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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Soft, fluffy, and moist carrot cake cupcakes! Made completely from scratch with real grated carrots and the option to add nuts or raisins, these cupcakes are always a hit! Make sure to top them off with the absolute best cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes will forever be my favorite way to get my daily serving of vegetables. Give me a cupcake and a zucchini muffin for each hand and I’ve got the bottom of the food pyramid covered.

Alright, maybe carrot cake cupcakes aren’t the best way to get your daily vegetables, but it’s definitely the tastiest, especially when topped off with a very generous swirl of cream cheese frosting. They’re soft, moist, and cheerfully fluffy, these cupcakes taste like springtime and sunny weather (which I could really, really use right now!).

These carrot cake cupcakes are a modified version of my favorite carrot cake. The recipe is almost identical to the cake portion except for a bit more liquid in the batter — the original is perfect for cake but I found it to be too dense in the small space of a cupcake liner and added some milk for a bit of levity.

I use all oil in this recipe (no butter) for the moistest (sorry if you hate that word, if you have a better substitute I’m happy to hear it!) cupcakes, and thanks to the spices you’re not missing anything in terms of flavor, I promise! I found that butter just didn’t give these cupcakes the texture that they really needed.

I have a few tips on how to make your own carrot cake cupcakes turn out perfectly, so let’s get into that!

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Tips for Making Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I recommend using the grate setting on your food processor to prepare your carrots, and then briefly pulsing them in your food processor for fine shreds of carrot. I feel like just grating them leaves carrot pieces that are too big, but don’t overdo it when you pulse or you’ll have carrot juice and it will impart way too much carrot flavor into your cupcakes!
If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a hand grater to grate your carrots.
While I didn’t use them for my carrot cake cupcakes, you can add walnuts, pecans, or raisins (why, though!) to this recipe, if you’d like. This batter can hold about ½-1 cup of add-ins.
This recipe can be doubled to make 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the Carrot Cake Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated carrots
Optional: 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well-drained; 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Additional chopped walnuts or pecans for garnish

Instructions:

Cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the oil and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots (and pineapple and nuts if using).
Divide the batter among the cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.

Assembling with Interior Frosting:

Once cupcakes are cool, use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove a small portion from the center of each cupcake.
Fill the hollowed-out center with frosting. You can use a piping bag or a spoon.
Replace a piece of the cupcake ‘core’ back on top to cover the frosting fill, if desired.
Pipe or spread the remaining frosting on top of each cupcake.
Garnish with additional chopped walnuts or pecans.
Now you have carrot cake cupcakes with a delightful surprise of cream cheese frosting in every bite!

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