The BEST Carrot Cake

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

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe |

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 |

Alright, here’s the how-to:

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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.


Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. 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)


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 |




Leave a Comment:


  1. Reka — March 18, 2014 @ 2:05 am (#)

    Dear Ali! It looks devine! How many days in advance do you think I can bake the layers without needing to freeze them? Do you think it would hold form Friday till Sunday?

    • Ali — April 5, 2014 @ 9:31 am (#)

      Hi Reka,

      I think that it would definitely hold from Friday to Sunday. Any more than 2-3 days, though, and I would probably freeze them.


  2. Jessica — March 18, 2014 @ 10:48 am (#)

    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! I would like to try it as cupcakes. Is there anything I would need to do differently for that? Would you be able to recommend an appropriate cooking time to try?

  3. caitlin @ tulle wedding skirts — March 20, 2014 @ 2:45 pm (#)

    I’d like some now please!! Yum, I heart carrot cake!

  4. Ruthy — March 26, 2014 @ 11:55 am (#)

    Made this yerterday and it was so good. I would add 1/4 cup more of oil for more tender cake. It was delicious. Great recipe.

  5. Karyn Brennan — March 27, 2014 @ 1:00 pm (#)

    My favorite cake of all time. No coconut or pineapple please! Looks yummy and I will defibatly be baking this weekend. Thank you!

  6. Michelle — March 27, 2014 @ 7:59 pm (#)

    Great basic carrot cake recipe. I made this for my dad’s birthday it was very good. However I don’t think using 6 eggs is necessary, I think 4 at the least would have been fine. 6eggs made this cake more dense and stiff, and even took some of the moisture out of the cake.

  7. Jen — April 14, 2014 @ 9:37 am (#)

    Hi there. This recipe looks amazing. Do you think it would work as cupcakes??

    • Ali — June 1, 2014 @ 6:20 pm (#)

      Yes, definitely! Just shorten the baking time accordingly.


  8. Cheryl — April 14, 2014 @ 5:03 pm (#)

    I adore carrot cake, and I especially love the little flags! I would be thrilled if you would hop over to my Easter/Passover Recipe Roundup and share this awesome recipe with us! You can find it here: Hope to see you there! HUGS & Happy Easter!

  9. JAMIE — April 17, 2014 @ 6:14 pm (#)

    how many cupcakes would this recipe make???

    • Ali — July 18, 2014 @ 4:07 pm (#)

      I believe it should make between 50-60 cupcakes. Good luck!

  10. JenS — April 19, 2014 @ 10:06 pm (#)

    This was popular tonight. Thanks for the recipe. I used a maple buttercream frosting as a special request. It was delicious. Tons left to enjoy tomorrow.

  11. Gretchen — April 20, 2014 @ 9:48 pm (#)

    I made this carrot cake for Easter today! I also made a second cake of our family recipe carrot cake to compare the two and had my family do a blind taste test. Your recipe did very well, and no one would declare a winner. Everyone enjoyed the texture and spicy flavor. Not hot spicy, but flavor spicy. They thought it was a spice carrot cake. I thought it was fantastic and relish, loved how evenly the layers baked up. And, Lordy, the frosting! Smooth and creamy, not too sweet. The frosting recipe made enough for me to generously frost 2 cakes with leftovers to sit and eat straight from the bowl! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  12. Tania Torres — June 16, 2014 @ 3:25 pm (#)

    Where I live there’s a bakery that sells the most amazing carrot cake ever. I have tried different carrot cakes from different places but no one could compare.
    A few days ago I had a request from one of my friends, she wanted a carrot cake also shaped as a carrot for her daughter’s 1st bday party.

    I found this recipe on pinterest and I can’t be more happy I did because THIS is the most amazing carrot cake! It’s just like the one I love from my local bakery!
    It was my first time making a carrot cake and it was a challenge for me because it was very big. My friend needed to have enough for her 100 guests.
    I made this recipe X4
    The cake was a hit!

  13. Sonja @ unearthedkitchen — July 7, 2014 @ 12:19 pm (#)

    This carrot cake looks super mouthwatering! I am looking for a nice carrot cake recipe for a a long time, and this one does not even look too complicates :) I will try this one out for sure!

  14. Kate — July 10, 2014 @ 1:15 am (#)

    Would this work using a 9×13 pan?

    • Ali — July 18, 2014 @ 2:49 pm (#)

      Yes, it would. The conversion is exact, actually. I would just keep an eye on the baking time, as it may take more time.

  15. Melanie Sedam — July 21, 2014 @ 6:17 pm (#)

    Three (3) packages of 8 oz of cream cheese? that’s 24 ounces of cream cheese, this that correct?

    • Ali — July 22, 2014 @ 3:10 am (#)

      Yes, correct. And that’s for a cake with THICK frosting. You can lessen the amount if you’d like. :)

  16. Abbie — August 1, 2014 @ 6:40 am (#)

    I am so excited to find this recipe and will be making it tonight for my 2 year old daughter, and her daddy’s, birthdays tonight. He is also a purist when it comes to his carrot cake – and I’ve never been able to make it to equal his mother’s. Tonight though, my friends, I have a feeling that will change!

