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! ♡

Print
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. This is absolutely the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted. I made it for my son’s first birthday and had multiple requests for the recipe. This will be my go-to cake for festive events. YUM.

  2. Hi there I was just wondering what kind of flour is best? I have always used self raising in baking a normal sponge but a wholewheat flour for carrot cakes. What do you use in this recipe in particular?

    • Hey Nicole, we use good old All-Purpose (unbleached.) But if you wanted to use some whole wheat, you could try 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose, and 1/2 cup of whole wheat! We hope this helps, and that you enjoy the cake! :)

  3. I loved it. Though I didn’t use that much sugar. Only used 1 cup. Very very good. Thank u.

  4. Is this is American cups or…?

  5. Have any suggestions for those of us who want to add pineapple? I thought about cutting the carrot quantity in half and adding drained crushed pineapple. And possibly a teaspoon of pineapple juice to the cream cheese frosting. Thoughts?

    • Hi Autumn! Hmmm, we’d probably suggest still going with the full amount of carrots, and just adding 1/2 cup of pineapple. And, a teaspoon of pineapple juice in the frosting sounds like a great idea! We hope this helps, and that you enjoy!

  6. I am going to try this for my husband this is his favorite cake 

  7. Most recipes use applesauce, and I want this cake to be perfect.  Do I decrease the amount of eggs to add in some?

    • Hey Bobbie Jo! This cake is actually super moist without it, but if you’d still like to add apple sauce, you shouldn’t have to alter the amount of eggs unless you plan on adding a lot. We hope you enjoy the cake!

  8. Hi,

    I’m wondering if i could make this using 2 9×13 baking pans instead of the rounds. I’d like to make this for my little ones bday party and were having around 30 people. thanks!

    Kathryn

    • Hey Kathryn! We think that should work fine. We hope you enjoy the cake (and happy birthday to your little one)! :)

  9. Hi Ali. I have been looking for carrot cake recipe for months now and even tried most of it but it only results to failure. It’s really frustrating knowing that many of my clients are requesting for this cake.
    I’m super happy that i came across your blog and had a chance of trying your perfect recipe (at least for me). I’ve been receiving a lot of good feedback. My OB Gyne who is carrot cake fanatic really enjoyed it and said that this is the best carrot cake he ever tasted!. This is my go cake from now on. A million thanks to you. More power….

    • What a nice compliment Jane, thank you! We’re so happy to hear you love this recipe – carrot cakes can definitely be tricky! :)

  10. How many cups is 1 lbs of grated carrots?  I don’t have a way to measure them in lbs.

  11. Super easy to make, and we look forward to eating it. I used 2 x 9″ round pans, and in my convection oven 35 minutes was just right! Would like to add, though, that the icing recipe made more than double than I needed and was very soft, even with added icing sugar — next time I would halve the recipe and add even more icing sugar. Thanks! 

    • Awesome Sue, we’re so happy to hear that! Also, thanks for sharing the size of pans and your cooking time, that’s helpful for others to know! :)

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  13. I am SUPER HAPPY with this recipe and the results! The cake is PERFECTLY moist and very well spiced! I can’t believe I’ve been eating  the carrot cake that I have.  It’s been dry  and flavorless.  This recipe is so tastey it’s orders of magnitude better than what I used to make.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 

  14. WOW!  I usually just lurk on recipe blogs, stealing recipes without leaving a comment, but I have to give you credit for THE best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted. 

    My husband and I go to a local diner every Sunday after church, and we always say we’re going to go home with one of their $6.99 slabs of carrot cake, which gets rave reviews. I decided that I would make him his very own cake, and that’s when I found your site. 

    The only change I made in the ingredient list was to add the optional 1 cup of pecan chips. And, well, I COULD have let the cake cool just a little longer before frosting, but bedtime was approaching. Lol. 

    I put the cake in the fridge overnight and sliced a big piece for Hubby to take to work. Of course, I had to sample a small piece. Oh my!!!  Confectionary Heaven!  Thank you so much for an outstanding recipe!

    • Thank you Jenny, we appreciate you taking the time to leave such sweet feedback! We’re so happy you and your husband love this recipe! :)

  15. I was looking to make carrot cake muffins/cupcakes with a cream cheese filling instead of frosting (I want to freeze them to have when baby arrives in a few weeks). Would the frosting in this recipe work to be baked in? Also, would cake flour work instead of all purpose flour or would the recipe need to be adjusted? Thanks so much! Looking forward to making this recipe – I don’t like the walnuts and my daughter doesn’t like raisins!

    • Oooh, we think that would be yummy Melissa! And sure, we think the icing recipe should work fine for that. What you’ll have to do though is after you make it, shape it into a log on a piece of plastic wrap, twisting up the sides as you roll, then freeze for about two hours, before you use it to fill the muffins/cupcakes. For the cake flour, you’ll need to use 3 & 1/4 cups plus 6 1/2 Tablespoons. We hope this helps!

