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The BEST Carrot Cake!

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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! ♡

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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


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 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)


  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.


*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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1,116 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake!”

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  1. I love this recipe – I’ve baked it as a two-layer cake at least 6 times and it’s always a big hit. I’m wondering if I can use it for muffins/cup cakes ?

  2. Beautiful, easy and delicious.
    Only modification was for icing. I used 5 cups icing sugar instead of 6 cups and still pretty sweet.
    My kids love the cake, thanks for sharing!

  3. This recipe is fantastic for a basic cake. We went a little chaotic evil on it and added a little pineapple, coconut, pecans and walnuts and it was still fantastic. Perfect for my Thanksgiving. We used honey pecan cream cheese as one of the blocks of cream cheese and it’s literally perfect.

  4. Best carrot cake ever! I make t all the time! My only problem is is that my icing is always a bit “runny”…definitely not stiff enough to ice the sides. I have played with different amounts of sugar to cream cheese but still no luck, any suggestions?

  5. Real good and moist !

  6. Best carrot cake I’ve ever experienced! My husband will not eat pineapple nor raisins, so this recipe is perfect for him. The icing is delicious and makes more than enough for three-layer cake. My husband was surprised to learn it actually has carrots in it. Making one today.

  7. Overall easy to make. Yes, there is a lot of frosting left but you can always use for other goodies. Only downfall for those who ate it was that it was dense…more like a bread than a cake.

  8. I made this cake exactly to the recipe and it was amazing. I did make a slight modification to the icing recipe. I wasn’t sure if I would have enough powdered sugar and I had already gone to the store 3 times for this cake and It was nearing 1 am and I had church in the morning. I put the powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time and I taste tested it after each cup was added. I stopped after 3 cups were added because the icing tasted glorious. I will be making this again this month for his Christmas dinner with his family and 1 for Christmas with my family. I had no idea that I could make a cake that tasted this amazing. Now I will be exploring more recipes on this site. I am looking forward to more amazing creations. Thank you so very much!!!! <3 <3 :-)

  9. This really is the BEST carrot cake! Never made a carrot cake worth remembering before and was searching for a good recipe for my boyfriend’s birthday (his favorite cake) and we were blown away! It is not too sweet, delicious spices going on (I added a pinch of cardamon and allspice as well but I’m sure that was unneeded). I did use my own cream cheese recipe just because I have one that I love, but it is almost identical to the one in this recipe. Everyone that tried the cake was super impressed and said it was the best they’d had.

    Now, two months later, I am back on the page making sure I have it bookmarked and planning to make it for our wedding, that is how awesome this cake is!!

  10. Hello, i’m writing from Ukraine. I would love to make a carrot cake as it’s not something you’d see here. I have a question can i use more baking powder instead of soda??? I don’t know about the US but here the soda has a very strong smell and after in the cake smells like soap and is no good for cooking. Another fact cream cheese is extremely hard to find and if you find it is extremely expensive.

    • Honestly, I find cream cheese icing too sweet. I usually just make a buttercream frosting instead. Or you can do a dusting of powdered sugar on top of each piece, right before serving.

      Regarding your baking soda question, I found this site:
      It suggests that you could leave out the baking soda, and increase the amount of baking powder by adding three times the amount of soda called for. (Baking power contains a small amount of baking soda). It also recommends leaving out any salt in the recipe, because there’s also salt in baking powder.

  11. I’ve been looking for this recipe…..thank you AND mostly thank you for not requiring me to DOWNLOAD before I get it….I’ve signed up to get your recipes, can’t wait to receive them. again Thank You.

  12. Did you use all purpose flour or cake flour? I just used cake flour, following the instructions on the box, to use two extra tablespoons per cup. I hope it turns out right! I also used a 9×13 pan! Fingers crossed ?

  13. Such an amazing cake! I make it every year for my brother-in-law’s birthday and this year my family asked me to make for Christmas. I usually do two layers. Do you have a recommended bake time? I usually set a timer for 30 minutes and check it regularly until the toothpick is clean.

  14. Omgoodness! This is truly the best carrot cake recipe, ever! Thank you, for the wonderful recipe! ♡

  15. first time making carrot cake and all I received we’re compliments. amazing receipe. no alterations except I used xl eggs instead of large thats all I had

  16. Hi, Hayley..
    Thank you for the recipe? I made last night and wow i’m surprised with the texture and the aroma uugghh best best best❤❤

  17. This looks delicious and I want to make it for my boyfriend’s birthday this weekend. Do you think it would be ok if I left out the ground cloves? I looked at them in the store the other day and it was so expensive for even the tiny bottle when I just need a pinch this one time.

  18. SPECTACULAR, my two-year-old and I just pulled it off and now we get share the excellence, no nuts needed. the only downside is I have dishes detail :-) four enthusiastic thumbs up for a delicious cake with no milk

  19. This cake is incredible – with or without icing! But, I highly recommend the cream cheese buttercream icing!

  20. Love it! Great recipe

  21. Can I use the pregrated carrots

  22. I made this cake today to bring to my boyfriends’ grandmas house for dessert. I have never made a carrot cake before but for some reason it was stuck in my head to try it.
    I followed the recipes exactly (using canola oil) and its turned out sooooo beautifully. I could not have asked for a more delicious/fluffy cake!
    Im SOO impressed.
    Also, i have never left a comment on a recipe before either, but i feel like this one was worth it 100%
    For the icing I only used 1 cup cream cheese, 1 cup butter room temp, 1 tbsp vanilla. And about 4-5 cups powdered sugar. and it had more than enough icing that i just started decorating for fun lol.
    Thank you sooooo much for this recipe! I will be making again for sure, probably again already this week

  23. I want to make this a sheet cake. How long will I cook it for?

  24. This is seriously the best carrot cake recipe! We make it for birthdays and I even used the recipe to make our wedding cake. Now even people in our families who don’t like carrot cake beg us to make this recipe for them. I add a little cinnamon and allspice…but we like things a bit spicier in general. Perfect as is too :) Thanks for the recipe…it’s now our family classic.

  25. Can you make this cake into cupcakes? I would love to make them for Easter I think my family would love this!?

  26. What would be the best way to adjust baking time/temp to do as cupcakes?

  27. I’m making this cake for Sunday Easter. I wonder what’s the equivalent of one kind of shredded carrots to cups?

  28. Can this cake be made without a stand mixer ? I only have a hand mixer ! I would like to make this for tomorrow. Thank you

  29. First time making carrot cake and the step by step instructions were fail proof! It turned out PERFECT! Lot’s of raves!!!

  30. Do you think this recipe would work swapping the eggs for applesauce (egg allergy)?

  31. Just pulled this out of the oven…it smells so yummy! Just a heads up that you can shred carrots in a Vitamix! I found a YouTube video that showed it. Cheers to one less kitchen appliance and being one step closer to carrot cake on a regular basis!

  32. Perfect carrot cake. Even the frosting may be my go to cream cheese frosting now!

  33. 2tsp of salt??? I’ve never seen that much in a cake did everyone use that much???

  34. I used this recipe in a bundt pan, baked it 40-45 minutes and it turned out amazing! Omit the butter and flour when using a bundt pan and use baking spray or almond flour for a better release.

  35. This was a hit! The title says it all, didn’t change a thing! I’m the king of Easter now!

  36. Perfect!

  37. My first attempt at carrot cake. I added raisins and walnuts because that’s what everyone else wanted. It was amazing! My MIL kept saying it was just like her mother’s and that’s a high compliment. I had a couple extra ounces of carrots after peeling and shredding in there, the pans were very full. I used 2 9″rounds, and had to bake it probably 45 mins, (I lost track of my 5 minute extensions). Next time I’ll use three 9’s, if I do that again.

  38. I made this cake for Easter and it was a hit. The debate was with or without pineapple and raisins. Made it without either one. Only one person wanted without. Next time I’m adding pineapple to it.

  39. Every easy to make. Great taste. Ingredients on hand. I also add a 1/4teaspoon of ginger it complemented the recipe.

  40. My family have not stopped talking about it since I made it yesterday for Easter, most not care if for carrot cake. Hands down the BEST cake I have ever made or maybe have had. Thank you so much!

  41. Every time I make this cake my middles never cook as fast ? I’m always having to leave it in more ! Any suggestions as to why that may be eventually it cooks but it’s my favorite cake to make around easter please help!!

  42. After 15 years of making my husband a yellow cake with chocolate icing for his birthday, he switched things up on me this year and asked for “the best carrot cake in the world.” Huh? I was pretty sure I didn’t even like carrot cake. I found this recipe after a quick Pinterest search and chose it because the comments were all positive and because it didn’t include raisins/nuts/pineapple.

    Holy cow. This cake is amazing. I made it for my husband’s birthday March 20 and then again for Easter. It’s SO GOOD. For the second cake, I used the cake scraps and the leftover icing to make cake pops, and they were devoured at work.

    PS I made one change. I like the icing with a little tang, so I only used 4 cups of powdered sugar.

  43. We made it as a sheet cake, turned out amazing. We made 2 batches of everything and stacked it, with a layer of the frosting in between. We booked each layer for 15 min, then rotated and baked for 7 more. Was perfect for a huge party, great recipe.

  44. add coconut even makes it better

  45. Hi ?
    The brown sugar in your recipe is it dark brown sugar or light brown sugar?

    Thanks so much and looking forward to hearing from you ?

  46. loved it!

  47. Hi Ali. I made this cake the other day and it absolutely DELICIOUS. I found it a little bit dry on first day, but kept in the fridge and the next day it was just perfect.
    Can I freeze this cake? If yes, how do I defrost? A day before serving? Sorry I’m very new to baking.

  48. This recipe is incredible! For years, I made Paula Deen’s carrot cake recipe. Lately, I haven’t been as pleased with it as I originally had. So, I searched for other recipes, read the ingredients, and thought that this cake would be phenomenal. It was and it is! I do bake it as two 9 inch layers. The only adaption that I’ve made to it is that I put a cheesecake layer in the middle. This has become the newly requested carrot cake! Thanks for posting it!

  49. Hey! I plan on making this in the morning. I would like to make three 9″ layers. Do you recommend that I 1.5x the recipe to do this?

  50. I can’t wait to make this cake
    . Looks yummy.