These gluten free carrot cake cupcakes are so incredibly moist and flavorful. Topped with a simple cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are perfect for any Spring or Summer celebration. These cupcakes just take 30 minutes to make!
Carrot cake has long been one of my favorite desserts. It may seem like it’s just an Easter dessert, but I think it’s a great addition to any Spring or Summer table.
As much as I love baking and decorating cakes, cupcakes are perfect for entertaining and celebrations. They’re easy to eat, no fork or plate required!
Plus, they bake so much quicker than a full cake, so you can make these gluten free carrot cake cupcakes in no time at all! When frosted with my simple cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are beautiful and delicious!
Carrot cake is essentially just a spiced cake, filled with warm spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fold in some carrots at the end and you have yourself a flavorful carrot cake with a tender crumb.
Honestly, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to carrot cake. I don’t like to use add-ins like pineapple, walnuts, raisins, or coconut. No thanks. This gluten free carrot cake doesn’t even need it! It’s perfect in its most simplest form!
Whether you’re looking for an easy dessert for entertaining this season or to just make at home with the kids this weekend, these gluten free carrot cake cupcakes are for you! So simple, but so full of flavor!
How to Shred Carrots for Carrot Cake
Carrots are obviously the most important part of carrot cake, hence the name. There are a few methods you can use to shred your carrots for this gluten free carrot cake, but the main thing is that you need to make sure your carrots are shredded small enough.
You want the carrots to be small so that they can evenly disperse throughout the cake and cook in time with the cupcakes. If you shred them too big, you’ll have chewy carrot bits in every bite. You don’t want that. You want the carrot to be one with the cake when you take a bite.
Food Processor with Grater Attachment
My favorite way to shred carrots for this gluten free carrot cake cupcake recipe is to use my food processor! If your food processor has a shred attachment, use the smallest setting. Your carrots will be shredded in no time! Plus, less mess!
Basic Food Processor
If your food processor does not have a grater attachment and instead only has the basic blade, you can use that too. Cut the peeled carrots into large chunks and place them in the food processor.
Pulse until the carrots are in small pieces. Remember, you don’t want to let it process because you may end up with carrot juice. So, use the pulse option instead.
You can also use a box grater to shred carrots. Use the side with the smaller holes to grate the carrots.
What type of frosting is best for Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
Carrot cake is typically made with cream cheese frosting. There is something about the sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting that pairs so beautifully with carrot cake.
This cream cheese frosting that we use with our carrot cake cupcakes is so simple, yet so luscious. The secret to creating a great cream cheese frosting, is to start with room temperature ingredients. You want both the butter and cream cheese to be softened so that the cream cheese doesn’t clump when mixing.
However, if cream cheese frosting isn’t your thing some other great frosting options for carrot cake are brown butter buttercream, cinnamon buttercream, or maple buttercream. Get creative!
Can I make Carrot Cake Cupcakes in Advance?
Carrot cake is one of those desserts that actually gets better after it sits for a day. You can make the cupcakes and frosting in advance and frost the cupcakes just before serving.
You can also frost the cupcakes in advance and store in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to serve. Let the cupcakes sit out at least 20 minutes before serving so that they come to room temperature.
How do you store leftover gluten free carrot cake cupcakes?
In the Refrigerator
These gluten free carrot cake cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To defrost, let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes until the frosting is soft. They’ll be fine to each straight from the fridge, they’ll just be a bit denser and cold if you can’t wait that 20 minutes.
In the Freezer
You can freeze these carrot cake cupcakes for up to 3 months. Before placing the cupcakes in the freezer, let them cool completely on the counter.
I like to flash freeze cupcakes first, by placing the cupcakes on a baking sheet or plate and freezing for an hour until they’re frozen solid. Then, place the cupcakes in an airtight container to store.
To defrost, place in the refrigerator for 8 hours and then let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Whether you're looking for an easy dessert for entertaining this season or to just make at home with the kids this weekend, these gluten free carrot cake cupcakes are for you! So simple, but so full of flavor!
For the Carrot Cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or other neutral tasting oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups finely shredded carrots about 2-3 large carrots
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 Tablespoons butter softened
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two muffin tins (with 12 wells each) with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together granulated sugar and eggs for 2 minutes, until thoroughly combined and light in color.
Add in the oil, applesauce, vanilla and apple cider vinegar. Mix until combined.
In a medium bowl, combine gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk to combine.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring in between, until no steaks of white remain.
Stir in the shredded carrots.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 3/4 of the way full.
Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting.
With a mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until completely smooth.
Mix in the vanilla extract.
Gradually add in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add 3 to 4 cups in total, until your desired consistency is reached.
Frost the cupcakes using a knife or create a rosette on top of each cupcake using a pastry bag and 1M pastry tip.
Serve immediately. Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This post was originally posted September 23, 2011. It was updated on April 23, 2019 with a new recipe, instructions and photos.