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! ♡

5
5 / 5 (107 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review »

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 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)

Directions:

  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.

*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.

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!

This post contains affiliate links.

The BEST Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Leave a Reply to Haley May Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1,026 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake!”

  1. Pingback: Friends agree that this really is the BEST carrot cake recipe! Its moist, perfectly-spiced, made with fresh carrots and a heavenly cream cheese frosting. - ZuziFeed

  2. This is a very fine recipe. It has exceeded all my expectations. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you don’t mind but I made a couple of small changes by missing out the cloves and using all spice and by using self raising flour and missing out the baking soda. (I still added the baking powder though.)

  3. Pingback: 32 Easter Desserts to Make this Year DIY Projects & Creative Crafts – How To Make Everything Homemade - DIY Projects & Creative Crafts – How To Make Everything Homemade

  4. Pingback: Carrot Cake Dessert Recipes - Skip To My Lou Skip To My Lou

  5. Wow! What a great looking cake! I love carrot cake, so I will be trying this out! Thanks! X

  6. ok, you officially have best recipe for carrot cake on the face of the planet. my husband and i are authorities on the subject of carrot cake so naturally we had to try yours. it was the best either of us had ever tried.

  7. Pingback: Durian Walnut Carrot Cake (with Almond Flakes) | All About Nuts

  8. Pingback: Carrot Cake | Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind

  9. Pingback: Rūtuliuko virtuvėj pasižvalgius… » Blog Archive » Morkų pyragas-tortas

  10. This recipe looks delicious! Any idea how long it would take to cook either in a 9×13 pan or as cupcakes? I’m planning on making this for a potluck next week and this seems an easier way to serve. 

    Thanks so much!

  11. Hi, 
    My daughter is allergic to eggs, so we replace all eggs with flaxseed when baking. However, I have never made a carrot cake before and was wondering if flaxseed meal would work in this or not? It’s 1 Tbs ground flaxseed meal & 3 Tbs cold water per egg. Also we replace all oils with unsweetened applesauce would that also work in this recipe? 

  12. I  LOVE THIS RECIPE.. I HATE CARROTS BUT YOU MADE IT POSSIBLE. THANK YOU

  13. This looks great! I am in charge of dessert for Easter lunch and I think this may be it!

  14. i’m intrigued. especially since i think i already have the BEST carrot cake recipe in the world

  15. my comment didn’t finish there!! i went on to say that mine includes orange zest both in batter and icing and also ground ginger, mixed spice and NO white sugar. i will try this recipe though because a great carrot cake is always ok by me.

  16. I’ve got this in the oven right now in 2 9″ rounds.. it’s been about an hour of baking. Did you use convection?? Would it help speed up the bake time?

  17. Thank you for this recipe! We made our very first carrot cake with it (only half the recipe), but skipped the frosting and just dusted the top with confectioner sugar. It came out really moist and tasted fabulous! We’re fairly new bakers – our tips for fellow beginners is to weigh the carrots as you grate them, because we didn’t and ended up with too much!

    • Hey Sicilia, you’re so welcome, thanks for giving my recipe a try! I’m thrilled you liked it. Also, thanks for your great tip on weighing the grated carrots! : )

  18. Pingback: Squirrelly Minds » Eat/Holiday | 10 Best Easter Cakes

  19. Pingback: CAKE PARTY! | Hidden Features

  20. I made this last Easter and it was a huge hit.  I was going to make it again this Easter but we are traveling this time and it is about a hour away.  I don’t think that I can travel with this cake so I was going to make cup cakes out of it.  I hope they turn out just as good as the cake did!!

  21. LOVE! going to make for EASTER This coming weekend! Do you think this would fit in 3- 9 inch pans???  or would it not be enough batter?? i love making BIG cakes

  22. Pingback: Carrot cake | sugary sunshines

  23. Hello Ali,

    Mummy helped me make the cake. It was yummy. Thank you for the recipe. 

    From Jackson
    Age Three

    *He loves the cake so much he wanted to thank you for it himself. 

  24. I would 
    LOVE to try this cake, espacially afther reading the comments.
    1 problem…

     i don’t have 3 cake pans of the same size… can i put all of the batter in 1 pan? And witch size do you recommend?

    Thank you!

    • Thanks Geessiena! I wouldn’t put all of the batter into one pan. Do you have to cake pans the same size? If you have two 8-inch or 9-inch pans, those should work (though 9-inch would be better). If you try to divide the batter into two 8-inch pans, you might have some batter left over. Just make sure you don’t over-fill the pans! : )

  25. Hi Ali, this looks amazing! Do you think it will work in a bundt pan? 

  26. Question: Can I substitute baby carrots? The regular carrots in the supermarket just did not look very good so I quickly grabbed 2 pounds of baby carrots (attempting 2 cakes!) instead. Later I remembered how scientific and exact baking can be. Do I need to go back for regular? 

