The BEST Carrot Cake!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This truly is the best carrot cake recipe!  It’s perfectly moist and delicious, made with lots of fresh carrots, and topped with the most heavenly cream cheese frosting.

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

Oh hey. ♡ Just thought I would casually slide this recipe right here at the top of your feed in time for Easter.  Because if you happen to be looking for the world’s best carrot cake recipe to make this weekend — or any delicious day of the year — look no further.  Hundreds and hundreds of our readers have agreed over the years that this homemade carrot cake recipe is a hands-down winner!

I mean, I should admit right off that I will forever-and-always be on Team Carrot when it comes to my favorite kind of cake, so I am extra-partial to carrot cake in any form (including cupcakes or carrot cake bars).  But because it’s my favorite, I hold extra high standards when it comes to exactly what constitutes the perfect slice.

First off, the perfect homemade carrot cake must always be fluffy and legit extra-moist — no dry cakes allowed.  It must also be made with the coziest warming spices, but just enough so that the flavor of all of those fresh carrots can shine through.  And speaking of fresh carrots, a good carrot cake recipe must include lots of them speckled in every slice.  Most importantly, though, a good carrot cake recipe must be accompanied with a rich and buttery cream cheese frosting in every single bite.  Because in my book, a good moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is the ultimate dessert match made in heaven.

The other good news about this recipe?  It’s much easier to make than it looks.  You can make the entire recipe — both cake and frosting — 100% by hand if you would like.  (No mixer required.)  You can also save yourself a step and purchase store-bought grated carrots or grate them in the food processor, if you don’t want to grate them by hand.  And if you’ve never made a three-layer cake before, have no fear — it’s easier than it looks, and I’ve added a brand new video below to walk you through each step of the way.

Alright, let’s make some carrot cake together!

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe | 1-Minute Video

The BEST Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade Carrot Cake Ingredients:

Alright, let’s make our shopping list!  To make this homemade carrot cake recipe, you will need:

  • Oil: Any mild-flavored oil will do.  I typically use avocado oil, but vegetable or canola oil would work too.
  • Sugars: Both granulated (white) and brown sugar.
  • Eggs and vanilla extract: Because…cake.
  • Flour: I always indulge here with classic all-purpose flour.  But you’re welcome to sub in white whole wheat flour instead.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: This recipe uses both.
  • Salt: I used fine sea salt.  If you only have iodized (table) salt, I would recommend using a little less.
  • Freshly-grated carrots: Either grate them by hand with a box grater, use the shredding attachment on a food processor, or save yourself a step and buy them pre-grated.
  • (Optional add-ins): Feel free to also include chopped nuts (such as pecans or walnuts), shredded coconut, and/or raisins if you would like.
  • Cream cheese frosting: Made easily with cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla and powdered sugar.

Ingredient amounts and full instructions included in the recipe box below.

How To Make Carrot Cake

How To Make Carrot Cake:

To make this homemade carrot cake recipe, simply:

  1. Prep your baking pans. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans.  (Or save yourself a step and just use baking spray, which already includes flour.)
  2. Make the cake batter.  Mix together the oil and sugars, followed by the eggs and vanilla, then the dry ingredients, and then the shredded carrots.
  3. Fill and bake.  Portion the batter evenly into your three baking pans.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.  Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool on a wire baking rack until they reach room temperature.  Meanwhile…
  4. Make the frosting.  See notes below.
  5. Assemble and frost the cake.  Once the cakes reach room temperature,* use a cake leveler or a bread knife to slice off the rounded tops of the cakes so that they are completely flat on top.  Place the first cake on your serving platter, add a large scoop of frosting on top of it, and spread the frosting so that it covers the cake evenly and extends a bit over the edges.  Repeat with the second and third layers of the cake.  Then use the remainder of the frosting to frost all around the side edges of the cake.
  6. Serve and enjoy.  Then once you’re ready to serve the cake, slice it up and enjoy!