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  17. I was wondering if you think I could replace the oil in the cake with either butter or coconut oil?!

    • Hi Marcella, you definitely can use either of those! Just make sure if you use coconut oil that you melt it and let it cool completely beforehand. We hope you enjoy!

  18. What if I don’t have a stand mixer? Can I use a hand mixer?

  19. Of all recipes I have tried this trully is the best, not only for my taste buds but friends, family and especially my husband for whom carrot cake is his favorite. I do add about 1/4 c each of raisins, crushed pineapple and 1/8 crushed or slivered almonds.  

    • Thanks so much Ana, what a nice compliment! We’re happy to hear you like this so much, and those additions sound yummy! :)

  20. is the flour you used all purpose?

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  23. Hi, I wonder if cream cheese quantity (for the frosting) is 3 times 8oz or 3 packs which make 8oz in total? I am french and cream chees are not the same size I think. Thanks !

    • Hi there! It will be 3 8 oz packs, making it 24 oz. total of cream cheese. We hope that helps – enjoy! :)

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  25. I made this recipe for mother’s day and it was delicious! I halved the recipe and made a dozen cupcakes. I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and added walnuts and raisins cause my mother and I love them! We could have cut the icing recipe down more. There was so much left over! Next time I will cut it into thirds. And there will be a next time:)
    Thanks!!!
    Not sure if this works but here’s a photo!
    /Users/Georgia/Desktop/Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 9.25.57 PM.png

    • Awesome Georgia, thanks for sharing! Unfortunately we aren’t able to see the photo – could you try again?

  26. If i would like to just do one layer of this cake then what is the best way to divide the quantity. And what can i substitute cream cheese with? Thx

    • Hi Samah, you would just do half the recipe, but use a 9-inch round pan. You could just do a buttercream if you don’t care for cream cheese. If you like cream cheese, but are just wondering about a substitute, the closest thing would be mascarpone. We hope you enjoy!

  27. I’d like to make this but it seems like an awful lot, thinking of halving the recipe

    • Holly, you could definitely do half the recipe, just use a 9-inch round pan – that should be perfect! :)

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  29. Hi. I live in Europe and would really like to know the cup size since we use totally different units LOL. This cake looks delicious!!

  30. Hello, I’m going to make this cake on weekend. Looks amazing. However, I don’t have the stand mixer. Can I just mix them by using a whisk instead? Will the cake become flat if I do so?

    • Hi Yui! Do you have a hand mixer? We haven’t tired this without any kind of mixer, but we think if you fold everything really well with a spatula (just don’t overmix), it should probably be okay. We hope you enjoy!

  31. This cake is sublime! I used a different frosting recipe which is less sweet and delicious.
    250 grms cream cheese
    50 grms butter
    50 grms icing sugar 
    Mix altogether in one go till smooth. Ice cake

    Instead of the raisins, I used 1/2 cup crushed pineapple.

    THANKYOU for this recipe. Will use it again and again.  My ultimate carrot cake!

    • Awesome Jacqui, we’re so glad you liked it! Thanks for sharing your frosting recipe as well, it sounds yummy! :)

  32. Hello! Just a message to say this recipe is outstanding! I made 2 x 9inch layers and it tasted incredible, i didn’t have pecans or walnuts so used hazelnuts which i chopped fine and was perfect.

    Was just wondering if i were to pour these into cupcake liners, how many cupcakes do you think this recipe can make?

    Thanks, Jaymie

    • Hi Jaymie! Thanks so much, we’re thrilled that you enjoyed this! Also, the recipe should make about 60 cupcakes (it’s a big one)! :)

  33. I made this cake today and now have a new go to recipe! I grew up with a recipe that uses mayo in place of oil, but always found it to be a little too dense. This recipe is just what I was looking for. No need for raisins and nuts, just a simply perfect balance of carrot and spices. I did add the 1/2 cup of pineapple you suggested to someone looking to add pineapples. Also I used a 9″ inch tube pan and baked for 55 minutes and then sliced it into two layers after cooling. It came out perfectly moist and full of flavor. Thanks for sharing!

    • Awesome Kai, that makes our day! :) We’re so happy you liked this, and that it turned out so well for you!

  34. Hi, can i make it without the cream cheese cze my family doesn’t like it?

  35. Hi, can I make it without the cream cheese?

    • Hi Lana, you could do whatever type of icing you like – without the cream cheese, it would just be a buttercream. A plain buttercream would be really nice with the carrot cake, as would a maple buttercream – do whatever sounds good to you! :) We hope you enjoy the cake!

