A delicious and flavorful 30-minute recipe for carrot cake made into family favorite cupcakes topped with a rich, homemade cream cheese frosting.
These carrot cake cupcakes are amazing! They are certain to become a big hit at your next gathering. But don’t just take my word for it, give them a try for yourself—you’ll be glad you did.
Packed with flavor due to the addition of molasses and ample amounts of ground spices, these tasty carrot cupcakes are requested time and time again. You’ll find these cupcakes to be incredibly moist because of the addition of applesauce and freshly grated carrots.
The yumminess doesn’t end there though, as the velvety cream cheese frosting is like the cherry on top that pulls it all together into one heavenly bite after another.
If you enjoy these cupcakes, I know you’re going to love these incredible orange chocolate muffins, too!
Cake With Carrots?
You may not associate root vegetables with cake, but people have been enjoying carrot cake for centuries. It is thought to have gotten its start as carrot pudding back in the 1500s, and has since evolved into the delectable goodness we enjoy today.
The Popularity of Carrot Cake
Carrot cake became a household dessert in the 1970s. Food Network listed it as one of their top 5 food fads of the 70s. Back then, there was a fad for everything. There were cookie diets (yes, people actually thought they could lose weight by eating cookies), leisure suits, and of course, disco music. We even had rocks for pets, ya’ll!
So how did carrot cake become popular as a fad? There was a big health craze back then and folks thought of it as a healthy choice since it was made with carrots and nuts. I guess they just ignored the cream cheese frosting that it is typically glazed with!
Frosted Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Ready for a quick and easy recipe for homemade carrot cake? They turn out moist and fluffy every time, in just 30 minutes (plus cooling time).
2 cups grated carrots (5-6 medium-sized)
4 large eggs at room temperature
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole pecans, divided
1 cup applesauce (try this homemade applesauce recipe)
3 tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1⅓ cup powdered sugar
How to Make Carrot Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
This recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes. I recommend using two 12-cup muffin pans so you can bake all the cupcakes at once. If you only have one muffin pan, no worries, you’ll just need to make the cupcakes in two batches.
Make sure your carrots are finely chopped. You can use a cheese grater or food processor, whichever you find more convenient. While you are at it, shred another carrot for this easy vegetable pad thai recipe, it’s so good!
Then, you’ll want to chop the pecans. I usually chop about ¾ of a cup and leave the remaining ¼ cup of pecans whole to use as a garnish on top of the frosting.
In a second mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir it all together until well combined. Then, gradually add small amounts of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Repeat until all the dry ingredients have been mixed into the batter, then stir in the chopped pecans and fold the grated carrots into the mix.
Fill each cupcake liner with the batter until approximately ¾ full. Do not overfill. Place the muffin pans into the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make your frosting by beating together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the cream cheese frosting and garnish with the remaining whole pecans, if desired.
How To Store
For best results, keep any leftover cupcakes in a deep, airtight container and store them at room temperature for 3-4 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
These moist and velvety frosted carrot cake cupcakes are incredibly tasty thanks to the sweetness of the molasses and applesauce, and they are sure to please any cupcake lover.
Did you give these cupcakes a try? Let me know in the comments below or snap a photo and tag @coolbeanliving on Instagram. I’d love to see how they turned out!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 24 paper cupcake liners
- 2 12-cup muffin tins
- 2 cups grated carrots (5-6 medium sized)
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole pecans divided
- 1 cup applesauce
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1⅓ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line (2) 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
- Finely chop ¾ cup of the pecans. Reserve the remaining ¼ cup of whole pecans for garnish; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and vegetable oil. Add the brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, applesauce, and vanilla extract, and continue whisking until combined.
- In a second mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir to combine.
- Gradually add small amounts of the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk to combine. Repeat until all the dry ingredients have been mixed into the batter, then stir in the chopped pecans.
- Add the grated carrots and fold into the mixture thoroughly.
- Fill each cupcake liner with the batter until approximately ¾ full - do not overfill. Place the muffin pans into the pre-heated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer the cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting by beating together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time until thoroughly combined into the frosting. Set aside.
- Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the cream cheese frosting and garnish with the remaining whole pecans, if desired.