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.

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 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 Recipe
4.8 from 122 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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1,056 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake!”

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  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. 5 stars
    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!

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

    • 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. 3 stars
    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!

    • 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. 5 stars
    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 :)

  17. 5 stars
    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!

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

  18. 5 stars
    I have tried recipe before and LOVED it. Do you think it could be make in a mini budnt cake pan?

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

  20. 5 stars
    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! :)

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

  21. 5 stars
    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!

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

  22. 5 stars
    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!

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

  23. 5 stars
    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!

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

  24. 5 stars
    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!

    • 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. 5 stars
    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!!!

  27. 4 stars
    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!

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

  29. 4 stars
    Great recipe!

  30. 5 stars
    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!

  31. 4 stars
    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.

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

  33. 5 stars
    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.

  34. 5 stars
    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 ?

  35. 5 stars
    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!

  36. 5 stars
    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.

  37. 5 stars
    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!

  38. 5 stars
    Real good and moist !

  39. 5 stars
    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.

  40. 4 stars
    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.

  41. 5 stars
    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 :-)

  42. 5 stars
    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!!

  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. 5 stars
    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.

  45. 4 stars
    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 😁

  46. 5 stars
    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.

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

  48. 4 stars
    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

  49. Pingback: Have Your Cake

  50. 5 stars
    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❤❤