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! ♡

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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 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.

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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The BEST Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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1,001 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake!”

  1. This cake lives up to it’s name! It really was the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten.  I only had jumbo eggs at home so I just used 5 instead of the 6 in the recipe.  Other than that one little change I followed the directions exactly.  The cake was fabulous!  It was dense and moist and spicy, everything you’d want in a carrot cake.  Perfectly paired with cream cheese frosting.  I will make this a million more times : )

  2. I made this cake for Easter this past weekend and it was AMAZING!!!  Thank you for the recipe!  My family loved it and said it was the best carrot cake they have ever had (and they are quite the carrot cake connoisseurs).  I made mine in two 9 inch round cake pans.  It had to bake about 10-15 min longer than the suggested bake time, but it turned out moist and perfect.  Also, if you are only making a 2 layer cake, I suggest halving the frosting recipe.  I had a lot of frosting left over after generously frosting my cake.  Not that I’m really complaining about the extra frosting as I have been enjoying a spoonful or two of left over frosting right out of the bowl in the fridge every now and then.  :)

  3. I just made this cake for Easter. It is hands down the best carrot cake I have ever made!! I used two 9″ rounds sliced to make four layers. I had plenty of icing! Thank you for a great recipe!

  4. I agree. I had another recipe, which was very good, but this one is better. I tried it and loved it!

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  6. hi Ali! What do you mean by 1lb of freshly grated carrots? Did you mean grate carrots until you’ve reached a total of 1lb of grated carrots?

  7. Looks great! Would this work just as well (cooking time adjusted) as cupcakes? Iis the icing pipable?

  8. This was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! This IS the best carrot cake recipe. I made it for Easter and it was gone so quickly. There is something about the earthiness of the cake and the sweetness of the frosting. If you make this, you will have very happy guests in your home. I purchased already grated carrots – it saved lots of time. 

  9. Hi there, this cake looks wonderful. I’m definitely going to give it a try. Is the cream cheese ok to keep the cake on the bench for a few days? I’ve read alot of conflicting comments today that really have me confused.

  10. Hey Ali, 
    I would like to try your recipe but make cupcakes instead of a big cake. (It’s easier to get them into school as a suprise for my class and we won’t need folks and plates) ;)

    Do you think, your recipe will work as cupcakes and what would you say, for how long should I bake them?

    Thanks for your help ;)
    Sissi
    (Vienna-Austria)

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  12. Hi Ali, this looks incredible! I have some very cute free-standing paper liners, do you know if this recipe works well as cupcakes? Thanks so much!

    • Thanks Olivia! This recipe should work just fine with cupcakes! It shouldn’t take quite as long to bake, so I would just set the timer for 15 min, and keep monitoring from there on out. Hope you enjoy!

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  15. You cake looks heavenly and I want to try making it. My problem is I live at an elevation of 9375ft. What adjustment must I make to get the same results as you? So far the cakes I’ve tried have all fallen in the center. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Victoria

  16. Can you covert this recipe in cupcakes, bundt cake what size.  Thanks

  17. Pingback: The BEST Carrot Cake: its moist, delicious, and topped with a heavenly cream cheese frosting | gimmesomeoven.com - Dessert Recipes Easy

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  19. Helloooo! Im planning on baking this tomorrow but want to get the measurements right. Could you convert everything into grams and ml? (No need for the tbsp or tsp) it’s just that when I try and convert it, every website tells me something different. It would be really helpful! Thank you! X

    • Charlie, I have not made this recipe going by weight, so unfortunately I cannot guarantee the accuracy of what I have converted below. I consulted the most accurate sources I know, and converted the measurements to the best of my ability. I hope this works out for you! : )

      CARROT CAKE INGREDIENTS:

      327ml + 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
      200g granulated sugar
      220g brown sugar
      6 eggs
      1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
      406.25g flour
      1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
      2 tsp. baking soda
      2 tsp. salt
      1 tsp. baking powder
      1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
      pinch of ground cloves
      450g finely-grated fresh carrots
      (optional: 150g chopped pecans or walnuts and/or 75g raisins)
      CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

      24oz cream cheese, room temperature
      240g unsalted butter, room temperature
      1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
      1/2 tsp. salt
      600g powdered sugar (or more if needed to thicken)

  20. That’s perfect, thank you!

    Can’t wait to give it a go!! 

    X

  21. Hi Ali I was wondering if I can use cake flour for this recipe and will it still turn out the same?

    • Hi Taylor! Sure, you can definitely use cake flour, you’ll just need a little more of it. So try it with 3 1/4 cups plus 6 1/2 TBS of cake flour. Hope you enjoy!

  22. I do not like carrot cake, however my mother does. I made this cake (and accompanying icing), exactly according to the directions given, for my mother’s 71st birthday and my mother said it was PHENOMENAL, best carrot cake she had ever eaten. On Easter, a relative, who is a “Professional baker” (went to baking school)  made a carrot cake and my mother said the one I made her for her birthday (this recipe) was far superior to the cake that our “professional baker” had made. Today, for Mother’s Day weekend, I am making this for my mother again, only in cupcakes and making her a beautiful “floral” bouquet of carrot cupcakes. 

    • Thanks for sharing Shannon, I’m so happy your mother loved it! : ) I love your idea of making the recipe into a floral bouquet of cupcakes like that, what a cool idea!

  23. I was wondering how many cupcake do you think this would make? I making it for my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day. I’d love to know! The icing is absolutely DIVINE! I love it so much and the cake is so moist! I definitely make it often!

    • Hey Bobbie, I’m sorry I’m just now getting to your comment! This recipe should make about 60 cupcakes (it’s a big one!

