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Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cupcakes

September 28, 2020 (Last Updated: October 30, 2020)

These pumpkin spiced carrot cupcakes are full of plump, rum-soaked raisins and topped with a dreamy salted caramel cream cheese frosting! Truly one of the most decadent Fall dessert recipes in my repertoire! This recipe makes incredibly moist, dense cupcakes that take only 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to bake! 

6 carrot cupcakes on a plate in front of white pumpkins.

I made these fantastic cupcakes for a little picnic in Sleepy Hollow,  New York, with a few friends. We had a dry cider and I made a simple olive tapenade and mushroom pâté, but wanted to have an autumn-spiced treat to get in the Halloween spirit… even though it’s over a month away.

I like pull out the pumpkin spice at the very first sign of yellow in the trees and a crisp in the air!

Here’s the Process!

  1. First, we’ll plump the raisins in rum.
  2. Then, we’ll mix dry ingredients.
  3. Next, we’ll throw some carrots in the food processor.
  4. Then we’ll mix everything together and bake the batter.
  5. Finally, we’ll make the frosting and frost the cupcakes.

A Few Tips!

1. If you don’t want to use rum for the raisins…

Whisky works just as well and is just as tasty. You can also use brandy or cognac, they’ll just be a little more intensely flavored. You can also simply use water to plump the raisins if you don’t want to use alcohol.

2. Keep in mind, bake times may vary from oven to oven.

Check the cupcakes after 13 minutes in the oven. You’ll know they’re done when the edges are lightly brown and the tops are spongy. If they’re still still sticky or the edges aren’t quite brown, leave them in for 3-5 more minutes.

A frosted cupcake on a plate beside 3 others.

Common Questions:

1. What if I don’t have a food processor?

You can use a cheese grater, but make sure to grate them by holding the carrot horizontally to the grater, instead of vertically. You don’t want carrot strips.

2. How far in advance can I make them?

You can bake them up to 24 hours ahead of time, refrigerate them in a container with a lid, and they’ll be perfectly tasty and moist. In fact, they’ll only start to get a little unappetizing after about 3 days in the fridge.

3. What if I can’t find pre-mixed pumpkin spice?

If you can’t find pre-mixed pumpkin spice in your food store, simply combine 4 tsp. of ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. ground cloves and ½ tsp. ground nutmeg.

4. What do I need to make this recipe?

  • sauce pan
  • 2 medium-sized mixing bowls
  • food processor (or cheese grater)
  • cupcake tin (that makes 1 dozen)
  • hand mixer
  • mixing spoon
  • pastry piping bag and tip
  • twisty-tie

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cupcakes – Step by Step

A collage of 4 images showing how to make whisky raisins and mixing carrot batter.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. (175 C.) and put out 4 oz. salted butter to soften (for the frosting). Add ½ cup of dark rum and ½ cup of raisins to a sauce pan. Simmer on MEDIUM heat for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let them sit and absorb the rum while you prepare your other ingredients.

2. In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup. flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. baking powder, ½ cup granulated white sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1½ tsp. pumpkin spice and ¼ tsp. salt. Whisk together. You may want to pour ingredients through a mesh strainer and push the brown sugar through if it appears clumpy.

3. Chop 2 medium carrots in a food processor or grate them until you have 1½ cups of grated/finely chopped carrot (see #3 in the photo for texture).

4. In a separate mixing bowl, stir carrots and cup of vegetable oil until nicely mixed. Then, add the carrots and rum raisins to your other bowl and stir.

2 images showing how to make cupcake batter.

5. Add 2 beaten eggs to the mixture and stir until you have a nice batter.

6. Grease a cupcake tin with butter and fill each cup half-way, making sure to evenly distribute the raisins between the cups. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are brown and the tops are spongy and not sticky. When cupcakes are done, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. While the cupcakes bake, make your frosting.

A perfectly cooked cupcake in a tin with brown edges.

This is how your cupcakes should look when they’re done. A little brown around the edges and spongy on top, not sticky.

How to Make Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting – Step by Step

A collage of 4 images showing how to make caramel cream cheese frosting.

1. In a mixing bowl, combine 8 oz. of cream cheese, 4 oz. of softened salted butter, 1¼ cups of powdered sugar and 1 tsp. of real vanilla extract. Use a spoon to chop the cream cheese into the powdered sugar a bit so that when you mix with a hand mixer, the sugar doesn’t fly all over your kitchen. With a hand-mixer, whip the frosting together until nice and smooth.

2. Place a pastry tip in a pastry piping bag and use a twisty-tie or string to seal it above the tip.

3. Place the bag upright in a jar and fold over the top edges for easy filling and sealing. Spoon in 2 large spoons of frosting, press it down into the bottom, then add a ½ tbsp. drizzle of salted caramel.

4. Add two more big spoons of frosting, then another drizzle of salted caramel. You can be a little sloppy, it makes for a nicer marble. Keep adding layers until your pastry bag is full. Lift it out of the jar, remove the tie and frost your beautiful cupcakes!

