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.

Ingredients:

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)

Directions:

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.

All images and text ©

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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934 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake”

  1. Hi, is there a link for this recipe for UK??

  2. I’m going to make this for my son-in-law’s birthday cuz carrot cake is his favorite. I plan to use cream cheese frosting for the filling, but I’m going to frost the outside in buttercream with a galaxy look. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    For those folks saying they have left over cream cheese frosting, may I suggest making some cinnamon rolls? I love having extra cream cheese frosting for home made cinnamon rolls. Works really well with the refrigerator dough ones too!

    • We hope it’s a hit, Wanda! And we love your idea of saving any leftover cream cheese icing for cinnamon rolls (yum)! :)

    • Update! I just finished baking the cake and it turned out wonderful! I am making a 6″ top tier using this carrot cake recipe and an 8″ bottom tier in chocolate fudge. I baked two 6″ cake pans of the carrot cake and had enough batter left for 18 cupcakes. Can hardly wait to put the cake together for the birthday party!

    • Thanks for sharing, Wanda, we’re so glad it came out well! :)

  3. I was wondering if I could add crushed pineapple?

    • Hi Pam! Yes, we think you would probably be fine to add a 15oz can of crushed pineapple (drained) — we would recommend gently folding it into the batter. We hope this helps!

  4. I live at an altitude of 7200 feet above sea level should I alter the time temp ingredients at all

  5. Hi Ali! I made this carrot cake once and everyone loooved it! I’ve had to make a few times more over in the past few months and everyone keeps asking for the receipe. I’m starting my YouTube channel and as a petition, I want to share your receipe. I will of course mention the receipe is yours and add the link to your blog in the description box. It this ok? My tiny you tube channel is in Spanish. Thank you so very much!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for sharing, Debbie, we’re so glad to hear that! And of course, we’d love it if you mentioned the recipe and credited it and linked back to the blog, thank you! And we think it’s so cool that it’s in Spanish! :)

  6. Pingback: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  7. This cake was amazing, a crowd favorite. Can I use the same recipe to make cupcakes??

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you, Kelly, we’re so glad to hear that! And you can totally make cupcakes out of these, but you’ll definitely need to cut the recipe in half (even cutting it in half will probably make more than 24). We’d suggest setting the timer for 10 minutes (though these might need 15 minutes or longer) — just keep an eye on them and test for doneness with a toothpick. We hope this helps!

  8. Hi! I would like to know how many oz, pounds or grams are in the oil, flour and the sugar,brown sugar and confectioners sugar cup! Thank you

  9. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!? Best carrot cake EVER! Moist, delicious, not too sweet. A real crowd pleaser. Making it this weekend for the second time. Thank you!!!!!

    • Wow, thank you so much, Morgan! We’re thrilled that you loved it! :)

  10. HI! Cake was great but the edges were hard, so I am trying it again with canola oil instead of avocado oil. Any ideas? Also I felt 5 cups for the icing were more ideal than 6! It was pretty sweet! some lemon zest or orange zest in the icing is also a really nice touch! Thank you!

    Rating: 4
    • Hi Jenni, thanks for giving us your feedback! Hmm, we’re not sure why the edges were hard. Did it bake a little too long? We also haven’t tried this with avocado oil. We think lemon or orange zest in the icing would be fantastic!

  11. Can you tell me if you use Self Raising Flour for this recipe or is it plain? Also, I have a fan oven, what would the temperature be for that? Would it be OK if I used grated carrot that has been frozen?
    Thanks

    • Hi Ann! We used regular all-purpose flour for this. You’ll want to bake the cake at 325 instead of 350. We think you could use grated carrot that was previously frozen (just as long as it’s thawed and not watery). We hope this helps and that you enjoy the cake!

    • Frozen carrots would probably be pretty watery so I would suggest taking them out the day before baking and wringing in a tea towel and letting them sit 10 minutes, making sure they’re not soaked.

  12. I have made this cake 5 times in the last two years and my family loves it. This will be my dads 3rd birthday he has requested it. Thank you

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Jen, we’re so happy you and your family love it! :D

  13. Hi!! Please I would like to know if you use the flat mixer for the frosty also?? Thank u!

    • We’re not sure we understand your question. What frosty are you referring to?

    • You can use use either your flat beater or your whisk attachment for your frosting. The whisk will make it lighter and fluffier, easier to spread as well.

