Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting

Where I live, spring doesn’t seem to exist for more than a few days at a time.  We get a mix of winter and summer back and forth until summer sticks around for a while.  Last week, it snowed four inches one day, and by the next afternoon it was nice enough to enjoy a family party outdoors.

One of my favorite moments at the party was watching my little cousin enjoy one of these cupcakes.  I wish that I had been able to snap a picture.  As she held a mini cupcake in her hands, she proceeded to lick the frosting off the top before biting into the cake.

These carrot cake cupcakes are all about spring.  They are light and moist, with just enough orange in the frosting to add a bit of citrus sunshine.  I like that they have enough carrots so they don’t disappear while they bake.  They are a breeze to mix together, and can be in the oven in no time.

Bake a batch today, and enjoy the taste of spring no matter what the weather is doing outside.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: about 14 standard-size cupcakes

1 pound carrots (about 5), peeled
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Demerara sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat), room temperature
2s teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, right from the refrigerator
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon orange zest

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners, and line 2 more cups in a second muffin pan.

2.  Grate the carrots using a food processor fitted with the small shredding blade, or the medium holes of a box grater.

3.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the Demerara sugar, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.  Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk to combine.  Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.  Using a spatula, fold the carrots into the batter.  Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full.

5.  Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool a few minutes.  Invert the cupcakes onto a wire rack, and turn them top side up to cool completely.

6.  Using a metal spatula or a butter knife, spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the frosting over the top of each cupcake.  Alternatively, fill a piping bag and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.


  • Adapted from The Craft of Baking, by Karen DeMasco
  • The leaveners (baking powder and soda) have been adjusted for high altitude.
  • I started with a one-pound bag of mini carrots and shredded them with a food processor.  It worked great, but I ended up with a lot of water that need to be squeezed out.
  • I used this recipe to make 24 mini cupcakes, plus 7 standard-size cupcakes.


  1. Nicole these cupcake photos look so good! I like the colors from the wrappers next to the colors in the towel in the first pic. Yay! Also, these cupcakes were delicious, and Taylor liked them, too. I’ll have to remember these for his birthday. One question… I’ve never heard of Demerara sugar. Can I get it at Smith’s?

    • Thank you!
      Demerara sugar is an unrefined sugar with large, brown crystals. You could substitute brown sugar, and it would be just fine. But you should give it a try. I like to sprinkle a little on muffins or banana bread before putting them in the oven. It gives them sparkles. And yes, I buy mine at Smith’s.

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