Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are all commonly associated with fall baking, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them all year round! Especially in these Spiced Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. They make a wonderful springtime treat as we pull out of winter. The flavorful cupcakes have the added substance of freshly shredded carrots and are topped with a rich, smooth cream cheese frosting!
Instead of using premade spice blends like “pumpkin pie spice” I make my own for each recipe. I always use cinnamon as a base and add smaller amounts of the other spices. For these Spiced Carrot Cupcakes, I used a teaspoon of cinnamon, a half teaspoon each of nutmeg and cloves, and an eighth teaspoon each of cardamom and ginger. Of course you can adjust the amounts based on what you have and what you like. For example, if you don’t like ginger, leave it out or add some extra cloves.
To make Spiced Carrot Cupcakes, I use avocado oil, but grapeseed or melted coconut oil would work as well. The most important thing is to avoid using industrial fats such as “vegetable” oil (aka soybean oil) and canola oil. These are heavily processed and genetically modified. They are also extracted with chemical solvents that can leave hexane residues in your food! Instead, stick with expellar or cold pressed oils that do not use chemicals and are much easier on the body. Be sure to read labels though because not all avocado or grapeseed oils are expellar pressed. If they are it will say so on the bottle!
To make the frosting for the Spiced Carrot Cupcakes, it’s important to use cold, Organic Valley cream cheese and softened butter. This will ensure a proper consistency. Beat the two together with an electric mixer on low speed. I used my Kitchen Aide stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the chai tea extract (or cinnamon, vanilla, or whatever flavor you like) and mix until just combined. Make sure not to over mix! Then, sift the powdered sugar to eliminate any lumps and gradually add it to the cream cheese mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often to make sure everything gets mixed together.
To decorate the cupcakes, I filled a piping bag fitted with Wilton tip #12. Then I swirled frosting on the cupcakes, starting in the middle and working my way out. At first, the frosting will be very stiff and hard to squeeze, but as your hand warms up the bag, it will get easier to work with. Don’t take too long though, or else the frosting will get too runny.
Since the frosting is temperature sensitive, Spiced Carrot Cupcakes are best stored in the refrigerator. They can be brought to room temperature before serving though. I hope you enjoy the cupcakes! Enter your email below to gain access to the full recipe. Happy baking!
Spiced Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp cardamom
- ⅛ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp Celtic sea salt
- ⅔ cup avocado oil
- ½ cup + 1 Tbsp aquafaba
- 1 tsp chai tea extract (or vanilla)
- 1½ cups shredded carrots
- 8 oz Organic Valley cream cheese (chilled)
- 5 Tbsp Organic Valley salted butter (softened)
- 2 tsp chai tea extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cupcake pan with 12 parchment liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, aquafaba, and chai tea extract. Then pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix gently with a wooden spoon. Do not overmix.
- Fold in the shredded carrots.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Each should be about ⅔ full.
- Bake at 350° for about 20-25 minutes. When they are done, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Set aside to cool before frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and chai tea extract on low speed. Do not over mix.
- Sift the powdered sugar and add it gradually until the frosting is smooth and comes together. Adjust the amount of sugar to fit your desired consistency–more for stiffer frosting and less for softer.