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Classic Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe

carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on plate
carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on plate - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

It's hard to go wrong with carrot cake, as it's pretty much guaranteed to please anyone who likes moist cake and sweet frosting. Recipe developer Annabelle Randles transforms this classic cake into delicious cupcakes, simply flavored with cinnamon and vanilla and topped with a generous swirl of luscious cream cheese frosting. Full of complementary textures, these cupcakes are packed with grated carrots, chewy raisins, and crunchy walnuts. Both the carrots and raisins add a natural sweetness that is perfectly balanced by the tanginess of the frosting.

Individually portioned, these classic carrot cake cupcakes can be enjoyed for any occasion, whether as a dessert after dinner, a sweet afternoon snack, or even — if you leave off the frosting — as a grab-and-go breakfast treat. If you prefer your carrot cake sans nuts, these cupcakes will still be delicious. In fact, when making a batch for her kids' lunches or birthday parties, Randles always omits the walnuts to make these cupcakes nut-allergy friendly.

Read more: 12 Popular Ice Cream Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

Gather The Ingredients For Classic Carrot Cake Cupcakes

carrot cake cupcakes ingredients
carrot cake cupcakes ingredients - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

To make the batter for these classic carrot cake cupcakes, you will need some self-rising flour, light brown sugar, eggs, carrots, raisins, walnuts, ground cinnamon, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and salt. The frosting is made with cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. As for special equipment, be sure to have a 12-cup muffin tin and cupcake liners on hand.

Step 1: Preheat The Oven

stainless steel rangemaster oven turned on
stainless steel rangemaster oven turned on - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Step 2: Prep A Muffin Tin

12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners
12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

Step 3: Whisk The Dry Ingredients

flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in bowl
flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in bowl - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until no sugar lumps remain.

Step 4: Mix The Wet Ingredients

vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract in bowl
vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract in bowl - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable oil, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Step 5: Combine The Wet And Dry Ingredients

cupcake batter in bowl
cupcake batter in bowl - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Step 6: Stir In The Carrots, Walnuts, And Raisins

carrot cupcake batter in bowl
carrot cupcake batter in bowl - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Mix in the carrots, walnuts, and raisins until well combined.

Step 7: Add The Batter To The Muffin Tin

batter divided in muffin pan
batter divided in muffin pan - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan.

Step 8: Bake The Cupcakes

cupcakes in oven
cupcakes in oven - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Step 9: Start Making The Frosting

cream cheese frosting in bowl
cream cheese frosting in bowl - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.

Step 10: Beat In The Powdered Sugar

cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl
cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Beat in 3 cups powdered sugar until thick and well combined. (If you want a thicker frosting, beat in up to ⅓ cup more powdered sugar.)

Step 11: Refrigerate The Frosting

frosting in fridge
frosting in fridge - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Place the frosting in the fridge to firm up until ready to use.

Step 12: Partially Cool The Cupcakes In The Pan

carrot cupcakes in muffin tin
carrot cupcakes in muffin tin - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

When the cupcakes are done, leave them to cool in the muffin tin for about 5 minutes.

Step 13: Finish Cooling The Cupcakes On A Wire Rack

carrot cupcakes cooling on wire rack
carrot cupcakes cooling on wire rack - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 14: Frost The Cupcakes

carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on wire rack
carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on wire rack - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe or spoon on the frosting.

Step 15: Garnish And Serve The Cupcakes

carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on wire rack
carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on wire rack - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Top with extra walnuts, if desired, and serve.

What Ingredients Can I Add To Carrot Cake Cupcakes?

carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on wire rack
carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on wire rack - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

These classic carrot cake cupcakes can be customized in many different ways. For example, you can swap the walnuts for pecans or simply leave out the nuts if you need an allergy-friendly option. The raisins can be replaced with cranberries, finely chopped dates, or dried apricots. You can also experiment with folding in crushed pineapple or shredded coconut for a tropical twist. And aside from cinnamon, feel free to add a flavor twist with a pinch of another spice, such as ground nutmeg, ginger, cloves, or allspice.

For a change from cream cheese frosting, consider using vanilla buttercream or a citrus-flavored frosting. Keep in mind that consistency is key, especially if you want to pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes; if the frosting is not firm enough, try adding more powdered sugar and refrigerating it before use.

These cupcakes can also be adapted for dietary needs. To make them vegan, swap the eggs for 2 chia eggs, and use plant-based cream cheese and butter. The all-purpose flour can also be substituted with gluten-free flour to cater to those with gluten sensitivities. Finally, for a bite-size treat better suited to parties or gatherings, you also have the option to make mini carrot cake cupcakes using a mini muffin tin lined with small cupcake liners. Make sure to adjust the baking time, as these will cook much faster.

Can I Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes In Advance?

carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on plate
carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on plate - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Yes, you can bake these cupcakes ahead of time. Once baked and cooled (up to Step 13), simply store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. If you need to store them for longer, you can refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent them from drying out and to keep excess moisture and outside odors at bay.

For optimal freshness, it is best to frost the cupcakes a short time before you intend to serve them. However, the frosting can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. In fact, chilling the frosting will help it firm up, making it easier to work with.

If you want to store the cupcakes for a longer period, you can freeze them, unfrosted, for up to 2-3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before frosting and serving. To improve their texture, remember to let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for at least half an hour before serving.

Classic Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe

carrot cake cupcake with bite removed with fork
carrot cake cupcake with bite removed with fork - Annabelle Randles/Mashed

Prep Time: 50mCook Time: 25mYield: 12 cupcakesIngredients

  • 1 ½ cups self-rising flour

  • 1 ½ cups slightly packed light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

  • 2 cups finely shredded carrot

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, plus ¼ cup more for topping

  • ½ cup raisins

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

  • 3 cups powdered sugar, or more to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until no sugar lumps remain.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable oil, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix to combine.

  6. Mix in the carrots, walnuts, and raisins until well combined.

  7. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan.

  8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

  9. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.

  10. Beat in 3 cups powdered sugar until thick and well combined. (If you want a thicker frosting, beat in up to ⅓ cup more powdered sugar.)

  11. Place the frosting in the fridge to firm up until ready to use.

  12. When the cupcakes are done, leave them to cool in the muffin tin for about 5 minutes.

  13. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

  14. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe or spoon on the frosting.

  15. Top with extra walnuts, if desired, and serve.

Read the original article on Mashed.