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

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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.


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

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957 comments on “The BEST Carrot Cake”

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  1. Looking to make this cake for my grandfathers birthday. Would it still taste good if I make it the night before and serve it the next evening? Thanks! 

  2. I love your carrot cake recipe. I just made it and it’s delicious. Thanks for sharing

  3. Silly question – Should I peel the carrots before grating them, 94 just wash them?  Thanks!

  4. Hi, I’ve made this cake twice now and eone loves it so thank you so much for such a delicious recipe!!:)
    Will the Philadelphia icing last 2 days if I do it tomorrow and cake is needed for a birthday for Sat?
    Do I refrigerate it or just pop it in a tin?
    Any advice will be awesome!
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Kristy! We’re so glad it’s been a hit with folks! As for the icing, yes, you can definitely make it in advance and it will store great in the fridge (just be sure to take it out an hour or two before you want to ice the cake, so it’s spreadable). We hope this helps!

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  6. What kind of flour shall i use??will it be cake or all purpose flour?tnx

  7. This cake is FANTASTIC!!!!!! I made this for my husband for his birthday and he loved it!!! I have 9inch cake pans so I made it in 2 layers.  I was a little nervous because the baking time was a bit longer, closer to 50 minutes.  Because it was longer I worried about the cake becoming dry, so I boiled 2 cups of water with one cup of sugar for 3 minutes, let it cool, then poked holes in each layer of cake and applied the sugar mixture with a pastry bush.  I then immediately frosted it.  (Oh! I also wrapped each layer tightly in plastic wrap, once cool enough to handle, and put them in the refrigerator after baking to hold in the moisture!) I then refrigerated the cake until the next day.  It was moist and delicious!!!! I also added 1 cup of walnuts and a half cup of raisins.  This cake rivals any restaurant cake we have ever had for sure!!!! Thank you for posting!!!! 

  8. The first time I made this recipe, I was just really craving some carrot cake. It was delicious! I baked one for my friends birthday and she loved it so much I made her another and her family of three ate it in just a few days. The fourth time was for my dad’s birthday and he and his wife loved it as well! All I have ever gotten was amazingly positive feedback from this recipe and today I made my 5th one for my boss (Boss’s day is the 17th!).

  9. Is it possible to make this in a bundt pan?

    • Hi Morgan! 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!

  10. I followed the ingredients precisely to the gram. I used hand blender. The cake was simply awesome, amazing, delicious. We finished it all in under 30 min! Thank u. 

  11. Can you sub coconut oil for vegetable oil? I am making this today…

    • Hi Rachel! We’re sorry for just now getting to your comment. Yes, you an definitely use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. We hope you enjoy!

  12. This is the best carrot cake I have ever made! 

  13. Cake is really good. I used 2 9inch pans and, as suggested, half of the icing recipe. However, next time I make this cake I may do the entire icing recipe even if I end up not using all of it. 2 people that tried the cake loved it and said the cake by itself was very moist and surprisingly light for a carrot cake, but “almost” lacked sugar (a positive for them).
    Also, I added 1/2 cup golden raisins but no nuts; but next time I think I will also add some walnuts. Thanks for such a great recipe.

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Regine — we’re happy you and your friends enjoyed this. And the golden raisins sound lovely, good call! :)

  14. Hi! the recipe looks delicious and the comments are convincing. please help me out here i want to make half of the recipe so everything should be reduced to half or just a few of the ingredients?

    • Hi Joanna! If you want to cut the recipe in half, you’ll need to cut each ingredient amount in half. We hope you enjoy!

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  16. Can this be cooked in a tube pan or bunt pan, and how long should it be baked? This would make a great take a long either way.

    • Hi Susan! 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!

  17. will this recipe hold fondant?

    • Unfortunately we haven’t tried adding fondant to this before, so we can’t say for sure!

  18. As every one cup of flour can be drastically different, how did you measure yours for this recipe? Did you spoon and level or scoop from the container? Also, would this recipe work in two 9 or 10 inch pans rather than the three 8 inch?

    • Hi Berin — good question! We spoon and level. And yes, you could use 2 9-inch pans for this. We hope you enjoy! :)

  19. Bonjour, Ali je cherché une recette de carrot cake par un grand hasard je suis tomber sur le votre il ma l’air tout simplement délicieux ;) je l’ai fait dans un moule normal de 20 de diamètre et 5 cm de hauteur heureusement que j’ai mis du papier cuisson tout au tour a l’interrieur avec 15 cm de plus sinon il aurait débordait je me retrouve avec un carrot cake de 15 cm de hauteur il est juste trop beau c’est surtout au niveau cuisson que j’ai un peu peur, Je pense que je vais faire un glaçage mascarpone ce qui va adoucir encore plus le gâteau. merci pour ce partage je vous en donnerez des nouvelles si ma petite famille a aimé .

    • Salut Carlouchka! Merci de partager avec nous et de donner la recette d’essayer. S’il vous plaît, faites-nous savoir comment il s’est avéré – nous espérons que votre famille a apprécié (et nous pensons que le givrage mascarpone sonne merveilleux)! À votre santé! :)

  20. Hi, I’m so sorry Im sure this has probably been asked, but can I use Self Raising flour in the recipe? and what would I need to adjust if I did? Thanks so much, really looking forward to trying this recipe out.

    • Hi Katrina! We think you would be fine to use self-rising flour in this — just omit the baking powder and the salt in the recipe. We hope you enjoy!

  21. I made this last year for my husbands birthday. Never made one before…OMG!!! So delicious and moist!!!! Making it again this year,  it is now a tradition. You won’t be sorry! 

  22. Unfortunately,  recipe wasn’t a winner for my family. Cake,  rather than being super moist and airy, cake was pretty dense. For whatever reason,  frosting wouldn’t thicken up. 

