Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


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 to start making all things carrot cake, like these Carrot Cake Cookies, this Carrot Cake Cheesecake, a layered Carrot Cake (one of my all time favorite cakes), these Carrot Cake Bars, and why not some Carrot Cake Pancakes, and of course these perfectly fun and irresistible 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, 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. I also had to try the dill because it looks even more legit but I just couldn’t bring myself to put dill on top of a cupcake, so the parsley will do just fine :). 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 cupcakes as much and my family and I do! I’d live on them if I could. 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy

Marzipan Carrots | Cooking Classy

Don’t you just love these tiny gold bunnies? They are one of my new favorite Easter decoration and they are actually a toy :). I just spray painted them gold.


Gold Bunnies | Cooking ClassyCarrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking ClassyCarrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy


Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

4.8 from 5 votes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 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, softened
  • 8 oz (226g) cream cheese, softened
  • 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


  1. For the cupcakes:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg for 30 seconds, set aside. Shred carrots as directed in notes below, set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. For the frosting:
  6. 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. If frosting is slightly runny freeze several minutes then mix again and repeat if needed. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting then immediately roll edges of frosting in chopped pecans.
  7. For the decoration:
  8. 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.
  9. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Other way to decorate them as previously shared…

Carrot Cake Cupcakes | Cooking Classy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting| Cooking Classy



  • Anu: WOW!!! Love the frosting bordered with nuts. January 28, 2014 at 12:13am Reply

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: The cupcakes themselves, and the recipe, sounds awesome. The brown sugar, applesauce, the tweaks you made from a fave recipe, they all sound perfect.

    And then the ADORABLE little piped-on carrots. So pretty! January 28, 2014 at 1:18am Reply

  • Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe: I’ve just recently had the chance to bake and try my very first carrot cake and I’ve been in love ever since. These cupcakes are simply gorgeous and I bet they taste delicious, too. What I particularly like is that added crown of pecans…mmmhh…what a genius idea!

    xo, Elisa January 28, 2014 at 1:47am Reply

  • Chelsea: These are seriously adorable I love them! And carrot cake is definitely one of my top favorite cakes :) January 28, 2014 at 6:50am Reply

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction: Carrot cake is my favorite kind of cake Jaclyn! I’m certainly not complaining you posted these cupcakes in January. I crave it all year long. Carrot cake is usually my birthday cake! January 28, 2014 at 9:57am Reply

  • Katrina @ WVS: Carrot cake is my FAV! This looks awesome! January 28, 2014 at 11:45am Reply

  • Anna@CrunchyCreamySweet: These are gorgeous, Jaclyn! Love the little carrots! Pinned! January 28, 2014 at 12:33pm Reply

  • raizy: Wow! This is calling my name, begging me to make them! Looks oh so pretty and delicious, I’m sure! Can’t wait to try em! January 28, 2014 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen: So sweet, Jaclyn! And, no…it’s just not you. I am baking carrot cake this week, too. :) Thanks for sharing, girl. Pinning! January 28, 2014 at 6:19pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: Carrot cake is the best, and even better in cupcake form! January 29, 2014 at 11:32pm Reply

  • Nathan: How do uou recomend storing these? In the fridge or on the counter? February 12, 2014 at 5:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Fridge in an airtight container, then I’d let them rest at room temp like 30 mins or so before enjoying. February 18, 2014 at 10:51pm Reply

  • Rebecca: I would like to make these but I was wondering if I could bake this in an 8 x 8 pan instead of making cupcakes??? Would this be ok or would I have to change anything? Thanks! March 4, 2014 at 12:33pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think that should work fine. Just make sure it’s not filled too full. March 4, 2014 at 5:39pm Reply

  • Kala-Dawn: I just made these and they were amazing!!! I made them the night before, and after sitting in the fridge they tasted even better the next day! The cream cheese frosting is to die for! Finally one that I can pipe :) March 11, 2014 at 6:35pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I like to eat cold carrot cake a lot of the time :). I’m so glad you liked these Kala-Dawn, thanks for your comment! March 23, 2014 at 4:34pm Reply