*I find that it’s easier to frost the cakes when they are slightly chilled.  So I recommend popping them in the fridge for 15 minutes before frosting if you have the time.

Homemade Carrot Cake Recipe

How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting:

This dreamy cream cheese frosting recipe can either be made by hand in a mixing bowl or in a stand mixer — you choose!  Just be sure that both the cream cheese and butter are both room temperature.  (And if you want your frosting to be super-smooth, I also recommend sifting the powdered sugar in advance.)

To make cream cheese frosting, simply stir the cream cheese and butter together with the vanilla until completely smooth.  Then add in however much powdered sugar is needed to make the icing nice and firm.  (You may need more/less powdered sugar than the recipe calls for.)

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Variations:

If you would like to customize your carrot cake, feel free to:

  • Add nuts: Feel free to stir 1/2 cup chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, pepitas or hazelnuts) into the batter, and/or sprinkle extras on top of the frosting.
  • Add raisins: You could also stir in up to 1/4 cup of raisins.
  • Add coconut: Or up to 1/4 cup of toasted shredded coconut.
  • Spice the frosting: If you would like a bit of extra flavor in the frosting itself, I recommend stirring 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger into the frosting.
  • Make the recipe gluten-free and vegan: Use this recipe!

The Best Homemade Carrot Cake Recipe

More Carrot Recipes:

Looking for more delicious sweet carrot recipes?  Here are a few of my faves! ♡

Print
The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

The BEST Carrot Cake

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x

Description

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


Scale

Ingredients

Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup avocado oil (or vegetable oil, or any mild-flavored oil)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pound finely-grated* fresh carrots
  • optional: 1 cup chopped nuts or 1/2 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 (8-ounce) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (or more, if needed to thicken)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans.  (Or to save a step, you can coat them with baking spray, which already contains flour.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture into the egg mixture, and stir until smooth. Fold in the grated carrots and stir until combined. If you would like to add nuts and/or raisins, stir them in at this time as well.
  4. Portion the batter evenly into the prepared baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.  Transfer the baking pans to a wire cooling rack and let the cakes cool until they reach room temperature.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and stir until combined and smooth.  (You can either do this with a spatula, or with a hand or stand mixer.)  Gradually stir in the powdered sugar and mix until it is completely combined.  You want the frosting to be pretty firm for a 3-layer cake, so add more/less powdered sugar as needed to reach the correct consistency.
  6. Once the cakes reach room temperature,* use a cake leveler or a bread knife to slice off the rounded tops of the cakes so that they are completely flat on top.  Place the first cake on your serving platter, add a large scoop of frosting on top of it, and spread the frosting so that it covers the cake evenly and extends a bit over the edges.  Repeat with the second and third layers of the cake.  Then use the remainder of the frosting to frost all around the side edges of the cake.
  7. Once you’re ready to serve the cake, slice it up and enjoy!  Or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.


Notes

*You can either grate fresh carrots by hand with a box grater, or grate them with a food processor by using the shredding disk.

*I find that it’s easier to frost the cakes when they are slightly chilled.  So I recommend popping them in the fridge for 15 minutes before frosting if you have the time.

Recipe instructions updated (with no ingredient changes) in April 2019.

This post contains affiliate links.

The BEST Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1,150 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake!”

1 14 15 16
  1. For the love of Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! This is a beautiful carrot cake! In fact, the best I had and baked. Thank you for sharing this! My uncle is allergic to pineapples – so I set out to find a recipe with coconut instead. After reading the reviews I baked and it is magic!

    Cake Love from Kingston, Jamaica
    Raihn

  2. First time baking carrot cake. Very easy recipe. Made 30 cupcakes. Got rave reviews, even from non-carrot cake fans. Scored 20/10 from carrot cake lovers.

    Used 6 cups of powder sugar and frosting was a little soft but was firm enough to pipe after chilling in the refrigerator. Perfect amount of icing for all the cupcakes, with just a little extra leftover. Next time, I will add the 2 extra cups of powder sugar to stiffen up the frosting. The salt in the frosting helps cut back the sweetness of the sugar.

