As a lifelong carrot cake lover, this classic dessert has been a celebration staple in my family. Whether you are in charge of a birthday cake or a simple get-together with friends — this recipe is perfect for taking your baking to the next level.
Growing up, I requested carrot cake for every one of my birthdays. A good carrot cake is sometimes hard to find in stores — so when I got more interested in baking, I took it upon myself to make my birthday cake at home. I’ve been baking my own carrot cake for years, and it never fails to remind me of my favorite birthday memories, from getting my first pet bird to celebrating with my family at the beach.
With a five-star rating on Inspired Taste — this incredibly moist and easy carrot cake certainly lived up to my expectations. Below you will find my abbreviated recipe for the cupcake version but certainly explore the original recipe for more information.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yields: about 20 cupcakes
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1¼ cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (plus 1¼ tsp for frosting)
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 3 cups grated peeled carrots
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup raisins
- 16 oz cream cheese
- ½ cup softened butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
- In a separate, large bowl, whisk together oil, white and brown sugar, vanilla and eggs – whisking after each addition.
- Stir grated carrots into bowl of wet ingredients.
- With a spatula, fold small increments of dry ingredients into wet until fully combined.
- Stir in the raisins and chopped pecans.
- Portion batter into the muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with no batter sticking to it.
- While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
- Beat together the cream cheese, vanilla and butter until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar incrementally until combined.
- If the frosting is too thick, beat in milk to smooth it out.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag if desired, or cool in the refrigerator in a covered bowl until ready to use.
- Once the cupcakes are fully cool, frost the cupcakes as desired and enjoy!
As the recipe title suggests — these cupcakes really are incredibly moist. Carrot cake is much more dense than other types of cake due to the heavy mix-ins, so the right amount of cream cheese frosting is critical to optimize the experience. Frosting the cupcakes to a height about half that of the cupcake itself is a good rule of thumb to make sure the balance between cake and frosting is just right. The cake contains quite a bit of sugar but it is not overwhelmingly sweet — so when paired with the cream cheese frosting a hint of savory comes through.
A great way to step up this recipe further is to use decorative baking cups. The ones I used when baking these cupcakes are from HomeGoods and they certainly brought a wow factor to the presentation. One important thing to note if you choose to use decorative baking cups — which are thicker and can stand alone without a muffin tin — as opposed to regular muffin liners is that they are slightly bigger so you will need to double the recipe.
Feel free to alter this recipe as you see fit — whether that means taking out the pecans to make the cupcakes nut-free or tripling the recipe for a large gathering. This recipe is quite forgiving and is perfect for all levels of baking experience. While carrot cake can be enjoyed year-round, there is something special about enjoying it in the fall.