Yield: 6 carrot cake cupcakes // Total Time: 50 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Moist carrot cake cupcakes
Hello! I’m here today to bring you these moist, fluffy, perfectly spiced and delicious carrot cake cupcakes. If you’re looking for a small dessert to celebrate with this Easter, these cupcakes are perfect for you. Like all my other cupcake recipes, this recipe makes enough for 6 cupcakes but of course you can scale it up if needed.
Why you’ll love these small batch carrot cake cupcakes
1. They’re perfectly spiced. A mixture of cinnamon, ginger and cloves brings the perfect amount of spice to these cupcakes. If you’re not a fan of, or don’t have any ginger and cloves, you can feel free to substitute in more cinnamon to keep them spiced and delicious.
2. They’re super moist. Sour cream and the moisture from the carrots helps to make these carrot cupcakes super moist and delicious.
3. They’re decorated with little carrots. While these are super delicious, I like to think they get some bonus points for decorating them with little carrots on top. Food should be delicious, and fun to look at!
Why do you post small batch recipes?
I love making small batch bakes because they are the perfect size myself and others who don’t have a lot of people to bake for in their home. Small batch helps cut down on waste and eliminates the feeling that all that excess dessert MUST be eaten. Here on my blog I like to post a mix of small batch and “regular batch” recipes from time to time. All my recipes can easily be doubled or tripled to fit your need, so long as you use grams to measure!
Weigh your ingredients
- Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient and can easily throw off a recipe. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out! If you don’t have access to a scale, here is the best way to measure flour: fluff up the flour with a fork, then use a spoon to scoop it into your measuring cup. Use a knife to level off the top of the cup, then use as directed.
Mix the batter carefully
- It is super important to not overmix the cupcake batter. When you mix your batter for too long after adding in the flour, you are developing more gluten which will make the cupcakes super tough and chewy. Only mix just until the last bit of flour is incorporated.
Room temperature ingredients
- It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. Take out the egg, sour cream, butter, and cream cheese at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. Here’s how to get room temperature ingredients FAST if you’re in a time crunch or forgot to take the ingredients out (like I often do):
- Egg: place the egg in a bowl and run hot water over it for 1 continuous minute, or let it sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
- Butter & Cream Cheese: slice the butter and/or cream cheese into 1 tbsp. slices and place them flat on a plate. Microwave in 5-second intervals until the butter/ cream cheese is soft to the touch, but not melting.
- Sour cream: microwave in 5-second intervals until it is no longer cold, but is not warm (room temp!) This will probably take 15-20 seconds.
Keep an eye on those cupcakes!
- Cupcakes like to go from under-baked to over-baked super quickly so it is important to keep a close eye on them. Start checking at 15 minutes with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out wet, check them again in 2 minutes and so on until only a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick.
Ingredients and substitutions
For the carrot cake cupcakes:
All purpose flour: for structure.
Baking powder: for making the cupcakes rise.
Ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves: for flavoring. I recommend adding in all of the spices but I know it can be uncommon to have ginger and cloves. If that’s the case for you then you can definitely replace the ginger and cloves with more cinnamon.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the cupcakes. We will add a touch of salt to both the cupcakes and the cream cheese frosting
Vegetable oil: for making the cupcakes moist and tender. You can use any other neutral oil, such as canola if that is what you have on hand.
Light brown sugar: for sweetening the cupcakes, adding moisture, and adding depth of flavor thanks to the molasses in brown sugar.
Egg: for binding the batter, adding moisture, and leavening.
Sour cream: for moisture. I recommend full-fat sour cream for the best texture.
Carrot: the star of the show of course!
Crushed walnuts: to add some texture to the cupcakes. If you don’t like walnuts, you can feel free to do a 1:1 swap with a different nut, raisins, pineapple, or just leave it out!
For the cream cheese frosting:
Cream cheese: the base of any good cream cheese frosting.
Unsalted butter: for thickening up the cream cheese frosting. You can substitute in salted butter, just be sure to omit the extra salt!
Powdered sugar: for sweetening and thickening up the cream cheese frosting.
Vanilla: for flavor.
Food coloring: If you would like to decorate the tops of the cupcakes with little carrots, you will need some orange and green food coloring. Here is the pack that I used.
How to make small batch carrot cake cupcakes
Here are the steps to follow to make these cupcakes. You can find the complete recipe (which is printable!) at the end of this blog post.
1. Whisk the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
2. Grate the carrots. Wash, peel and grate the carrots. You can also finely chop them up in a food processor for an easier time.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients. Add those grated carrots to a medium sized mixing bowl, then whisk in the oil, sugar, egg, and sour cream.
4. Add the dry ingredients. Add in the mixed dry ingredients, and lightly fold the ingredients together until a few flour streaks remain. Then add in the walnuts, and fold until no flour streaks remain.
5. Bake. Distribute the batter evenly between 6 parchment liners, then bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean.
6. Make the cream cheese frosting. Start by beating together the cream cheese, butter, and salt, then slowly beat in the powdered sugar until all of it has been incorporated, followed by the vanilla.
7. Frost and decorate. Dye 3 tbsp. of frosting orange and 1 tbsp. green. Frost the cupcakes with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting, then pipe some little carrots on top. Serve and enjoy!
Small batch carrot cake cupcakes Q & A
Can I double this recipe?
- Of course! Obviously they will not be small batch anymore but small batch isn’t always what we need! Simply double all of the ingredients in the recipe to make 12 delicious cupcakes. I even more strongly recommend measuring by weight if you are going to double the recipe for the best results.
Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time?
- Definitely! I would recommend making the cupcakes no more than two days ahead of time. Store the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. I’d recommend waiting to make the cream cheese frosting until the day you want to serve them.
How to store small batch carrot cake cupcakes
Like most baked goods, these cupcakes will definitely taste the best on the day that they are baked. Because the frosting is made of cream cheese, it does need to be stored in the fridge. You can store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and Ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make these small batch carrot cake cupcakes?
If you made these small batch carrot cake cupcakes I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Small Batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 100 g all purpose flour (¾ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 60 g vegetable oil (⅓ c.)
- 105 g light brown sugar (½ c.)
- 1 egg
- 75 g sour cream (⅓ c.)
- 90 g carrot peeled & shredded (~1 c.)
- 55 g crushed walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 90 g cream cheese room temperature (⅓ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 70 g unsalted butter room temperature (5 tbsp.)
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 150 g powdered sugar (1 ¼ c.)
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- green and orange food dye
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a muffin tin with six parchment liners.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Set aside.
- Wash and peel the carrots. In another small bowl or in a small food processor, grate up the carrots and put them into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- To the carrots, vigorously whisk in the oil, sugar, egg, and sour cream.
- Add in the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together just until a few flour streaks remain. Then, add in the walnuts and fold just until no flour streaks remain.
- Distribute the batter evenly between the six parchment liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- With a hand mixer or with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and salt until light and fluffy (~1 minute)
- Slowly beat in the powdered sugar in multiple additions until all of it has been combined. Add in the vanilla and beat for an additional minute.
- To make little carrots on the cupcakes, remove ~3 tbsp of frosting and put into one small bowl, and place ~1 tbsp of the frosting into another bowl. Dye the 3 tbsp. orange and the 1 tbsp. green. Put each color into a piping bag and decorate after frosting. Serve and enjoy!
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