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.

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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 actually super-simple and we have a snazzy new video here today to take out the guesswork and show you exactly how it’s done.

Alright, let’s make some carrot cake together!

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! ♡

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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.

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 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)

Directions:

  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.

*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.

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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!

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The BEST Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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994 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake!”

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  1. Oh my yum!! I am SO glad I made this carrot cake. Super easy to follow the directions and it turned out amazing! I made it for my dad’s birthday and the whole family LOVED it! I think I have enough leftover icing to frost another two or three cakes though, but I won’t complain because the cream cheese icing is to die for. I will definitely be putting this in my recipe book!

    Rating: 5
  2. This cake is awesome. Made it twice now. 👍
    Thank you 😁

    Rating: 5
  3. 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
  4. Hi Ali , My name is Ali also , I try your carrot cake recipe and I think it’s the best it is very moist and have a lot of flavour , Thanks for sharing .

    Rating: 5
  5. I just made this Carrot cake for an event at work And it looks so delicious. I’m wondering if I should leave it in the fridge or if is fine outside and the frosting won’t melt? Any advice

    Rating: 5
  6. Pingback: The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe ~ It's moist, perfectly-spiced, made with fresh ... - E-BAYZON

  7. First time making a carrot cake and wow. Super moist and the icing is to die for. Only thing is it reminded me of gingerbread for some reason. Next time I’ll omit the ground cloves and add chopped pecans instead.

    Rating: 4
  8. 1st time making this cake. Took it to work for a friend’s birthday and there was one piece left for her to take home. Big hit!

    Rating: 5
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Made this for my husband’s birthday. All those at the party said it was fantastic. FYI, if you are making two -9 inch cakes like I did, you can cut the frosting recipe down by a third. I frosted the cake very generously and still had nearly two cups of frosting leftover.

    Rating: 5
  12. 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
  13. Very good cake

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

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

  18. This recipe is PERFECT! Like you said, spiced perfectly and very moist. I’m about to make it again, this time for our Xmas eve dinner. Side note * this cake is HUGE*, so if your taking it out of your house for a potluck, you may not have a container large enough…but so worth it anyway.

    Rating: 5
  19. Do you use all purpose or cake flour?

  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. I have made this cake at least 5 times now, and I’m making it again today. It’s now my husband’s traditional birthday cake, and even if I give him other options, he only wants this. We all love it!

    Rating: 5
  23. Made this twice now and got so many compliments. It’s delicious 😋

    Rating: 5
  24. Love the recipe first time making this and it was a hit!! I didn’t use the nutmeg or cloves but it was still a amazing. Very moist!!

    Rating: 5
  25. Amazing recipe… Shared it with everyone I know ( literally ) 👀

    Rating: 5
  26. Amazing recipe !!! Works like a charm and made it with my daughter!!!

  27. Not only the best carrot cake, but literally one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten! I substituted almond oil for the avocado oil, and used less sugar for the frosting. Amazing!

    Rating: 5
  28. Can butter be used instead of oil?

  29. Lovely carrot cake, very moist and very tasty, but comes out huge also makes too much cream topping, I would use one third less next time

    Rating: 4
  30. Aptly named- hands down THE best carrot cake! The only carrot cake recipe I will make. Everyone loves this one!

    Rating: 5
  31. Hey! I made this recipe and it was great!! Nice and moist and the cream cheese frosting was delicious. I used the two 9-inch pans. This ends up being a really big cake! A couple of modifications I picked up from the comments here: 1. I only used 1 teaspoon of salt. 2. I had to increase the baking time to about 40-45 minutes. 3. I cut the frosting recipe in half and it was just the right amount of frosting. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Rating: 5
  32. My husband always requests a carrot cake for his birthday and raves that this is the best cake in the 34 years I have been baking carrot cakes for him! I made this recipe exactly as written adding the suggestion of raisins and ground pecan nuts and this cake was to die for FANTABULOUS! Cake was very flavorful, moist. The cream cheese frosting was THE best, so creamy and really had a nice cream cheese flavor while not being to sugary. My new go-to recipe from now on! Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  33. This was a very moist delicious carrot cake!!!

  34. Loved this cake! Recipe is easy to follow.

    Rating: 5
  35. Wow! Lovely, moist and yummmm. Everything was just right! Love it – My son finished the whole thing by the evening….

    Rating: 5
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  37. Pingback: 14 Best Carrot Cake Recipes With Amazing Variations - Crazy Laura

  38. Pingback: 9 Favorite Easter Carrot Cake Recipes – Great Food Recipes

  39. I’ve made this cake a number of times and absolutely love it! Have you ever made a gluten free version? If so, what flour do you recommend using? Thanks!

    Rating: 5
  40. Pingback: Carrot Cake Cupcakes – CooKise

  41. Can’t wait to try this. My family has always hated carrot cake because they don’t like raisins or pineapple in them. So, I just never made one. I will definitely try this one. And the pumpkin roll that was on the video as I read this.

    Love your “Grain free Granola,” recipe. Oh my heavens, it is so good, especially on yogurt or just with a spoon. Thanks for such great recipes.

  42. Hi, I’m going to make this weekend and can’t wait.
    I bought a bag of already grated carrots but something is tell me they need to be thinner.

  43. Made the cake and it was pretty good. I substituted a can of pumpkin for the oil. Was moist and dense. Will keep this to try again!

    Rating: 4
  44. Pingback: Food Playlist | The BEST Carrot Cake

  45. to make this cake extra special, add some finely chopped candied ginger to the frosting before putting it on the cake.

  46. OMG! Amazing!

    Rating: 5
  47. I don’t think i have had much cake before trying this. The carrot cake was beyond my expectation. Thank you for sharing 😊😊

    Rating: 5
  48. 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?

    Rating: 5
  49. 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.