOW TO MAKE CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES

After the carrots are shredded you will need two bowls — one for the wet ingredients, and one for the dry ingredients.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes made in two bowls. One with the wet ingredients. One with the dry ingredients.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.

NOTE: This recipe uses sour cream in addition to oil to keep the cake light and fluffy, but still moist. You can substitute sour cream with plain yogurt or applesauce, if desired.

Adding the bowl of wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Then adding the shredding carrots to the batter.

Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients until almost incorporated. Then fold in the shredded carrots until just combined.

BAKING THE CUPCAKES

Place paper liners in a cupcake pan. Use a #24 scoop (affiliate link) to fill the cups 2/3 full. Do not overfill the cups.

Note: This recipe makes 16 cupcakes. I have a 6-cup pan that I use in addition to the 12-cup pan. They will both fit in my oven side-by-side.

Bake cupcakes for about 20 minutes. Until a toothpick comes out of the center with a few moist crumbs and the cake springs back when touched.

Carrot cake cupcakes before and after baking in a cupcake pan.

Make cream cheese frosting and pipe on top as desired. I used a Wilton 1M tip (affiliate link).

My recipe is perfect for piping exactly 16 carrot cake cupcakes as pictured.

Cream cheese frosting piped on top of carrot cake cupcakes on a cooling rack.

STORAGE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

How do you store carrot cake cupcakes? Depending on the temperature of your home, you can store these frosted cupcakes at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

ROOM TEMPERATURE: If your home is relatively cool (at or below room temperature, which is 68˚F) with little to no humidity, storing these cupcakes on the counter for 1-2 days should be fine. Most grocery store bakeries do this.

REFRIGERATION: If you want to store the cupcakes longer, or are worried about the cream cheese frosting, they can be refrigerated up to 5 days.

Be sure to store cupcakes in an airtight container either way.

SUBSTITUTIONS: This recipe uses oil and sour cream. I feel like it’s a good balance to give the carrot cupcakes moisture without making them too heavy and greasy.

Can I use butter instead of oil? I don’t recommend using butter in place of the oil. Butter may give it a nice taste, but it will not be as moist as when using oil. Choose any mild flavored oil like canola or vegetable oil. You could also use melted and cooled coconut oil. 

No sour cream? Use plain yogurt or applesauce instead.

MORE CARROT DESSERTS

Cooling rack with cream cheese frosted carrot cake cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Yield: 16 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes are fluffy and moist with just the right amount of spices. Easy to make from scratch and topped with the BEST cream cheese frosting. 

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (stir, spoon & level)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola/vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt or applesauce)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, cold
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 375˚F for high altitude). Line cupcake pans with paper cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until almost combined. Then fold in the shredded carrots just until incorporated.
  5. Use a #24 scoop to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Do not over-fill. Makes about 16 cupcakes.
  6. Bake at 350˚F (or 375˚F for high altitude) for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs and the cake springs back when touched. Cool completely.
  7. FOR THE FROSTING: Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the butter 2 Tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until smooth and well blended after each addition. Add powdered sugar and vanilla all at once. Blend until combined and smooth. Add frosting to a piping bag fitted with a tip (I used a Wilton 1M) and swirl on top of cupcakes. Should be just enough for 16 cupcakes if piped as pictured.

Notes

  • Feel free to add your favorite mix-ins: raisins, nuts (pecans or walnuts), coconut, or whatever your heart desires. Add no more than 1/2 to 1 cup of mix-ins, total. Keep in mind, adding in extra ingredients will produce more cupcakes. Only fill liners 2/3 full.
  • If adding pineapple, try to drain off any excess juice as to not weigh down the batter, and use no more than 1/2 cup. Using crushed pineapple is preferred.
  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container for 1-2 days at room temperature OR up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 cupcake with frosting
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 3g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix, and is an estimation only.