These Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are a healthier version of a favorite dessert! They are made with whole grain flour and no refined sugar. You really CAN have a healthy cupcake with this recipe!
There are a million (maybe more!) carrot cake and carrot cake cupcake recipes on the Internet. You will have no trouble finding one if you look.
What there aren’t so many of are healthy carrot cake cupcake recipes . I know what you’re thinking, but having carrots in it doesn’t automatically qualify it as healthy. You know who you are. 😉
Most of the recipes for carrot cake cupcakes have the two main ingredients I prefer to avoid when baking as much as I can: white flour and refined sugar.
So I set out to make a healthier version of an old favorite. I used white whole wheat flour instead of regular old white and sweetened it with just a tinge of maple syrup.These carrot cake cupcakes are definitely not overly sweet, but it works. Traditional cupcakes can be a bit much, so for me the sweetness level is perfect.
While I don’t usually shy away from fats, I decided not to use oil in these. My purpose was to keep the calorie count in check as I knew I was going to top my cupcake with cream cheese frosting. So unsweetened apple sauce stands in where the oil would be.
Even without the oil, these Carrot Cake Cupcakes are super moist. The texture is outstanding!
What about the cream cheese frosting?
You can’t have a carrot cake cupcake without cream cheese frosting. You just can’t. Don’t worry, I made the frosting healthier too! The maple-cinnamon cream cheese frosting I created for these cupcakes is amazing. Again I used maple syrup as my sweetener of choice and the result was fantastic.
Trust me, I love traditional cream cheese frosting with the 2+ cups of powdered sugar. I think that’s why I fell in love with carrot cake in the first place. But this maple syrup sweetened cream cheese frosting does the trick with a lot less sugar.
How many calories are in Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
Fair question. I looked at Food Network Magazines recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and plugged in their ingredients to see the calorie count. It came to just about 500 calories for one frosted cupcake.
These healthier Carrot Cake Cupcakes are just 193 calories. BOOM.
This Carrot Cake Cupcake is one that I can feel good about the kids eating and would be perfect for a 1st birthday cake. I might even call this a legit breakfast. Go ahead; when your cupcake is healthy, you can eat it for breakfast!
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
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Healthy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
So much healthier than traditional carrot cake, this light version of Carrot Cake Cupcakes are flavorful, moist, and always a hit!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
For the Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 cups shredded carrots
For the Frosting
- 8 ounces organic cream cheese
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray or use silicone muffin molds *
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple and carrots.
- Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir until mixture is smooth.
- Spoon approximately 1/3 cup of the batter into each muffin liner. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack before frosting.
- While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth and whipped.
- Frost your cupcakes once they are completely cooled. To frost your cupcakes, you can make them pretty by creating a make-shift pastry bag. Just snip the end of a plastic sandwich bag, put the frosting inside, and squeeze it out onto the cupcake. Easy! Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1 cupcake with frosting
- Calories: 193
- Sugar: 13.4 grams
- Fat: 7.8 grams
- Carbohydrates: 27.8 grams
- Protein: 4.5 grams
If you’re a big fan of carrot cake flavors, you’ll love some of my other carrot cake recipes! Check them out below and let me know if you try one!
This recipe was first published in 2011. A video was added March 2020.