These carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are like perfectly portioned individual servings of carrot cake. They’re tender and moist, with an irresistible spice blend that will make your kitchen smell amazing. No mixer is required for the cupcake batter; everything is whisked together in a bowl! You won’t believe how easily they come together.
You might have noticed by now that I’m a complete sucker for cakes. I love making yellow cake, white cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, coffee cake… you probably get the idea. But, believe it or not, I sort of love cupcakes even more.
Cupcakes are so beautiful, aren’t they? While I will never turn down a slice of carrot cake, somehow these carrot cake cupcakes taste better to me simply because they look so inviting. These are every bit as good as they look.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter
- White granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Large eggs
- Cream cheese frosting
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
You prepare this recipe almost exactly as you would prepare muffins:
- The dry ingredients are combined in one bowl, while the wet ingredients are combined in a separate bowl.
- The dry and wet ingredients are combined along with toasted, chopped nuts and shredded carrots.
- Bake, cool, frost. Inhale… I mean eat.
- Don’t use pre-shredded carrots. Those are almost always dry and flavorless compared with freshly grated carrots. Not to mention the fact that they’re usually shredded for coleslaw, which is waaaaaaay too large. You don’t want big shreds of carrot in your carrot cupcakes. You want to use the smallest setting on a box grater for delicate pieces that incorporate into the batter along with the juices from the carrots.
- I don’t usually care for walnuts, but there are a few recipes where their subtle bitterness works. Banana bread, banana bread muffins and Waldorf salad are good examples. So is carrot cake. If you prefer not to use them, pecans are a good substitute. If you choose to omit nuts entirely, it will likely reduce the bake time by around 2-4 minutes.
- To save time, you can purchase pre-toasted nuts.
How to Make Mini Carrot Cupcakes
This recipe will yield 24 mini cupcakes. Place the oven racks on the upper and lower third shelves to bake at the same time. You’ll want to use mini liners, and start checking for doneness at around 13 minutes.
I haven’t prepared this recipe in minis, so I can’t give you an exact time, but I find that mini cupcakes typically take anywhere from 5-10 minutes less if I’m cooking both pans at once.
If you need a mini cupcake pan, this one is my favorite.
Cupcake Frosting Tips
I used a Wilton 1M tip and disposable piping bags to pipe the cupcakes. To get a stiff peak from the cream cheese frosting, I added the extra confectioners’ sugar that’s suggested in my recipe notes. That might be too sweet for some.
Luckily, you can still pipe these carrot cupcakes without adding the extra sugar! You can use the same tip I used and skip the stiff peak, or use a different piping tip/technique.
Here’s a great tutorial from Sprinkles Bakes that covers some options.
You can also just top each cupcake with a hearty dollop and a sprinkle of chopped nuts. It will be gorgeous.
Since cupcakes need to be cooled to room temperature before frosting, I recommend baking these a day or more in advance.
The frosting can also be prepared in advance (up to two weeks), so it you really want to break things up, you can prepare the frosting, bake the cupcakes, and then pipe them on separate days. Or you can make them in one day, easy peasy.
How to Measure Flour
For baked goods (as well as desserts like custard and ice cream), I always recommend using a kitchen scale to measure flour by weight instead of volume. Weight (ounces, grams, etc) will always give an accurate measurement of dry goods; volume (cups) can create varied results.
A cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 3 1/2 to 5 ounces. That could make a big difference in your recipe! If you still want to use cups, there’s a proper technique to make sure you get the best results possible.
My post How to Measure Flour explains all of this in more detail.
More Cupcake Recipes
- 1/2 cup walnuts (2 1/8 ounces, pecans may be substituted)
- 6 1/4 ounces all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cups using scoop & sweep method)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 5 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
- 2 1/4 ounces light brown sugar (1/4 cup packed)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and grated on small holes of box grater (1 1/3 cups)
- 1 recipe cream cheese frosting, linked below
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tin with cupcake liners, lightly spray with baking spray (Tip: spray in short bursts with your arm lifted away from the pan to keep the blast of air from sending the liners flying everywhere).
- Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden and fragrant, shaking the pan once or twice, 5-7 minutes. Once the nuts are cool enough to handle, chop finely.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. Mix in the dry ingredients along with the toasted nuts and carrots until evenly combined.
- Divide batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted into one of the middle cupcakes comes out clean, 19-22 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Once at room temperature, frost with cream cheese frosting.
- Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (They can also be individually wrapped in plastic and frozen in a zipper-lock bag for up to 1 month.) Frosted cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for 5-7 days (but taste best within 3 days).
My cream cheese frosting recipe can be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance, as noted in the instructions.
To save time, you can purchase pre-toasted nuts.
Adapted from Cook’s Country.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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