Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes have been months in the making.

They were well worth the wait because they’re the best carrot cake cupcakes I’ve ever had.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

I love carrot cake and wanted to turn one of my favorite cakes into cupcakes, but the road was paved with snags.

I love this Carrot Cake Loaf, but the recipe was written to be made as a loaf cake rather than as cupcakes. The cake is incredibly moist and I knew it would produce dense, heavy cupcakes. I wouldn’t mind because I think good carrot cake should be on the denser and heavier side, but others may prefer their cupcakes a bit lighter.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe at

I have this Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread, a tropical spin on carrot cake. And Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread, which uses similar spices to carrot cake, but neither are cupcakes.

A couple months ago I tried to make carrot cake cupcakes and accidentally overfilled my muffin pan. I wound up with splooging mushrooms rather than cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe at

Instead I made Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies. They turned out to be some of my favorite cookies of 2013 so far, so all was not lost.

And there’s a recipe in my cookbook for Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Cookies, which have cream cheese baked in and they’re great cookies, but they’re not cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe at

Now I finally have my cupcakes and I love them. They’re fast and easy to make, and ready from start to finish in under 30 minutes. The batter comes together in one bowl without a mixer.

They’re soft, the perfect balance of dense yet light, and so moist. There’s nothing worse than dry cake and cupcakes tend to dry out even more so than cake, and these are anything but dry.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe at

They’re oil-based rather than butter-based. Oil keeps cakes, breads, and quickbreads softer, springier, and more tender than butter.

The carrots themselves add moisture and texture, as do the raisins. If you don’t like raisins, you can omit them. I’m a raisin lover and they’re a must. If you like nuts, add some, but I prefer to keep those little pebbles out of my soft, tender cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe at

Bland carrot cake isn’t worth eating and the cupcakes are pleasantly spiced in a way that’s robust enough to complement the natural flavor of the carrots. They’re sweet, but not overly so.

The tangy cream cheese frosting, which is a must-have, balances the sweetness and rounds out the flavors. I just spooned it on, but pipe if you prefer. I only pipe unless I absolutely have to because so much precious frosting sticks to the bag and is wasted.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe at

Many times I donate our extra goodies to friends, neighbors, my husband’s coworkers, my daughter’s teachers because our family of 3 does not need it all. But my husband insisted we hoard these. I agreed.

All my trials and tribulations of getting to these cupcakes were so worth it.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Recipe at

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - My favorite foolproof recipe for soft, moist, flavorful carrot cake cupcakes!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

I love carrot cake in any way, shape, or form, and these soft, moist, tender cupcakes are the best carrot cake cupcakes I’ve ever had. They’re fast and easy to make, and come together with one bowl and a whisk in minutes. They’re soft, springy, and the cream cheese frosting adds the perfect tanginess to these well-spiced and flavorful cupcakes.

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2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sour cream or thick Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrots (2 to 3 medium/large carrots, peeled)
1/2 cup raisins, optional
1/2 cup nuts, optional

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese (light is okay), softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
about 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, more or less as desired


  1. For the Cupcakes – Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 12-count muffin pan very well with floured cooking spray or use liners (Cosmetically, I prefer avoiding the ripples and ridges that liners produce)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 11 ingredients (through optional salt) until combined.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  4. Fold in the carrots, optional raisins and nuts. Note about the carrots – I use a box grater on the coarsest blade and it takes less than 2 minutes to grate them. I prefer the consistency of doing it by hand rather than using a food processor. Don’t use bagged, pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store; grate them yourself.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan. Fill each muffin cavity between 2/3 and 3/4-full. Do not exceed 3/4-full because they will overflow. You may have batter remaining for a 13th (or 14th) cupcake and it’s better to either discard it or bake it in another pan even though it’s a pain for just 1 cupcake. I have overfilled, and then overflown, trying to make it all work in one pan.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cupcakes are domed, set, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While cupcakes cool, make the Frosting – With an electric mixer, beat together first three ingredients on high power until combined and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and beat to incorporate. Play with sugar ratio based on desired frosting consistency. If you accidentally add too much sugar, add a bit more cream cheese to thin it out.
  9. Frost the cooled cupcakes. I spoon on about 2 tablespoons frosting per cupcake. Pipe it with a piping bag if desired. If you have extra frosting, it will keep airtight in the refrigerator for many weeks. Frosted cupcakes will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Unfrosted cupcakes will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.

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Do you like carrot cake? Have a favorite recipe?

105 comments on “Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. These are absolutely stunning! I love carrot cake – yum!