    • Rebecca: Agreed! The icing was a nice consistency and was very easy to pipe! April 21, 2014 at 2:31pm Reply

  • Foodie Friday: Carrot Cake Cupcakes | Journey of Faith: […] homemade carrot cake, the cake would win.  Hands down.  So imagine my delight when I came across this recipe for carrot cake cupcakes, made byJaclyn over at Cooking […] April 18, 2014 at 3:54pm Reply

  • emelie: what is the best substitute for applesauce if this is not available. thank you! April 19, 2014 at 12:13am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Replace it with equal part oil and that should work just fine. April 19, 2014 at 9:06am Reply

  • Alexandra: If I want to make 24 cupcakes can I just double every ingredient? April 19, 2014 at 11:20am Reply

    • Jaclyn: That should work just fine. I hope you love them! April 19, 2014 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Rebecca: I made these this weekend for my friends and they all LOVED them! They turned out moist and evenly baked.

    Note: I had a LOT of cream cheese icing left over. Unless you plan on having large dollops on the tops of your cupcakes, I’d suggest cutting the icing recipe in half. April 21, 2014 at 2:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad they were enjoyed Rebecca, and thanks for the note on frosting – not everyone is obsessed with frosting like me :). April 21, 2014 at 11:03pm Reply

  • Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Heather Homemade: […] slightly, from Cooking Classy   Be sure to finely shred your carrots; I like to use medium-ish microplane for mine.   For the […] April 23, 2014 at 8:46pm Reply

  • Heimi: Hi there! The cupcakes look so pretty! I don’t take eggs, anything I can substitute the eggs with? June 1, 2014 at 8:12am Reply

  • Danielle: How did you frost the top if the cupcakes in order to get the height as well as evenness across the top and all the way around? Did you start with a piping bag and then smoothed out the top or a different way?
    Making them this week and I’m so excited to try them out!! July 6, 2014 at 12:59am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just spooned a generous amount on then leveled out the top and rounded the edges. I hope you love them! July 22, 2014 at 11:05pm Reply

  • Lauren rinke: When doubling the recipe, should i double the vegetable oil? That sounds like a lot of vegetable oil, especially with the apple sauce July 12, 2014 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: If you are doubling the recipe than yes I would double everything including the vegetable oil. I hope you love it Lauren! July 12, 2014 at 9:07pm Reply

  • Sherilyn: Would it be alright to incorporate the pecans into the batter instead of just along the edges? January 18, 2015 at 2:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That should be fine I’d chop them up pretty small though so they don’t just sink. January 18, 2015 at 4:04pm Reply

  • Jill: I made these to take to a party today, and they were a huge hit. I actually made mini-cupcakes and decorated them the same way, except I used a graduated side-to-side squiggle because the carrots had to be so tiny. Keeping the nuts on top (rather than in the batter) was a great way to do it because I could also decorate some without nuts, so that the nut-allergic/averse could eat them.

    I got about 4 1/2 dozen minis out of the batch, and I doubled the cream cheese frosting so I could be generous with it and still have leftovers to nibble on all week. Sadly, I only had about 1/2 cup of frosting leftover after the decorating (and, I’m guessing, a fair amount of sampling by the family while I wasn’t looking…).

    The only other thing I changed was to add 1/8 tsp of allspice, which is in my usual carrot cake recipe along with the cinnamon and nutmeg. I’d always wanted to make cupcakes out of it, but it’s so moist and chunky that I couldn’t see how I could begin to adjust it for the smaller scale. This was perfect! January 24, 2015 at 3:39pm Reply

  • Erika: Hey Jaclyn, I want to make these for my sister’s 10th year anniversary party and I was wondering if you think they will taste just as delicious without the nuts? I have to omit the nuts because a lot of people have a nut allergy. Also I was wondering if the frosting is more sweet the tangy. The frosting I use for my red velvet cupcakes calls for 8 oz of cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of butter, 2 tsp of vanilla extract, and 2 cups of powdered sugar. I’d like to think that recipe is right on the money as far as sweetness, therefore I’m afraid your frosting might be too sweet for me, but I’m willing to try it, what do you think?

