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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These carrot cake cupcakes are the perfect springtime treat!! They’re moist, tender, and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting and crunchy walnut brittle.

It’s the ultimate combination of textures and flavors, and are the perfect Easter dessert!

image of a carrot cake cupcake that's been decorated with a cute white chocolate bunny for Easter

This is a modified version of an amazing recipe pulled together by King Arthur Baking and Domino Sugar this Spring! I loved it so much I knew I had to share it.

How to Make these Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Let’s walk through each step of these carrot cake cupcakes to make sure they turn out as amazing as possible! I’ve also included a video tutorial below.

Step 1: Make the Carrot Cake Cupcakes

These carrot cake cupcakes need to cool completely to room temperature before you can frost them, so I like to make them first.

image of carrot cake cupcake batter being made with finely shredded carrots and chopped walnuts

Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners and bake for about 21-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

image of moist carrot cake cupcakes that have been baked and cooled and are ready to be frosted

Step 2: Make the Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

While the cupcakes cool, work on the spiced cream cheese frosting.

If the frosting seems too thick after mixing together all the ingredients, add in additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time). Or if the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

image of spiced cream. cheese frosting that's being made in a bowl with a hand mixer

If you’re unsure how thick your frosting should be, you can learn what consistency you’re looking for in my frosting consistency post.

If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, I recommend making a half batch of my Swiss meringue buttercream or my American buttercream.

Place the frosting in a large piping bag and set aside. This frosting can sit out at room temperature for up to 3 hours. If you make it further than that in advance, I recommend storing it in the fridge.

Step 3: Make the Walnut Brittle Topping

The last component of these cupcakes is the walnut brittle! This is optional but really adds to the texture of these cupcakes.

image of walnut brittle that's been cooked and is cooling on a piece of parchment paper

Once the mixture has been cooked and has fully cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the brittle into small pieces.

Step 4: Decorating These Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cooled cupcake and generously top with the chopped-up walnut brittle.

image of carrot cake cupcakes being topped with a spiced cream cheese frosting a crunchy walnut brittle

I also like to make little white chocolate bunnies to really give these cupcakes a spring vibe!

image of white chocolate bunnies being piped onto a piece of a parchment paper

I melt a bit of white chocolate in a small piping bag, snip the end of the bag and use a hand drawn template to make 12 little bunnies.

Once the chocolate has fully hardened, carefully press a white chocolate bunny into the center of each cupcake and enjoy!

image of a carrot cake cupcake

Substitutions and Swaps in This Recipe

While I love this recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all these ingredients on hand!

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe:

  • Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Canola or sunflower oil would work great!
  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend if needed.
  • Light Brown Sugar – I prefer using light brown sugar in this recipe but you can use dark brown sugar too.
  • Walnuts – These add a ton of texture to this recipe but can be omitted if you have a nut allergy.
  • Cream Cheese – If you don’t like cream cheese, use unsalted butter in place of the cream cheese to make the frosting for these cupcakes.
  • Unsalted Butter – You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe if needed. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work in this frosting if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Shredded Carrots – I like to use a microplane grater to grate my carrots super fine. However, a food processor with a shredding attachment works great too (and is the easiest and fastest option). Shredded zucchini can also be used in place of the carrots in this recipe.
image of ingredients laid out to make easter carrot cake cupcakes

Recipe Variations

If you want to make mini carrot cake cupcakes, this recipe can be baked in mini muffin tins! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, and they only need to bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 F / 175 C.

This recipe can also be baked in a loaf pan for 50-65 minutes. If you notice the top of the loaf starting to over-brown, cover the pan with a foil tent.

I recommend making a half batch of frosting if you make a carrot cake loaf. Let the loaf cool fully, then top with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of walnut brittle.

Tips for Making the Best Easter Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Set the cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • If you’re short on time, use a food processor with a disc attachment to shred your carrots in seconds.
  • Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure and then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Once you add the flour, mix your cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • Use a cookie scoop to easily fill your cupcake liners. It also makes sure your cupcakes end up being the same height.
  • Bang your cupcake pan on the counter before putting it in the oven. This brings any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
  • Seal off the top of your piping bags with a rubber band to prevent any frosting from seeping out the top of the bag and make the piping bags easier to use.
image of carrot cake cupcake batter being scooped into a muffin pan to make carrot cake cupcakes

Making These Cupcakes in Advance & Storage Tips

Make your cupcakes in advance! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Make this spiced cream cheese frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for a month. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit at room temperature for 3 hours or in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. However, I find frosting them right before serving is best.

image of a moist easter carrot cake cupcake that's been cut into to show how tender and soft it is

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make these carrot cake cupcakes, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a rating below.

