Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Light and moist Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Easy to make and delicious topped with marzipan carrots. Great for birthday parties!

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on cake stand

How could one possibly resist one of these little beauties? Small and dainty, snow-capped with a luscious cream-cheese frosting, these carrot cupcakes are elegant in looks but not pretentious in taste.

I have a fond affection for Nigella’s baking bible, How to be a Domestic Goddess, and this recipe is one which I have returned to on many occasions.

carrot cupcakes cream cheese frosting on cake stand

The carrot cupcakes are light and sweet, simply fragranced with a touch of cinnamon and citrus zest. And decorating these petite cakes with a cream-cheese frosting and miniature carrot gives me the temporary thrill of participating in the current cupcake revolution, except that I am cheating with shop-bought marzipan carrots and there is no requirement to learn any piping skills.



These carrot cupcakes may not land you a spot on Cupcake Wars, but they certainly bestow the maker with a certain sense of pride and achievement.

carrot cupcakes cream cheese frosting with marzipan carrots

One oddity about this recipe is that Nigella calls for the zest of half a lemon and half an orange or satsuma in the cake batter, and then for lime juice in the cream-cheese frosting, thus requiring you to use three different citrus fruits but not the whole of each fruit.

I would recommend simply using the zest of either a whole lemon or a small orange and, to that end, using the juice of your chosen fruit in the cream-cheese frosting. A small simplification on my part but one which makes me feel better about reducing waste in the kitchen.

carrot cupcakes ingredients

The addition of walnuts (a whopping 100g in this recipe) is arguably not a necessary inclusion in this cake. Having made these cupcakes with and without the walnuts, my preference would tend towards the latter. Sure, the walnuts add some texture and depth to the cake, but I find that they can overpower the delicate flavour of the carrots, quickly turning what could be a moist and sweet cupcake into something resembling more like a nut bread.

This is not a criticism – hubby commented that he liked the addition of walnuts because the cake was then “not too moist”. One guest didn’t even realise that it was a carrot cake – not even the marzipan carrots gave it away!

Overall, these little carrot cupcakes are a delightful treat.

carrot cupcakes process shot

Other Carrot Cake Recipes You Might Enjoy

If carrot cake is your thing, you might also enjoy this lovely Moist Carrot Cake with Lemon Frosting.

I love to also make carrot cake in a loaf tin, and always using Rachel Allen’s recipe for Carrot Cake with Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting.

For a more traditional Swiss-style carrot cake, I recommend this classic recipe for Swiss Carrot Cake from Betty Bossi.


Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on cake stand

5 from 1 reviews

Light and moist Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Easy to make and delicious topped with marzipan carrots. Great for birthday parties!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes 1x


For the carrot cupcakes

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 125 g (4.5 oz) cream cheese
  • 250 g (2 cups) icing sugar
  • 12 teaspoons lemon or orange juice
  • marzipan carrots or walnuts halves for decoration


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
  2. Line a muffin tin 12 muffin cases.
  3. Beat the sugar and oil together, followed by the eggs, until you have a smooth mixture.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, salt and zest and mix gently until everything is well combined.
  5. Stir through the carrots and walnuts.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.
  8. Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth.
  9. Add the icing sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon, until you have the desired sweetness. You may not need all of the icing sugar.
  10. Add the lemon or orange juice to taste, though be mindful that it will thin the frosting a little.
  11. When the cupcakes are cool, spread some cream-cheese frosting on the top of each cupcake. Decorate with a marzipan carrot or a walnut half.

Kitchen Notes

All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 378
  • Sugar: 29.4g
  • Sodium: 176.5mg
  • Fat: 19.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 48.6g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Protein: 4.7g
  • Cholesterol: 33.4mg

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  1. Julia 13 April 2018

    I want to try it immediately.A good recipe. Thank you for sharing