  3. SO good! Halved the recipe for a 9” round dish, baked at 350 for 35 min … so perfect and moist. Thank you!

  4. This carrot cake is really amazing. My family and neighbors loved this cake.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. It’s so delicious and easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  6. Hello. Can I add crushed pineapple to this recipe? Is there anything I need to do differently if I do? Thank you.

  7. I made this recipe and it was delicious! Moist and not too sweet. It was easy to carve when cold.

  8. Thank you

  9. Oh my goodness soooo dang amazingly good!! So moist and tasty. I would pay top dollar to buy this in a bakery! Don’t second guess making this cake!!!

  10. Carrot cake is my family’s favorite. I followed the recipe exactly. After baking in the 8″ pans for 35 min., The cake was still not done. I cut out the middle and frosted with the cream cheese frosting. When we ate it, it was like putting a big ball of grease in your mouth. Needless to say, the whole family was very disappointed. A lot of food was wasted as it went directly in the garbage. It is definitely not the “BEST” carrot cake.

  11. Made this cake today and it is super easy! Im a 13 year old baker with 3 years of experience but it was still very easy and fun to make! And dont even get me started on the tast!!! OMG it is soooo good!!

  12. this looks so good my mouth is watering by just looking at it I think I’m going to do this recipe for my dads birthday

  13. what would the measurements be for a dozen cupcakes?

  14. Amazing everyone loved it

  15. Love, love, love this recipe! I’ve taken to making it once a week for my son, daughter-in-love, and their family, who absolutely ADORE this cake! I grate the carrots fine by hand with a box grater, as store-bought, pre-shredded carrots are tough & dry for cake. I’m not typically a fan of carrot cake, or cream cheese frosting, but THIS, I love!

  16. This was such a joy to make! My dad loved it, and he’s the carrot cake expert!

  17. I made this for the first time yesterday for my partner’s special birthday. Everyone absolutely loved it! Probably one of the best carrot cake recipes I’ve found. (I added the chopped walnuts and raisins but would love to find a way to cut the amount of oil used). The recipe makes a large triple-layer, rich, and moist cake. Thank you for the recipe!

  18. This cake has been requested YET AGAIN! One of her coworkers had a birthday recently and requested I bake this cake for her birthday. She LOVES it! My son and daughter-in-love are having the same work friends and some of her other work friends over for a barbecue; and they all requested this cake when she asked if they wanted anything special. My daughter-in-love said she wished I could have heard their voices when they asked for it! LOL! So I made it as a 13 x 9 today. Took about an hour (+/-) to bake in that size pan, and yes, I used the full recipe. It’s edges are a bit curled over, but not the end of the world. I always make the full recipe of frosting, and keep the extra in the ‘fridge for putting on cinnamon rolls. My daughter-in-love ADORES this frosting, and so do her coworkers. A keeper!

  19. Hi! I plan to make this cake for a graduation party and we are all gluten free. I see that you have a recipe that is gluten free and vegan but I do not want the cake to be vegan. Will there be an issue if I just replace the regular flour with Bobs Mill one-to-one gluten free flour? Thanks.

  20. Hands down the BEST carrot cake out there!! I hve made this numerous times for my family and friends and every time they said how much they loved it!! The only thing I changed was the oil because I didn’t have it in, so I just used a neutral tasting oil. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  21. simple and Best carrot cake I have ever tasted thank you

  22. This is the best carrot cake recipe. My family loves it. I have made it several times. I add the chopped walnuts and golden raisins. Turns out great every time. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  23. Literally the best cake I’ve ever made. I used half of the butter in the frosting and used coconut oil in the cake and it was AMAZING.

  24. Oh my goodness! I made this yesterday with my daughter. I have never baked a carrot cake but this recipe was simple and easy to follow. The results was amazing. This is going right to the top of my cake list. Thank you.

