An easy recipe for reduced fat carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. It’s a lightened up version of a classic dessert.
This recipe was one of the first recipes that I shared on this site eight years ago. Today I am revisiting and updating the recipe and adding some new photos. I have learned a bit about baking in the past 8 years and I made some minor adjustments to make this recipe better. I found that using brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar adds more moisture and a depth of flavor. And the cupcakes cook better if you start them at a higher temperature.
I love this recipe because it is made with ingredients that I usually have at home already, and it makes super moist cupcakes. The total active preparation time is only about 20 minutes. The recipe yields 16 cupcakes, although I often make a half batch.
It is important to note that you do really need to use freshly grated carrots. Buying a bag of grated carrots at the grocery store is tempting, but they do not have the moisture that freshly grated carrots have. Fresh carrots help to make these cupcakes super moist. Two or three large carrots are just enough to make this recipe.
I like to add some walnuts to carrot cake but you could also opt to add some raisins. I’m personally not a fan of raisins in desserts, but if you like them, go ahead and add some.
How to make Reduced Fat Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Carrots
- 1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
- Optional: 1/2 cup Walnuts
- Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1/2 cup 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 2 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Milk
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In another bowl beat the sugar, applesauce, oil, and vanilla together. Then add the eggs one at a time.
Using a mixer on a low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Add the carrots (and walnuts if you are adding them) to the remaining flour mixture. Stir to combine.
Add the carrot/flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold together until just combined. Arrange an oven rack so that it is on the top third of the oven. Turn the oven on to 425 degrees and let the batter rest for 15 minutes while the oven heats.
Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each cup until full. Bake the cupcakes at 425 degrees for 7 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 12-15 minutes longer.
While the cupcakes bake, make the frosting. Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of milk if you wish to have a thinner consistency.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Test them by placing a toothpick into the center of a cupcake, it will come out clean if they are fully baked. Let the cupcakes cook on a cooling rack before frosting.
Want to try some similar recipes? Make these carrot cake muffins with a cream cheese swirl! Or try carrot cake pancakes. Of if you want to check out some more cake and cupcake recipes, some of my favorites are Strawberry Vanilla Cupcakes with Lime Icing, Chocolate Irish Cream Cupcakes, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.