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Carrot Cupcakes & Mini Carrot Cake

These Carrot Cupcakes have gotten a lot of rave reviews. The cake is soft and moist, slightly spiced, with a little bit of crunch from the walnuts, and the cream cheese frosting is a must. You can also use the same recipe to make a Mini Carrot Cake!

Carrot cupcake and mini carrot cake on cake stands

Lightly spiced carrot cupcakes and cream cheese frosting is a classic combination and a tricky way to sneak vegetables into your dessert. Plus the shredded carrot really helps keep these cupcakes super moist and delicious for days.

This carrot cupcake recipe is easy enough to make with your young bakers at home for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or as a fun weekend project. It can also be made into a two-layer 6-inch carrot cake. I’ll show you how below!

How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The easy cupcake batter

Making carrot cupcake batter

Making carrot cake batter (Photos 1 – 6)

  1. Beat buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract together in a large mixing bowl with a whisk.
  2. Whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves completely.
  3. Mix in the shredded carrot until evenly distributed.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and fold until incorporated.
  5. Fold in the chopped toasted walnuts – don’t skip toasting the walnuts, it brings out the flavor.
  6. Divide batter among 12 cupcake cavities using a large ice cream scoop. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The frosting

Cream cheese frosting in a stand mixer

Cream cheese frosting in a stand mixer

Nothing completes carrot cupcakes better than a creamy and tangy cream cheese frosting. I wouldn’t dare put any other frosting on it. Pipe it on, smear it on, however you do it, it’s gonna be delicious. Finish it with a few sprinkles of chopped walnut over the frosting.

How to make Mini Carrot Cake

The mini carrot cake recipe is exactly the same as the carrot cake cupcakes recipe, the only difference is you’ll be baking it in two 6” cake pans instead of 12 cupcake tins. You’ll need to divide the batter as evenly as you can between two pans to ensure even baking.

Dividing carrot cake batter in 6" cake pan

Dividing carrot cake batter for Mini Carrot Cake

A few tips for dividing the batter:

  • You can certainly eyeball it if you don’t want to bother with measuring. But you may need to take one cake out earlier than the other if the cake batter is uneven. This is totally okay, just make sure to check each of your cakes with a toothpick.
  • If you want to be more exact, use a scale. This recipe yields about 850 g of batter, so each pan would hold about 425 g.
  • If you don’t have a scale, use the ice cream scoop as you would dividing the batter for the cupcakes. Count as you go to make sure you’re adding the same amount of batter to each pan.

This mini carrot cake will yield 8 good size slices or 6 very generous portions.

A slice of mini carrot cake being lift up from the cake stand

Storing and making ahead

How to store carrot cupcakes and mini carrot cake?

Unfrosted cupcakes and cakes can be kept on the counter overnight. Be sure to cover them so they don’t dry out.

For the cake, I would wrap each individually in plastic wrap after they have cooled completely. For the cupcakes, I would leave them on the wire rack and drape a long piece of plastic or a clean towel over all of them.

If you have added frosting to your cupcakes and cake, it is best to store them in the fridge since the frosting is made with dairy products and you don’t want to risk it spoiling at room temperature.

How long do carrot cupcakes last?

These carrot cupcakes and mini carrot cake will last up to a week in the fridge and they will stay moist the whole time thanks to the shredded carrot.

Can I freeze carrot cupcakes?

Yes, these cupcakes freeze well and will last for up to three months. Wrap them well to keep the freezer smell out. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple of hours before serving.

You can also freeze the mini cake in individual slices the same way. Wrap them well in plastic and place them in a freezer bag. Thaw just like the cupcakes before serving.

A slice of mini carrot cake on a plate

Baker’s Tips

  • If you don’t have buttermilk, regular milk, sour cream, or yogurt will work as a substitute.
  • Any flavorless oil will work in this recipe. I typically use vegetable or canola oil, but olive oil will work as well.
  • I like to use a food processor to chop up the carrots, but help it out by cutting the carrots into smaller pieces first. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a box grater.
  • Toasting the walnuts before adding it to the batter is highly recommended to bring out their flavor. It only takes a few extra minutes. Once you do it, you’ll never go back to using untoasted nuts.
  • I used 2 medium carrots in this recipe. They were about 8 oz total before peeling and shredding.

