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.


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

This post contains affiliate links.

5 / 5 (68 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.


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)


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

955 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake”

1 6 7 8 9 10 13
  1. I also used two 9″ pans, deep ones, but I used the advice of some professional bakers that I found online and after the initial 40 minutes at 350˚F, I lowered it to 300˚F for another half an hour. The cakes look fantastic and seem solid all the way through. I might start at 325˚F next time if I use two pans again so that there’s a more consistent cooking process.

  2. Hello my mom and i would like to try your recipe may i ask how many cups is 1lb of carrots? Im sorry we do not have a weighing scale :(

    • Hi Elena! 1 lb of carrots should equal about 3 cups. We hope you and your mom enjoy the cake!

  3. What is the cooking Time adjustment for a 9″ pan?

    • Hi Nicole! We think it will take around 30 minutes or more, but we would still suggest setting the timer for 25 minutes and just checking from there (just to be on the safe side). We hope that helps, and that you enjoy! :)

  4. Hey I’ve made this cake a couple of times and it comes out perfect everytime. I made a crusting cream cheese frosting because I live in the Caribbean and the heat makes the frosting runny other than that it’s a lovely cake and makes great cupcakes as well. Thank you for the recipe. 

    • Thanks for sharing with us Sarah — we’re so happy you’re a fan of the cake! :D

  5. The cake was great, however the icing was runny and made enough for 3 cakes.

    • Hi Sarah! We’re glad you enjoyed the cake! We’re sorry about the icing though — that’s strange. We’ve never experienced it being runny before — could one of your measurements have been off?

  6. I made this the other week and it was the best carrot cake my husband and I have ever eaten! I’d like to make it in cupcake form for my students and was wondering if you knew how many standard-size cupcakes this recipe makes? I have 24 students.

    • Wow, what a generous compliment Danielle! We’re so happy you and your husband loved it! And if you want to make cupcakes out of the recipe, you’ll definitely need to cut it in half (even cutting it in half will probably make more than 24).

  7. Hi, It was my first time making cakes (I’m a 14 year old).
    And I messed up with the salt. I read tbsp. instead of tsp.(Yes, I’m a fool)
    Is there a way to fix it or I have to throw it away? :(
    Sorry if i made a mistake , english is not my first language.

    • Hi Ana! Oh no, we’re so sorry! You are definitely not a fool though, we have done things like this a zillion times (it’s easy to misread something). Unfortunately though we’re afraid this isn’t salvageable as that’s just a whole lot of salt. We hate for you to have to throw it out but we just can’t think of anything that could fix this. :(

  8. Thank you! I threw it away and made it again. It was delicious!
    I think that we learn from our mistakes. :)

  9. I’m making these into cupcakes for my niece’s graduation party. What would the bake time adjustment be for cupcakes? Thanks!

    • Hi Charlene! You’d want to cut the recipe in half (even then it will still make quite a lot of cupcakes)! Also, they will probably bake for 12-15 min (possibly even a bit longer). We hope this helps and that they’re a hit at your niece’s party! :)

  10. Could you tell me about baking in loaf pans what would you recommend for cooking time. Thank you!!!

    • Hi Rebecca! If you wanted to use a loaf pan for this, you would need to cut the recipe in half (it makes a lot)! It might even be enough batter to fill up two loaf pans. As far as the baking time, it will probably need about an hour or so to bake (possibly 75 minutes). We’d suggest setting a timer for 45 minutes and checking every 5-10 min after that. We hope this helps and that you enjoy! :)

  11. Hi, could you give me the quantity of carrots in cups?

    • Hi Lih! 1 lb of carrots should equal about 3 or 4 cups. We would suggest weighing the carrots at the grocery store if you can though. We hope you enjoy the cake!

  12. Wow! So easy to make and super delicious. I’ve made it twice and it came out perfect each time.  Everyone loved it.  This is a keeper!

  13. I’ve made this recipe twice before, and absolutely loved it! I’m going to make it again soon and was wondering if this recipe would work in a bundt cake pan? What would you suggest for baking time and/or temperature adjustments? Thank you!

    • Thanks Anthony — we’re so happy you’re a fan of the recipe! As far as trying this in a bundt pan, as long as your bundt pan is big enough (it should be able to hold about 15 cups of batter), then this should be fine. You may have a bit of batter left over (be careful not to overfill the bundt pan), but if that’s the case, you could always bake a few cupcakes as well. :) We hope this helps!

  14. This recipe looks absolutely AMAZING! I have learned that I tend to like crushed pineapple and shaved coconut flakes in my carrot cake – do you think I would need to alter anything else in the recipe if I added these to it?

    • Thanks Katie! You can add a 15oz can of crushed pineapple (drained) — we would recommend gently folding it into the batter. And you should be find to add the coconut as well! We hope you enjoy!

