These soft Pumpkin Carrot Cake Cupcakes are full of pumpkin and carrot flavor and topped with delicious brown sugar cream cheese frosting. The recipe is perfect for any season or holiday!
These Pumpkin Carrot Cake Cupcakes are soft, fluffy and delicious! They’re easy to make and are perfect for fall and the holiday season!
These cupcakes were inspired by my pumpkin carrot cake recipe. The cake was so popular, I decided to make it in cupcake form!
Why This Recipe Works
- Pumpkin puree and a whole shredded apple in place of pineapple make these cupcakes different from other carrot cake cupcakes.
- They are perfectly spiced with pumpkin pie spice flavor!
- No mixer needed and the batter comes together in minutes!
- They’re perfect for fall and the holiday season. They are also great for Easter and spring!
Below are notes about some of the ingredients in these pumpkin and carrot cupcakes.
- All purpose flour: I have only tested this cake with all purpose flour.
- Oil: Use vegetable or canola oil.
- Brown sugar: Use light or dark.
- Eggs: Use 1 and a half large, room temperature eggs. I know using a half an egg is weird. To get half an egg, just whisk a whole egg in a bowl. Pour about half the egg into your batter.
- Pumpkin puree: Make sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. The cans look very similar, but they are different. You can also use pumpkin puree to make this delicious chocolate pumpkin pie!
- Buttermilk: Use room temperature buttermilk.
- Carrots: You will need two cups of shredded carrots
- Apple: Peel and grate the apple. Drain any juice.
- Cream cheese: Leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before making the frosting.
See recipe card for ingredient measurements and recipe instructions.
- Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
- Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the sugars and eggs. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin puree followed by the oil. Add the buttermilk alternatively with the dry ingredients, mixing just til combined. Stir in the shredded carrots and apple.
- Fill each cupcake liner with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a cupcake. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Tip #1: Use room temperature cream cheese and butter. Take them out an hour before making the frosting.
- Tip #2: Sift the powdered sugar. Sifting will prevent lumps in your frosting.
- Tip #3: Brown sugar can get hard lumps if it’s not fresh. Use fresh brown sugar. Fresh brown sugar will dissolve better for smooth frosting.
- Tip #4: Allow cake to cool completely before frosting it. The frosting could melt a bit if the cake is still warm.
Buttermilk adds flavor and moisture and helps make the cake super tender. If you don’t have any, you can get away with a buttermilk substitute.
You don’t have to add nuts or raisins to carrot cake. I omitted them since I prefer my carrot cake without them.
Sweet fruits like raisins and pineapple go well with carrot cake. Since I prefer my carrot cake without add ins, this recipe has grated apple in it. The apple adds a little fresh, natural sweetness into the cake.
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Pumpkin Carrot Cake Cupcakes
PUMPKIN CARROT CUPCAKES
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup oil vegetable or canola
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
- 1 ½ eggs for the half egg, whisk it in a small bowl and add half of it along with the other egg to the batter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ red apple peeled and grated, juice drained
BROWN SUGAR CREAM CHEESE ICING
- 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature (leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before making)
- 3 tablespoons butter room temperature
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar sifted, plus more if needed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
PUMPKIN CARROT CUPCAKES
- Line cupcake pan with liners. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the sugars and eggs. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin puree followed by the oil. Add the buttermilk alternatively with the dry ingredients, mixing just til combined. Stir in carrots and apple.
- Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake. Cool ten minutes in the cupcake pan then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost them with the frosting.
BROWN SUGAR CREAM CHEESE ICING
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter on medium speed for one minute until creamed and combined. Add the brown sugar and mix on medium for another minute. Mix in the vanilla then turn the mixer on low and gradually mix in the powdered sugar.
Please note that nutritional values are created by an online calculator and should only be used as an estimate.