For your Easter brunch

A half eaten carrot cupcake

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!

Carrot cupcake and mini carrot cake on cake stands

Carrot Cupcakes & Mini Carrot Cake

These Carrot Cupcakes have gotten a lot of rave reviews. The cake is soft and moist, slightly spiced, with a little bit of crunch from the walnuts, and the cream cheese frosting is a must. You can also use the same recipe to make a Mini Carrot Cake!
Print Rate
Course: Cake, Cupcakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 19 minutes
Total Time: 49 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 374kcal
Author: Trang

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (162 g)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (180 g)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (107 g)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar (lightly packed, 144 g)
  • 1 ¼ cup shredded carrot (170 g)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts (30 g)
  • More walnuts for topping if desired
  • Melted butter for cake pans if needed

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature, 227 g)
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (room temperature, 113 g)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar (75 g)

Instructions

Make the carrot cake batter

  • Toast the walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes until fragrant. Let it cool and chop into smaller pieces.
  • Scrub the carrots clean, trim the end and peel the skin off. Cut them into smaller pieces and shred them in a food processor or shred them with a box grater. This should yield 1 ¼ cups.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • If making cupcakes, line a regular size muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside. If making mini cake, brush some melted butter on two 6” round cake pans. Line the bottom of the cake pan with a piece of round parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with butter as well. Set aside.
  • Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add brown sugar and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add shredded carrot and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium mixing bowl. Add the salt and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and fold until incorporated. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

For carrot cupcakes

  • Divide batter evenly among twelve cupcake cavities using a large ice cream scoop and bake for 17 - 19 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before adding frosting.

For mini carrot cake

  • Divide batter evenly between two cake pans, about 425 g of batter per pan. Bake for 30 - 31 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes. When you can touch the cake pans, use a butter knife to loosen the sides, flip the pan over to remove the cake from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper, and allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before adding frosting.

Prepare the cream cheese frosting and assemble the cupcakes

  • In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together until thoroughly mixed and creamy.
  • Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  • Add powdered sugar and stir until incorporated, gradually increase the mixer speed and beat until fluffy.
  • Add a scoop of frosting on each cupcake and spread it with an offset spatula or butter knife. Add chopped walnuts on top if desired. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assemble the mini cake

  • To frost the mini cake, place 1 layer on a cake stand or plate. Put a few pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake to cover the cake stand or plate. This is to keep the frosting from smearing everywhere.
  • Add about ½ cup of frosting on top of the first layer and even it out with an offset spatula. Add the second layer of cake on top.
  • Frost the side and top of the cake with the rest of the frosting. Add chopped walnuts on top if desired. Carefully pull out the pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set or until ready to serve.

Notes

  • This recipe makes a dozen regular size cupcakes and a two layer 6” mini carrot cake.
  • Vegetable oil, canola oil or olive oil will work in this recipe.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, use regular milk, sour cream or yogurt.
  • 2 medium carrots, about 8 oz total in weight, will yield enough shredded carrot for this recipe.
  • The mini carrot cake will yield 8 good size slices or 6 very generous portions.

Nutrition

Serving: 105g | Calories: 374kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @WildWildWhisk or tag #WildWildWhisk!

Carrot cupcakes and mini carrot cake pin image

This post was originally published on 4/8/2017. The post has been updated and republished on 3/30/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips and process photos to help you in the kitchen.

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21 Comments

  1. Regina Park
    June 29, 2020 /

    HI!!
    I’m very happy that I have found your carrot cake recipe for 2 layer of 6 inch cake. I’ll try this for my mom and brother’s birthday this coming weekend.

    I have one problem though. I got only one 6 inch round cake pan. Will the baking soda and baking powder not activate if I try to bake the first cake then wait for it to cook and cool down? Hope you answer this. Thank you!!!!

    • Trang
      Author
      June 29, 2020 /

      Hmm… ideally you’ll want to bake as quickly as possible whenever you have baking soda in the batter because baking soda will activate right away while baking powder activate under heat. This recipe has both, so even if you baking soda fizzles out you should still have some lift from the baking powder. I want to suggest reducing the baking soda to 1/4 tsp and increase baking powder to 3/4 tsp instead in this case. This should help with the second cake. Let me know how it turns out, I hope your mom and brother will enjoy this cake 🙂

  2. Sarah Mikkelsen
    March 26, 2020 /

    5 stars
    The best carrot cupcakes!