  23. How long of a cooking time if using 9″ pans would you suggest? Thank you!

  24. I made this cake for a colleague of mine. It was so tasty!! I took the leftover tops from leveling and mixed it up with leftover icing…also a hit. Thanks for the recipe!!

  25. Do you think this recipe will make enough to do a 13×9 pan or should I double? 

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Alisha! We’re pretty sure this makes way too much batter for just one 9×13 pan. We would actually 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! :)

  26. I’ve been tasked with making carrot cake cupcakes for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Have you done this recipe as cupcakes before? Any suggestions or would it all be pretty much the same, just adjusted baking time?

    • Hi Amanda! We’re sorry we weren’t able to get to your comment in time. 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). We’d suggest setting the timer for 10 minutes (though these might need 15 minutes or longer) — just keep an eye on them and test for doneness with a toothpick. We hope this helps!

  27. This is one huge cake!!(At least it was when I made it. There was so much frosting that I had to split my 2 layers in half!)
    Tasted DELICIOUS on Thanksgiving!

  28. Am I able to bake the layers today (Friday) and freeze them wrapped until the start of next week (Tuesday) and then frost them? Will it taste the same as a freshly baked cake? I think your recipe is fantastic and don’t want to alter the experience. Thanks!

  29. i want to try the cake without the frosting… i want to try it just like a carrot bar… will it be okay?

    • We haven’t tried this without the frosting, but we think it would still be delicious! :)

  30. I love to bake Cakes. I took after my Grandmother and have been doing them for years now. I just followed this Recipe to T and made it for a Family Member. It came out terrible!!! It was dry and tasted like cardboard. Im so shame.

    • We’re very sorry to hear that, Meka! This should never be dry or taste like cardboard and we’ve never seen anyone who’s had that as their experience. It sounds like it got overbbaked and that some of the ingredient measurements might have been off.

  31. Hi! I love this cake! Its my go to carrot cake… I was wondering if you have every added rum to it..and if so..what and how much for the liquids did you substitute to keep the same texture?

    • We’re so glad to hear that, Salome! :) We have not experimented with adding any rum to this, though we bet that would be yummy! If you wanted to add some rum to it, you could do 1 TBS and then just omit the vanilla, OR (depending on how much of a rum flavor you’d like), you could leave out the 2 TBS of oil, and use rum instead. We hope this helps!

  32. Made this for my sons birthday party and it was a huge hit. Everyone loved it!! Best carrot cake for sure!

  33. I followed your recipe and I’m not sure what I did wrong. The cake tatste a little bit salty. The cream cheese icing was great 

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  37. Hello ! Your cake looks amazing and the comments have tempted me even more.Will be making this for my daughter’s birthday ,can you pls let me know if I can substitute the oil with butter ? Thank you !

    • Thank you, Sheema — we hope you and your daughter enjoy! :) And yes, you can use butter instead of oil (use the same amount, unsalted and melted, and just let it cool some before you add it to the batter).

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  39. Made this one today…used a 9×13 pan and it was a bit too much batter…should’ve read further down the comments about that. Edges got a little overdone due to the extra cooking time but it seems to be ok…smells great- nicely spiced. 

    • Oh no! Yes, this makes a ton of batter for just a 9×13 cake. We hope you still enjoyed it though!

  40. Made this last night for a friend’s birthday. It was a HUGE hit! Thanks for the recipe! Will be keeping it for the future.

  41. Hi! Just wondering if I could use a 10″ round pan instead of 9″, or if i should double the recipe. I don’t want the layers to be too thin. Thanks! 

  42. Hi! I’m confused about the oil – 1 1/2 cups (of what) plus oil? Is it butter? Or just a lot of oil? Many thanks!

  43. can this be made in a 9×13 pan?

    • Hi Ginger! We’re pretty sure this makes way too much batter for just one 9×13 pan. We would actually 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! :)

  44. Love this recipe! I halved the recipe and it was perfect for a 6 x 2 3/4 in round pan with enough batter to make 4 extra muffins. I will be making the full recipe this weekend ..with a little more spice :)

  45. Do I buy one pound of whole carrots and then shred them, or more than a pound of carrots to yield one pound of shreds after accounting for weight lost due to loss of moisture during grating?

  46. Can I freeze these cakes, if so for how long. Can I ice the layers and freeze and do the outside frosting when I need the cakes.

    • Hi Naaz! Yes, you can definitely freeze these cake layers. We would recommend freezing them un-iced though, and then assembling when ready, if you can. We hope you enjoy!

  47. I made this 2 days ago and I am happy to say that this cake is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. Better thank shop bought or boxed. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe, I absolutely love carrot cake and my partner is the opposite he does not like carrot cakes at all but he tried it and he couldn’t get enough, he loved it and said it’s so good so thank you thank you thank you for this beautiful cake

  48. Hi
    I’m inspired to make this for my dads birthday but dont know about cup measurements Could you interpret into metric weights please?

    • Hi Sarah, here’s a great website for metric conversions: We hope you enjoy the cake!

  49. Just made this cake. My husband loves carrot cake & this was my first time making it. Thank you for the recipe!! It was easy for a first timer like me and it was delicious.

  50. Wow, just Wow!  I am a 1st time baker.  This was a simple recipe, yet tasted so complex. It was delicious!  My mom had asked me to find her a good carrot cake recipe. I stumbled onto this one. Her birthday was coming up so I decided to try and surprise her and make it.  The cake, the icing every part of this cake surprised me and most importantly my family. No one believed I baked it.  10 out of 10.  Thank you!

    • Thank you for your sweet words, Johnny — we’re so happy you and your family loved this, and we appreciate you giving the recipe a try! :)