These carrot cake cupcakes are perfect for a spring picnic or potluck. They’ve got all the features of a classic, tiered carrot cake but with the handiness of being “finger food” and sized individually.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
When you mention carrot cake to the French, they often look startled at the idea. You might as well tell them you’re making cauliflower cake or some other kind of cake with vegetables. It’s an entirely novel idea for them.
That said, they do enjoy the cake when they actually try it. I mean, who wouldn’t? I honestly haven’t met a person who didn’t like carrot cake. Sure, some people prefer nuts and raisins in their cake, while others don’t.
But carrot cake in its most basic form is loved by the masses. These carrot cake cupcakes deliver the same experience, but in cupcake form.
You’ve got an incredibly moist, tender cake with a dreamy cream cheese frosting on top.
I usually make this recipe using vegetable oil, but when I only have olive oil, I opt for melted butter instead. This option is outlined below in the recipe card.
I keep things simple with these cupcakes by just smearing the cream cheese frosting on top of the cupcakes by using an offset spatula. If you want to get fancy, you can use a pastry bag and pipe the frosting on top. Otherwise, simple cupcake picks, like these Easter ones, will help make the cupcakes look cute and decorated.
These carrot cake cupcakes need to be refrigerated after they’ve been frosted because of the cream cheese in the frosting. I suggest taking the cupcakes out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you’re going to serve them; this will give them a chance to come closer to room temperature and not be super cold right out of the fridge.
You can store these cupcakes in the fridge for up to 4 days after they’ve been baked. If you want to freeze them, I suggest letting the cupcakes completely cool then freezing them (unfrosted) in airtight, freezer bags.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Tender and moist carrot cake baked into cupcakes and garnished with cream cheese frosting.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 carrots shredded or pulsed in a food processor to small bits
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or 3/4 cup unsalted butter - melted)
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice
For The Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar or more to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. To the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the granulated sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract together on medium speed.
To the wet ingredients, add the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon and continue to mix on medium speed to combine.
To the batter, add the shredded or pulsed carrots to the batter and turn the mixer onto low speed. As the batter is being mixed, stream in the buttermilk. Mix just until everything is incorporated well.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl and stir in any unmixed batter. Grab a large spoon and divide the batter among (24) cupcake liners, filling the liners 2/3 of the way full.
Bake the cupcakes for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out with just a couple crumbs or comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before lifting them up out of the pan and placing them on a wire cooling rack to cool completely. The cupcakes will feel very spongy and soft while they're warm; this is normal. They'll firm up a bit as they cool.
To create the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in a clean mixing bowl until smooth. Once the two have been creamed together, add in the powdered sugar and vanilla; mix until blended in. Taste test for sweetness and add more powdered sugar as desired.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, use an offset spatula and smear a generous coating of frosting on top. Garnish with cupcake picks. Refrigerate until 15 minutes prior to serving.
Make sure your butter and cream cheese are room temperature. If they're cold, they will clump when you beat them with the mixer and cause a lumpy frosting.