  14. Simply amazing cake! The texture and the aroma are incredible! I make twice!

  15. Can I use sunflower oil instead of vegetable oil?

  16. This was my first time making this and it was amazing! Sometimes when I read comments on recipes I’m a bit wary of them but honestly this is fool proof! I added some pistachio to my cake mix and for the icing I used a little less butter as I’m not a huge fan of the taste :)

    Rating: 5
  17. OMG– this was amazing. I am NOT a good baker so when my husband requested carrot cake for Father’s Day I was a bit intimidated. I followed the instructions exactly. It came out perfectly. Yes, there was a bit too much icing but I added some food dye (separating into two bowls of green and orange) and used it to decorate. If I can make a cake this delicious it has to be a great recipe!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you, Georgette, we’re so happy you and your husband loved it! :)

  18. I have tried recipe before and LOVED it. Do you think it could be make in a mini budnt cake pan?

    Rating: 5
    • We’re glad to hear that, Maria! We haven’t tried this in a bundt pan, but it would be WAY too much batter for a regular-sized bundt pan, let alone a mini one. You’d definitely want to cut the recipe in half, but you’ll still have some extra batter (you could always use it to make cupcakes though)! Also, this cake freezes beautifully. :)

  19. I made this cake for my mom’s 84th birthday today…. it is truly amazing! This is a keeper!

    Rating: 5
  20. Love love love! I was making a last minute birthday cake for my sister(who refuses to eat anything too sugary and unhealthy), and this recipe saved me! Carrot cake is the perfect balance of health and sugar, making everyone happy. The cake came out perfectly and I could not have been happier! :)

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks, Hanna, we’re so happy to hear that, thanks for giving it a try! :)

  21. I never leave reviews (I probably should because the first thing I do is look at people’s review on the recipe) but this is hands down the best carrot cake I ever made! And the people I made it for said the same thing… BEST carrot cake they ever had! You don’t need to alter any of the recipe it’s perfect!

    Rating: 5
    • Wow, thank you so much, Julie! We’re happy you loved this and that it was a hit with folks! :)

  22. Just made this tonight. I can comfortably say that this is one of the best cakes I have ever made. Recipe is so easy to follow and soooo good. This is definitely a keeper!

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much, Jen, that’s such a sweet compliment and we’re happy you loved it!

  23. My husband is a picky eater and is very hard to please, especially when it comes to cake! After he finished his cake, he put his fork down, and said, “I think that was the best piece of carrot cake I’ve ever had.” And that was after being disappointed that I couldn’t find any Costco carrot cake, which was his favorite. :) This cake rocks!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for sharing with us, Abbie, we’re so happy you and your husband loved this! :D

  24. This is really just the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever tasted. A highlight at my office and with parties. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Rating: 5
    • Wow, thank you so much, Miranda — we’re thrilled to hear you love it and that it’s been a hit with folks!

  25. Pingback: Quick and Easy Chocolate Fix Cake – Teatime in the Woods

  26. This cake is simply marvellous.
    I made it for my boyfriend’s birthday, followed the recipe precisely (with chopped walnuts) and it was plain heaven. It tastes better than any Starbucks carrot cake, (which I also find very very good) and the consistency of the cake is perfect. Same goes for the wonderful frosting.

    Everyone adored it.

    Thank you for sharing with us this recipe!!!

    Rating: 5
  27. I made this gluten free the only alteration to the cake is namaste flour im place of regular AP flour and i did 24 cupcakes insteads. However the frosting I wish I would have stoped at 4cups powder sugar I really like the cream cheese flavor the 6 cups made it taste like store bought frosting. Overall wonderful job loved the recipe!

    Rating: 5
  28. I made this for my Mothers birthday and it is the BEST Carrot Cane I’ve ever eaten.

    Rating: 5
  29. Great recipe!

    Rating: 4
  30. Excellent directions and proportions. The cake came out delicious and perfect! I’ve used Pinterest for years now, but was never this impressed. Thank you gimmisomeoven, you made my husband’s birthday even greater!

    Rating: 5
  31. Yes I made this recipe the cake was super moist. I had to use a liquid sugar mixture (1/4 cup of milk, teaspoon of powered sugar, a teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/4 teapoon of vanilla, pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of ground clove) to pull the flavor of the cake out. I poked holes in the cake took a spoon spread the liquid sugar throughout the layers. The cake was amazing. I only rated it 4 stars because of the the liquid sugar factor.

    Rating: 4
  32. Very good texture but I could taste the raising agents. Will try this again with less baking powder and baking soda

    Rating: 4
  33. This carrot cake is so delicious I made it for my husband and I for our wedding! Perfect texture, stacked well and was a huge hit! I used the cream cheese frosting to crumb coat and a buttercream fondant to top it off.

    Rating: 5
  34. 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 ?

    Rating: 5
  35. 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!

    Rating: 5
  36. 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.

    Rating: 5
  37. 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?
    Thanks!

    Rating: 5
  38. Real good and moist !

    Rating: 5
  39. 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.

    Rating: 5
  40. 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.

    Rating: 4
  41. 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 :-)

    Rating: 5
  42. 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!!

    Rating: 5
  43. 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: http://oursavorylife.com/what-can-i-substitute-for-baking-soda/
      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.

  44. 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.

    Rating: 5
  45. 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 😁

    Rating: 4
  46. 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.

    Rating: 5
  47. Omgoodness! This is truly the best carrot cake recipe, ever! Thank you, for the wonderful recipe! ♡

    Rating: 5
  48. 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

    Rating: 4
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  50. 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❤❤

    Rating: 5