Mini Carrot Cake Cups

I’ve never been a big fan of carrot cakes, but this one is a game-changer – definitely the most delicious carrot cake I’ve ever had!

I must say, the shining star of this treat is the Whipped Cream Cheese frosting. It has the perfect amount of sweetness and tanginess; it’s creamy yet so light and fluffy.

I’ve adapted the Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from Philosophy of Yum.

Why you need to try this recipe

  • They are super simple to make – even for novice bakers, kids, or for moms like me who are short of time; no special baking skills required!
  • The recipe is straightforward in the sense that you don’t need to prep anything hours ahead. You don’t need to remember to take out an ingredient from the fridge (like butter or cream cheese) to let it come to room temperature.
  • Because this treat is baked in small baking cups, it is easier to make than layered cakes. (You can also use cupcake liners if that’s what you have right now. More on that below. ) It is also easier to serve and transport for gifting, for bringing to gatherings or potlucks.
  • You can decorate them in a variety of ways, depending on the occasion. I think these are great for baby showers, birthdays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.
  • Cakes made with butter will firm up in the refrigerator, so to get the best taste and texture you have to let it come to room temperature, which can take over an hour. This carrot cake? It’s definitely good to go straight from the fridge. So when you want to sneak a piece after everyone else has gone to bed, nothing is gonna stop you.

All these things are why I love this recipe, and I hope you’ll love it as much! 

And since Easter is a few weeks away, I decorated them with Easter candies.

Sneaked these candies from my kids’ stash….shhh! ???

In my opinion, the Easter holiday has the cutest decors and treats. Maybe it’s because I am partial to pastel colors, the adorable bunnies, and eggs. Or maybe it’s because I associate Easter to Spring – not a fan of winter weather here.

Does it taste like carrots

This was my question too – long before I’ve convinced myself to actually try a carrot cake. Believe it or not, I was already in my 20s when I tried one!

But to answer the question, it does not taste “carrot-y”. It’s not like a banana cake where there is an overwhelming taste of banana. There is a very subtle taste of carrot that goes incredibly well with the warm sweetness from the sugar and cinnamon.

Do carrot cakes need to be refrigerated

Yes, cakes with cream cheese frosting should always be refrigerated. On the other hand, you can absolutely eat this mini carrot cakes straight from the fridge!

A cake made with butter firms up when you store them in the fridge, which means you need to let it come to room temperature before you can enjoy the cake. This cake is made with oil, and the cream cheese frosting tastes amazing even when it’s cold.

Top tips

  • Use fresh carrots, not the pre-shredded packaged ones. If you could get the ones from farmer’s markets, they are much sweeter!
  • Do not grate the carrots too finely that it will disappear in your batter.
  • Chopped walnuts are added for crunch for flavor contrast. You can also use pecans. As always, they should be toasted.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make 12 mini cake cups:

  • 125 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 100 grams eggs (from 2 large eggs)
  • 2/3 cup  vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
  • 200 grams (1 1/2 cup) grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 80 grams (1/3 cup) cold heavy cream/ whipping cream
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) cream cheese, cold and chopped into 1-inch cubes (I use Philadelphia, full fat)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 65 grams (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar/ confectioner’s sugar

How to make

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place 12 baking cups on a small baking tray. If you can’t find baking cups, you can use a regular cupcake pan filled with cupcake liners.

Step 2. Gather and measure all the ingredients. You can place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in one bowl. Mix them well so they are evenly distributed.

Step 3. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and oil.

Step 4. Add in the carrots and walnuts. Mix until evenly combined.

Step 5. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. The fewer strokes, the better.

Step 6. Fill your baking cups or cupcake liners 2/3 full. I like to use an ice cream scoop to complete this step easier and faster.

Step 7. Bake for 23-25  minutes or until a toothpick test comes clean. Let the cupcakes completely cool before frosting them.

TIP: Note that each oven is different. Start checking them at the 20-minute mark to see if they need more baking time.

Step 8. While the carrot cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting!

To make the cream cheese frosting, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks with a hand mixer. Add the cream cheese and beat on high speed until fully smooth.

Put in the vanilla and sift in half of the powdered sugar. Beat on high speed again until fully combined. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat again until smooth.

Step 9. To assemble the cupcakes, place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip. (In the photos, I used Wilton 1M.) Decorate the carrot cupcakes as you like – chopped walnuts, carrots, etc.

Making ahead

The carrot cake can be made one day ahead and kept in an airtight container. The cream cheese frosting can also be made up to five days ahead, stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Before using the frosting, bring to room temperature and beat until light and fluffy again.

Mini Carrot Cakes

Easy and delicious - the cream cheese frosting is epic!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Servings: 12 mini cake cups

Ingredients

  • 125 grams 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 150 grams 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 100 grams eggs about 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil I used canola oil
  • 200 grams 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped and toasted

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 80 grams 1/3 cup heavy cream/ whipping cream (cold)
  • 200 grams 7 ounces full-fat cream cheese (cold and chopped into 1-inch cubes (I use Philadelphia))
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 65 grams 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar/ confectioner's sugar

Instructions

Make the Mini Carrot Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Place 12 baking cups on a small baking tray. If you can’t find baking cups, you can use a regular cupcake pan filled with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium bowl, place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Mix them well so they are evenly distributed. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and oil. Add in the carrots and walnuts. Mix until evenly combined.
  • Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Fill your baking cups or cupcake liners 2/3 full. I like to use an ice cream scoop to complete this step easier and faster.
  • Bake for 23-25  minutes or until a toothpick test comes clean. Let the cupcakes completely cool before frosting them.

Make the cream cheese frosting

  • Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks.
  • Add the cream cheese and beat on high speed until fully smooth.
  • Put in the vanilla and sift in half of the powdered sugar. Beat on high speed again until fully combined. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat again until smooth.
  • To assemble the cupcakes, place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip. (In the photos, I used Wilton 1M.) Decorate the carrot cupcakes as you like - chopped walnuts, carrots, etc.

Notes

Because the frosting has cream cheese and heavy cream, these cakes need to be kept in the fridge, or for 4 hours at room temperature.

Measurements Note: All baking recipes in this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!

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