Carrot Cake Cupcakes are one of my all time favorite cupcake recipes! They’re soft, tender, and perfectly moist, and their sweet, spiced flavor is absolutely perfect. The cream cheese frosting and crunchy chopped pecans is the perfect finishing touch. A must have recipe!
Making These Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Spring is in the air! Okay, I know we’ve still got a ways but it’s been starting to warm up, and did you know Easter is in March this year? So what does that mean for me?? Time for carrot cake cupcakes!
I’ve already shared this recipe before (2 years ago) but I just decided to update things and add a new spin on the decoration to them, because I’m just now realizing how amazing Marzipan is! It’s ready to go, as in you don’t need to mix anything up, just tint it the color you’d like. Plus, it’s not made of nasty ingredients, just almonds, sugar or honey and wheat starch and the taste reminds me of macarons.
So these tiny little carrots are made out of Marzipan, a little food color, the faintest amount of cocoa powder and some fresh parsley.
Here is a video on how to make the shapes if you find the directions confusing. Make smaller than listed in the video though, and dip the toothpick in cocoa before rolling over carrots.
I hope you love these carrot cupcakes as much and my family and I do! I’d live on them if I could.
Carrot Cake Cupcake Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda and baking powder
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- Finely shredded carrots
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- Chopped pecans (for decorating)
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Whisk dry ingredients.
- Mix sugars and wet ingredients.
- Mix in half the dry ingredients.
- Toss carrots with remaining dry ingredients then blend into batter.
- Divide mixture among paper lined muffin cups and bake until set.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once cool make cream cheese frosting.
- Pipe or spread frosting over cooled cupcakes.
- Decorate as desired. I like to add chopped pecans around the edges of the frosting and finish with a marzipan or fondant carrot.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
- Whip together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar with the mixer on a low speed. Continue whipping the homemade cream cheese frosting until fully combined.
Can I Decorate the Cupcakes With Another Type of Nut?
Yes, of course. Feel free to use any crushed nuts you have on hand. Walnuts and pecans would both complement the cream cheese frosting.
How to Store Cupcakes
Because of the cream cheese frosting, I recommend storing these carrot cake cupcakes in the refrigerator. Then enjoy chilled or let rest at room temperature before serving.
Tips for the Best Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- If the frosting is slightly runny after making it, freeze it for a few minutes to help it solidify.
- To ensure that the cream cheese frosting whips up properly, the butter and cream cheese should both be almost room temperature.
- Double check that your applesauce is unsweetened. Otherwise these cupcakes will be too sweet!
More Carrot Cake Recipes You’ll Love:
- Carrot Cake Cookies
- Layered Carrot Cake
- Carrot Cake Cheesecake
- Carrot Cake Pancakes
- Carrot Zucchini Bread
- Carrot Sheet Cake
- Cream Cheese-Filled Carrot Cake Muffins
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 1/4 cups (178g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups (195g) finely shredded carrots (from about 4 medium carrots)
- 2/3 cup (140g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (78g) packed light-brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (64g) unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup (82g) chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, nearly at room temperature
- 8 oz (226g) cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups (412g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Optional carrots for decoration
- 50 g Marzipan (about 1/4 cup)
- Orange gel food coloring
- Cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed)
- 12 small curly parsley stems
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together granulated sugar and brown sugar, then add eggs and using an electric hand mixer, blend mixture on low speed 30 seconds, until slightly pale.
Mix in applesauce and vanilla extract. With mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in vegetable oil and mix until combined, then mix 20 seconds longer.
Mix in half of the dry ingredients, then pour the shredded carrots into the bowl with the remaining flour mixture and toss in flour mixture to coat carrots (they'll clump together a bit but that's fine). Pour carrot mixture into the batter and blend until evenly combined.
Pour batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean, about 19 - 21 minutes. Cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
For the frosting: Using an electric mixer whip together butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Mix in vanilla extract.
With mixer running on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar and beat until well blended and smooth*. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting then immediately roll edges of frosting in chopped pecans.
For the optional carrot decoration: Tint marzipan with orange gel coloring and knead to evenly incorporate color. Separate small pieces at a time (I did 4g carrots) then roll into carrot shapes (roll a tapered log shape).
Dip a toothpick lightly in cocoa powder, shaking of excess then gently roll carrot across toothpick (in random places) while slightly rotating to make slight indentations (to give it that natural look).
Poke a small hole in the top of each carrot and insert parsley. Gently press carrots into frosting on tops of cupcakes.
Store in an airtight container in refrigerator. Allow to rest at room temperature until no longer cold before serving.
- *If frosting is slightly runny freeze in 3 minute increments then mix again and repeat if needed.