  36. Hi

    I pinned this recipe a while back and now I finally want to make it today.  Just reading through the comments and you’ve mentioned your recipe uses American cups.  I live in the UK so is there any chance you could provide measurements in ozs or grams please?
    Sounds so good I def want to make it

    • Hi there! We have not made this recipe going by weight, so unfortunately we cannot guarantee the accuracy of what we’ve converted below. That being said, we consulted the most accurate sources we know, and converted the measurements to the best of our ability. We 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)

  37. This is fabulous! Did add just a few raisins and less sugar. Left cake in fridge over night and made white chocolate cream cheese frosting!! Perfection!! Thank you! 22 people devoured it. Wish I made two.

  38. Hi! 
    I tried out your recipe and it turned out awesome!!

  39. Hey, thank you so much for this recipe. I often prepare it with my 4 yr old son, who is passionate about cooking. For his birthday only two weeks ago, we prepared a super huge carrot cake (recipe, times 4) for 75 people. We sat down to patiently grate 20 carrots. It doesn’t even take that long with a good grater. 
    I love that it has no apple sauce or pineapple. Serious cake for carrotcake lovers. No raisins or walnuts. 

    Mara Tillett, Mexico City. 
    Your 4yr old cook’s name is Astor ??

    • You’re so very welcome Mara, that’s sweet that you and Astor made this together – we’re glad you both liked it! :) Thanks for sharing with us!

  40. Aloha. Could I use this recipe with a bundt pan? I don’t own round cake pans. Mahalo plenty.

    • Aloha Stefanie! We think you could definitely do that, but we would cut the recipe in half, otherwise you’ll have a substantial amount of excess batter. :)

  41. Hi!! I am very excited to bake this cake just have a quick Question would it be better if I use parchment paper for the baking pans instead of flour and butter?? It’s to make a naked cake . Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Ana, that’s completely fine! Just make sure you butter/grease your parchment. We hope you enjoy the cake! :)

  42. Hi there can’t wait to try this recipe but is there a substitute for that many eggs? Thank you

    • Thanks Kema! Unfortunately there isn’t. Vegans would use flax eggs, but we’re not sure how that would work in this recipe, so we can’t vouch for it. You could try it with two flax eggs maybe?

  43. I made this Thanksgiving and everyone loved it.

  44. Hi there, we suggest using an egg replacer, or doing a flax egg. (To make a flax egg: For each egg, mix 1 TBS ground flax seed with 2 1/2-3 TBS water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken and set.) We hope this helps, and that you enjoy the cake!

  45. I’m making this 4 my grandson 4 Christmas. Glad I found this recipe. Will post a pic

  46. I don’t have baking soda!!!!!!!!!!! And the supermarkets are sold out. Can I double that amount for baking powder and omit the salt? And do you know how many layers these will bake using 6 inch round pans? Thank you.

    • Hi Mindy! Yes, you can just use more baking powder (you will need 3 TBS total for the recipe), and definitely omit the salt. We haven’t tried this with 6-inch pans, but imagine it might make 4 or 5 layers. We hope this helps!

  47. Hi,
    I’m really looking foward to try this awesome recipe.
    But I do have a question. Is it possible to bake the whole batter
    in one shot. So I don’t need to wait for every extra layer to be baked?
    Is it possible to cut the cake after cooling into the 3 required layers?
    Or is this just not proper to bake this amount of batter in one?
    Thank you in advance.
    Claudia

    • Thanks Claudia, we hope you love it! You can have all three pans in the oven at the same time, as long as you rotate them once or twice throughout the baking process. We’re pretty sure this cake makes too much batter to work well in one big (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!

  48. Hi! I’ve tried carrot cake twice before. maybe the recipes I tried were not that good, but I could always taste the oil in the cake. I’m going to try ur recipe Tom, so is there anything I can do to avoid tasting the oil?

    • Hi there! We hope you enjoy this one – while this is a super moist cake, we’ve never been able to taste the oil, so we’re hoping you don’t taste it either!

  49. I had not ever made a carrot cake before this. I searched the Internet for a recipe and came across this one. Tried it out and it is delicious! My family loves it.  I took a pic but don’t know how to post it. Only thing I had to do was convert measurements to metric.

    • Thanks for sharing Robyn, we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed this! You can share your photos on Twitter, by tweeting @gimmesomeoven or on Instagram, using @gimmesomeoven and/or #gimmesomeoven :)

  50. I love the recipe it’s awesome. .. but I was wondering if I could make a sheet cake with this instead to make a cake roll 

    • Thanks Samantha, we’re so glad you like it! We’re not sure what size sheet pan you had in mind, but we do know you can use two 9×13-inch pans for this cake. We think if you cut the recipe in half, you could make a cake roll using a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan. We hope that helps! :)