  25. BEST CAKE EVER!!! This is my go-to carrot cake recipe–it was a hit all around and had the perfect frosting-to-cake ratio. I made it with both raisins and pecans and only ended up using 5 cups of powdered sugar in the frosting to achieve the desired sweetness. I’ll definitely make this again!

  26. Best cake I’ve ever had in my LIFE. WOW. The frosting the moist cake. Fucking fantastic. I didn’t see a third pan was needed so I only made two round cakes i kept them in an extra 15 minutes. Wow. I made this for my fiance’s birthday. Best carrot cake. Never buying store bought again. 😭😭😭

  27. Not the best carrot cake recipe. First off, way too many eggs. You only need 4. Secondly, if youre going to have that much flour, you need more oil because this carrot cake was super dry. I’d recommend cutting down the flour, and eggs.

  28. What’s the recipe just for one cake ? Btw this recipe is amazing

  29. oh, I posted a comment earlier about what the measurements are, but I’ve just found them, sorry!

  30. I made this cake for my Mother-in-Law’s birthday last summer. It was hands down the best carrot cakes any of us has ever had! SO moist (sorry for people who hate that word, myself included lol!) and full of carrots in the best way, and so, SO delicious. Make this cake and bake as directed. Frosting too! You will not be disappointed with any part of it! We had a neighbor that baked us a carrot cake As a welcome to the neighborhood, and it was actually so bad neither my husband nor I wanted to eat it. It didn’t taste like carrot cake, was on the drier side… THIS CARROT CAKE is the standard that all other carrot cakes should be measured by (and taste like!). FYI, I frosted the entire cake as shown but also added chopped walnuts around the whole outside of the cake; the bites of crunch were the perfect accompaniment to the seriously perfect cake and frosting. 30/10, hands down.

  31. The cake was delicious and so was the frosting but it’s extremely runny, I added three extra cups of powered sugar and it still was runny. So I would use another recipe for the frosting next time

  32. After making this cake once, everyone on both sides of the family requests it when I offer to make them birthday cakes. It is fantastic! In fact, it is so moist, I substituted the 3 1/4 cups white flour with 3 cups whole wheat flour and it wasn’t at all dry as I would expect.

  33. I made this cake 3 times already, and each time I serve it everyone tells me how delicious it is. Thank you for sharing this recipe. This is definitely the best carrot cake I have ever made.

  34. Delicious and extremely moist

  35. Delicious. However, I had to increase the baking time by 10 minutes. Perhaps, Elevation? Otherwise very good

  36. Can this be baked in a Bundt pan? If so any recommendations on baking time?

    Thanks

  37. I made the carrot cake but I have a question how do u get the cake more moist mine was kind of dry. How do you prepare it do you use a mixer to mix everything together or do you do it bye hand one bye one, I am not the best cook but I am tying my best. The cream cheese is the best I ever had

  38. This is honestly the best carrot cake I have ever had. In fact, I served this at my mom’s birthday party and two other people came and told me the same. Everyone loved it, even those who had previously said they weren’t fans. This was incredibly moist (sorry if that word is annoying), but has a nice and soft sponge as well. The cream cheese frosting complimented it perfectly. I made a few minor changes to the recipe, which I listed below:
    – I substituted the oil for 1 cup of vegetable oil and 2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
    – I made these in three 9′ round pans and baked them for 15 minutes.
    – I reduced both of the sugars to 3/4 cup each instead of 1 cup.
    – I used 1/2 cup of walnuts
    – I used 8 oz of carrots (about 5-8)
    – I made the frosting recipe plus 1/3 of it for the cake. The original recipe made enough for a crumb coat, and I used the other 1/3 for flowers and decorations. In addition, I also used a bit less sugar then what is in the recipe, however it is best to taste as you go.
    This is a great recipe and I recommend it for both beginner and advanced bakers (I’m only 13, and have many years of experience, but any age is great to make this recipe)