  15. I was wondering if I could use white whole wheat flour in this recipe? 

    • Hi Katerina! We haven’t tried that and while you might, we would suggest doing a mixture (we’d try 2 cups of ap flour and 1 1/4 cups of white whole wheat). If you give that a shot, definitely let us know how it turns out! :)

  16. I made this cake yesterday for my 3 year old birthday and it was AMAZING. I added lime juice to the icing and also added crushed pineapples mixed with some of the icing in between the layers, as a filling. then decorated with some gummy bears. As soon as I finished making the cake we sang happy birthday and served it. It was really good but not the best carrot cake, then 5 hours later I had another piece and wow! The cake was out of this world delicious and definitely is the BEST carrot cake. So my only suggestion would be to make it at least 3 hours in advance to make sure all the flavors are settled.

  17. I can NOT wait to try this recipe, the picture shows a carrot-loaded and moist cake, it has me drooling! ?
    I also want to comment about the frosting, I saw people saying the frosting was runny, it might be because the cheese needs to be drained, I have consistent results and a fluffy, creamy frosting when I do it. I’m not sure if it’s whey or water, but the liquid melts the sugar, I wrap each stick in two coffee filters while it’s coming to room temperature, works wonderfully.

    • Thank you Laura — we hope you love it! And thanks for sharing that tip on the cream cheese as well!

  18. Pingback: The Best Carrot Cake Ever – krysta's kitchen

  19. I made this for homecoming at church a few months ago. There was none left and people asked me if I baked cakes to sale! This cake is amazing. I am making it today for my mom’s wedding next Saturday at the request of the groom. Any suggestions as far as baking since I am making it in 3″ deep pans?

    • That’s awesome Jada — we’re so glad it’s a hit! Hmmm, the pans are 3 inches deep, but what’s the diameter? We’ve only made these in 8-inch and 9-inch pans (and in cupcake pans).

  20. This recipe worked out beautifully. Thanks for the guidance on a simple carrot cake with lots of carrots. I even grew the carrots and harvested them in the middle of the night, so we’re calling it “Middle of the Night” cake.

    • Awesome Erica — we’re so glad to hear that! And we love your new name for the cake! :)

  21. Hi, can replace cream cheese with mascarpone cream? Or combine them?

    • Hi Manuela — Yes, you can definitely use mascarpone instead, or a mix of cream cheese and mascarpone (we love mascarpone and think that would be super yummy)! :)

  22. Hey, I want to make this recipe, does it matter if we use baby carrots or should we use the regular size carrots to grate? Thank you!

    • Hi Laura! You can grate baby carrots, but regular-sized carrots will be easier to grate (if you’re grating by hand).

  23. I will be baking a 30 Cm Square Cake ( 12inch ) soon and will be using this recipe.
    will let you know how it turns out “Nuts & All”
    Thank You from a Chilli Winters evening in Cape Town, South Africa
    Ps …had to convert the Oz’s & lb’s :)

    • Hi Yusrah! We hope you enjoy the carrot cake (we’re glad you were able to convert everything over), and we hope you stay warm in beautiful Cape Town! :)

  24. This cake is beautiful! Do you have any ideas about how many cupcakes this recipe would make? I need 150 cupcakes and I am hoping to get the math right so I don’t have to end up making more batter last minute! 

    • Thank you Lindsay — we hope you enjoy the recipe! Hmmm, we know this would make a lot of cupcakes, but we haven’t tried making cupcakes ourselves with this recipe, so we can’t say how many one batch might yield. However! If following this guide (which we think should be pretty accurate), you would probably just need to do about 8 times the recipe (that’s if each batch yields 18 cupcakes, but as the guide says, it could be anywhere from 18-24). We’re sorry we don’t have an exact number for you, but we hope this is helpful!

  25. What is the serving size for this please?

    • Hi Ashton — This recipe yields 1 3-LEVEL 8-INCH CAKE, OR 1 2-LEVEL 9-INCH CAKE.

  26. es posible traducirla al castellano,creo que es una tarta estupenda

  27. Hi! Just wanted to share that I am making these for my sons 8th birthday party as cupcakes. I cut the recipe in half thinking it would be plenty for 24 cupcakes per above comments but it barely made 15. Just a heads up for anyone making cupcakes :) 

  28. This recipe made two perfect 9×5 loaf cakes. I baked them in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Can’t wait for them to cool.

  29. Would this work in a 9×13 cake pan?

    • Hi Mary! We’re pretty sure this makes way too much batter for just one 9×13 pan. We would either cut the recipe in half or use two 9×13 pans. Alternatively, you could always use one 9×13 pan and make cupcakes with the leftover batter. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy! :)

  30. This cake looks delicious and I’m looking forward to trying it! Is there any way I can use butter instead of the oil?

    • Thanks Andrea — we hope you love it! And yes, you could use butter instead of the oil (we suggest melting it and cooling it).

  31. I made this cake nadir did not turn moist. Did I cook it too long? I Madera it in 2 nine inch pans for 35 ninutes. also the cream cheese icing curdled… I guess the butter was too soft u left it all day on the counter so it pups be at room temperature….,

    • Hi Ana — we’re sorry you didn’t have a good experience with this cake! Perhaps you baked it 5 minutes too long? Or is it possible any of your measurements were off? This is definitely supposed to be a super-moist cake. As for the icing, it actually sounds like maybe the butter and cream cheese were different temps (one fairly cold and the other extremely warm temp), so perhaps it looked curdled but just wasn’t well-blended?

