Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Flavorful, soft, and moist carrot cake cupcakes with the best cream cheese frosting! #carrotcakecupcakes #carrot #cake #cupcakes #dessert #easter #creamcheese #frosting #easy #dessert

Flavorful, soft, and moist carrot cake cupcakes with the best cream cheese frosting!

8 Carrot Cake Cupcakes on a cake stand positioned in front of flowers

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These Carrot Cake Cupcakes are one of my family’s favorite treats and everyone that tries these goes crazy for them! My dad’s all time favorite dessert is carrot cake and after spending literally years perfecting my carrot cake recipe I thought I’d tweak it a bit to create some perfectly moist, tender, and flavorful carrot cake cupcakes.

All in the name of “testing” we’ve made these cupcakes more times than I can count the last couple of months and my toddler alternates asking for these or carrot cake every single Sunday when we bake a treat together. As much as I love that carrot cake, these cupcakes are easier to make (especially with 4 little hands adding ingredients quicker than I can monitor!)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes Mixture with egg prominentSo let’s break down these carrot cake cupcakes. First off:

How do you make easy and moist carrot cake cupcakes?

  • Start with room temperature ingredients. It’s important for the final texture of these cupcakes that all of your ingredients are room temperature. (That includes the butter and cream cheese for the frosting!) For the cupcake batter: Using room temperature eggs ensures that the eggs disperse more evenly into the batter giving these cupcakes a lighter texture (the eggs trap air). Soaking refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes is a quick way to do this. Otherwise, pull the eggs out about 30 minutes before use.  (You’ll also want the applesauce and carrots at room temperature).
  • Once you’ve got all of your ingredients together and at room temperature, these cupcakes come together quickly and you’ll be amazed how easy they are to make! Start by mixing together the dry ingredients. When you measure the flour be sure to spoon and level the measuring cups so you aren’t adding in too much or too little flour. Too much flour and you’ll get dense cupcakes and too little flour and these cupcakes will likely sink and be too wet.
  • Next, combine the wet ingredients: whisk everything together: the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and oil. Once these wet ingredients are combined and smooth, you’re ready to combine mixtures.
  • Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet and add the carrots on top of that. Stir everything until JUST combined. If you over mix or beat the dry and wet ingredients you’ll end up with dense cupcakes.
  • While the cupcakes are baking, you can whip together the cream cheese frosting which comes together in minutes. The best tip I can give for the perfect frosting: make sure the cream cheese and butter are both the same temperature (room temperature). They’ll cream together nice and smooth giving your frosting the perfect foundation.

Carrot being grated on fine side of a grater

Flavorful, soft, and moist carrot cake cupcakes with the best cream cheese frosting! #carrotcakecupcakes #carrot #cake #cupcakes #dessert #easter #creamcheese #frosting #easy #dessert

More Carrot Cake Desserts:

The BEST Candied Pecan Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Cookies


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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

4.84 from 6 votes
Flavorful, soft, and moist carrot cake cupcakes with the best cream cheese frosting!
Print Recipe

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

4.84 from 6 votes
Flavorful, soft, and moist carrot cake cupcakes with the best cream cheese frosting!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword carrot cake cupcakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 220kcal
Author Chelsea


  • 1 and 1/3 cups white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup light-brown brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (~3 medium sized carrots)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 package (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use low fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Optional: 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cavity muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, using hand mixers, beat together the brown sugar, white sugar, and eggs until combined. Mix in applesauce and vanilla extract. With mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in vegetable oil and mix until combined. Finely shred the carrots (on the small side of your grater (picture above) and measure to ensure you have 1 and 1/2 cups. Add the dry ingredients right on top of the wet ingredients and the shredded carrots right on top of that. Stir until JUST combined being careful to not overmix.
  • Pour batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about 3/4 full. You should use all of the batter between the 12 cavities. Bake in preheated oven about 18 - 22 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Using a hand mixer, cream together the room temperature butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Mix in vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon. With mixer running on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar and beat until well blended and smooth. Chill the frosting while the cupcakes finish cooling.
  • Frost completely cooled cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and if desired, sprinkle crushed pecans on top.


