Carrot Cake Cupcakes — 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 in minutes!
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe
These carrot cupcakes have been months in the making. They were well worth the wait though, because they’re the best carrot cake cupcakes I’ve ever had. 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.
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. Instead I made Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies. They turned out to be some of my favorite cookies, 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.
Now I finally have my carrot cake 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.
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.
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 vanilla cream cheese frosting, which is a must-have, balances the sweetness and rounds out the flavors.
All my trials and tribulations of perfecting these carrot cake cupcakes were so worth it!
What’s in Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
To make this carrot cupcake recipe, you’ll need:
- Canola oil
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Sour cream
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Grated carrots
- Cream cheese
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners’ sugar
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
This carrot cake cupcake recipe is as easy as it gets! Simply stir together the eggs, oil, yogurt, spices, sugars, and vanilla. Then, stir in the dry ingredients before folding in the grated carrots and raisins.
Fill 12 greased muffin cups with the cupcake batter and bake until the 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.
Let the carrot cake cupcakes cool completely before whipping up the vanilla carrot cake frosting. If you frost the cupcakes while warm, the frosting will slide right off.
Can I Double This Recipe?
I’ve only made this carrot cupcake recipe as written, but readers have reported success with doubling this recipe.
Can I Bake This Recipe as a Carrot Cake?
I’m not sure! I’ve only ever made this recipe as cupcakes, which are lighter and fluffier than traditional carrot cake. If you’re craving carrot cake, I recommend baking my Salted Caramel Carrot Cake, Pumpkin Carrot Cake, or Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Tunnel Cake instead.
Can I Freeze Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
Yes, you can freeze unfrosted carrot cake cupcakes for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen cupcakes, place on your counter to thaw and make a fresh batch of carrot cake frosting.
Should I Refrigerate Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
Because these carrot cake cupcakes are topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting, they need to be stored in the fridge. However, refrigerating baked goods makes them dry out faster so be sure to store these cupcakes in an airtight container.
Tips for Making Carrot Cake Cupcakes
If you don’t like raisins, you can omit them. I’m a raisin lover and they’re a must. Or, if you like nuts, add some, but I prefer to keep those little pebbles out of my soft, tender cupcakes.
And a quick 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 either, as they’re often quite dry and too large for my liking.
I just spooned on the vanilla cream cheese frosting, but pipe if you prefer. I don’t pipe unless I absolutely have to because so much precious frosting sticks to the bag and is wasted!
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Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup sour cream or thick Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups coarsely grated carrots, 2 to 3 medium/large carrots, peeled
- ½ cup raisins, optional
- ½ cup nuts, optional
- ½ cup 4 ounces cream cheese (light is okay), softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, more or less as desired
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).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 11 ingredients (through optional salt) until combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
- Fold in the carrots, optional raisins and nuts.
- 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.
- 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.
- While cupcakes cool, make the frosting.
For the Frosting:
- With an electric mixer, beat together first three ingredients on high power until combined and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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More Easy Easter Desserts:
Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting — This is my favorite recipe for carrot cake because it turns out ridiculously moist, soft, tender, and is full of cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, including an abundance of carrots and sweet, juicy raisins.
Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies — All the flavors of richly spiced carrot cake, in cookie form. Soft, chewy, extremely moist, and not at all cakey!
Salted Caramel Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, tender carrot cake infused with salted caramel sauce and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting is the ULTIMATE in decadence!!
Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze — The bars are super soft, moist, dense, and not at all cakey. They aren’t like traditional carrot ‘cake’ and are like carrot cake blondies because of how buttery and rich they are.
The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake — I married two of my favorite cakes into one soft, moist, and tender cake that’s topped with tangy cream cheese frosting. It’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!
Carrot Banana Bread — This super moist, springy, tender carrot banana bread is bread that reminds me of cake and I’m not complaining. It’s an easy, no mixer recipe that goes from bowl to oven in minutes.
Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Tunnel Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – If you like carrot cake, you’re going to LOVE this version that includes apples and a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center!! EASY, amazing, and a MUST-MAKE!!