The BEST Carrot Cake!

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 will always be extra-partial to carrot cake in any form (including cupcakes).  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.

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 you need to reach your desired consistency — about six cups, more or less.

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
4.8 from 118 reviews

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 1/2 cupplus 2 tablespoons 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 cupcakes 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.  Feel free to add more/less powdered sugar to achieve your desired 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

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1,051 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake!”

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  1. Pingback: SUNDAY BAKES: CARROT CAKE – STELLA EATS


  2. I don’t think i have had much cake before trying this. The carrot cake was beyond my expectation. Thank you for sharing 😊😊


  3. Simply the best carrot cake recipe I have used. I got raving reviews last year from my husband, who Is very picky with his carrot cake! If I want to convert this recipe to use as cupcakes, do you know how long to bake?

  4. Does this carrot cake recipe work for cupcakes?

  5. I can’t wait to make this for my Easter crowd this year. Carrot cake is my favorite! Can I make it in a sheet pan? How long do you suggest. You can email me.

    • I was wanting to make this as a double layer sheet cake, did @gimmesomeoven help tell you how to make it as a sheet cake?


  6. I add crushed pineapple and the moist and flavor spike!

  7. Yumm!!! I’ve been looking for a good carrot cake recipe for this Easter weekend. Thanks for this!

  8. On the Easter menu. Thanks for this!


  9. This carrot cake is dangerous to your free time! If you make it once, family and friends will hound you for all eternity to make it again and again.


  10. Made for a coworkers birthday and got SO many compliments. I’m not much of a carrot cake person but I LOVED these cupcakes!! Excited to make more for Easter tomorrow! Highly recommend


  11. Made this for my dad’s birthday this week, since carrot cake is his favorite! Everyone LOVED it!! So yummy – I will definitely make this again. :)


  12. Oh my word!!! This was the first carrot cake I have ever made, and let me say not only was it easy to make, it was so delicious. I made it for Easter Sunday and it was a huge hit. Thank you for the recipe and making me look good on Easter!!!


  13. I made this for Easter dessert and it was fabulous! So moist and hearty, yet light and fluffy. I used two 9″ round cake pans and baked it an additional 15 (or so) mins. I didn’t have any cloves and the store was out so I just omitted the spice altogether. I also halved the cream cheese frosting recipe and it was the perfect amount to frost in between the cakes, as well as the sides and top. This will be my go-to carrot cake recipe!

  14. Pingback: The BEST Carrot Cake! | GoDiva Recipes

  15. Pingback: Sweet Carrots with Tarragon and My Easter Inspired Faves | Get My Recipe Blog

  16. Pingback: Carrot cake cupcakes – Cupcakes


  17. TO DIE FOR, DELICIOUS! I made this the other week and it was SO good. And so easy to put together. And so fun. LOL

    Five stars. Thank you so much for sharing. Your recipes all rock!

    Beth


  18. Wow!!!!!!!!!!! I made this for Easter and my family could not get enough! This will be a staple cake in our family for years to come- thank you!


  19. Perfect recipe! I’ve been asked to make it four times over the past two months already.


  20. This recipe is truly wonderful delicious and light. 👍 I did add some coconut flour and ground linseed in with the plain flour to increase lightness and omega intake. I skipped on several spices just using chopped ginger and pecan nuts. I have chosen this recipe to be my all time favourite. Thanks again ❤️


  21. Hi thee! Love your blog. The carrot cake caught my eye. I hadn’t had it for ages and I actually had all the ingredients on hand, even down to the cream cheese frosting, which I had in the freezer. I followed your recipe to the “T” and the cake was delicious. Everyone raved about it. Thanks for sharing your recipes. I’ll be back!
    Aloha ~~~ Nancy On Maui

  22. Pingback: Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting | Sip and Spice

  23. Pingback: Ultimate Carrot Guide: Grow & Harvest, Cook & Preserve with 62 Carrot Recipes | An Oregon Cottage


  24. My first carrot cake, and it’s amazing! It’s so easy but looks so pretty. Absolutely delicious with all that cream cheese frosting!


  25. The best carrot cake indeed! I’ve made this so many times now I had to comment. Once made as a wedding cake- the bride told me people said it was the best wedding cake they had ever had. Thank for sharing with us!
    Note: I once ran short of white sugar Subbed in 1/2 cup brown sugar and it was amazing!


  26. Great Recipe “as-is”!

  27. Can I make this carrot cake in a bunt pan?


  28. Hi, when do you add the salt for the frosting? With the bitter & cream cheese? Also, the frosting recipe calls for salted butter, not unsalted butter? I just don’t want the frosting to crumble. Thanks!


