Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

An incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with an ultra-creamy cream cheese frosting. This is a must make! Jump to the full Carrot Cake Recipe now or read on to see how we make it.

It wasn’t until recently that we actually realized just how much we love carrot cake. It wasn’t really something either of us grew up with. Working on a hunch, we started trying a bunch of recipes and cakes at local shops. We fell in love. We especially have fallen in love with this incredibly moist carrot cake recipe.

Banana Bread RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Our Easy Banana Bread Recipe with a quick how-to video showing you how we make it.

How To Make the Cake Extra Moist

What we love is that you can make this cake quickly and easily without lots of fancy equipment.

How To Make Incredibly Moist Carrot Cake

Just bowls, a whisk and spatula are all that’s needed for the cake itself. It comes together really quickly. Simply whisk the dry ingredients together, whisk the wet ingredients together then combine. Add carrots and nuts and you’re done.

Three whole cups of carrots are added to this cake.

Add Lots of Carrots

Three whole cups of carrots are added to this cake. When we first tested it, we scaled that back to two cups since three cups just sounded a bit extreme. After baking and letting it cool, we were a little disappointed.

So if you’re making the cake and start to second guess the amount of carrots called for in our recipe below, don’t. All three cups are welcomed here, they make the cake.

divide the batter between two buttered and floured cake pans.

To bake, we divide the batter between two buttered and floured cake pans. The cake layers will bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes (they smell amazing). Once baked, we let the layers cool completely then add our extra creamy cream cheese frosting. 

Ultra-Creamy Frosting

The frosting is actually the same one we used to top our Guinness Chocolate Cake. It’s made with cream cheese, powdered sugar and heavy cream and is absolutely delicious.

Incredibly Moist Carrot Cake Recipe - So Easy!

If you’re not into frostings or if you don’t have the ingredients on hand, try the cake as-is without any frosting at all. Or, sift a little powdered sugar on top. When Adam and I were testing this recipe, we skipped the frosting the first couple of times and actually fell in love with the cake completely plain.

Recipe updated, originally posted April 2014. Since posting this in 2014, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

This cake is incredibly moist and light. It’s up to you when it comes to the grated carrots. You can hand grate for the finest carrot pieces that sort of melt into the cake batter. A food processor makes quick work of grating carrots, but the pieces will be slightly larger. This is what we do and find it works really well in the cake. A third option is to use pre-grated carrots from the store. They work very well and help with prep time.

This cake is very forgiving. You can make this with or without nuts and raisins. We like using both granulated and brown sugar in this — you could just use granulated sugar, though.

Makes 1 double layer cake or 24 cupcakes

You Will Need

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups (295 ml) canola or other vegetable oil

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

1 cup (200 grams) lightly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs

3 cups (300 grams) grated peeled carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)

1 cup (100 grams) coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 cup (65 grams) raisins

Frosting

8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups (140 grams) powdered sugar

1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream

1/2 cup (50 grams) coarsely chopped pecans, for topping cake

Directions

  • Make Batter
  • Heat the oven to 350Âş F. Grease two 9-inch by 2-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper then grease the top of the paper. Or, grease and flour the bottom and sides of both pans.

    In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and the cinnamon until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended.

    Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring gently until they disappear and the batter is smooth. Stir in the carrots, nuts and raisins.

    • Bake Cake
    • Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake until the tops of the cake layers are springy when touched and when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean; 35 to 45 minutes.

      Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off parchment paper and cool completely.

      • To Finish
      • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with a handheld mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the powdered sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time until fluffy. Pour in cream and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Chill covered until ready to frost cake.

        When the cake layers are completely cool, frost the top of one cake layer, place the other cake layer on top. Decoratively swirl the top of the cake with remaining frosting, leaving the sides unfrosted. Scatter nuts on top.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Preparing the Cake Pans: Even though it is a bit time consuming, don’t skimp on prepping the pans. It’s never fun to find your cake layer is stuck to the bottom of your pan. (If this does happen to you, leave the cake pan upside down and allow gravity to do its thing).
  • How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes: For cupcakes, we’d recommend baking for 14 to 18 minutes (or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean). Then let them cool for a few minutes in the cupcake pan before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  • We use kosher salt. If you don’t have it on hand, keep this in mind: 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt = about 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt.
  • Recipe inspired and adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Recipe for Carrot Cake

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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229 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Sue Webb February 15, 2017, 1:16 pm

    Yesterday, Valentine’s Day was the first time I made this and I have to say it came out amazing. My boyfriend loves Carrot Cake and said, “I hitted it right on the head”. I do have one question tho, does the cake need to be refrigerated since the frosting has cream cheese and heavy cream in it? Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe and one that I will definitely be making again 🙂

    Reply
  • Ola February 9, 2017, 8:30 am

    Thanks for sharing this recipe,I really want to try it. Just wondering why the recipe calls for so much sugar as all the recipes I have seen use a large amount of sugar. I am not a fan of sugar so I am wondering if it would be ok to use less. Thanks

    Reply
    • Joanne February 9, 2017, 6:42 pm

      Hi Ola, You should be able to reduce the sugar called for here. The cake is extremely moist and the sugar helps with that), but it is pretty flexible.