    • Hey Alayna, if you’re unable to find good regular carrots, baby ones should work fine. I Hope you enjoy this cake! : )

  27. Do you use dark or light brown sugar? Thank you. Can’t wait to make it!!

  28. Pingback: 4 Yummy, Scrummy Easter Recipes You'll Love!

  29. This looks delicious.
    Can it be made in a bundt pan?

  30. Hi, I would like to make this cake for Easter and wanted to know if I can make it and ice it the day before and should I put it in the fridge and take it out the day I want to serve it? Wanted to know if it will be good. Thanks.

    • Hey Danielle! Yes, you can definitely make it and ice it the day before and just refrigerate it until about an hour or two before you want to serve it. Enjoy!

  31. Pingback: Just In Time For Easter: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting « Confessions Of A Dirty Oven

  32. I knew this recipe was The One as soon as I realized you didn’t add in any “stuff”…woohoo! Just Carrot Cake! It was moist and delicious and everything I’d hoped it would be! I made it and brought it to a family Easter lunch and it was a hit! Several cousins remarked that it was the best carrot cake they’d ever had…so, I’m making it again for Easter Sunday at our house :) Thanks for a definite keeper…and new family favorite!

  33. Did you use cake flour or all purpose?

  34. Sounds delicious. Could this be made in a 9 x 13″ pan? Thanks so much for your great recipes.

  35. Hi Ali!  I am baking this cake the night before I serve it.  I plan to frost it tomorrow.  Should I store it in the refridgerator, or just covered out on on the kitchen counter?   I added a little ground ginger also to the cake for a little extra spice.   The batter tasted out of this world!! My son was begging to lick the bowl.  Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Hey Kristen! If you’re not frosting it until tomorrow, I’d just put the layers in a container or cake carrier, or wrap each layer tightly in saran wrap, and leave them on your counter. I think it’s best served at room temp. And I bet it’s amazing with the ginger you added! Thanks for giving it a try, and I hope you have a great weekend! : )

  36. Hello! I have fresh carrots thus no weight. Any idea on a measurement once shredded? I’d like to make this tomorrow for Easter. Thanks! 

  37. I just finished making this cake after looking at many different recipes. I thought the photo of the cake was excellent which really made my decision. The results were excellent, cake was moist not too sweet, even with the amt of sugar used. This will definitely be my go to “carrot cake””, thanks for sharing…

  38. Hi! I am making your cake this weekend.  Can I substitue coconut oil for the veggie oil??

    • You sure can! Just melt the coconut oil first (and make sure you have 1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS of it). Let it cool so that it’s not piping hot, but not for too long, or else it will solidify again. I hope you enjoy! : )

  39. can I use a sheet cake pan ?

  40. okay, carrot cake is not carrot cake without pineapple

  41. I don’t have round pans can I use 13×9 glass pan?  With the same amout of ingredients? 

  42. Pingback: Mini birthday carrot cakes | Dani' s cookings

  43. Hi, I was wondering if you ever tried substituting coconut oil instead of vegetable.  Thanks

    • Hey Kristi! Yes, you can. Just melt the coconut oil first (and make sure you have 1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS of it). Let it cool so that it’s not hot, but not for too long, or else it will solidify again. I hope you enjoy! : )

  44. Pingback: What’s Easter Without Carrot Cake? | Sweetgrass Social

  45. Pingback: Carrot Cake | workingthatdough

  46. Happy Easter Ali!

    I’m making this cake right now and can’t wait to serve it to my family with Easter dinner!  Thank you and have a wonderful holiday!

  47. Hi! I’m baking this cake right now, following to a T and my batter is MUCH MUCH thicker than your photos show…is this ok? Can’t figure out what I’ve done differently except I used all brown sugar and no white. That’s never mattered before except in flavor. Thanks!

  48. Hello,  I just made the frosting and it’s too thin.   I added extra powdered sugar but still thin.    I already put it on the cake so what can I do?   Refrigerate?    

  49. Pingback: A little more pretty: Sunday Best | Pom Poms & Push Pins

  50. Made this for Easter this past weekend, I have loved carrot cake forever, but this was my 1st go at making it own my own! It was delicious!!  Everyone that tried it loved it and it was an easy recipe to follow! Will definitely be making it again, I added pecans to the top of cake on the icing, but next time might add the to the cake as well! Thanks for a great recipe!!