Also tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media!

Other Posts You Might Like:

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Easter Carrot Cake Cupcakes

image of a carrot cake cupcake that's been decorated with a cute white chocolate bunny for Easter

These carrot cake cupcakes are the perfect spring time treat!! They're moist, tender and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting and crunchy walnut brittle. It's the ultimate combination of textures and flavors!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes

Ingredients

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (150g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (100g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (112g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (125g)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon (4g)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (210g)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (56g)

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature (113g)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (56g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4m)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (250g)

Walnut Brittle Topping

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 3 Tbsp water (45g)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped (40g)

Cupcake Decoration

  • Parchment Paper
  • Small Piping Bag
  • 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips

Instructions

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C and line a muffin pan with 12 liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 light brown sugar, 2 large eggs and 1/2 tsp fine salt.
  3. Sift 1 cup flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp cloves, 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp of baking soda into the wet ingredients. If you don't have a mesh sifter, whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl then pour into the wet ingredients.
  4. Whisk until just combined, then fold in 1 1/2 cups of finely grated carrots and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the liners and bake for 21-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. While the cupcakes cool, work on the spiced cream cheese frosting.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together 1/2 cup of cream cheese and 1/4 cup of unsalted butter. Mix on a medium speed for a minute until smooth.
  3. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp fine salt, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg. Mix on a low speed until combined.
  4. Gradually mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Continue to mix on a low speed for 30 seconds to make sure everything is mixed together properly.
  5. Place the frosting in a large piping bag and set aside.

Walnut Brittle Topping

  1. The last step is to make the walnut brittle! This is optional but really adds to the texture of these cupcakes.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 3 Tbsp of water a small saucepan and heat over a medium-high heat. Do not stir the mixture!
  4. Continue to cook the mixture until it reaches 320 F / 160 C, then remove the mixture from heat. This usually takes me about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour 1/3 cup of finely chopped walnuts into the sugar mixture, then pour the mixture onto the prepared pan to cool.
  6. Once the mixture has fully cooled and hardened, use a sharp knife to cut the brittle into small pieces.

Decorating These Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  1. Place 1/2 cup of white chocolate in a small piping bag and seal the top with a rubber band. Heat the white chocolate in the microwave in 15 second intervals until it's melted.
  2. Snip a small opening in the piping bag and pipe 12 bunnies that are roughly 1 1/2-inches tall onto a piece of parchment paper. I like to draw out a little bunny and use it as a template underneath the parchment paper. Let the white chocolate cool fully until the bunnies are firm to the touch.
  3. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cooled cupcake and sprinkle generously with the chopped-up walnut brittle.
  4. Press a white chocolate bunny into the center of each cupcake and enjoy!

Notes

Making Mini Carrot Cake Cupcakes

If you want to make mini carrot cake cupcakes, this recipe can be baked in mini muffin tins! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, and they only need to bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 F / 175 C.

Tips for Making the Best Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure and then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Once you add the flour, mix your cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • Use a large cookie scoop to easily fill your cupcake liners. It also makes sure your cupcakes end up being the same height.
  • Bang your cupcake pan on the counter before putting it in the oven. This brings any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
  • Seal off the top of your piping bag with a rubber band to prevent any frosting from seeping out the top of the bag and make the piping bags easier to use.

Carrot Cake Cupcake Variations

To make gluten free carrot cake cupcakes, swap in your favorite gluten free flour blend for the AP flour this recipe calls for, and be sure to over-mix your batter and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before baking for best results.

Making These Carrot Cake Cupcakes In Advance & Storage Tips

Make your cupcakes in advance! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature for up to 3 hours or be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. However, I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 487Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 52mgSodium 264mgCarbohydrates 58gFiber 1gSugar 47gProtein 5g

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