      Reply
  • Carol weiss February 8, 2017, 3:56 pm

    Could I make this in a tube pan since I don’t plan on frosting?

    Reply
    • Joanne February 8, 2017, 4:06 pm

      Hi Carol, When baking all the cake batter in a larger pan, the bake time will need to increase, probably by 20 to 30%.

      Reply
  • Kate February 7, 2017, 7:01 am

    I am not a baker, so when I had the intentions of making my guy’s favorite cake for his birthday – carrot cake, I felt a little out of my league. This cake was absolute perfection! It is SO easy, and pretty quick to make. It is moist and flavorful, and honestly incredibly hard to stop eating. We forced ourselves to bring a good portion to share at our work places the next morning knowing we didn’t have control.

    I made a few very minor tweaks with the frosting- I doubled the recipe so I could frost the sides of the cake. (There is a TON extra though) However I did not double the heavy cream portion because I didn’t want the frosting to be gloopy. I added a bit of vanilla, and put a bit more powdered sugar to rid the cream cheese flavor.

    GREAT cake, will definitely be saving this recipe!

    Reply
  • Gerry February 6, 2017, 7:38 pm

    Wondering if I can accommodate this recipe in a 9×13 in glass baking dish? Thanks

    Reply
    • Joanne February 7, 2017, 2:04 pm

      Yes, a 13-by-9-inch pan will work. Baking time may be slightly different, though.

      Reply
  • Savitha February 6, 2017, 7:51 am

    Thank you guys. I baked yesterday evening with my son who is 10 years and he took the lead. The result was awesome 👋 He told his dad he learnt it from Adam & Joanne 🙂 and I will look for more of yr recipes. Continue your good job of inspiring people to cook.

    Reply
  • Rebecca February 6, 2017, 12:35 am

    I made the cake exactly as directed (except I frosted the sides too), and it was moist and delicious.

    Reply
  • Sarah February 5, 2017, 7:27 pm

    Isaac’s 13th birthday cake, “A Labor of Love”.

    This recipe is a keeper!!!! Use the Kitchen Aid food grinder course blade, or the manual course cheese grater, for the grated carrots. Just double the raisins from 1/2 to 1 cup, and add a tad of butter and vanilla extract to the frosting. This made enough for a pan of 6 large cupcakes AND two 8″ rounds. Fill pans only HALF full. For cupcakes, this was ~1/2 cup of batter each. Baked for only ~22 minutes each (cupcakes and rounds). Paired with a whiskey and soda on star rocks with a little peel and squeeze of CaraCara orange. Perfect!!!! 5 stars!!!

    Reply
  • Jessica DeCosta February 1, 2017, 7:23 pm

    Really easy and so very good and i don’t even like carrot cake!

    Reply
  • Rita February 1, 2017, 4:40 pm

    Followed the recipe. Came out great. Fantastic!

    Reply
  • Kay Lee January 30, 2017, 10:26 am

    I made this recipe yesterday evening. Oh my goodness! What a delightful cake. I didn’t make any changes and it came out perfectly moist and delicious. This was my first carrot cake attempt and it was a H-U-G-E hit! The accompanying video was extremely helpful Thank you Adam and Joanne for sharing such a special part of your life with us. I was searching for an easy-to-follow carrot cake recipe and I found this one on my first attempt. This one is a keeper!

    Reply
  • Tess January 29, 2017, 5:18 pm

    I just made this and it is amazing. I plumped 3/4 cup raisins overnight in spiced rum. Realized I did not have enought veg oil so I used 1/4 c oil 1/2 c shortening and 1/2 c butter instead. The frosting is so good, next time I may double the frosting and frost the sides as wel as thicker in middle and on top.

    Reply
  • Nia & Kids January 29, 2017, 12:04 pm

    We’ve made this cake twice with successful results. The second time my 12 year old took lead and it was great. We didn’t have cinnamon so we used a bit of nutmeg and allspice instead, turned out excellent. It is definitely moist, we used less sugar, the icing makes up for it.

    Reply
  • Diana C January 26, 2017, 2:18 pm

    It had been years since I had baked a carrot cake, thank you for your great recipe. I catered to a celebration of 40 people, it was a hit. Some came for seconds and thirds. This is a keeper…..2 thumbs up.

    Reply
  • Mercedes Torres January 26, 2017, 12:22 am

    Cam I substitute coconut oil for the canola oil? Same ratio? If I add the pineapple, if should any liquid be minimized?

    Reply
    • Joanne February 6, 2017, 1:06 pm

      Coconut oil should be fine — add it melted. For the pineapple, use fresh or use canned pineapple that has been drained.

