These healthier carrot cake cupcakes are super fluffy, moist, and packed with warming spices and shredded carrot. They’re naturally sweetened with coconut sugar to keep them refined sugar free and very easy to make. Paired with an airy orange buttercream frosting, these cupcakes are party perfect.
The best healthy carrot cake cupcakes
To me, spring just isn’t spring without a slice of carrot cake. And what’s better than carrot cake? A decadent carrot cake cupcake, of course!
These are seriously the BEST carrot cupcakes I have ever made. They’re spiced just right, the interiors are so fluffy and moist, and the best part is that they’re completely refined sugar free. Yes, even the orange buttercream frosting!
We’re using coconut sugar to sweeten these cupcakes naturally and agave syrup to make the creamy and airy heritage frosting. Don’t let those words intimidate you. If you’ve never made heritage frosting before, I promise it’s incredibly easy and you’ll love it and never go back to normal American buttercream ever again.
Ingredients in carrot cake cupcakes
I don’t know about you, but I hate recipes with extraneous ingredients. We’re keeping this carrot cake cupcakes recipe simple and only using ingredients necessary to achieve the right texture and flavour we know and love from carrot cake:
- Flour: To provide structure for the cupcakes and to help thicken the frosting – I always use unbleached flour.
- Baking powder & soda: These help the cupcakes rise by reacting to the heat of the oven and acidic ingredients in the batter.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger: Our trifecta of spices to create the delicious carrot cake flavour we all know and love.
- Coconut sugar: To sweeten these healthy carrot cake cupcakes naturally, we’re using coconut sugar. This also gives the cupcakes rich notes of caramel.
- Yoghurt: The acid from the yoghurt helps activate the baking soda and gives the cupcakes more lift.
- Rapeseed oil: A light oil helps provide richness as well as moisture to our cupcakes to keep them from becoming too dry.
- Shredded carrot: The star of the show! Always grate your own fresh carrots as they provide extra moisture, and honestly, just taste better than the dry pre-shredded kind.
- Agave syrup: We’re using agave syrup to sweeten the heritage frosting for these carrot cupcakes.
- Milk: An essential part of our frosting ingredients – I use Good Hemp milk for mine, but regular cow’s milk will also work.
- Unsalted butter: We can’t make a buttercream frosting without some butter. Unsalted is preferred so that we can control how much salt goes into the frosting.
- Orange extract: I tried using orange juice and zest for this frosting, but the acid caused the frosting to split every time and I didn’t like the texture of the zest, so we’re using a pure extract for flavour instead.
What to pair with carrot cake
How to figure out what goes with carrot cake is a challenge when you’re new to pairing flavours. Carrots love fresh and floral flavours the most. Here’s a list of some of my favourites if you’re just starting out:
- Earl Grey tea
How to make carrot cake cupcakes from scratch
Although they take a little bit more time, making these healthy carrot cake cupcakes is very easy to do. Here’s how you make them:
1. Mix together the dry ingredients
Add all of the dry cupcake ingredients to a bowl and mix together until well combined.
2. Whisk together the wet ingredients
Add all of the wet ingredients to a bowl and whisk them together well.
3. Make the batter and bake
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two parts. Then fold in your carrot. Decant the mixture into 9 cupcake cakes and bake them up!
4. Make the frosting
Finally, make the orange heritage buttercream by first making the pudding. Allow the pudding to cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled, whip butter in a stand mixer and then slowly add the pudding to the whipped butter. Add your flavourings and whip it up until fluffy.
5. Assemble the carrot cake cupcakes
Pipe your beautiful orange frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or orange zest and enjoy!
Full details are in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Can carrot cake cupcakes be frozen?
Yes! The only stipulation is that they have to be unfrosted. Here’s how to freeze carrot cake cupcakes:
- Bake your cupcakes and allow them to cool to room temperature
- Place them in a freezer-safe tupperware container and cover with a layer of non-stick parchment paper or wax paper.
- Secure the lid and freeze for up to 1 month.
- Let them come to room temperature on the counter when you are ready to frost and serve.
How long do carrot cake cupcakes last?
These refined sugar free cupcakes will keep for 3 days.
How do you store carrot cake cupcakes?
To store these cupcakes, place them in a sealable container and keep them refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving so the frosting becomes soft again.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Use fresh carrots and shred them yourself. The pre-shredded carrots are generally very dry and don’t produce a light and fluffy texture. We want to utilise the extra moisture from fresh carrots in these cupcakes.
- Make sure your spices are fresh for the best flavour. If your spices are over a year old, it’s time to replace them.
- Don’t fill your cupcake cases past the ⅔ mark. Ideally, the cases should only be about half full of batter, otherwise you’ll end up with massive humps in the middle of your cupcakes as the batter has nowhere to go. They’ll still be delicious, just not aesthetically pleasing.
- When making the frosting, make sure everything is at room temperature. The butter and the pudding need to be at room temperature so that the frosting doesn’t split. I like to spread my pudding out on a large platter so that it cools faster.
Looking for more refined sugar free cakes?
Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes
Golden Milk Cupcakes
Refined Sugar Free Carrot Cake
Natural Red Velvet Cake
Mini Lemon Lavender Cakes
Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake
Apple Chai Cake
White Chocolate Raspberry Ripple Cake
Apricot Upside Down Cake
Black Forest Cake
Easy Coffee Layer Cake
Mandarin Orange Cake
Chocolate Sheet Cake
If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe by leaving a comment and rating below!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Healthier carrot cake cupcakes made with no refined sugar, packed with spices & shredded carrot, and topped with orange buttercream frosting.
- 90 g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 110 g coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 100 g shredded carrot
- 170 ml agave syrup
- 200 ml milk
- 35 g plain flour
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 200 g unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp pure orange extract
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and line a regular cupcake tin with 9 paper liners.
- Tip the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger into a medium bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
- To another bowl, add the coconut sugar, yoghurt, oil, vanilla, and egg. Whisk well to combine.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together until a few streaks of flour remain. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and whisk again until smooth. Fold in the shredded carrot.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 9 paper cases. The cases should only be about half way full; do not exceed the ⅔ full mark.
- Bake the cupcakes for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Leave them to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
- Add the agave, milk, flour, and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the flour disappears and the mixture comes to a boil.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens and reaches a thick pudding consistency. Remove the pudding from the heat and spread it out on a large platter to cool to room temperature.
- Once the pudding has cooled, add the butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on a high speed for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Turn the mixer off and scrape down any butter from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer on to medium-low speed and slowly begin adding the pudding mixture to the butter, one spoonful at a time. Once all of the pudding has been added, add the vanilla and orange extracts. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until super fluffy.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, put the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice (I used a Wilton 2D). Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes any way you desire. Top with a dusting of cinnamon or orange zest.
- Once frosted, these cupcakes will keep sealed in the fridge for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
- Unfrosted, the cupcakes can be frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature.