Carrot cake cupcakes recipe

(544 ratings)

These carrot cake cupcakes are as delicious as they are cute. Topped with little roses of buttercream icing and, if you like, a mini marzipan carrot.

Carrot cake cupcakes
(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)
  • healthy
Preparation Time40 mins
Cooking Time25 mins
Total Time1 hours 5 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories473 Kcal24%
Sugar57 g63%
Fat22.7 g32%
Saturated Fat9.3 g47%
Salt0.21 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein3.7 g7%
Carbohydrates64.5 g25%
Salt0.21 gRow 7 - Cell 2

These cute carrot cake cupcakes by Primrose Bakery are an absolute classic, packed with the sweetness of the carrots and raisins and balanced with zesty orange and a little bit of cinnamon spice. 

This is one of our favourite cupcake recipes and always goes down well at tea parties and kids birthday parties. Each cupcake is deliciously moist and light, and topped with a citrusy cream cheese frosting that's so easy to make. You can heap it on with a palette knife, or pipe it out into flower shapes, depending how fancy you want to be about it. This recipe takes only just over an hour from start to finish and makes a dozen cupcakes - perfect if you need something to take to a bake sale.


  • 225g grated carrots
  • 130g raisins
  • 2 large eggs
  • 130g caster sugar, preferably golden
  • 120ml Mazola Corn Oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the orange cream cheese icing:

  • 175g cream cheese
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest from one orange
  • Edible carrot cake toppers (optional)




  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Line two 12 hole muffin tins with cupcake cases or papers.
  2. Combine the grated carrots and raisins in a large bowl using a wooden spoon and put to one side. Beat the eggs and sugar together for several mins and then carefully add the oil, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat well.
  3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and cinnamon into a separate bowl and then slowly add these ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
  4. Then pour this mixture into the bowl containing the carrots and raisins and mix by hand using a wooden spoon or spatula until they are well incorporated.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cupcakes cases, filling each case about two-thirds of the way up the paper.
  6. Place the trays in the oven and bake for approx 25 mins. When cooked the cupcakes will be quite dark brown in colour and feel ‘spongy’ to the touch. Allow them to cool in their tins for 10 mins or so before placing on a wire rack to cool.
  7. For the orange cream cheese icing: Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well until thoroughly combined and the icing is smooth and pale.
  8. Once you have iced the carrot cupcakes with this icing, you can finish them off with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon or with an edible carrot cake topper.

Top tips for making carrot cake cupcakes

These carrot cake cupcakes will keep well in an airtight container for a few days and should be kept at room temperature.

The icing must be stored in the fridge as it contains cream cheese but will keep well. Before reusing, let it come to room temperature and then beat again.

Why does carrot cake use oil instead of butter?

Carrot cake was popular during times of rationing, when sugar and butter were hard to come by. Carrots and oil were good substitutes. The oil makes the sponge moist, and makes a longer lasting cake than a butter based cake.

Why is my carrot cake so dense?

Carrot cake can be dense because it uses oil in place of butter, which affects the raising. Don't add more raising agent though, as it is bitter. Instead, make sure to really beat the eggs and sugar together well, to add in air. Then add the oil in a slow stream as you beat. It's also important to make sure grate your carrots finely enough, as larger pieces make a heavier texture. And don't add in extra carrot (even though it's tempting when you're using up veggies). 

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The founders of Primrose Bakery, Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas originally started off baking their unique cakes for children’s parties, before realising it wasn’t just the kids who loved their deliciously sweet treats. Primrose Bakery was founded in 2004 and started off with just one shop on the famous north London road, Primrose Hill. Fourteen years later, the now sole owner of the brand, Martha, has two other stores - one in Covent Garden and another in Kensington. If you fancy having a go at baking one of their famous cakes yourself, check out the recipe pages (opens in new tab) for their famous carrot cake or the delicious chocolate cupcakes. You’re sure to find the sweet treat you’re looking for with one of these recipes. As well as the successful Primrose Bakery stores, Martha (and Lisa) have released five best-selling recipe books that are full of simple, foolproof recipes. Once you’ve got the baking down to a tee, why not try one of their signature decorating classes? It’s here that you can learn the Primrose Bakery signature swirl, palette knife techniques and how to create a masterpiece with piping. All of the classes are taught at one of their famous shops by their head chefs. It’s a great day out for the family or a lovely gift for someone special. And the best thing about it…you can take everything home with you to eat!