Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting! These carrot cupcakes are tender, moist and perfectly sweet. They are made with a blend of spices and freshly grated carrots, and decorated with homemade cream cheese frosting.
Anyone that knows me well knows that carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is my absolute favorite cake in the entire universe. Emphasis on cream cheese frosting. I love carrot cake because it always comes out so moist and tender thanks to the grated carrots. And you can’t really taste the carrots anyway!
These adorable carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are perfectly moist and tender. They are spiced with ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves…the perfect spice combination for carrot cake cupcakes!
These carrot cake cupcakes are very easy to make, so let’s get started!
The batter for carrot cake cupcakes is pretty easy to make. It’s a relatively thin batter, which is common for cupcakes or cakes in general. My favorite part is the spice blend. I added these ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. So good!
One helpful tip: Use freshly grated carrots. Grate them right before making the cupcakes to retain moisture and to prevent sogginess. I use a box grater and it works like a charm!
The Cream Cheese Frosting
Now, let me tell you all about the homemade cream cheese frosting. Only 5 ingredients needed: cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. All you have to do is beat the ingredients until well-combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes if using a mixer.
The cream cheese frosting is smooth and delicious! Because it’s homemade, you can always control the amount of sugar to your liking. Homemade frosting is amazing!
What You’ll Need
For the batter:
- Flour: All-purpose flour works here.
- Baking powder and baking soda: The leaveners. We’re using just the right amounts to lift the cupcakes without creating a dome.
- Salt: Salt brings out the flavors in baked goods.
- Ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves.
- Vegetable oil: Using oil in cupcakes, cakes, or quick breads creates a lighter cake and more “separated” crumbs. So rest assured, your cupcakes won’t be dense at all!
- Light brown sugar: For sweetness! Brown sugar, as opposed to granulated sugar, adds a touch of molasses-y flavors that I love.
- Eggs: For structure and lift.
- Vanilla extract: For taste!
- Greek yogurt: For moisture.
- Freshly grated carrots: Grate the carrots right before making the batter for best results.
For the frosting and decoration:
- Unsalted butter: It needs to be slightly softened and a bit cold.
- Cream cheese: For best results, use full fat cream cheese.
- Confectioner’s sugar: You’ll need about 4-5 cups.
- Chopped walnuts or pecans: For the topping!
Optional add-ins: you can add chopped walnuts, pecans, or raisins to the batter too!
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Making cupcakes is really easy and fun! Per usual, you can find the ingredient quantities and specific instructions in the recipe card, but to give you an idea of how to make carrot cake cupcakes:
- Preheat oven: 350 degrees F.
- Grate the carrots: Peel the carrots and grate them with a box grater. For 12 cupcakes, you’ll need 1.5 cups of grated carrots.
- Mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves).
- Mix the wet ingredients: vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, yogurt.
- Combine the dry and wet ingredients, and add carrots: The batter will be kind of thin.
- Pour batter in a prepared 12-muffin tin: Fill them 3/4 of the way so they have room to rise.
- Bake: About 20-24 minutes.
- Decorate: After they have cooled, decorate them with cream cheese frosting (recipe below!) and nuts.
Decorating the Cupcakes
To decorate these carrot cake cupcakes, I made a quick cream cheese frosting (recipe below) and topped them with chopped walnuts. It’s delicious!
I used extra large piping tips and extra large piping bags, which are usually designed for cupcakes. You can usually purchase them online or at your local kitchen and baking supplies store. Your typical piping tips set will likely be too small to decorate cupcakes.
If you don’t have piping tips, just spread some frosting over each cupcake and roughly smooth it over with an offset spatula. Rustic-style cupcakes look great!
I love these carrot cupcakes so much! They are moist, tender, and so delicious. The combination of spices add so much amazing flavor, and the grated carrots keep these super moist and tender. Also…the cream cheese frosting…I love it! Carrot cake without cream cheese frosting is just not the same. They are a match made in heaven!
More spring sweets:
- Fresh Strawberry Quick Bread
- Key Lime Pie
- Homemade Lemon Bars
- Strawberry Cake Roll
- Mini Blueberry Galettes
- Buttermilk Plum Cake by Leanne at Crumb Top Baking
I hope you love these cupcakes as much as I do. Happy baking!
Tips for Success
- Grate the carrots using a box grater right before making the batter. That way you ensure the cupcakes are not soggy.
- For the cream cheese frosting, I used about 4-5 cups of confectioner’s sugar, but feel free to adjust to your liking.
- If desired, add chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated carrots - from about 4 medium peeled carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cups unsalted butter - slightly softened and cold
- 12 ounces cream cheese - slightly cold
- 4 to 5 cups confectioners sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- Chopped walnuts for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Dry ingredients: In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and the ground spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves). Set aside.
- Wet ingredients: In another bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until combined. It must be well-combined but not over-mixed. Fold in the grated carrots.
- Pour batter in the prepared muffin tin, filling only ⅔ of the way. Bake for about 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- After the cupcakes have cooled completely, make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the unsalted butter (slightly softened and a bit cold) with cream cheese (also slightly softened and a bit cold) until combined. Add confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix on low for a few seconds and then high for about 2-3 minutes until combined and smooth.
- Decorate the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting and top with chopped walnuts. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: 12-muffin tin, cupcake liners, box grater.
- Grated carrots: Make sure you grate the carrots right before making the batter for best results. I used a box grater and it worked great.
- Cream cheese frosting: I used about 4-5 cups of confectioner's sugar, but feel free to adjust the level of sweetness.
- Make ahead: Cupcakes: Make the cupcakes the day before and let them cool completely so you can decorate the the next day. Frosting: the frosting can be made the day before and stored (covered) in the refrigerator.
- Storing: Store in the refrigerator in a container for up to 3 days.