      Reply
  • Marelize January 22, 2017, 7:46 am

    Fantastic beautiful moist cake! I made my into cupcakes and it came out perfect!

    Reply
  • Ron Ralph January 20, 2017, 9:31 am

    After harvesting over 10 lbs of carrots from our garden, I was searching for a good carrot cake recipe. After watching a bunch of Youtube videos, and doing a search on Google for carrot cake, I decided this recipe was the one I liked best. I’ve never made home made carrot cake before, but I have done my fair share of baking, as I’m Italian, and Italians love their desserts!!

    I gathered all of the ingredients from the list provided and meticulously measured everything out according to the directions. The only modification I made was actually a substitution for regular flour. My wife is gluten intolerant, so I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour. After everything was mixed, I sprayed ramikens with Pam Spray. I did not flour the ramikens, as I’m usually successful just using spray w/o the cake sticking.

    Their recipe calls for approximately 18 minutes to bake cupcakes, but the ramikens are more like muffin size cakes. It took approximately 25-27 minutes baking time.

    As the muffins were cooling, I prepared the frosting. The frosting was super easy to make, and I might add, super delicious!! After the carrot cake muffins were cooled, I spread a thin layer of frosting onto each muffin. The recipe made 1 dozen.

    My wife, son, his fiance’, grandson, and I, all came to the same conclusion. This carrot cake was absolutely the best carrot cake we ever had!! It was very tasty, moist, and delicious!! I saved this recipe for future use!! I will make it time and time again!!

    Reply
  • Linda January 20, 2017, 8:36 am

    Thank you so much for this incredible recipe, I made 24 cupcakes instead of one large cake as it is easier to let friends take a cake or two home!! Also used walnuts in place of pecans, delicious….(I then had to make a second batch) I have never had so many compliments about carrot cake before. So easy to make, thanks again.

    Reply
  • Angel F January 19, 2017, 5:37 pm

    I made this today. Me, my son, mom, fiancé, and home health aid are diabetic, so I made a few changes;
    I substituted Splenda & Splenda Brown Sugar instead of regular white/brown sugar. It was AMAZING, I LOVE adding raisins 🙂

    For the frosting, I used a low carb no sugar recipe.
    1 1/3 cups Splenda *Put Splenda in food processor and pulse a few times. It will give a powder texture.
    1/2 Cup butter *soft & diced. Add to food processor.
    2tsp Vanilla added to processor
    8 Oz Cream Cheese added to food processor
    Mix & frost!

    I actually made 2 batches in order to frost cake around sides

    Thank you for your recipe!

    Reply
  • Amy January 19, 2017, 2:13 am

    I made it with a cup of unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup oil, one cup coconut flower sugar, pine nuts, almonds, currants and raisens. Also used 1 table spoon butter in frosting, and only 6 oz’s lite cream cheese. Oh my gosh, is it good!Thanks for the tip on chilling it all before frosting.

    Reply
  • Eli S January 17, 2017, 10:16 pm

    What a great cake and so easy to make
    Not a lot of ingredients. First time making a cake and everyone liked it, not a good job on frosting it but it taste as good as the cake.
    Love carrot cake

    Reply
  • yapunga January 14, 2017, 3:38 pm

    I made it,it was nice. The children loved it.

    Reply
  • Estee January 14, 2017, 12:58 pm

    I made this, cake came out beautifully, but the icing… I followed the instructions to the t, and here I am sitting watching the icing ooze down the sides of the cake, I don’t know where it went wrong.

    Reply
    • Joanne January 15, 2017, 2:01 pm

      Hi Estee, If you beat the icing long enough it should have firmed up a bit. The frosting is soft, but should not fall of the cake. Was it warm in your home when serving or was the cake still warm? This could have caused issues.

      Reply
  • Leaha January 14, 2017, 4:07 am

    I changed a few things, didn’t bother with the white sugar, only used the 1cup of brown,
    And added 1can of Pineapple drained and 150ml of sour cream.
    I hate nuts so didn’t put any nuts or saltanas in it.
    Slightly under cooked it and threw it in the fridge,
    When cooled added sour cream and pilly and icing sugar together and iced the inside and out! Delish!
    Plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg on top!

    Reply
  • Melissa January 12, 2017, 10:39 pm

    This is a great cake, one for the recipe book for sure!

    Reply
  • Angie January 10, 2017, 10:16 am

    I made this yesterday but I used 400g light brown muscovado sugar (omitting the white sugar), 450g carrot plus grated one granny smith apple. I didn’t put the nuts in it either because I didn’t have any. It turned out great. Soft, sticky and sweet.

    Reply
  • Karen H. January 8, 2017, 6:30 pm

    I made this recipe yesterday and I just wanted to say what an absolutely delicious and moist carrot cake this makes. If I have to cook a cake in future that will impress I know which one I am going to make.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Reply

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