    Thank you, Ali! Can’t wait to feed this to my family!

  17. Tara — August 19, 2014 @ 2:23 pm (#)

    Just wanted you to Thank You for posting this amazing recipe! Carrot cake is my husband’s absolute favorite and this truly is the best one I have ever baked. I made it first for his birthday and now, today, our 19th wedding Anniversary :). It, by far, rivals his previous favorite at the Cheesecake Factory. Can’t wait for him to come home to this beautiful, moist, delicious cake!

  18. yvonne — September 12, 2014 @ 9:44 pm (#)

    Can you use cake flour instead of ap?

    • Ali — October 19, 2014 @ 1:28 pm (#)

      This recipe works best with all-purpose, but you could sub in cake flour.

  19. Shana — September 14, 2014 @ 11:20 pm (#)

    Just made this cake yesterday and followed the cake recipe exactly. I’m pleased to say that this turned out wonderful. It moist, not too dense, and full of flavor! I received compliments from people who typically don’t like carrot cake. :) The only issue I had were some little green bits in the cake, and after researching a little, read that carrots can sometimes turn green if there is too much baking soda in the recipe or it’s not mixed properly. Still safe to eat and tasted delicious though. Anyone else have this problem?

  20. julia — October 14, 2014 @ 4:47 am (#)

    your cake looks fantastic..i wanna try for my brothers birthday- he loves carro cake.
    but I have a question about the frosting. when I make it, can i used on the same day or do i have to put it in to the fridge for a night?

    • Ali — October 18, 2014 @ 6:04 pm (#)

      Since the frosting includes cream cheese, I recommend refrigerating/covering the frosting overnight.

  21. Jen — October 20, 2014 @ 2:56 pm (#)

    I was thinking of using this cake recipe to make an inside out carrot bundt cake.  Do you think it would hold up?

    • Ali — October 21, 2014 @ 8:06 pm (#)

      I think it would! Let me know how it goes. :)

  22. Denise — October 23, 2014 @ 5:03 pm (#)

    Can’t wait to try this cake!!!

  23. KareninStLouis — October 28, 2014 @ 9:44 pm (#)

    I made this carrot cake today. I’d been looking for just the right recipe (1 lb. of grated carrots! No pineapple! Brown sugar!)  from a reliable source (you!!) for a long time, and this was it!  I made two 9″ layers, following your recipe, except that I do use extra light olive oil instead of veg or canola for baking. Loved the frosting recipe as well. Made it with full-fat cream cheese since that’s what I had, and cut the total frosting recipe by 1/3 since I didn’t need quite that much for two layers. It was still plenty. The cake is delicious and my husband proclaimed it the best carrot cake he ever ate…and addictive. I’m going to reserve a couple of slices for my in-laws, and the rest of the cake is going to the office with hubby tomorrow!!

  24. Arathi Menon — October 30, 2014 @ 1:51 am (#)

    tried it and it was fun to make.

  25. gabriela — November 3, 2014 @ 5:34 pm (#)

    Hi!! I’ve been looking for a recipe to make a carrot cake for my daughter’s second birthday, when i found yours i decided to try it ’cause it has easy to reach ingredients and it turned out amazing!!! Thank you so much, it’s the best cake i’ve made!!

  26. rosa linda — November 28, 2014 @ 11:00 pm (#)

    made this cake for thanksgiving dinner. wonderful, tasting cake! first time ever I made this cake, and everyone loved it! will be making it again! try it!

  27. Natalie — November 30, 2014 @ 2:02 pm (#)

    I just made this beautiful cake and it turned out great! I baked the cake the day before it needed to be served and made the icing, assembled and frosted the cake the day of (I think the cake tastes better when baked a day earlier). The cake was perfect, however, I did have to bake it about 8-10 minutes longer than the recipe instructs. The icing recipe made so much icing!! I had about 1 cup of icing left over that I couldn’t justify plopping on the top of the cake ;) I wasn’t stingy on the layers either, it just made much more than I needed. I definitely recommend baking this cake!

  28. Jasmin — December 10, 2014 @ 9:11 pm (#)

    Your cake looks so good, everytime i try to make a carrot cake it never comes out right

  29. Aya — January 3, 2015 @ 9:25 pm (#)

    so I Just made this and omg It’s soooo yummie I have been craving carrot cake for a while and the store bought ones were not doing anything for me. I made it in 2   9 inch pans and What happened is  the middle did not cook properly so I had to leave it in longer and when thEy came out the edges were a little hard I shaved it  off but you could still taste it a little but other than that mmm to die for !!!!! 
    Thanks a million 

  30. Laura — January 28, 2015 @ 3:17 pm (#)

    This cake looks amazly delish… I am making a carrot cake for my Bosses Boss for her birthday, she likes carrot cake so I’m searching. Problem is I have to have enough for almost 30 people. Thinking i might make two 13×9’s to make one large sheet cake. Do you think this would work for this receipe, and how would I adjust the baking time to do so?

    Thank you so much for your help…


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