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Carrot Cake Cupcakes – An Easy Small Batch Dessert Recipe That Uses No Oil!

These Carrot Cake Cupcakes are the perfect dessert for any day of the year, but become hugely popular in early Spring. They are sweet, moist, mini spice cakes that are have bits of shredded carrots throughout and are topped with a cream cheese icing.

They are often times served as a dessert option at Easter buffets. However, they are also popular in the Autumn months as a dessert alternative to standard spice cake during apple cider season.

As much as I love all desserts, sometimes it is difficult to find a recipe that doesn’t require you to make a dozen or more. Sure you could use a box of store-bought cake mix and cut the mix and the other ingredients in half.

carrot cake cupcakes
Carrot cake cupcakes are a moist spice cake with bits of shredded carrots throughout and then topped with a sweet cream cheese icing.

However, I can almost guarantee that the remaining powdered cake mix will never get used. And that seems like such a waste.

The other alternative is to make the cupcakes and freeze half of them. But we all know that fresh cupcakes taste so much better! In addition, there is only so much freezer space available.

The Perfect Small Batch Recipe

So that is why I decided to develop an easy recipe that makes only 6 cupcakes. Plus there is no need to go to the store to purchase a box of cake mix.

With just a few basic ingredients, and pre-made cream cheese frosting, your dessert will be ready to eat in no time!

However, what sets this cake batter above all the rest is that there is no oil required. Instead, all-natural, no sugar added applesauce is used in place of the unhealthy oil.

Therefore, with carrots and applesauce as part of the ingredient list, you will get to eat fruit and vegetables while enjoying dessert. I would call that a win-win situation!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe

*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.


  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Applesauce, all-natural, no sugar added
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg, lightly whisked
  • Fresh grated carrots*
  • Cream cheese frosting, store-bought or homemade

*If you purchase store bought, grated carrots, you will want to chop them into small, fine sections before adding them to the cake batter.


The first step in making these cupcakes is to preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Then place paper or silicone cupcake liners into 6 cups of a standard muffin pan.

cupcake batter poured in yellow muffin cups in a muffin pan
Once the batter is made, use a medium size cookie scoop or two tablespoons to pour the batter inside the prepared muffin cups.

If you have a smaller, 6 cup Muffin Pan you can use that as well. In fact, I prefer to use my smaller muffin pan when making small batch recipes such as Meatloaf Muffins or Keto Egg Muffins.

Not only is it a smaller pan to wash, but it can also fit in smaller, convection ovens as well. That in itself is a huge benefit so you can save your large oven space for other recipes.

Make The Batter

Once the muffin pan has been lined, set it aside and begin making the Carrot Cake Cupcake batter. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon until no clumps are visible and it is well incorporated.

Then set the bowl with the dry ingredients aside. In a large bowl, combine the applesauce and granulated sugar and whisk to combined and smooth.

Slowly add half of the dry ingredients to the oil and applesauce mixture and stir to combine. Then add the whisked egg and continue to mix until the egg is no longer visible.

Next, add the remaining flour mixture into the batter and whisk until just combined. You want to resist the urge to over mix the batter here so that the cupcakes don’t turn out too dense.

Finally, fold in the finely grated carrots until well incorporated throughout the batter. Then use a medium cookie scoop or two tablespoons to place the batter into the prepared muffin pan.

Each muffin cup should be approximately ⅔ full. Smooth out the top of the batter in each cup so that the cupcakes don’t turn out lopsided.

bits of carrots in cake batter
If you purchased a bag of shredded carrots at the grocery store, you need to cut them into little pieces so that there aren’t large strands of carrots in the cupcakes.

Baking Time

Place the muffin pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes. You will know when the Carrot Cake Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Once this is the case, remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Leave the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack.

After the cupcakes have completely cooled, which will take approximately 30 minutes, you can top each one with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I store Carrot Cake Cupcakes?

Because the cupcakes have a cream cheese icing on top, they must be stored in the refrigerator. If you want to store them at room temperature, you can do so if the frosting has not been applied. Then before serving, put a generous amount of cream cheese icing on top.

2. How long will the cupcakes last?

You can store the cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. At room temperature, without the frosting on top, the cupcakes will last 3-4 days.

carrot cake muffins baked but not topped with frosting
The cupcakes are done baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

3. Can I make this recipe Gluten-Free?

If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, replace the all-purpose flour with gluten-free all purpose flour. Then prepare the recipe as instructed.

And in case you are wondering, nearly all Cream Cheese frosting brands are gluten-free. However, be sure to look for the gluten-free identification on the label just to make sure.

4. Can I double this recipe?

If you are wanting to make 12 cupcakes, simply double the recipe. It is a great dessert to serve when guests are coming over for dinner.

Be Sure To Make This Recipe

These Carrot Cake Cupcakes require only a few common ingredients and can be made in a very short amount of time. Little moist spice cakes with bits of shredded carrots in every bite and topped with sweet cream cheese icing.

The perfect dessert for two for Easter!

Enjoy! Mary

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carrot cake cupcakes

Small Batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Moist and delicious carrot cake cupcakes topped with a cream cheese frosting. The perfect Easter dessert recipe.


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp. applesauce, all-natural, no sugar added
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked
  • ¾ cup freshly grated carrots
  • 1 cup of cream cheese frosting, store-bought


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Place paper liners into 6 cups of a standard muffin pan and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine applesauce and sugar and whisk to combine.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the oil mixture and stir to combine. Then add the whisked egg and combine. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and whisk just until combined.
  5. Fold in the grated carrots until blended.
  6. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup ⅔ full.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes before placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Add cream cheese frosting on top when the cupcakes have cooled to room temperature.


Recipe provided by

Nutrition Information
Yield 6
Amount Per Serving Calories 290Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 31mgSodium 188mgCarbohydrates 55gFiber 1gSugar 44gProtein 2g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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