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This carrot cake cupcakes recipe is a smash hit! The moist, spiced cakes are topped with mounds of tangy cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Here’s a festive recipe that’s a simpler form of the popular classic cake: Carrot Cake Cupcakes! These little cakes are fun, easy to put together, and overwhelmingly satisfying. The moist, carrot-studded cakes have just the right warm spiced interior. Piled high with tangy cream cheese frosting, the flavor combination is out of this world good. We tested these out on a few friends and neighbors and they all came back with 5 star reviews! They’re ideal for spring, Easter, or anytime you’re craving an impressive treat.

Ingredients in carrot cake cupcakes

Carrot cake cupcakes are much simpler than making a big layered cake. No need to make several round pans, worry about a toppling cake or best practices for icing. Just throw the batter in a muffin tin, and you’re done! Icing is quick and simple with a pastry bag. Here’s what you’ll need for the cake portion of these carrot cake cupcakes:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Spices: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Neutral oil
  • Unsweetened applesauce: applesauce is the secret ingredient that makes these cupcakes extremely moist!
  • Carrots: we like to use the large grater holes for substantial chunks of carrots
Carrot cake cupcakes

Tips the cream cheese frosting

The most challenging part of these carrot cake cupcakes? Icing them! There are just a few tips we’ve learned for making the best cream cheese frosting that holds up on a cupcake. Here’s what to know:

  • Let the butter and cream cheese come to room temperature (1 hour). Sure, it’s annoying to remember. But it’s absolutely crucial for the right texture, here. We’ve messed it up with butter that’s too cold. Place them on the counter and it should take 1 hour for both to come to room temperature.
  • Sift the powdered sugar. To ensure the best icing quality, sift the powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl before using it. This removes any lumps.
  • Pipe with a pastry bag. Pastry bags may seem daunting at first, but they’re very easy to use. Choose a fun icing tip and apply the icing in a circular pattern across the top of the cakes.
Carrot cake cupcakes

Presentation ideas for carrot cake cupcakes

These carrot cake cupcakes look lovely with a sprinkle of finely chopped pistachios on top. But you can step them up in a few ways! Here are some ideas:

  • Top with any chopped nuts like pistachios, pecans, or walnuts
  • Add a sprinkle of shredded coconut
  • Add carrot candies to the tops, or make a decorative carrot using icing

Storage and make-ahead info

What are best ways to store carrot cake cupcakes? Can you make them ahead? Here are a few tips:

  • Cupcakes are best fresh. But you can make them ahead! See below.
  • Un-iced cupcakes store at room temperature in a sealed container for 2 days, or up to 5 days refrigerated.
  • Leftover iced cupcakes store for up to 4 days refrigerated.
  • If making in advance, store the cupcakes without frosting. Refrigerate up to 2 days. Add icing as close to serving as possible.
  • Or, freeze un-frosted cupcakes for up to 2 months before serving. Again, we recommend making them closer to serving for best results. You can also freeze leftover cream cheese frosting for up to 1 month. Make sure to bring it to room temperature and stir it before using.
Carrot cake cupcakes

More carrot recipes

Carrots are always in season (though of course we love to celebrate them in the spring!). Here are a few more carrot recipes you’ll love:

This carrot cake cupcakes recipe is…

Vegetarian. For dairy free, use a dairy free frosting.

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x


This carrot cake cupcakes recipe is a smash hit! The moist, spiced cakes are topped with mounds of tangy cream cheese frosting.



For the cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs (or flax eggs for vegan)
  • ⅓ cup neutral oil
  • 2/3 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1 ½ cups lightly packed peeled and grated carrots

For the frosting (or use this vegan cream cheese frosting)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • For the garnish: finely chopped pistachios, pecans or walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place muffin liners into a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and kosher salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and applesauce. Stir in the grated carrots.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring only until just combined (but making sure no pockets of dry ingredients remain).
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups (about ¼ cup in each).
  5. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to fully cool, at least 1 hour. (Set out the butter and cream cheese at room temperature for 1 hour while the cupcakes cool.)
  6. When the cupcakes are cool, make the cream cheese frosting: Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. Use a fine mesh sieve to sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Beat the butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until completely smooth, scraping once. Reduce the speed to low, then add the vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it comes together into a thick icing.
  7. Use a pastry bag to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes, or refrigerate the icing up to 1 week until frosting. (You can use the entire quantity of frosting or less if desired for a lighter cupcake.) Top with finely chopped pistachios.
  8. Storage info: Leftover cupcakes can be stored refrigerated for up to 4 days, but are best served as fresh as possible (bring to room temperature before serving). If making in advance, store the cupcakes refrigerated without frosting; add icing as close to serving as possible. Freeze the un-frosted cupcakes for up to 2 months, but again: we recommend making them closer to serving for best results. You can also freeze cream cheese frosting for up to 1 month. Make sure to bring it to room temperature and stir it before using.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dessert
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Carrot cake cupcakes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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    1. We’re not sure: we haven’t tested these as a cake! You could make it as a sheet cake and bake at the same temperature until cooked through: it won’t make enough for a layer cake though!