  2. Hi, do you think this would work veganized? Like, if I subbed the eggs and used vegan cream cheese?

    • I am not sure because I have tried to make vegan carrot cake muffins before and they were quite heavy without the eggs. As long as you are okay with dense and heavier rather than light and fluffy, you’ll be fine I would think. I actually think cream cheese in them sounds wonderful but it will make them thicker and denser and heavy. You could use some of the ratios/principles in this recipe as food for thought…

      If you try them, please come back and LMK what you did and what your results were b/c I’d love to know and it may help others!

  3. Carrot cake is so amazing, hands down one of my favorites! Yours looks wonderful :)

  4. These were delicious!!! I made them for the Fourth of July following the recipe exactly (I didn’t add the optional ingredients). It was comical how quickly they went with a few family members trying to hide a cupcake to save for later. I’ve been asked so many times to make these delightful wonders again. Make them today. You won’t be disappointed! :)

  5. Just made these this morning as a test run for my parents and they turned out fantastically! So moist and spicy, but still somehow light and tender. I think they’ll love it.

    I did do a few substitutions for the test run:
    1/4c unsweetened applesauce for 1/4 oil
    1/3c brown sugar + 1/3c granulated sugar
    1/2 tsp ground ginger (I was out of allspice!)
    2c carrots (grated too much, couldn’t stand seeing it go to waste)

    Either way, the substitutions didn’t seem to have any effect on the texture. A little less sweet, but the spices more than make up for that. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  6. Lovely recipe! I doubled it and got 25 light and fluffy cupcakes, apparently my housemates favourite this year. One thing I would do next time though is maybe double and a half carrot, cause they weren’t quite carrot-y enough for my taste. Otherwise scrumptious though! I love the spices :)
    Thanks for your hard working in getting the perfect carrot cake cupcakes!

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed them! Yes, sometimes when doubling recipes, even though it should be ‘exactly’ the same as the regular batch, for whatever reason, it doesn’t always translate perfectly, i.e. the carrots in this case. Or it sounds like you just like REALLY carrot-heavy carrot cake b/c for me, these were packed with carrots. I mean, couldn’t have fit any more in :) I grate my carrots by hand, too. Sometimes the coarse-ness of them can effect how they’re perceived in taste. But regardless, sounds like you loved them!

  7. I love this recipe I used golden raisins and topped the cupcakes with sliced almonds

  8. these carrot cake cupcakes look heavenly! I was wondering if I could reduce the sugar in them as my parents do not like a lot of sugar in their cupcakes, if so, how much could I reduce by? have a lovely week!

    • They’re not overly sweet cupcakes. You could reduce it by maybe 1/4 cup if you wanted to but I wouldn’t go more than that. I would make it first as written and then see what you think needs to be done.

  9. Averie, These carrot cake cupcakes are A-MAZING! I just made them and finished frosting them and cannot stay away from them. They are the perfect texture and have so much flavor! I tried another recipe last weekend and it didn’t come close to yours. Plus, one bowl? You are my hero! Thank you!

    • Thanks for LMK that you love my recipe and that they’re full of flavor and you’re so pleased! That’s wonderful to hear and thank you for LMK :)

      (and of course I want to know what other recipe it was because well, I am curious now!…haha!)

  10. I made three batches of these carrot cakes for the first time these past two days and they all turned out perfectly! Because my family don’t have a very sweet tooth I used 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar and they scoffed the cupcakes instantly! this is now my top carrot cake cupcake recipe and it’s all thanks to you! THANK YOU AVERIE :)

  11. I honestly believe these deserve the title ‘best ever!’
    They are everything they should be… full of flavour, moist and delicious!
    Everyone who has tried them complimented them and all wanted the recipe…unfortunately I can’t take the credit :)

    Thank you so much for sharing! These will be made again and again…

  12. I made these last night…oh, so yummy! I like cupcake liners, so I used them and they tuned out beautifully.  I gave a few to my neighbors as a thank you for giving my son a gift for his birthday. 

    Thank you, Averie!

  13. Hi Verie !… I just wanted to say. I am a chef . and all of your recipes look unbelievably delicious !!! … I do not know what to try to make first .. Where have you been all my life I just foud on doing a search and i wish i found you sooner . every single recipe that you have is better then the last.. Well keep it up and i will keep you posted when i have tine to make sonething of yours ..bye for now and thank you for your recipes !!

  14. Absolutely delicious recipe! I have made this recipe a few times into layer cakes and always get many compliments about how moist and flavourful the cake is. Thank you so much for the PERFECT carrot cake!

  15. Oh my goodness! I made the recipe exactly as it is written and these cupcakes were perfect! My husband said he can’t imagine any way these could be better! I’ve made other carrot cake cupcake recipes before and they never turned out. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

    Rating: 5

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