|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 18g||23%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||22%|
|Total Carbohydrate 46g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 36g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||6%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Carrot cake cupcakes are moist and flavorful like your favorite carrot cake but in cute, individual servings. Fluffy and moist, they're topped with a blanket of sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. You can create pretty carrots on top with the colored icing or skip the decorating and simply spread the frosting on top.
If you like nuts and/or raisins in your carrot cake, feel free to add some to the batter. Make them nut-free by omitting the chopped walnut decoration. A hint of cardamom adds additional flavor and interest to the batter, but you can easily omit it and increase the cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons if you prefer or can't find the spice.
Make carrot cake cupcakes for Easter, take them to bake sales and potlucks, or serve them at a spring birthday or shower. You can easily halve the recipe to make a dozen.
“These little carrot cakes are perfect for an Easter treat or to share with a neighbor. I love the little carrot decor, and cupcakes make it easy to share. The little bit of spice added in makes them unique, with a classic cream cheese frosting to finish them off” —Tracy Wilk
For the Cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Decoration:
Orange food coloring
Green food coloring
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Make the Cupcakes
Gather the ingredients. Position a rack in the upper and lower third of the oven. Preheat to 325 F.
Line 2 (12-cup) muffin or cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Add the grated carrots, vegetable oil, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Mix on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Alternatively, use a large bowl and a hand-held electric mixer.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake pans until about 3/4 full.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.
Make the Frosting and Decorate
Gather the ingredients.
For the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-low speed until fluffy.
Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat until light and fluffy.
For the decorative topping, remove 1 cup of the cream cheese frosting into a small bowl. Tint with orange food coloring, mixing until the color is evenly combined. Remove 1/3 cup of the frosting to a separate small bowl and tint with green food coloring, mixing until combined.
Transfer the colored frostings to 2 separate piping bags or zip-top bags.
Frost the tops of the cooled cupcakes with the white cream cheese frosting.
Roll the edges of each cupcake in the chopped nuts.
Pipe the orange frosting in the shape of a carrot on top of each cupcake.
Pipe the green frosting as carrot tops on each cupcake. Serve and enjoy!
- Finely grate the carrots yourself for the best results. Pre-shredded bagged carrots tend to be too dry. You can use a box grater or a food processor.
- If you want to make these decorative cupcakes but don't have a traditional piping bag with a tip, it is easy to fashion a makeshift piping bag with a plastic baggie or zip-top bag. Simply fill two bags with the orange and green frosting. Squeeze it down to one corner, twist the top of the bag to remove the air, snip off a small corner, then squeeze to pipe.
- Feel free to skip the decorations and simply frost the cupcakes and serve.
- Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts and/or raisins to the batter.
- Make these cupcakes dairy-free by using vegan cream cheese frosting.
How to Store and Freeze
- Store leftover decorated cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in a container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
- The unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen. Let cool completely, then wrap each individually in plastic wrap. Place in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge before decorating and serving.
Why Is There Oil in Carrot Cake?
Oil adds a lot of moisture to carrot cake. Since the cake is so flavorful thanks to spices and other ingredients, butter isn't necessary. While you can make carrot cake with butter, you shouldn't simply swap oil for butter or vice versa, since butter also contains water in addition to fat and the texture will be noticeably different.
Can I Use Olive Oil Instead of Vegetable Oil in a Carrot Cake?
Neutral oils like vegetable and canola are usually used for baking since they're flavorless. You can use a flavorful oil like olive oil, but it will impact the taste.