If you like carrot cake, you'll love Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. It's the perfect dessert for Easter or anytime.
Let's talk about dessert hoarding. My husband has accused me of being a "dessert hoarder" for several years now. What he means by this, is that I will do some baking, maybe share half of it with the family, then package the rest up to be stored in the freezer.
From there, I will happily snack on them "in secret" (or so my husband claims) when the kids are at school, or after they've gone to bed. I don't think I'm the only parent to do this. Do you secretly store desserts to eat when your kids aren't watching?
Off the top of my head, I can tell you that right now I've got half a batch of these Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting, a large batch of homemade marshmallows, and some homemade peanut butter banana cups. This is totally normal, right??
How do you make Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
First off, let me start by saying that with this recipe, you can either make cupcakes (you'll end up with 12-16 cupcakes depending on the size of your cupcake pan) or a 9x13" sheet cake.
You won't need to make any changes to the recipe itself, but if you decide to make a sheet cake, you will have to cook it a little longer.
Also, note that the recipe as written makes a fairly soft frosting. It's great for spreading in a thin layer on top of your cake or cupcakes but would not work for piping. If you want to pipe your frosting, you will need a stiffer frosting, which will require more powdered sugar than the recipe calls for.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes Ingredients:
- All-purpose flour
- Whole wheat flour: This is optional, but helps to increase the fiber content of the cupcakes. If you don't have any, or don't want to use it, simply replace it with an equal amount of all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Ground cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
- Ground cloves
- Large eggs
- Brown sugar: Either light or dark brown sugar will work, but I prefer light brown sugar.
- Granulated sugar
- Canola oil
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese: You can use regular cream cheese, light cream cheese, neufchatel, or goat cheese. Or a combination of any of the above. Avoid using light cream cheese or neufchatel if you need a stiffer frosting.
- Powdered sugar
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Carrot Cake Cupcakes Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition information in the recipe below is for one cupcake with thin or soft consistency frosting (as seen in my photos). Making a stiffer frosting will require you to use more powdered sugar, which will result in a higher sugar content for each cupcake.
Carrot Cupcakes with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 cups)
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, (softened and divided)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, or neufchatel, or goat cheese, or a mixture
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (you will need to use more powdered sugar if you want a stiffer frosting)
- Move oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line 16 cups of 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners. (Or spray a 9x13" baking pan with oil and dust lightly with flour.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar together on medium high speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Turn speed to low and slowly pour in the oil. Mix for 1 more minute until the oil is emulsified into the mixture.
- Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. Remove bowl from stand mixer and add carrots. Stir with a spatula until combined. Using a ¼ cup measure, distribute batter among cupcake liners (or pour batter into prepared baking pan).
- Bake cupcakes for 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean with crumbs attached, rotating pans halfway through baking time. (Bake cake for 35-40 minutes.) Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the butter to a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter is golden brown and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Pour into a small bowl to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the browned butter, softened butter and cheese together until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until you get the sweetness and texture you want (I used 1 ½ cups for a spreadable texture, you will need more if you want a stiffer frosting or plan to pipe it).