    Thanks! February 4, 2015 at 8:05am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’ve tried cream cheese frosting with many different ratios so I’d say definitely add a little more cream cheese and reduce the powdered sugar, and leaving out nuts shouldn’t be a problem. I hope everyone loves them! February 4, 2015 at 9:37pm Reply

  • Nan: Thanks for this recipe — I’ve become quite dependent on it! But now I need to make a carrot cake, not cupcakes, and I don’t want to stray to far from this recipe. In your post you noted that you adapted this recipe specifically for cupcakes. Can you please tell me how best to change it back to a (layer) cake? Thanks for your help! March 31, 2015 at 10:20pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Mostly I just reduce the leavening and added a little more flour but it should work fine as a cake as is too, the only thing I may do is cut back on the flour 1/4 cup after doubling. April 27, 2015 at 10:37pm Reply

      • Nan: Thanks for your help! I went ahead and tried it as carrot cake for Easter with the original recipe, and it was wonderful. Instead of doubling, I made it once for each 8″ layer, just to be safe. With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting…yum! April 28, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

  • Patrycia: These look great! I like pineapple in my carrot cake cupcakes – if I were to add drained crushed pineapple to the recipe, what adjustments would you suggest I make, including baking time?
    I love all of your recipes! April 2, 2015 at 9:02am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think the baking time would stay the same but I would reduce the carrots to 1 cup then add in 3/4 – 1 cup drained pineapple. Sorry for the late response! I’m so glad you like my recipes, thanks for letting me know :)! April 27, 2015 at 10:29pm Reply

  • Kathy: Silly question, but do you drain the carrots? So excited to make these for my boyfriends birthday next week! April 28, 2015 at 8:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Not a silly question :), no you don’t need to drain them the juices in the carrots keep the cupcakes moist. April 29, 2015 at 5:55pm Reply

      • Kathy: great! Thanks so much! I have recipes that call to drain them! This makes it super easy!! May 5, 2015 at 10:06am Reply

  • Mary: I have made these 3 times now, for birthdays (including my own!) and they turn out perfect every single time. The cake is so moist, do you think it would hold up well as a layered cake? June 29, 2015 at 10:27am Reply

    • Mary: Nevermind my question, just read the comment above! June 29, 2015 at 10:28am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry for the late response, but yes I imagine it would work fine as a layer cake too. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this recipe :)! August 12, 2015 at 5:04pm Reply

  • Wazzu78: Hi Jaclyn. First let me say that EVERYTHING I’ve made from your recipes turn out perfectly and are delicious!

    For these carrot cake cupcakes, do you see any problems with making them ahead of time and freezing them? If you freeze them, how do you defrost them? On the counter? Still wrapped?

    Thanks so much! October 18, 2015 at 3:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed my recipes!! I think these would freeze pretty good since they are a moist cupcake, I’d probably just thaw them in the refrigerator overnight still wrapped. I hope you love them! October 19, 2015 at 11:00pm Reply

  • Rhonda: Hi Jaclyn,
    I am going to make these cupcakes for my Mom’s 77 birthday. Can you tell me what you used to make the cute little carrots? October 22, 2015 at 11:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just used some of the frosting and tinted it with food coloring, then used frosting bags/tips to pipe it out. October 23, 2015 at 9:33am Reply

