Amy's Amazing Carrot Cupcakes

This image courtesy of Anna Blessing and Stephen Hamilton

NotesThis cream cheese frosting is so delicious, it shouldn’t just be used to top cupcakes. It also makes a great filling for cakes.

The two secrets to getting a lump-free frosting are sifting the confectioners’ sugar and making sure that the cream cheese and butter warm to room temperate before mixing. If you don’t have the time to allow this to happen au naturel, soften your cream cheese and butter by warming them in the microwave, 15 seconds at a time, at 50% power (every microwave is different, so start at 20% power just to make sure you don’t end up with a pool of melted butter).

Chef Rafael’s Tip: To make a really creamy, lump-free frosting, cream the powdered sugar with the butter for 2 minutes with 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese. Then add the rest of the cream cheese.

Cooking Methodbaking


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Taste and Texturecreamy, nutty, sweet

Type of Dishcake, dessert


  • 1½ cups carrots, peeled and grated, tightly packed (5¼ ounces; about 1½ medium carrots)
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • Pinch (1/16 teaspoon) salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large whole eggs, warmed to room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pecan pieces, untoasted (optional)
  • 1 recipe Amy's Awesome Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, warmed to room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups (½ pound) confectioners sugar, sifted
  • Sifter
  • Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer


  1. To Make the Cupcakes:

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  3. Shred the carrots using a box grater. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer), combine all the dry ingredients, including the spices. Then, add the oil and eggs to the mixture. Mix well on medium speed until thoroughly combined.

  5. Add the vanilla extract. Slowly add the pecans and carrots to the mixture.

  6. Transfer the mixture to the lined cupcake pans, filling each liner about halfway. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

  7. Let the cupcakes cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

  8. After the cupcakes have cooled completely, using an offset spatula, frost each cupcake with Amy’s Awesome Cream Cheese Frosting.

  9. To Make the Frosting:

  10. Prep: Take your cream cheese and butter out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before you make the frosting, or warm them slightly in the microwave (see Notes). Sift the confectioners’ sugar.

  11. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer), mix all of the ingredients together.

  12. Frosting will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated in a sealed airtight container


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