Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot cake cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting are the best springtime dessert. Instead of making a whole carrot cake, make a batch of these cupcakes that are easy to share and even easier to eat.

carrot cake cupcake

If you need an excuse to make a batch of these carrot cake cupcakes, allow me to share a few:

  • It’s spring, and that means carrot cake! They’re the perfect Easter dessert.
  • Or, for that matter, make them for any holiday, special occasion, or birthday.
  • Or, how about for no other reason but you deserve it – make a batch!

What I love about this recipe is that the cupcakes are easy to make, and they have a deliciously moist crumb and just the right amount of grated carrots, spices, and chopped walnuts. They really do have the best texture.

ingredients for the recipe.

And the frosting. It’s just what you want – a swath of tangy, rich cream cheese frosting to finish the cupcake. I mean, is it even carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting?

How to Make Them

Carrot cake cupcakes keep well, so make them a day ahead and store them in the refrigerator for later. Or, you can make the cupcakes, freeze them, and thaw them before frosting.

More Easter Recipes

Sheet Pan Easter Dinner | Glazed Carrots | Breakfast Fruit Salad | Roast Lamb Chops


Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Easy carrot cake cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting are the best springtime dessert. Instead of making a whole carrot cake, make a batch of these cupcakes that are easy to serve and even easier to eat.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American



For the Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded carrots, about 3 medium carrots
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

For the Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chopped walnuts, for decoration (optional)


How to Make the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set them aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl with a hand mixer, combine the sugar, apple sauce,  oil, and vanilla at medium speed. Slowly mix in one egg at a time until each egg is incorporated.
  4. Adjust the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Mix in the carrots and nuts.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake them for 5 minutes at 375°F  and then turn the oven down to 350°F. Finish baking the cupcakes for 13-15 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the middle of the cupcake and it comes out clean (see cook time note).
  6. Cool the cupcakes before frosting them.

How to Make the Frosting

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until well combined. Adjust the mixer speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Stir in the vanilla and mix just until well combined.
  2. Place a large star tip in your piping bag and fill the bag with frosting. Pipe the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts onto the frosting.
  3. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can also spoon the frosting onto the cupcakes and use an offset spatula or dinner knife to spread it.


When measuring flour, I like to stir it in the container to fluff it up, spoon it into the measuring cup, and level it off.

The easiest way to grate or shred carrots is with a box grater or a food processor fitted with the grating disc.

Cook Time Note: One batch of cupcakes takes about 20 minutes to bake, but since this recipe makes 18 cupcakes, I bake two batches (one batch of 12 and one with 6). I have not tested this recipe by baking two pans of cupcakes simultaneously, so the actual baking cooking time is 40 minutes.


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 309
  • Sugar: 27g
  • Sodium: 164.4mg
  • Fat: 15.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.6mg
  • Fiber: 1.2g
  • Protein: 3.6g
  • Cholesterol: 40.2mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Recipe Tips

If you don’t like nuts, feel free to leave them out. You can also use chopped pecans instead of walnuts.

Some people love raisins in carrot cake. I don’t happen to be one of them, but if you are a fan, add some. They would not be out of place.

I think vegetable oil works best for this recipe. It gives the cupcakes a moist and tender texture, but you can use the same amount of melted butter. The cupcakes will still have a delicious flavor, but the texture will be slightly heavier.

If you don’t have a piping bag and tip, scoop the frosting into a resealable bag, snip off one corner, and pipe the frosting. Or top each cupcake with a generous dollop of frosting and spread it with an offset spatula.

Homemade cream cheese frosting is so good, but if you’re in a rush, feel free to use premade frosting. It’s okay! They will be great!

Soft, fluffy cupcakes with that rich cream cheese frosting – this carrot cake cupcake recipe is so good you’ll find any excuse to make them, even if it’s just to treat yourself to the best carrot cake this week. Make them – I know you’re going to love them.

Happy baking,


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