A cupcake being frosted with a pastry tip.

Help Yourself to More Sweet Autumn Inspiration!

And for even more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

Prompt to join the mailing list.

A closeup of a cupcake on a plate.
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4.5 from 6 votes

Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cupcakes

These pumpkin spiced carrot cupcakes are full of plump, rum-soaked raisins and are topped with a dreamy salted caramel cream cheese frosting! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Cooling time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: International
Keyword: carrot cupcakes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 445kcal

Equipment

  • sauce pan
  • 2 medium-sized mixing bowls
  • food processor (or cheese grater)
  • cupcake tin (that makes 1 dozen)
  • hand mixer
  • Mixing spoon
  • Pastry-piping bag and tip
  • twisty-tie

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 2 medium carrots
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • ½ cup raisins
  • butter - a small amount for greasing the cupcake tin
  • ¼ tsp. salt

For the Frosting

  • 4 oz. salted butter - softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp. salted caramel

Instructions

To Make the Pumpkin Spice Carrot Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. (175 C.) and put out 4 oz. salted butter to soften (for the frosting). Add ½ cup of dark rum and ½ cup of raisins to a sauce pan. Simmer on MEDIUM heat for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let them sit and absorb the rum while you prepare your other ingredients.
  • In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. baking powder, ½ cup granulated white sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1½ tsp. pumpkin spice and ¼ tsp. salt. Whisk together. You may want to pour ingredients through a mesh strainer and push the brown sugar through if it appears clumpy.
  • Chop 2 medium carrots in a food processor or grate them until you have 1½ cups of grated/finely chopped carrot. In a separate mixing bowl, stir carrots and ⅔ cup of vegetable oil until nicely mixed. Then, add the carrots and rum raisins to your other bowl and stir. Add 2 beaten eggs to the mixture and stir until you have a nice batter.
  • Grease a cupcake tin with butter and fill each cup half-way, making sure to evenly distribute the raisins between the cups. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are brown and the tops are spongy and not sticky. When cupcakes are done, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. While the cupcakes bake, make your frosting. 

To Make the Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a mixing bowl, combine 8 oz. of cream cheese, 4 oz. softened salted butter, 1¼ cups of powdered sugar and 1 tsp. of real vanilla extract. Use a spoon to chop the cream cheese into the powdered sugar a bit so that when you mix with a hand mixer, the sugar doesn't fly all over your kitchen. With a hand-mixer, whip the frosting together until nice and smooth.
  • Place a pastry tip in a pastry piping bag and use a twisty-tie or string to seal it above the tip. Place the bag upright in a jar and fold over the top edges for easy filling and sealing. Spoon in 2 large spoons of frosting, press it down into the bottom, then add a ½ tbsp. drizzle of salted caramel. 
  • Add two more big spoons of frosting, then another drizzle of salted caramel. You can be a little sloppy, it makes for a nicer marble. Keep adding layers until your pastry bag is full. Lift it out of the jar, remove the tie and frost your beautiful cupcakes!

Notes

1. If you don’t want to use rum for the raisins:
Whisky works just as well and is just as tasty. You can also use brandy or cognac, they’ll just be a little more intensely flavored. You can also simply use water to plump the raisins if you don’t want to use alcohol.
2. Keep in mind, bake times may vary from oven to oven.
Check the cupcakes after 13 minutes in the oven. You’ll know they’re done when the edges are lightly brown and the tops are spongy. If they’re still still sticky or the edges aren’t quite brown, leave them in for 3-5 more minutes.
3. If you can't find pre-mixed pumpkin spice:
If you can’t find pre-mixed pumpkin spice in your food store, simply combine 4 tsp. of ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. ground cloves and ½ tsp. ground nutmeg.
Nutrition information is an estimate.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 2232IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Erin
    November 18, 2020 at 12:15 am

    5 stars
    Omg, the universe FOUGHT ME when I was trying to make these- my food processor broke right away, and due to an injury I can only use one hand right now so grating the carrots by hand was right out. I tried popping the carrots in a blender, but that wasn’t really working. I ended up using an immersion blender 😂😂 which took approximately forever and probably means my carrots are grated too finely.

    IT WAS SO WORTH IT OMG. these carrot cupcakes are AMAZING and SO FREAKING GOOD

    All of the recipes on this blog are sublime- I can’t wait to try more!!!

    • Reply
      Genevieve Morrison
      November 18, 2020 at 3:45 am

      Oh my goodness! Hahaha! I’m so sorry you had to contend with all of that! So glad you liked them! What a travesty it would have been if they didn’t turn out well. Thank you for the lovely comment, Erin!

  • Reply
    Jason
    November 4, 2020 at 2:55 am

    5 stars
    I made the cake in cupcake form with out the raisins and pecans, and it was delicious.

  • Reply
    Ethan
    October 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    5 stars
    This pumpkin spice carrot cupcake is ideal for our tea break. I find pre-mixed pumpkin spice in the store but I want to combine by myself and the result is surprising. The flavor of the cupcake is perfect and tastier!

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