  29. The cake itself turned out looking nice, but it didn’t have much spice taste too it. The cake itself tasted bland and not like a carrot cake. I lost the recipe I usually use when cooking a carrot cake, so I used this recipe. My son (for whom I made the cake) and I were very disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t a good carrot cake. I found my recipe and cooked another carrot cake with my recipe, and it was much better.


  30. I have tried countless carrot cake recipes over the years. This one is simple, moist and delicious. I made as directed without nuts or pineapple. Next time will try with both frosting was perfect although I did add juice from 1/2 lemon. It cuts the sweetness and brings out more cream cheese flavor. This is my new go to carrot cake recipe no more looking for me 🥰


  31. Perfect recipe! Very moist. The cake itself was good before we even frosted it. My new go to carrot cake recipe

  32. Do you have to refrigerate cake with the frosting? Or will it be ok out of the fridge?

  33. Pingback: How to make the best carrot cake – Ahri’s Lab…baking for KIDS – baking


  34. My uncle begs me to make this cake for his birthday every year. I’ve been told it’s better than any carrot cake bought at a bakery. It is soft, rich, and utterly delicious. I cut the frosting recipe by 1/3 because I always have too much. 2/3 of the full frosting is exactly the right amount for me.


  35. I have made many carrot cakes. Comments by those that have this recipe that say it is the best they have ever made are right! This recipe creates quite an edifice! The only thing I changed was adding some lime juice to the frosting because it didn’t have a much flavor as I was out of vanilla. My search for the best carrot cake recipe has ended!

  36. Hi I’ve made this before and was delicious but I can’t seem to find the comparison table for the ingredients am in uk and not sure what cup and butter sticks weight should be, pls advise of comparison many thanks

  37. Could I use a 13×9 pan with this recipe?


  38. Okay, I’m reading the comments and wondering what I did wrong?? I was so excited to make this, but my cake just didn’t turn out as moist as I thought it should—it was dense, and I wouldn’t call it dry, but it definitely wasn’t moist. It also tasted a little salty. I used regular table salt, and I read the salt note in the post, so I omitted about a half teaspoon from the batter, and didn’t use it at all in the frosting. Just can’t figure out why it wasn’t the moist, delicious cake everyone else seems to have ended up with. I love your recipes, and I think this must somehow be user error. Anybody else have this problem??


  39. I just tried this recipe the other day and I love it!! The flavor is just right and not sweet. I’m yet to decorate and stack it (not sure if it’ll be sturdy enough but use a proper dowel) but 10/10 for the flavor and texture!! grating the carrots was the most time consuming part of this recipe, and I squeezed some of the water out of the carrot prior to adding it to the batter. Will try adding nuts next time.

  40. Where is the amount you put in the cake

  41. Can’t wait to try! Making it for my pregnant friend who has been craving it! Just a question: why salted butter for the frosting if you are adding in more salt anyway? I typically keep unsalted butter on deck in my fridge since I bake cookies a lot, so if I can use that and just add more salt, could I? Or does having salted butter plus that bit of extra really make a difference?


  42. My Dad made a great (though ‘light’ on the spices) carrot cake, made in an angel food/pound cake pan. Can this recipe be made in an angel food or bundt pan? Thank you!!


  43. This cake should come with a warning. “It will make you visit the kitchen in the night “.

    This is the best carrot cake ever!!

    Thank you


  44. best recipe since I was gluten free thanks for sharing. I totally got goose bumps when I tasted it.


  45. I made this cake today for my husband for his birthday. He said it was the best cake I have ever made. It was so good and moist.

  46. Can i make this in one pan?


  47. I made this cake for a birthday party for someone who is known for their love of carrot cake, and they said this was their favorite one they can remember. I have already been asked for the recipe, and look forward to making it again! I added the nuts only because they aren’t raisen fans, but I am so I look forward to adding those in next time. Thanks for the great recipe!

  48. Hi! I looove this recipe… but sometimes I get green spots and I’ve read it may be because of the baking soda and the carrot’s reaction to it 🙄 Can I not use it and replace it with something else? Thanks!

  49. Pingback: Gâteau aux carottes - Cook Recipe

  50. Looks great but 1½ cups of what in item 1 of the ingredients list? It clearly says “1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons avocado oil or similar” but it doesn’t say what the ½ cups are?

    • That refers to the oil — 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons oil. You are welcome to use avocado oil or a similar neutral-flavored oil. :) Enjoy!