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.

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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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957 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake”

  1. Positively gorgeous carrot cake Ali! Can’t wait to give your recipe a go!

  2. Definitely the most incredibly beautiful carrot cake I have ever seen in my life. I love this! I adore carrot cake and geez, these photographs are stunning! Pinned, Pinned Pinned indeed.

  3. I just made this carrot cake for my boyfriend’s birthday! We loved it! It was so moist with just a hint of spice but nothing overpowering. This is definitely my go to recipe now…Don’t tell my grandma though! :) Hope you don’t mind me posting this recipe & your website on my blog!!!

  4. Pingback: Want to know an easy way for the family to get in all of their daily servings of veggies? Just bake this delicious Carrot Cake from Gimme Some Oven! | cornbreadandheels

  5. Dear Ali! It looks devine! How many days in advance do you think I can bake the layers without needing to freeze them? Do you think it would hold form Friday till Sunday?

    • Hi Reka,

      I think that it would definitely hold from Friday to Sunday. Any more than 2-3 days, though, and I would probably freeze them.

      ~Ali

  6. This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! I would like to try it as cupcakes. Is there anything I would need to do differently for that? Would you be able to recommend an appropriate cooking time to try?

  7. I’d like some now please!! Yum, I heart carrot cake!

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  9. Made this yerterday and it was so good. I would add 1/4 cup more of oil for more tender cake. It was delicious. Great recipe.

  10. My favorite cake of all time. No coconut or pineapple please! Looks yummy and I will defibatly be baking this weekend. Thank you!

  11. Great basic carrot cake recipe. I made this for my dad’s birthday it was very good. However I don’t think using 6 eggs is necessary, I think 4 at the least would have been fine. 6eggs made this cake more dense and stiff, and even took some of the moisture out of the cake.

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  14. Hi there. This recipe looks amazing. Do you think it would work as cupcakes??

  15. I adore carrot cake, and I especially love the little flags! I would be thrilled if you would hop over to my Easter/Passover Recipe Roundup and share this awesome recipe with us! You can find it here:http://mommasangelbaby.com/?p=2132. Hope to see you there! HUGS & Happy Easter!

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  17. how many cupcakes would this recipe make???

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  20. This was popular tonight. Thanks for the recipe. I used a maple buttercream frosting as a special request. It was delicious. Tons left to enjoy tomorrow.

  21. I made this carrot cake for Easter today! I also made a second cake of our family recipe carrot cake to compare the two and had my family do a blind taste test. Your recipe did very well, and no one would declare a winner. Everyone enjoyed the texture and spicy flavor. Not hot spicy, but flavor spicy. They thought it was a spice carrot cake. I thought it was fantastic and relish, loved how evenly the layers baked up. And, Lordy, the frosting! Smooth and creamy, not too sweet. The frosting recipe made enough for me to generously frost 2 cakes with leftovers to sit and eat straight from the bowl! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  22. Where I live there’s a bakery that sells the most amazing carrot cake ever. I have tried different carrot cakes from different places but no one could compare.
    A few days ago I had a request from one of my friends, she wanted a carrot cake also shaped as a carrot for her daughter’s 1st bday party.

    I found this recipe on pinterest and I can’t be more happy I did because THIS is the most amazing carrot cake! It’s just like the one I love from my local bakery!
    It was my first time making a carrot cake and it was a challenge for me because it was very big. My friend needed to have enough for her 100 guests.
    I made this recipe X4
    The cake was a hit!

  23. This carrot cake looks super mouthwatering! I am looking for a nice carrot cake recipe for a a long time, and this one does not even look too complicates :) I will try this one out for sure!

  24. Would this work using a 9×13 pan?

    • Yes, it would. The conversion is exact, actually. I would just keep an eye on the baking time, as it may take more time.

  25. Three (3) packages of 8 oz of cream cheese? that’s 24 ounces of cream cheese, this that correct?

  26. I am so excited to find this recipe and will be making it tonight for my 2 year old daughter, and her daddy’s, birthdays tonight. He is also a purist when it comes to his carrot cake – and I’ve never been able to make it to equal his mother’s. Tonight though, my friends, I have a feeling that will change!

    Thank you, Ali! Can’t wait to feed this to my family!