  • Liz: These came out fantastic! I made the frosting to taste by adding powder sugar little by little ( I don’t like it too sweet) I also used unsalted butter and added salt to taste as well. SO GOOD! November 22, 2015 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Claudette Cassidy: Hi Jaclyn I made your carrot cupcakes and they turn out perfect. so moist and delicious . The only thing different I added a 1/4 cup of drained crushed pineapple so good. Love your food Blog. Thank You for sharing. January 24, 2016 at 4:50pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked them Claudette and thanks for letting me know you enjoy my blog :)! January 24, 2016 at 11:47pm Reply

  • Mari-Ann Wise: Those mini carrots were a work of art! I know I will never have the patience that you do as a cook but I have saved many of your recipes to try when I retire and I am serving your orzo and sundried totmato dish as a side (without the chicken) at a dinner party next week. Took that for a test drive already with grilled Italian sausage as the protein on the side and loved it. Thanks for the wonderful site. Love your encouraging attitude that any of us mere mortals in the kitchen can do it, too! February 28, 2016 at 5:59am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much for the kind words Mari-Ann! March 1, 2016 at 11:11am Reply

  • Abby (@ No Fail Recipes): These cupcakes are so yummy! I was going to try the marzipan carrots decorations but I ran out of time and ended up leaving them off. Next time I make these I definitely want to try them. They look so realistic. February 28, 2016 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Kelly: These look and sound incredible!

    xx Kelly February 28, 2016 at 9:15pm Reply

  • Kathleen: Jaclyn, these are such adorable cupcakes! Wow!!! February 29, 2016 at 12:41pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Kathleen! March 1, 2016 at 11:02am Reply

  • Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture: These are possibly the cutest Easter treat of all time!! Oh my gosh, i love the little bunnies. And the marzipan carrots! Adorable :) March 2, 2016 at 10:08am Reply

  • Lucy @ Globe Scoffers: Wow these look amazing. I love your presentation. Can’t wait to try them. March 2, 2016 at 2:01pm Reply

  • Lynley: HELP! I was attempting making these for Easter tomorrow and they didn’t rise. I have hollow cupcakes with the batter pouring over the edges of the pan. Can you give me any insight as to what I did wrong. I googled and haven’t found anything 😔 March 26, 2016 at 5:22pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It sounds like something was possibly mismeasured (also note that the flour should be scooped and leveled not spooned and leveled – better yet I recommend a kitchen scale if you can get a hold of one) or like the leavening – the baking soda may have been left out (or if it’s old it may not work properly). Another possibility is if you are at very high altitude some of the ingredients need to be adjusted slightly for high altitude baking. So sorry they didn’t turn out for you! March 27, 2016 at 12:13am Reply

  • Jacque Perryman: I am making mini cupcakes (different flavors) for a wedding shower. Since my cakes are smaller, what would you estimate my baking time? Thank you. April 8, 2016 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Pam B: I just made these in mini form and they only took about 12 minutes at 350. August 21, 2016 at 5:09pm Reply

  • Amy: I just made these and they turned out fabulous! I live at 4800 feet in Northern Nevada so I increased the flour from 175g to 185g and baked them for 19 minutes. I also used a microplane to shred the carrots. They came out perfectly moist and fluffy at the same time. I will be making them again later this week for my sons birthday and would love to include your recipe on my blog within his birthday post if that is ok with you. With a link back to you of course! April 24, 2016 at 11:04am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad they were enjoyed Amy! April 25, 2016 at 12:15am Reply

  • Juliana Ramsey: I absolutely love the way these look! I will make these for my sister soon she loves Carrot Cake so thanks for the recipe! April 25, 2016 at 1:32am Reply

  • Pam B: I just made these a second time. They are great! The first time I substituted oil for the apple sauce and they kind of sunk in the middle so I wouldn’t recommended that. This time I used the apple sauce and they were perfect. I doubled the batch and it made 24 full sized cupcakes and 20 minis! I froze the first batch and they thawed wonderfully. August 21, 2016 at 5:08pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for your feedback Pam, glad you’ve enjoyed them! August 22, 2016 at 10:11am Reply

  • Ivy: I always come across recipes where there are several comments on how beautiful pictures or how they can only imagine how great said recipe will taste. So it’s nice there are several who’ve commented about actually making this recipe.

