The BEST Carrot Cake

Only the BEST carrot cake recipe, in my humble opinion. Check it out! ;)

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

I was planning to wait and post this recipe closer to Easter.  But as you all know, I seem to have zero patience when it comes to sharing recipes I’ve made that I really love.  And carrot cake happens to fall in the category of recipes I really, really, really love.  So without further ado, I present to you a very humbly-named classic:

The BEST Carrot Cake.

Well, at least it’s the best in my opinion, as I am a total purist when it comes to carrot cakes.  That’s right.  I’m one of those people who does not want to see any nuts, raisins, pineapple, applesauce, or (heaven forbid) carrot substitutes in my carrot cake.  Instead, give me a perfectly spiced, moist cake made with a heaping mount of freshly-grated carrots and lots of homemade cream cheese frosting.  And I will be a very happy carrot-cake-eating camper.

(Ok, ok, though — if you happen to adore nuts and/or raisins in your carrot cake, we can still be friends.  I’ve included an option in the recipe for how to add them in.)

Still, in my world, this recipe is Da Best.  I even tested it twice this week just to double check with my friends, and they wholeheartedly agreed.  (And for the record, this one is 500x better than a box mix!)  So here’s the how-to:

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

Alright, here’s the how-to:

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

As I mentioned, one of my absolute non-negotiables for good carrot cake is an entire pound of freshly-grated carrots.  They make all the difference in terms of flavor and helping to create a good moist cake.  Although don’t worry if you’ve never baked a homemade carrot cake before — the carrots totally blend in to the cake once it is baked.  No “eh, what’s up Doc?” carrot crunching moments here.  :)

If you have a food processor, this process can be made so much easier by grating carrots using the (fine) grater attachment.  But otherwise, you can get a good bicep workout and burn some calories by grating carrots by hand.  It will make eating them back up all the sweeter, right?

So grate about 1 pound of carrots…

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then mix up your cake batter, and fold the carrots in at the last minute.  Be careful not to overmix the batter.

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then pour it into cake pans that have been greased and floured.  I chose to bake 3 8-inch round cakes, but this recipe also works for 2 9-inch round cakes.  (You will just need to adjust the cooking time.)

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then once they are done, pop them out of the oven and let them cool until they reach room temperature.  Then I like to pop them in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to cool slightly, in order to make them easier to level and frost.

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

So while they are cooling, whip up a batch of homemade cream cheese frosting.  I made mine with low-fat cream cheese, but any kind will work.

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then pull your cakes out, and level them off to even thickness with a large knife or cake leveler.

Pop them on a pedestal or serving plate, and then layer a nice thick glob of cream cheese frosting between each layer, and then frost the rest of your cake however you’d like.

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

And then you’ll have one heck of a carrot cake ready to enjoy.  Speaking of, I think I’ll go have a leftover piece right now.  :)

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

The BEST Carrot Cake

This classic carrot cake recipe is moist, perfectly-spiced and made with lots of fresh carrots and a cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 lb. finely-grated fresh carrots
  • (optional: 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts and/or 1/2 cup raisins)

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (or more if needed to thicken)

Directions:

How To Make The Carrot Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. G

Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Or alternately, you can use two 9-inch round baking pans. (Just be sure that every square inch of the pans greased and coated in flour so that the cake does not stick!)

In the bowl of a large stand mixer, mix together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the mixing bowl, and beat on medium-speed until just combined, scraping down the pan at least once to be sure that everything is well mixed. Then fold in the grated carrots by hand, and stir until combined. If you would like to add nuts and/or raisins, stir them in at this time as well.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove pans and let them cool on a wire rack until the cakes reach room temperature.

I then like to pop them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to cool off slightly. Then remove them and use a large knife or a cake leveler to level off the domed tops of the cakes so that they are level and even.

Layer the cakes with the cream cheese frosting, and then frost the outside of the cake as you desire. Serve that day or store, covered, for up to 4 days.

How To Make The Cream Cheese Frosting:

Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 1 minute or until smooth with no lumps remaining. Add in vanilla extract and salt, and continue mixing until combined. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add in powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until combined.

If frosting is too thick, you can add in a teaspoon or two of water. If it is too thin, you can add in more powdered sugar.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe -- perfectly moist and delicious, and made with a downright heavenly cream cheese frosting! | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

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  1. Danette — February 3, 2017 @ 3:58 pm (#)

    I only have 2 9″dark cake pan, should I use the same temp @ baking time?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 9:15 pm

      Hi Danette! Yes, we think that should be fine, but to be on the safe side (since every oven is a little different), you might want to set your timer for 20 minutes and then check. If they aren’t done (they likely won’t be), just set the timer for 5 more min and keep checking at 5 min intervals until a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean. We hope this helps and that you enjoy the cake!

  2. Samantha — February 3, 2017 @ 6:30 pm (#)

    Hi I was wondering if I could replace some of the oil with applesauce?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 9:02 pm

      Hi Samantha! We haven’t tried that, so we honestly can’t say, however, we think you could certainly experiment!

  3. Sue — February 4, 2017 @ 7:53 am (#)

    Do you peel the carrots before grating them? Thanks, Sue

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

      Yes. We hope you enjoy the cake!

  4. Haley May — February 7, 2017 @ 4:37 pm (#)

    I just have to tell you that this cake was amazing!!
    I’m going to be making it again for a family members birthday with weekend!
    Thanks again for the awesome recipes!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 7th, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

      Thank you, Haley! :) We’re so happy you enjoyed it and we hope your family does as well!

  5. Lindsey — February 9, 2017 @ 1:49 pm (#)

    Hi I was wondering if this would make enough batter for a 9×13?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 9th, 2017 @ 7:31 pm

      Hi Lindsey! We’re pretty sure this makes way too much batter for just one 9×13 pan. We would actually either cut the recipe in half or use two 9×13 pans. Alternatively, you could always use one 9×13 pan and make cupcakes with the leftover batter. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy! :)

  6. Diaz — February 10, 2017 @ 9:20 pm (#)

    Hi.. I tried to make the cake based on your recipe but I found it hard and the batter was not raising while baked.
    However the taste is great. Do think the oil is too much? I use olive oil as I did not have vegetable
    nor canola oil at home> Do you have any suggestion on that?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 12th, 2017 @ 7:41 pm

      Hi Diaz! Hmm, we haven’t tried this with olive oil, so that might have thrown the taste off a bit (shouldn’t affect the texture much though). If your cake didn’t really get fluffy in the oven, we wonder if your baking soda or baking powder could have been old? Those are the ingredients that help give the cake its lift. Over-mixing the batter could also keep it from rising as much as well. We’re sorry you had some issues with this!

  7. Nadia — February 18, 2017 @ 2:52 pm (#)

    I did it following the instructions step by step but I felt it had too much baking soda it was kind of salty
    What happened? Please give me a suggestion

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 20th, 2017 @ 10:59 am

      Hmmm, this definitely shouldn’t taste salty. Did you use unsalted butter in the cake?