Moist Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Moist Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Before we had any of our stuff, before we had a permanent place to sleep, and right around the time I was starting to get really stressed about our recent move, my husband and I went for a relaxing, well-deserved lunch out. We picked one of Austin’s most popular greasy spoons, Magnolia Café, and had the most unbelievably tasty sandwich and salad. All the while, though, I was staring up at the chalkboard advertising the desserts… warm cinnamon-apple cake, pecan pie, carrot cake. Oh, carrot cake. Be still my heart!

Knowing full well that Southerners know how to do it right (meaning, with LOTS of butter), I ordered a slice to go and dipped my fork into the plastic container while we waited for our check. Good god. It was the most velvety, rich, melt-in-your-mouth dessert I had ever, ever had. Would one more “ever” make you believe me? Okay, then. EVER.

Carrot Cupcakes Recipe

Though I don’t think another carrot cake will ever come close to that experience (go to Magnolia and try a slice for yourself), I was pretty darn excited to try. With this recipe, it was a near-perfect success. The cake was buttery soft and mouthwateringly moist, and sorry scale, but I couldn’t stop at one!

Carrot Cupcakes

If you’re a carrot cake lover like me, try these for yourself sometime and I think you’ll agree that this easy, scrumptious recipe produces one incredible carrot cupcake with rich, heavenly cream cheese frosting. If want to impress, or if you like a little crunch, sprinkle on some chopped pecans for a sweet Southern touch. If you’re like the rest of us, just gorge yourself on cupcakes and forget the garnish. Yum!

Moist Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Moist Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 2½ cups 12.5 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. 6-7 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1½ cups 10.5 oz granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups canola, safflower or vegetable oil

For the frosting:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese
  • 7½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; whisk together and set aside. Shred the carrots (you should have about 3 cups) into the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.  Add the oil. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
  4. Scoop evenly into the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan at least 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a Wilton 1M tip for my pastry bag)
  6. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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Join the Conversation

  1. So wonderful looking, and beautiful pictures – great twist on the traditional “carrot cake”. I’m thinking that zested lemon in the cream cheese frosting would maybe be really good too!

  2. My brother is a carrot cake lover and I am going to make these for him

  3. These sound super yummy! Even the frosting looks perfect!

  4. Carrot cake is one of those things that I always say I’m not a fan of…but put something like this in front of me and I’ll gobble it up!! lol These look amazing, Georgia!

  5. I dont think you could have described these any better. They look and sound divine!

  6. These look fabulous! What a great twist, beautiful pictures!

  7. I love Magnolia Cafe! I’ve never tried the carrot cake, but this looks like a pretty fabulous stand-in until I can order a slice of my own!

  8. These look gorgeous! I love cream cheese frosting.

  9. I could go for one of those right now! I am a carrot cake fan anyway I can get it, cupcakes, carrot praline cake, carrot brownies…yum…you can tell they are moist just be the pictures!

  10. I love carrot cakes! I remember when I first introduced my hubby to carrot cakes and his reaction (“CARROT cake?!”). Oh, yeah, that’s right… he hates carrots. But he loves carrot cake! Must try this!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Omigod the frosting..that’s alotta butta. Which means it will taste perfect ;) Glad to see you back in the saddle -er- kitchen again after your big move! ~ Mum

  12. Those cupcakes look so pretty and I love the perfectly piped swirls!

  13. I love a good, moist carrot cake! These are simply gorgeous!

  14. 5 stars
    My favorite!!! I am definitely saving this recipe! Looks delish!

  15. Yum, these look absolutely delicious! I’ve been planning to make some carrot cupcakes this weekend – and so I have bookmarked your recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

  16. I always put coconut and pineapple in carrot cake. Are these cupcakes as moist as the above ingredients would make them? Being a carrot cake lover, I will give these a whirl. Perhaps it was your last “ever” that convinced me.

  17. Yum! And what beautiful photos.

  18. Billie – Give them a try and see for yourself! :)

  19. Yummy they look so pretty and im sure they are just wonderful! I love carrot cake/cupcakes! :)

  20. Those are some good looking cupcakes. I absolutely love carrot cake. :)

  21. These look fabulous! Carrot cake happens to be my favorite type of cupcake. I have to try these soon.

  22. 5 stars
    Oh these look gorgeous Georgia! My boyfriend’s all time favorite cake is carrot cake so I might just have to surprise him and make some of these :) The cream cheese frosting sounds amazing!

  23. I love carrot cake! These cupcakes look delicious!

  24. Absolutely beautiful piping! Cream cheese frosting pairs so well with carrot cake.

  25. These look great, Georgia! I love Magnolia Cafe…you should try East Side Cafe on Manor Road sometime. They grow their own herbs and veggies on site.

  26. oh my goodness Georgia, these look amazing!! I love a good carrot cake, i’m quite picky and these are just calling my name! Love them!

  27. Yum, yum, yum – these look fabuloso!! A definite keeper, thanks, Chris

  28. 5 stars
    Not only are these beautiful but they are making my mouth water!

  29. These are just beautiful, my friend. And my goodness, we have to get together soon! I love carrot cake, and I would love to share some baking with you. Take care!

  30. Just found this site. I love your photograpy. I have just started on the blogging journey and so am constantly trying to improve my photography (as well as my cooking – but that’s another story). What sort of camera do you have, how do you get the close ups to look so good and and and just how do you do it?
    Love your food as well. Will definately try the beans and bacon.

  31. Hi Lady Chutney! Thanks for your kind words. All of the details about what camera I use and how I take photos are in the About section. I’m not sure what “beans and bacon” recipe you’re referring to, but I don’t have one here.

  32. So beautiful presented and delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing this recipe because I love cake!

  33. 5 stars
    OMG I just saw these….I am bookmarking it. I also love how the frosting looks with the tip you used, I need to get one :-)

  34. Hi! Do you know how I would make these if I wanted to turn it into a single cake? Is it the same baking time and same batter? And what size would the pan be? I want the same taste as these cupcakes! Thank you!

  35. Yes, you can make the same batter for these cupcakes into a cake. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes in a 9-inch cake pan.

  36. Having a Breakfast Baby Shower and needed something simple, saw your blog and I’ve never made a Carrot cake or cupcake so will be giving these a try!! Hopefully everyone will love them. Will be back to let you know how they turned out :)

    Wish me luck!

  37. 5 stars
    These.are.just.DIVINE! Thank you so much for sharing, I just made them and will absolutely be making them again! So delicious.

  38. Does anyone know if this recipe calls for 24 mini muffin tins or 24 normal size muffin tins? Help!!!!!

  39. The recipe makes 24 standard-sized cupcakes, not mini.

  40. 5 stars
    These are great! I just tested these. I’ve never made a carrot cake/cupcake before but am doing cupcakes for a friend for a baby shower next weekend. I just used the cake recipe (followed a diff recipe for cream cheese frosting.) I only made a 1/2 batch and got 16 regular sized cupcakes out of it. I also subbed 1/2 the oil for applesauce and they turned out amazing! Tender, moist, bursting with flavor. Will be keeping this one in my recipe binder as my go-to carrot cake recipe. Love that they are hand mixed as well. Makes it easy. Thank you!

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