Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes – Delicious spiced carrot cake cupcakes topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream.

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes - Delicious spiced carrot cake cupcakes topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream.

I promised last week, when I shared my recipe for Cream Cheese Buttercream, that I would come back with my recipe for carrot cake cupcakes, so here it is!

I’ve made cupcakes as recipe testing is so much simpler using mini cakes than full-sized ones. It means I can make lots of small batches with little tweaks without ending up with far too much cake to eat. I made at least ten different versions of these cupcakes before settling on this as the perfect recipe.

I tried:

  • Plain v self-raising v wholemeal flour
  • Caster sugar v brown sugar
  • Cinnamon v mixed spice
  • Different ratios of each ingredient to get the balance just right.

I haven’t yet tested this recipe as a full-sized cake. If you’d like to know how to adapt it, then I’ll get back to the kitchen and figure out the adjustments needed for you, just let me know in the comments.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes - Delicious spiced carrot cake cupcakes topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream.

Should you have raisins or nuts in a carrot cake?

I’ve made my carrot cake cupcakes with raisins, as this is what Jon prefers. I like to soak the raisins in water before adding them to the cake mixture as this ensures they are nice and juicy in the cake and also prevents any on the top from burning when the cake is cooking.

If you prefer you could substitute in the same weight of chopped walnuts or pecan nuts, or use a combination of raisins and nuts if you like both.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes - Delicious spiced carrot cake cupcakes topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream.

Some carrot cake cupcake decorating inspiration

I couldn’t decide how to decorate my cupcakes for this recipe post, so I tried two ideas. This first uses little sugar carrots from Cake Angels. Be warned they look quite a bit redder in colour than they appear in these images, a slightly odd shade for a carrot in my opinion.

GOOD NEWS – They’ve updated their mini sugar carrots since I wrote this and they’re now a fantastic orange colour, perfect for carrot cakes!

For the other decoration, I’ve cut a thin slither of carrot and made it into a curl and then added the tips of the carrot leaves.

I asked in my Instagram stories which you preferred, and the result was pretty much 50:50 so I thought I’d share them both on here.

If you want to help me in choosing pictures for my recipes, then do check out my Instagram stories as I ask for help on there quite often.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes - Delicious spiced carrot cake cupcakes topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream.

Can you freeze these carrot cake cupcakes?

Yes, they freeze very well.

The easiest way to freeze them is undecorated, as you can pile them up in an airtight container and defrost them when you want to eat them. The cream cheese buttercream can also be made in advance and frozen, then used to decorate the cupcakes once defrosted.

If you realise you’ve made and decorated too many cupcakes and want to freeze them, then this is also possible. To keep your buttercream looking pretty I recommend putting them onto a tray and freezing for two hours. This will allow the buttercream to firm up so that it holds its shape. Then transfer them into an airtight container for longer storage. When you come to defrost them, remove them from the container so that as the buttercream softens you won’t find they all accidentally stick together.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes - Delicious spiced carrot cake cupcakes topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream.

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5 from 3 votes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes – Delicious spiced carrot cake cupcakes topped with smooth cream cheese buttercream.
Active Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes


For the carrot cake cupcakes

  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 g carrots - One medium carrot
  • 165 g self-raising flour
  • 135 g brown sugar - I use soft dark brown sugar, but light brown or muscovado would also work well
  • 150 ml vegetable/sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp ground mixed spice
  • 100 g raisins
  • Water - enough to cover the raisins


  • 12 cupcake or muffin cases

For the cream cheese buttercream

  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g icing sugar
  • 250 g cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • A little milk - This may be needed to ensure the buttercream is the right consistency


Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan.
    Line muffin tins with 12 cupcake cases.
  • Put the raisins (100g) into a small bowl or jug and cover with water. Leave to soak while you prepare the rest of the cake mixture.
  • Coarsely grate the carrot (150g).
  • Beat together the oil (150ml) and brown sugar (135g) until combined.
  • Beat in the egg (2 large) until combined.
  • Sift in the self-raising flour (165g), bicarbonate of soda (½ tsp), cinnamon (1 tsp) and mixed spice (⅓ tsp). Fold the dry ingredients into the egg, oil and sugar mixture until combined.
  • Drain the water from the raisins and add the raisins and grated carrot into the cake mixture. Fold together until combined.
  • Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases. Bake for 20 minutes. Check the cupcakes are cooked through by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean they are ready, if not, pop them back into the oven for a couple more minutes.
  • Move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • Cut the butter (125g) into cubes and beat (either by hand or using a mixer on a slow speed ) until soft.
  • Sift the icing sugar (125g) and beat it into the butter until fully combined and smooth.
  • Add the cream cheese (250g) and vanilla extract (¼ tsp) and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Check the consistency of your buttercream. It should be firm, but soft enough to pipe. If it is too firm, then beat in a little milk (no more than a teaspoon at a time) until you have the right consistency.
  • Pipe your buttercream onto your cupcakes and serve.


❄️ Suitable for freezing - You can find details on how to freeze these cupcakes either decorated or undecorated just above the recipe.
If you would like to use a different style of piping on your cupcakes, then you may need a different quantity of buttercream. Take a look at the recipe notes in my original cream cheese buttercream recipe for other styles, and the amount of buttercream you'll need.

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Cuisine: British

Nutritional Information

Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.6g | Protein: 4.2g | Fat: 25.6g | Saturated Fat: 9.6g | Sodium: 181.9mg | Fiber: 1.1g | Sugar: 28.9g
Any nutritional information shown is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.

Free From/Suitable For

The ingredients I used to make this recipe are all free from the following allergens. However, please check any labels carefully for allergens you need to avoid as brands can vary, and product recipes can change over time.

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Tree Nut-Free
  • Peanut-Free
  • Sesame-Free
  • Soya-Free
  • Lupin-Free

The cupcake sponge is dairy-free, but there is dairy in the buttercream.

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  1. Love this recipe thanks for sharing it, I tweaked it a little once by soaking the fruit in cold strong tea which I do for my fruit cake & once by soaking in orange juice then adding a little orange oil to buttercream both tasted amazing. Doesn’t improve this lovely recipe just compliments it.

    • I was in two minds whether to add a bit of orange when I developed the recipe as it’s a flavour that goes so well with carrot cake. I’m glad to hear it worked well for you.

  2. These cupcakes are looking so cute. Thanks for sharing such a lovely recipe.

  3. Delicious cake recipe and perfect for leftover cream cheese icing! Check out “baked with love” carrot decorations at Morrisons which I thought were a great colour and shape.

  4. I think these cupcakes sound fantastic Charlotte – I love the ones with the little carrot curl! I really like raisins in carrot cake too as I think they really help keep the cake nice and moist.

    • They do, and they add a little burst of sweetness too.

      I likes the carrot curl too, but the sugar carrot got ever so slightly more votes on Instagram so I made that the main image.

  5. The website is great. I have been subscribing for some time but really appreciate the ‘full’ details and the new print facility.

  6. Hi Charlotte would soaking the raisins in alcohol work

  7. Hi Charlotte

    I love your recipes. Your vanilla and choc birthday cake recipes are real winners with my (large) family. However, my husband and step-son are both extremely gluten and lactose intolerant and I would fo4 you to create some sweet recipes that I can make for them. They would love carrot cupcakes with cream cheese topping (you can buy lactose free soft cheese) , vanilla cupcakes, fruit cakes, tray bakes etc. Finding an good equivalent to unsalted dairy butter is a problem.

    I hope you can create a new range to suit the ever-growing GF & DF population.

    Thanks Charlotte

    Best of luck. Janet

    • I am trying, but it’s not really my area of expertise so takes me a while to get them right. If you take a look at my Halloween Meringues recipe there’s links in there to a number of really great “free from” bloggers who have lots of recipes he might like.

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