  24. I tried it and it’s delicious!  I would add a little more of carrot,  but the way it taste is amazing!  I did it for a mothers day,  perfect! 

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  26. Hi…..im wondering can i make haf of the recipe for cupcakes.thanks

    • Sure thing! This recipe should yield around 60 cupcakes if you make the full amount. But you can also cut it in half to make about 30 cupcakes.

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  29. Can I bake it in a mini loaf pan?

  30. Can I bake it in a mini loaf pan?thanks 

    • Hi Brenda! Sure, you can, you just need to cut the recipe in half, unless you want to bake it in two loaf pans. I think you should probably use a 9×5 for this. Hope that helps! : )

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  32. Hi, Can I make this just using a hand blender? I don’t have an electric mixer. Thank you. 

    • Hi Naty, I don’t think this would work with a hand blender. If you don’t have a mixer or a food processor, I would just try whiskey and stirring everything. I hope that helps!

  33. Hi, I love this Cake but I was wondering if I can use Butter instead of Oil?

    • Hi Yvonne! Yes, you totally could (same amount). I would probably melt the butter though. Hope you enjoy!

  34. Hi, can I replace to oil with butter and if yes how much would you use? 

    Thank you

  35. hi Ali I’ve tried your carrots cake and I love it so much it came out perfect the very 1st time I tried my family loves it. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe. 

  36. This is the best carrot cake never i taste. Thanks for the recipe. I finding make the same recipe in gluten free, so i can change the normal flower for glower gluten free in the same quantity or use corn flour? Sorry if i repeat the questions.

    Thanks,
    Estefania

    • Thank you, Estefania! We’re so happy you like it! We actually have a gluten-free carrot cake recipe! You can check it out here:

  37. hi… making for week end!! if i make into cupcakes instead what would be cooking time!!! Also the first time i made it which was absolutely delicious i found when i grated the carrots they were very wet any ticks for that or doesn’t matter.. Also is there any thing i can use other than the sugar.. Thank you so much and love to see more of your deserts!!!

    • Thanks Melissa, so glad you like the cake! To bake it as cupcakes instead, the baking time will probably be 20-35 min (but just keep an eye on them and test them with a toothpick before you take them out). You could try using agave or honey in this, in place of sugar. For For either, you would need 1 1/3 cups, but you would need to decrease the oil in the cake (down to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons). We hope that helps!

  38. Thank you very much for this recipe again, i cant attach photo but won the FIRST PLACE in the Mount Isa Show 2015. I dont know if the prize is for you for the recipe or for me to can make this delicious cake, but thank you so much. You are part of this prize :)

  39. Hello, this cake sounds absolutely delicious and I plan on making it for a special dinner but I have a friend who loves carrot cake and insist it must have pineapple in it. I plan on making this cake recipe twice but adding pineapple to one batch.  How would you suggest I go about making this alteration so it won’t ruin the final product?

    • Hi! We suggest using 1/2-1 cup of diced, fresh pineapple, or canned pineapple tidbits (rinsed and drained thoroughly). We hope you enjoy!

  40. I made jumbo cupcakes and after they were made I put the frosting in the center. Everyone loved it!

  41. I made your carrot cake recipe for my husband on Father’s Day. I must say this was my first time making carrot cake and it turned out DELICIOUS!!! I added toasted coconut flakes on top because I had them in the pantry. Thank you for the recipe. 

    • We’re so happy to hear that, Christina! And the toasted coconut flakes sound like a delicious addition!

  42. I made this to brighten an otherwise crappy Monday — success! Awesome recipe – tastes even better day 2 after being in the fridge overnight. I made it in 2 9inch rounds – bake time was closer to 35 or 40 minutes to get the centers cooked through. 

    Only changes I made were to add some ground ginger to the batter and a few drops of lemon extract to the frosting. DIVINE! Will be making again. My husband told me this recipe is a keeper! 

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  44. Hello! How do u think this cake would turn out if I froze the cake for about a week? Then thawed and frosted for a party? 

  45. Question : Can I use a 9×13 pan for this recipe
    Some Ladies asked the same question but didn’t get an answer.Would love to make this cake in a 9×13 pan

    • Hi, Christa! We’re pretty sure this cake makes too much batter to work well in a 9×13 pan. But what you could do is, make the full recipe (in a 9×13 pan), and whatever batter you have left, that won’t fit in the pan, you can make cupcakes with. We hope that helps!

  46. I made this today in a 9×13 glass dish. It was amazingly delicious! Everything was followed exactly except the cook time. I baked it for 60 minutes. I have a ton of frosting left over too.

    • Glad to hear that it turned out well! And yeah, I used a lot of frosting, but you can use less if you’d like. Enjoy!

  47. I’ve tried to bake it today, it was very easy despite all the mess i did in the kitchen ?.
    I loved it but when i’ll bake it again i’ll decrease the sugar in the cake and the cheese cream .. It is sooooo sweeet. 

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  49. Hi!
    This is the best carrot cake I have ever made : ) I even added pineapple, raisins & pecans, as well as substituting regular flour for Cup 4 Cup GF flour. 

    I wanted to know if you ever make cupcakes with this recipe?

    Thank you again for sharing your recipe!

    • Thanks Diana, we’re so flattered to hear that! : ) And this recipe should work just fine with cupcakes! It shouldn’t take quite as long to bake, so I would just set the timer for 15 min, and keep monitoring from there on out.

  50. Im confused on how much oil to use.. 1 1/2 + 2 Tbls? I’d really like to make this, just don’t want to over do it on the oil.. Am I supposed to use 1 1/2 cups and the 2 Tbls? Please help!