    I loved that the frosting wasn´t to sweet and the spice in the cake is lovely.

    Thank you for a great recipié.

    • Trang
      Author
      March 26, 2020 /

      Thanks Sarah! So glad you enjoy these cupcakes 🙂

    • Krystal
      April 12, 2020 /

      5 stars
      This cake is so good! It’s the best carrot cake recipe I’ve made, and I have tried a few. I really like that it doesn’t use pineapple (ick) and it’s still moist. This will be my go-to now.
      I will add I think the frosting is too loose. I added alot more powdered sugar so it was easier to ice the cake with and it not slide everywhere.

      • Trang
        Author
        April 13, 2020 /

        Thanks Krystal, I’m glad you like the cake. With the frosting, I purposely made it with less sugar but if you’re okay with a sweeter frosting, that’s totally okay. Otherwise, you could try to refrigerate the frosting before adding it to the cake. Either way should work and depends on your preference for sweetness level. Thanks again for making my recipe, and stay safe!

  3. Carmen
    August 15, 2019 /

    I just finished making your Chocolate Coconut Yogurt Muffins, so i have one cup of plain yogurt left. Can i use it to replace buttermilk? I LOVE Chocolate Coconut Yogurt Muffins, i made twice total 24 muffins and finished them all, in less than 4 days!!!! They are sooooooo good.

    • Trang
      Author
      August 15, 2019 /

      Hey Carmen, thank you so much! Your comment made my day 🙂 I’m so happy to hear you love them. Which recipe are you planning to replace the buttermilk with the coconut yogurt? I think it should be able to work, but let me know so I can check it out and see if there’s anything to be aware of. Happy baking!

      • Carmen
        August 15, 2019 /

        I want to make CARROT CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. So i want to replace the buttermilk with the leftover yogurt. Thanks so much for all the great recipes! I love the pistachio cupcakes too, that i also made twice within a week!

        • Trang
          Author
          August 15, 2019 /

          Those are one of my fav too, love those pistachio cupcakes!

      • Carmen
        August 15, 2019 /

        The yogurt is plain one, not coconut. I wonder if it should be ok to replace the buttermilk for carrot cupcakes 🙂

        • Trang
          Author
          August 15, 2019 /

          That should be okay for this recipe. But yogurt is thicker than buttermilk, so I would thin it out a bit if you have some regular milk. Maybe do 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup milk. If you don’t have milk, then just use all yogurt, should be fine.

          • Carmen
            August 17, 2019 /

            5 stars
            I used all yogurt (don’t want to waste it) and the cupcakes turned out great! My daughter loves it!!! Thanks for all the great recipes!

          • Trang
            Author
            August 17, 2019 /

            Awesome!! I’m glad it worked fine, and thanks for letting me know.

  4. Jennie
    June 15, 2019 /

    5 stars
    My 8 year old daughter & I made these today for Father’s Day. So easy that my daughter did 90% all by herself. They turned out super moist & delicious!! This recipe is a definite keeper!

    • Trang
      Author
      June 16, 2019 /

      Thank you Jennie, so glad you had a good time making these with your daughter!

  5. April 10, 2017 /

    5 stars
    Going to make it for my family. Hopefully, I make it as great as it looks, fingers crossed!

    • April 10, 2017 /

      I hope you have fun making these and hope your family will like them! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  6. Ken and Mai
    April 8, 2017 /

    5 stars
    well done! scrumptious looking.

    • Susan
      October 2, 2019 /

      5 stars
      Hi!
      I have been baking and cooking for 50+ years, tried many, many, MANY recipes from multiple sources and this is my first time commenting on an online recipe.

      This carrot cake cupcake recipe is
      EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!

      Oh my goodness……..
      It is moist, but not soggy/mushy……
      It was very easy to make…..
      It didn’t take long to bake…..
      It was VERY tasty

      The only thing I changed, I didn’t add walnuts!

      I followed the directions exactly……

      THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this recipe.

      Now, I’m going to look at your other recipes!!!!

      😃😃😃😃😃😃

      • Trang
        Author
        October 2, 2019 /

        Hi Susan! Thank you sooooo much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m so glad you love this recipe. And please let me know when you try some others. 🙂

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