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Everybody loves carrot cake, and my grandmother’s cupcake version hits all the right notes. Topped with the fluffiest cream cheese frosting, these easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes turn her family-favorite dessert into perfect little single-serving treats!
Moist Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Any time there’s something to be celebrated, I seize the opportunity to whip up some decadent homemade goodies. Since I’m all about finding ways to reimagine my top favorite treats, I transformed my grandmother’s famous Carrot Cake into these equally delicious carrot cake cupcakes! I just love how moist, tender and flavorful they are.
They’re a touch denser than your average cupcakes, which really complements the light and fluffy cream cheese frosting on top. There’s no need to bring any ingredients to room temperature or worry about creaming together butter and sugar – it couldn’t be easier! And you can make your cupcakes gluten-free with one super simple substitution.
Ingredients for The Cupcakes
You might notice that these cupcakes are oil-based rather than butter-based. This is part of the reason why they’re so wonderfully moist! It’s also why you don’t have to wait around for your ingredients to come to room temperature.
- Granulated Sugar
- Vegetable Oil: Or canola oil.
- All-Purpose Flour: If you’re gluten-free, you can swap this out for a 1:1 gluten-free flour that contains xanthan gum. We’ve tried various brands and prefer the King Arthur one.
- Baking Soda: Not baking powder.
- Cinnamon: Adds classic warmth and flavor.
- Raw Carrots: Peeled and grated.
- Chopped Walnuts: Optional
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
- Unsalted Butter: Keep this chilled until you’re ready to make the frosting.
- Cream Cheese: This should also be nice and cold.
- Powdered Sugar: For structure.
- Vanilla Extract
- Heavy Whipping Cream (or Milk): You can leave this out if you’d prefer a sweeter frosting.
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
When a recipe was passed down for generations, you know it’s going to be a good one. My husband doesn’t even care for sweets – and he’ll wolf down these cupcakes like nobody’s business! Conveniently, they’re very easy to prepare.
Make the Cupcakes
- Prep for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Beat Eggs & Add Sugar: Lightly beat the eggs with a fork, then add the sugar and beat on low speed until smooth.
- Add Oil: Add the oil and continue to beat on low speed until well mixed.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add to Wet Ingredients: Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until incorporated.
- Add Carrots & Mix-Ins: Use a food processor to shred the carrots into smaller pieces. Toss the prepared carrots into the batter and beat until combined. Fold in the walnuts and raisins if you’re using them.
- Fill Liners: Use a large cookie scoop to divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each liner 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake: Bake the cupcakes for 18-22 minutes, until they’ve slightly risen. Test them for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.
- Let Cool: Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.
How to Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cut Butter & Beat: Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes. Beat the cold cubes for 1-2 minutes, until the butter is slightly softened.
- Add Cream Cheese: Cream the cream cheese together with the butter for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and free of lumps. Scape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Add Sugar & Vanilla: Slowly add the confectionary sugar and vanilla extract, beating until your desired consistency is reached. I like to whip it with my stand mixer’s paddle attachment on medium-high speed for at least 2 minutes to ensure the frosting is airy.
- Adjust to Taste: If you find the frosting to be too sweet, add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream or milk and beat until well combined. Add an additional half cup of powdered sugar if you’d like a stiffer consistency.
- Frost Cupcakes & Enjoy! Frost the cooled cupcakes and serve them immediately.
Let’s go over some of grandma’s helpful advice for this recipe. Get ready for the ultimate carrot cake cupcakes!
- Choose High-Quality Cupcake Liners: I like to use cupcake liners with a nonstick coating so that they easily peel off of the finished cupcakes.
- Use Pre-Shredded Carrots: I highly recommend purchasing raw shredded carrots rather than shredding them on your own – it makes things so much easier! And don’t forget to pulse the shredded carrots in a food processor to create smaller pieces.
- Whip the Frosting Well: The cream cheese frosting must be whipped for several minutes at various stages in the recipe. Take your time with this to ensure it comes out nice and fluffy. For more advice on making this frosting, refer to its cream cheese frosting recipe.
- Keep Your Cupcakes Chilled: If you’re not serving the cupcakes right away, pop them into the fridge, then bring them back to room temperature when you’re ready to enjoy them. Since there’s cream cheese in the frosting, they shouldn’t sit out for too long.
