The BEST Carrot Cake

In my humble opinion, 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.

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

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:

Carrot Cake

How To Make The BEST Carrot Cake:

Alright, here’s the how-to!

Shredded carrots

To begin, 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 with a box grater by hand.  It will make eating them back up all the sweeter, right?

So grate about 1 pound of carrots…

Carrot cake batter in mixer

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

Carrot cake batter

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

Carrot cake layers

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

Cream cheese frosting

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.

Frosting a carrot cake

Then pull your cakes out, and level them off to even thickness with a large knife or cake leveler.  (<– This one was just $7 on Amazon, and I think totally worth it if you bake lots of cakes!)

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

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.  :)

Slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

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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 plus 2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or you can use vegetable oil or canola oil)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 pound 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 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (or more if needed to thicken)


How To Make The Carrot Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

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.

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

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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

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957 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake”

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  1. This cake is awesome. Made it twice now. 👍
    Thank you 😁

    Rating: 5
  2. I made this carrot cake and it turned out SO GOOD!! I was looking for a cheesecake recipe that tasted just like the store-bought cheese cake and without using butter, and this recipe was way better then I ever expected it to be!! As an added bonus it was healthier, too. (Tip: I didn’t have vegetable oil so I used olive oil and it still tasted good!)

    Rating: 5
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  4. sorry i forgot to rated the recipe… it’s really looks “THE BEST” carrot cake to me
    btw if i don’t have any clove or nutmeg will this totally effect the overall taste of the cake???
    i mean it’s not really common for my country too…

    Rating: 5
  5. My family loved this recipe! I love the spice in it. The cake is moist and the cream cheese frosting is wonderful! Will save this recipe for future use.

    Rating: 5
  6. I am an avid baker but funny enough had never made a carrot cake! My brother in law requested it for my sister in laws surprise 60th birthday party, so I started searching recipes and who knew there were so many variations! You are one of my favorite bloggers so I put my faith in you and other comments and went with this one and I am so glad I did! The cake was a huge success, everyone loved it and commented on how moist it was, perfect frosting and great flavor. So this will be going into my arsenal. I did add toasted pecans and toasted coconut between layers. Thank you! (I added a pic in the photo section pre Birthday party)

    Rating: 5
  7. My second time making this Carrot Cake. Absolutely heavenly. 😍

    Rating: 5
  8. Absolutely love this recipe! I have been making it for a couple years now because once I made it for my brother-in-law for his birthday he has requested it every year since! About to make it again for Thanksgiving get together! Super delicious and I usually top it with some shredded unsweetened coconut flakes. Thanks for an awesome recipe! Love your site and all your recipes. Whenever I find a recipe from Gimme Some Oven I know it’s going to be amazing!

    Rating: 5
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  10. Hi, curious about how high these cakes end up being? I might have storage issues if the cake is too high

  11. Do you use all purpose or cake flour?

  12. I’ve made this cake twice now and it absolutely is the best carrot cake ever. The only change I made was I cut the icing recipe in half. Maybe with a 3-layer 8-inch cake you would use it all? I’ve always done 2, 9-inch and even with the recipe cut in half I’m still left with plenty of icing!
    Oh, and for those of you who only had one pan like me lol or just curious, it makes 4 cups of batter.

    Rating: 5
  13. Great recipe! Love that alternative to vegetable or canola oil could be used. It was incredibly moist & yummy. Loved the icing too! Not too sweet. I ended up using 6-1/2 c of powdered sugar. Consistency was perfect. I also used vanilla bean paste vs extract. It makes all the difference in the world

    Rating: 4
  14. This was a very moist delicious carrot cake!!!

  15. Wow! Lovely, moist and yummmm. Everything was just right! Love it – My son finished the whole thing by the evening….

    Rating: 5