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These are the best carrot cake cupcakes! The cupcakes give you just a few bites of the warm and cozy spiced carrot cakes with tangy cream cheese frosting. A single cupcake would make a delicious snack, but good luck only eating one!

High angled view of carrot cake cupcakes on cake stand.

I don’t know what it is about carrot cake. The moist cake, the spice blend, the cream cheese frosting… there is just something about the way it all comes together. I love my pineapple carrot cake and my carrot cake scones recipe as well.

I have had so many of you ask if my moist carrot cake could make cupcakes. It does, but I thought it was probably time to create a recipe for homemade carrot cake cupcakes. I’m so glad I did. These cupcakes are so soft and fluffy. The grated carrots and the oil keep them extra moist.

The silky and tangy cream cheese frosting is a perfect complement to the cozy spices in the cake. But if cream cheese frosting isn’t your thing, you can use vanilla buttercream frosting instead. These are great as an after-school snack, served at afternoon tea, or as an Easter dessert.


Recipe Details

  • Taste – These carrot cake cupcakes are bursting with warm and cozy spices.
  • Texture – The oil, carrots and sour cream make these cupcakes soft, fluffy and moist.
  • Ease – So easy! No mixer required for the cake, only for the frosting.
  • Time – It will take 45 minutes from start to finish to make these cupcakes.

What You’ll Need

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: Make sure to measure the flour correctly because it affects the moisture level in the cake.
  • Baking powder & baking soda: These act as leavening agents in the recipe, which cause the cake to expand.
  • Cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, & vanilla extract: These add tons of flavor to the cake, especially cinnamon.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar, but you may also substitute with coconut sugar or brown sugar.
  • Oil & sour cream: These make the carrot cake cupcakes moist and delicious. Use any flavorless oil of your preference, and full fat sour cream.
  • Eggs: These create the right level of structure and stability in the recipe.
  • Carrots: Don’t use store-bought shredded carrots because they are too dry and thick. I prefer to use a box grater to shred fresh carrots.
  • Unsulfured Molasses: This adds richness of flavor, sweetness and a little extra moisture.
  • Cream cheese: This is the base of the frosting. Use full fat, please, for the best flavor.
  • Unsalted butter: At room temperature, soft but not oily.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: For the frosting.
Why is there no butter in carrot cake cupcakes?

I use sour cream and oil in this recipe for extra moisture to keep the cake, with the carrots, from becoming too dry.

What is the best way to grate carrots for cupcakes?

I prefer using a box grater. If you have a grater attachment for your food processor, you can use that as well. Don’t use pre-grated carrots. They’ll be too dry.

Carrot cake cupcake with a bite taken out.

How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These cupcakes come together so easily – just two bowls and a wooden spoon are all you need. This carrot cake cupcakes recipe makes 12 cupcakes so you only need to line one muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Make the Cupcakes

  1. Mix the dry ingredients other than the sugar – the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together with a whisk to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, canola oil, sour cream, eggs, molasses and vanilla together. Stir in the grated carrots.
  3. Add the flour mixture and fold everything together with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Fill each paper liner ¾ of the way full and bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Do not over bake.
Cupcakes in a muffin pan.

Make the Frosting

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer on medium high speed until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue mixing until fully combined.
  3. After the cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes as desired.

Tips For Success

  • Measure the flour carefully. I suggest the spoon and level method, or you can weigh it.
  • You can leave out the molasses if you would like to. I like it because I believe it adds another layer of warmth to the flavor.
  • You must use block style cream cheese for the frosting. Not the spreadable or whipped type.
  • If you have a 3 tablespoon ice cream scoop, use it to portion the batter in the muffin tins. It’s the perfect size.
Side view of carrot cake cupcakes on cake stand.

Storage & Freezing

You can refrigerate frosted cupcakes for 24 hours before serving. Bring to room temperature.

Unfrosted cupcakes can be made a day in advance and kept at room temperature wrapped in plastic. You can also make the frosting a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator.

If you really want to make them in advance, they can be kept frosted or unfrosted in the freezer for 3 months.

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High angled view of carrot cake cupcakes on cake stand.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These carrot cake cupcakes are so soft and fluffy! They're made from scratch with grated carrots and oil to keep them extra moist. Top them off with silky cream cheese frosting for a satisfying treat that everyone will love.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (65 g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (150 g) freshly grated carrots lightly packed

For the frosting

  • 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese, brick style and cold
  • ⅓ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt to a small bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, sour cream, eggs, molasses, and vanilla together. Stir in the grated carrots. Add the flour mixture and fold everything together until just combined.
  4. Fill each muffin cavity ¾ of the way full and bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  5. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.

Make the frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld electric mixer beat the cream cheese and butter together at medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla then continue mixing until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

Notes

Flour: Measure the flour using the spoon and level method or by weighing it.

Grating carrots: Use a box grater to grate the carrots finely.

Molasses: You may leave this out if you wish. I like to add it for an added layer of warmth that complements the spices.

Cream cheese: Brick-style cream cheese is a must for cream cheese frosting. Avoid using the spreadable stuff in tubs.

Portioning batter: I like to use a 3-tablespoon scoop to portion the batter between the muffin cups. It's just enough batter to fill the cups ¾ of the way full.

Make-Ahead Instructions

  1. The cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before serving. Bring to room temperature before slicing.
  2. Unfrosted cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance. Wrap on plastic wrap and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  3. The frosting can also be made 1 day in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. The frosted or unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 221mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 4g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients you used in the recipe.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Jen
    I’m looking for the german chocolate banana cake recipe. I keep getting the error Opps!!! can’t find recipe. The link must be broken.

    1. Hi Jackie! Unfortunately, this recipe was removed from the site several years ago.