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!
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
- Beat buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract together in a large mixing bowl with a whisk.
- Whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves completely.
- Mix in the shredded carrot until evenly distributed.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and fold until incorporated.
- Fold in the chopped toasted walnuts – don’t skip toasting the walnuts, it brings out the flavor.
- Divide batter among 12 cupcake cavities using a large ice cream scoop. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Tropical Cinnamon Buns
- Orange Cranberry Hot Cross Buns
- Tropical Cake with Peach Mango Coconut
- Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Almond Croissant French Toast Bake
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 Cupcakes & Mini Carrot 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
- ⅛ 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
- 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)
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.
- 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.
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.