Salted Caramel Carrot Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Frosting
Prep time
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Super moist carrot cupcakes are topped with a homemade salted caramel sauce and creamy, vanilla bean mascarpone frosting. These cupcakes take carrot cake to a new and delicious level!
Serves: 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature*
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 13 ounces carrots, stemmed, peeled, and finely chopped in a food processor (3 cups)
  • ¾ cups sweetened, shredded coconut
For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 drops fresh lemon juice*(optional)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • pinch sea salt, to taste
For the frosting:
  • 4 ounces ⅓ less fat neufch√Ętel cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or the seeds from one vanilla bean)
Prepare the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin pans with 24 paper liners, or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and canola oil vigorously until foamy, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, until well incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture until just blended. Do not over mix or the cupcakes will be tough. Fold in the orange zest, carrots, and coconut with a rubber scraper just until distributed. Using an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into each prepared muffin cup, about ⅔ full. Bake on the center rack in the oven, rotating the pans halfway during baking, for 15-20 minutes. When the cupcakes are done, they will be lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pans on a wire rack, then remove from the pans and cool completely.
Prepare the salted caramel sauce:
  1. Place the sugar, water, and drops of lemon juice in a small saucepan and stir until it resembles a paste. Heat over low heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture looks clear. Increase the heat to high and cook without stirring until large, lazy bubbles appear, the mixture begins to color lightly around the edges. Gently swirl the mixture around in the pan until it is a light to medium amber color. The caramel will continue to cook and darken once you remove it from heat, so be careful not to overcook. Add the butter and cream very slowly, stirring until incorporated. Be careful not to add the cream too quickly as the caramel may bubble up. Stir in the sea salt to taste and allow to cool.
Prepare the frosting:
  1. Place the cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the mascarpone and butter, and beat until combined. The mascarpone may look curdled a bit, but this is normal. Turn off the mixer and scrape the paddle and down the sides. Add the powdered sugar, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Turn the mixer up to high and beat until creamy and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla bean paste until combined.
  2. Place the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a large tip and pipe around the the edges of each cupcake. Fill the center with the salted caramel sauce. Cupcakes are great at room temperature or right out of the refrigerator. Enjoy!
*To make eggs come to room temperature faster, place them in a bowl with very warm water and they'll room temp in about 10-15 minutes.

*Use lemon juice in your caramel to help prevent the sugar from crystallizing.

Store salted caramel sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Fill your caramel pan with water and simmer over low heat to remove any caramel stuck to the pan. Use a pastry brush, dip in the water, and brush off any caramel stuck to the top.

The frosting recipe provided was just the right amount for 24 cupcakes with barely any left to spare. If you want more frosting, consider doubling the batch!

Cupcake recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Cupcake inspiration and salted caramel sauce recipe adapted from Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA..

Frosting by Flavor the Moments.
Recipe by Flavor the Moments at