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.

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! ♡

Print
The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe
4.8 from 109 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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1,031 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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  13. Pingback: Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake | Gimme Some Oven

  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.