  27. Just wanted you to Thank You for posting this amazing recipe! Carrot cake is my husband’s absolute favorite and this truly is the best one I have ever baked. I made it first for his birthday and now, today, our 19th wedding Anniversary :). It, by far, rivals his previous favorite at the Cheesecake Factory. Can’t wait for him to come home to this beautiful, moist, delicious cake!

  28. Can you use cake flour instead of ap?

  29. Just made this cake yesterday and followed the cake recipe exactly. I’m pleased to say that this turned out wonderful. It moist, not too dense, and full of flavor! I received compliments from people who typically don’t like carrot cake. :) The only issue I had were some little green bits in the cake, and after researching a little, read that carrots can sometimes turn green if there is too much baking soda in the recipe or it’s not mixed properly. Still safe to eat and tasted delicious though. Anyone else have this problem?

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  31. hi
    your cake looks fantastic..i wanna try for my brothers birthday- he loves carro cake.
    but I have a question about the frosting. when I make it, can i used on the same day or do i have to put it in to the fridge for a night?

  32. I was thinking of using this cake recipe to make an inside out carrot bundt cake.  Do you think it would hold up?

  33. Can’t wait to try this cake!!!

  34. I made this carrot cake today. I’d been looking for just the right recipe (1 lb. of grated carrots! No pineapple! Brown sugar!)  from a reliable source (you!!) for a long time, and this was it!  I made two 9″ layers, following your recipe, except that I do use extra light olive oil instead of veg or canola for baking. Loved the frosting recipe as well. Made it with full-fat cream cheese since that’s what I had, and cut the total frosting recipe by 1/3 since I didn’t need quite that much for two layers. It was still plenty. The cake is delicious and my husband proclaimed it the best carrot cake he ever ate…and addictive. I’m going to reserve a couple of slices for my in-laws, and the rest of the cake is going to the office with hubby tomorrow!!

  35. tried it and it was fun to make.

  36. Hi!! I’ve been looking for a recipe to make a carrot cake for my daughter’s second birthday, when i found yours i decided to try it ’cause it has easy to reach ingredients and it turned out amazing!!! Thank you so much, it’s the best cake i’ve made!!

  37. I’ve been baking for 20+ years and this is THE BEST carrot cake over ever made! Love it! It’s a new family recipe! 
    Thank you!!

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  39. made this cake for thanksgiving dinner. wonderful, tasting cake! first time ever I made this cake, and everyone loved it! will be making it again! try it!

  40. I just made this beautiful cake and it turned out great! I baked the cake the day before it needed to be served and made the icing, assembled and frosted the cake the day of (I think the cake tastes better when baked a day earlier). The cake was perfect, however, I did have to bake it about 8-10 minutes longer than the recipe instructs. The icing recipe made so much icing!! I had about 1 cup of icing left over that I couldn’t justify plopping on the top of the cake ;) I wasn’t stingy on the layers either, it just made much more than I needed. I definitely recommend baking this cake!

  41. Pingback: Le blog de Lily » [DIY] Carrot cake

  42. Your cake looks so good, everytime i try to make a carrot cake it never comes out right

  43. so I Just made this and omg It’s soooo yummie I have been craving carrot cake for a while and the store bought ones were not doing anything for me. I made it in 2   9 inch pans and What happened is  the middle did not cook properly so I had to leave it in longer and when thEy came out the edges were a little hard I shaved it  off but you could still taste it a little but other than that mmm to die for !!!!! 
    Thanks a million 

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  47. Thanks for sharing this recipe to me. I hope I can make this cake because I want to give it to my brother’s birthday

  48. This cake looks amazly delish… I am making a carrot cake for my Bosses Boss for her birthday, she likes carrot cake so I’m searching. Problem is I have to have enough for almost 30 people. Thinking i might make two 13×9’s to make one large sheet cake. Do you think this would work for this receipe, and how would I adjust the baking time to do so?

    Thank you so much for your help…

  49. This seriously is fhe BEST carrot cake recipe EVVVEEERRRR! I absolutely love it, a little too much salt and spices for my liking but it is unbelievable light, fluffy and soooo moist!

  50. Thanks,  for the recipe but it tasted more like a spice cake than carrot cake.