There are plenty of different things you can do with these dreamy cupcakes. Here are some tasty variations to try! Note that if you are adding mix-ins, the batter can handle up to 1/2 cup of mix-ins total.
- Add Shredded Coconut: Carrot cake is totally mix-in friendly, and adding shredded coconut is never a bad idea.
- Use Pecans Instead of Walnuts: Pecans taste just as great in carrot cake as walnuts do. It’s all up to you and your personal preference! You could even try roasting the nuts first for more flavor.
- Use currants or cranberries: Instead of raisins you could use an equal amount of dried currants or cranberries.
How to Store Cupcakes
These cupcakes should be kept refrigerated in an airtight container. Bring them to room temperature before enjoying them. They will last for up to 4 days, but they may start losing some of their moisture after 2. They tend to disappear by then anyway!
Do These Freeze Well?
The carrot cake cupcakes themselves can be frozen for a month or two, but I don’t suggest freezing the frosting. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze them in a freezer-safe container. Unwrap them and thaw them out on the counter before frosting and enjoying them.Print
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 24
Everybody loves carrot cake, and my grandmother’s recipe makes the best one you’ll ever taste. Topped with the fluffiest cream cheese frosting, these easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes turn her family-favorite dessert into perfect little single-serving treats!
For the Cupcakes
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (236ml) vegetable oil
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour, or 1:1 gluten-free flour
- 2 teaspoons (8.5g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
- 2 teaspoons (8.5g) cinnamon
- 3 cups grated raw carrots
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold
- 16 ounces cream cheese, cold
- 6–7 (780g) cups powdered confectionary sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon (30ml) heavy whipping cream or milk (optional)
Make the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Lightly beat eggs with a fork then add sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. Next, add the oil and continue to beat on low speed until well mixed.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until incorporated.
- Use a food processor to shred carrots into smaller pieces. Add shredded carrots to the batter and beat until combined. Fold in walnuts and raisins if desired.
- Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full
- Bake for 18-22 minutes until slightly risen. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
Make the Frosting
- Cut the butter into 1-inch blocks. Beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until it is slightly softened.
- Add the cream cheese and cream together for 2-3 minutes until they are fluffy and free of lumps, scape down the bowl occasionally.
- Slowly add confectionary sugar and vanilla extract and beat until desired consistency is reached. I like to whip mine with the paddle attachment on my stand mixer on medium-high speed for at least 2 minutes to ensure my frosting is airy.
- If you find the frosting is too sweet, add 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream and beat until well combined.
- Add an additional 1/2 C confectionary sugar for a stiffer consistency, if desired. Frost cooled cupcakes. Once frosted, keep these cupcakes stored in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.
- To Store: Keep cupcakes refrigerated in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before enjoying. Eat within 2 days for the best results, or up to 4 days.
- To Freeze: Freeze unfrosted cupcakes for 1-2 months by wrapping each one in plastic wrap and storing them in a freezer-safe container. Unwrap and thaw on the counter before frosting and enjoying.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: carrot cupcakes, frosted cupcakes, best carrot cake cupcakes, easy cupcakes
More Easy Desserts You Need to Try
From brownies to pie to cookies and beyond, there are so many must-make desserts I want to show you. Let’s start with the recipes below!
Delicious and I haven’t made the frosting yet! Very moist. I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour, because I am celiac. Don’t know why but all the raisins were at the bottom of the cupcakes.
Hi Maureen, thank you so much for sharing! I am glad you enjoyed them. Not sure if the raisins fell because the batter was thin?
I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong 🙁
I’ve tried these twice and both times they’ve slightly overflowed and sunk in the middle.
I’m not an expert baker but I do bake often. I’ve followed the recipe to a T.
The cupcake tastes good. But they don’t look the best since I’ve had to scrap them off the pan since they’ve stuck along the edge.
I’ve tried a few of your recipes and no problems and I will still be coming back to try others.
Hi Jessie- I followed up with you via email with some additional questions to see if I can help problem solve. If they overflowed, you might be overfilling the liners. If they fell, then it could be a number of things. They may need to bake for longer, you may need new leveling agent, and I would also make sure the internal over temperature is fully reached 350 before you put the cupcakes in.