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.



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.