Nutrition Facts

Calories: 220kcal


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Recipe Rating


  1. Could I substitute the applesauce with crushed pineapple? That is what I usually add to my carrot cake recipe and it makes it very moist.

  2. 5 stars
    WOW!! Best carrot cake cupcakes I’ve ever had and I’ve tried dozens. Carrot cake is my favorite too. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  3. have you ever used this recipe to make a cake instead of cupcakes? Just wondering if it would make enough cake batter for 3 8 inch. layers

      1. Could you turn these into Whoopie pies I love this cake recipe so I wanted to turn them into something more packable and portable.

        1. I think Whoopie pies would need a pretty different recipe than this cupcake recipe. You could try these instead!

  4. Can you use a stand mixer for these or is it better to use a hand mixer? Thanks! Really looking forward to giving these a try!

  5. These look amazing. I’m in search of a carrot cake that I can make vegan for my daughter’s first birthday. She’s allergic to dairy and egg. Do you know the substitutions I can do to make this recipe vegan? Thanks!

    1. Unfortunately I can’t give you a solid recommendation without testing myself and I’m not as familiar with vegan desserts. I wish I could be more help!

  6. I live in the Colorado mountains and I need to know what altitude your dessert recipes are at so I can adjust your dessert recipes to high altitude. Thanks

  7. 4 stars
    I tried these – cupcakes came out great but my icing was very runny, I followed the recipe and even added a bit extra icing but it just ran off the cake. What could I have done wrong?

    1. Hey Shannen; did you by chance melt the butter or cream cheese at all? And you for sure had the right amount of both?

  8. Hi! In terms of storage for using the next day I want them nice and moist.. so do I store the cupcakes out of the fridge and pipe the icing right before serving?
    Thank you!

    1. That’s what I would do! ๐Ÿ™‚ Make sure they are tightly covered/wrapped up and add frosting right before serving! Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. What size cupcake pan are you using? They don’t appear to be miniature 1 in, so out of three typical commercial sized pans would you say the middle size? Thanks!

  10. Made these for my daughterโ€™s birthday. Delicious! Very moist and the icing was great. Thanks for sharing.

  11. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! and so did my family, but I’m just wondering if i can double everything to make 24 cupcakes, with the same results?

    1. So happy to hear it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Although I haven’t personally tried, I don’t see why not ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I’m sure pineapple could work in these, but I really couldn’t say for sure how it would work or how much without personally testing through the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I haven’t tried anything in place of the applesauce so I can’t say for sure. I think vegetable oil would substitute in nicely

  12. Hello! I am making these cupcakes for a wedding. How would you recommend storing them until tomorrow while still maintaining freshness?

  13. 5 stars
    Chelsea!! Thankyou for sharing this recipe!! They are just delicious! made them today, impressed everyone!!
    Super yummy!! ?

  14. I’m planning to make the cupcakes on Saturday, frost them on Sunday and take them to work on Monday…. if I keep them in a sealed container in the fridge, am I safe? Or is it risky to frost them in advance?

    1. I personally try to frost as close to possible for serving, but if you have a good airtight cupcake container I think it will be okay! The frosting firms a lot in the fridge so make sure to leave time for it to “thaw” a bit to room temperature so it’s not rock hard!

  15. These look sooo good, as do all your recipes-but I don’t have any applesauce – would it work out to substitute the same amount of canned pumpkin puree?

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure, but I think it would work texture wise. Applesauce is naturally a lot sweeter than pumpkin though so you’d end up with a less sweet baked good

  16. 5 stars
    Are they cupcakes, muffins, who cares!? ๐ŸฅฐThey are perfect! I am at 8000 ft, I used my homemade applesauce, reduced leavening a bit, and baked at 360 degrees. Lovely!

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