  32. Made this cake for Easter and my family couldn’t get enough. My son has requested it for his 5th birthday, however, I need to make it 9×13″. What do you think the baking time would be?

    • Hi Terese! It will probably need around 45-50 minutes, but we’d suggest setting the timer for 35 minutes to start, and then checking it every few minutes after that, just to be on the safe side. We hope this helps!

  33. If I used a bundt pan what would be the cooking time?

    • Hi Tracey! You would need a 10-inch bundt pan for this (anything smaller and it will overflow). Although, you could use a 9-inch bundt pan and then make some cupcakes with the leftover batter! As for the baking time, it will probably take around 1 hour or 70 minutes. We suggest starting your timer for 45 minutes and then checking every 5 minutes or so after that, just to be on the safe side. We hope this helps and that you enjoy!

  34. This cake was delicious and we all loved it, however it reminded me more of a “spice cake” that I have made rather than carrot cake. I’m sure it was the cloves. I also had trouble with runny frosting even after adding quite a bit of extra powdered sugar. I put it in the refrigerator to firm up. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • We’re happy you enjoyed it, Toby — thanks for sharing with us! Definitely feel free to leave the cloves out next time if you like. And as for the frosting, we’re sorry it was a bit funny for you! Sometimes we have to pop it in the fridge for a bit as well, and that always helps.

  35. I was wondering if this could be put in a 9×13 pan?

    • Hi Tamie! We’re pretty sure this makes way too much batter for just one 9×13 pan. We would either cut the recipe in half or use two 9×13 pans. Alternatively, you could always use one 9×13 pan and make cupcakes with the leftover batter. If you bake it in a 9×13 inch pan (with leftover batter in cupcake tins), you’ll probably need to bake it for around 45-50 minutes, but we’d suggest setting the timer for 35 minutes to start, and then checking it every few minutes after that, just to be on the safe side. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy! :)

  36. Im making a 6 inch cake. What would the cook time be on that?

    • Hi Shalei! We think a 6-inch cake will probably need 20-25 minutes to bake (but we suggest starting your timer for 18 minutes and checking every few minutes after that, just to be on the safe side). We hope you enjoy!

  37. I’m going to try it today but the frosting seems to have too much butter. Can I reduce the butter?

    • Hi Alejandra! Yes, definitely feel free to reduce the butter to your liking. We hope you enjoy the cake!

  38. Hi Ali!!! This cake look like delicious ?…. In Brasil the same cake is very different… I’ll make it… Before I ‘ll tell you…
    Kisses ?

  39. Hi! I was wondering how many servings does this make?

  40. Pingback: Disaster Cake |

  41. Best Cake Ever!!!! I had a craving for carrot cake yesterday and your recipe was the first one i found. I used a 12″ springform pan and this recipe fit perfectly. Lots of icing left over but I don’t mind. Deliciously moist cake, not too sweet and just the right amount os spices. This recipe is definitely going in my collection. 

  42. I don’t have a grater-option on my food processor. Do you think just chopping the carrots up into small/fine bits in the processor would work?

    • Hi Sabrina! Unfortunately we don’t think they would be the right texture, so we would recommend just using your grater (cheese grater/box grater). We hope this helps!

  43. As my kids and husband said: It was HOLY!!!

  44. Love the ease in prepping and baking the cake. It came out really nicely. hOWEVER, I had a major fail with your frosting recipe. I used 3-8oz packages of cream cheese and mixed per requirement and it was too runny. I added in 8 cups of icing sugar instead of the 6 as stated and it still did not thicken up. I was very disappointed. Has anyone else tried the frosting recipe? Not sure what I need to do to make it thicker. Plus it makes a ton of frosting. I know you state to add more icing sugar however think I need to add a lot more like double. Would the recipe need the 4 oz packages instead of the 8 oz pkgs? 

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. Not sure why it didn’t work out — I wonder if our cream cheese was different temperatures (levels of softness/runny-ness). We’ve tested this recipe a few times, but I’ll be sure to check that again next time.

  45. Pingback: Middle Earth Merrymaking: A Baggins’ Birthday

  46. Hi, can i replace the flour with gluten free flour? Thank you

    • Hi Poppy! We actually have a recipe for a gluten-free version of this (it’s also vegan), but you can make substitutions if you’d rather it not be. We hope this helps!

  47. how many cupcakes do you think this will make and the time on them. Thanks!!

    • Hi Angela! If you want to make cupcakes out of the recipe, you’ll definitely need to cut it in half (even cutting it in half will probably make more than 24), unless you just want a ton of cupcakes! ;) We hope you enjoy!

  48. Pingback: Not a baby anymore – Defending Beauty

  49. Hi there,

    Do you peel the carrots before you grate them? LOVE your blog!

    Take care,

  50. I have requested this cake for my birthday! My husband is making it for me! Oh MY!!