    I pinned this a few weeks back because it’s been a long time since I made carrot cake anything. Family came out this past weekend so it made for perfect timing to treat them to a dessert. Thankfully I have a food scale so getting the exact gram measurements came with ease. The cupcakes, frosting and marzipan carrots were a big hit with my family. We didn’t have a lot of frosting left over since I used my 1A tip and swirl the frosting on. Definitely a keeper in our book. September 12, 2016 at 3:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Ivy! September 14, 2016 at 2:16pm Reply

  • molky: I love to make organic cupcake which mainly contains with carrot September 23, 2016 at 7:52pm Reply

  • AE: The frosting is delicious. But it droops and looks melted once piped. Do you have any tips on how I can fix this? October 11, 2016 at 1:50am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I like to freeze the frosting for a few minutes then return to the mixer and mix then freeze again for a few minutes and mix, then pipe it. It also helps to start with butter and cream cheese that’s nearly room temp – not fully warm. I’ve just found the key with cream cheese frosting is to keep it cool. October 11, 2016 at 11:55pm Reply

  • Brittany: You say to “Shred carrots as directed in notes below”- however, I do not see any notes. Please advise the direction to shred the carrots. Thanks so much! November 16, 2016 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Cristina: Hi, I’ve tried looking for marzipan, but I cannot find it. Do you know where I might be able to find it? Thanks! April 9, 2017 at 6:21pm Reply

    • Loren: Cristina – you can usually find it in any supermarket in the baking aisle – it’s usually high up on the shelf as not a lot of people buy it. I would ask someone who works at the store where it is. It’s in a small box (not refrigerated.

      Thanks for this recipe!!!! I’m making them again tomorrow! June 30, 2017 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Paul: The recipe says to shred the carrots as directed in the notes below, but I can’t seem to find it. I’ve read the recipe about five times and cannot find it. I’m assuming I have to wring out the excess water after shredding? August 31, 2017 at 10:44am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You don’t need to wring out excess moisture. Sorry for any confusion. Hope you love these! August 31, 2017 at 8:58pm Reply

      • Paul: Ok, thank you! I’m made these before and lived them but it’s been awhile so I couldn’t remember. Thanks again! September 1, 2017 at 5:06am Reply

  • daniela: These are SO GOOD!!! Thank you for the recipe!
    I cut on the amount of powder sugar in the icing and they were still yummy! January 11, 2018 at 9:00pm Reply

  • Judy: This is one of the best carrot cake recipes I’ve ever made. I did add raisins and pecans to the batter. Makes a great recipe even better! January 31, 2018 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Great ideas! February 5, 2018 at 12:13pm Reply

  • Alannah: I can’t seem to find a carrot cake recipe that works for me?!! However, I’m really excited to try yours… Do you think I could use crushed pineapple instead of apple sauce? Thank you so much February 12, 2018 at 7:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d stick with the applesauce here as I actually used it as a sub for part of the oil. February 19, 2018 at 11:49am Reply

  • Michelle: Excellent recipe! Cupcakes were moist. Bake time went to a little over 25 minutes for me. Added golden raisins because why not? February 16, 2018 at 3:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Why not indeed. :) So glad you liked it Michelle! February 21, 2018 at 10:33am Reply

  • Wendy Miller: Love this recipe. Very easy. I made my carrots from giardelli white chocolate wafers. Thanks! March 8, 2018 at 4:26pm Reply

  • Edith: Wow these look amazing. Want to make 24 minis instead of 12 regular, what would you estimate for baking time? Thanks March 28, 2018 at 2:01pm Reply

Add your comment:

Copyright 2011-2018 Cooking Classy | Privacy Policy
Design by cre8d