Moist 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.

How We Make Our Incredibly Moist Carrot Cake Recipe

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 them.

 

How To Make Our Incredibly Moist Carrot Cake Recipe

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

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.

How We Make Our Favorite Carrot 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.

How We Make Our Favorite Carrot Cake

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.

How We Make Our Favorite Carrot Cake

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.

You May Also Like These Recipes

If you enjoyed our recipe for carrot cake, we bet you’ll also like a few of these:

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

4.9 from 28 reviews
Incredibly Moist Carrot Cake Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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.
Created By:
Yield: 1 (9-inch) double layer cake (or, 24 cupcakes
You Will Need
For the Carrot Cake:
  • 2 cups (280 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, optional
For the Cream Cheese 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
  1. Heat the oven to 350º 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.
  2. Prepare Cake Batter: 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.
  3. 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, if using them.Carrot-Cake-Recipe-Step-2
  4. Bake Cake Layers: 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.
  5. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off parchment paper and cool completely.
  6. Make Cream Cheese Frosting: 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.Carrot-Cake-Recipe-Step-3
  7. 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.
Notes and 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

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123 comments… Leave a Comment
  • caris chan September 22, 2016, 11:12 pm

    I have tried another online recipe for carrot cake previously but was looking online for another recipe that would be tastier and denser than what I have tried.

    I followed all the steps and ingredients listed on your recipe and the cake turned out to be amazingly yummilicious! There is nothing to fault and not to love about this recipe! Now I know what to do to make my kids eat carrots! 🙂

    Reply
  • ray pacultad September 21, 2016, 10:45 am

    hi, i am using a 7″x3″ pan. after baking for 45mins the center of the cake is still wet while the rest are already dry. whats wrong? please advise. thank tou

    Reply
    • Joanne September 23, 2016, 3:06 pm

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

      Reply
  • Sharon September 20, 2016, 9:39 pm

    How many carrots makes one cup shredded ?

    Reply
    • Joanne September 23, 2016, 3:02 pm

      For the full 3 cups called for in the recipe, you should need 5 to 6 medium carrots.

      Reply
  • D Pope September 20, 2016, 1:40 pm

    A winner all round! Make it for a cake party and it was talking point of the day! Even going to use this recipe for my friends wedding cake. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Millie VanderNaalt September 20, 2016, 10:23 am

    Can I use a bundt cake pan?

    Reply
    • Joanne September 20, 2016, 1:45 pm

      We have never done this in our kitchen, but a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan should be fine for this recipe. You will likely need to increase the baking time by about 30% in the 10-cup pan, somewhat less in the 12-cup. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Onyi September 17, 2016, 6:30 pm

    Absolutely brilliant carrot cake. I reduced the sugar by half (as I thought it would be much for my taste) and added a little dollop of honey. Thank you. Now my go-to recipe for carrot cake.

    Reply
  • Sarah September 7, 2016, 9:53 am

    Hello joanne, ill be trying this recipe tomorrow. Can I use philadelphia cheese for the frosting?

    Reply
    • Joanne September 14, 2016, 2:36 pm

      We use cream cheese in the frosting. If you intend to only add cream cheese, it will not be as sweet. I really enjoy the cake unfrosted and could see adding a swipe of butter or plain cream cheese to it instead of frosting.

      Reply
  • Min Kim August 19, 2016, 8:06 pm

    Hi,Im going to try this AMAZING RECIPE… But I like cake layers to be thinner. Can I cut my layers in to half so I might have 4 layers? If so, do I have to double the frosting or something? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Joanne August 22, 2016, 1:50 pm

      Yes, you should be able to cut each layer into two. You may need more frosting — if you make a double batch and don’t use it all, you could always save some for another day.

      Reply
  • Lisa gc August 18, 2016, 5:04 pm

    I have made this cake many times and I get hassled every time I go out with people asking me to make them one or can they come round for a slice …..I’m not a cake baker but this cake is easy and the cake is the best carrot cake I have ever had thank you xx Lisa Gran Canaria

    Reply
  • Sunshine August 12, 2016, 9:59 pm

    I tried your incredibly moist carrot cake and add I cup of shredded coconut – cake came out ok but a little dry not moist? What should I do if I want to continue using shredded coconut?

    Reply
    • Joanne August 22, 2016, 1:52 pm

      Hi there, we have actually found that adding coconut dries cakes out slightly. You could reduce the amount of coconut you add to the batter itself, and then add more to the top of the frosting. (Toasted coconut would be nice!)

      Reply
  • Geraldine August 10, 2016, 10:12 am

    Hi, may I know if the cake batter can be left while baking one tray in the oven first? I only have one 9-inch tray and am concern with the consistency/rise of the batter if it waits out. Also, how much of the oil can be substituted with yogurt? Just regular plain yogurt or does it need to be Greek? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Joanne August 11, 2016, 12:17 pm

      Hi Geraldine, Since this recipe calls for baking soda, you really should get the batter into the oven as soon as possible. Since you only have 1 pan, you might want to consider making one 9-inch by 13-inch cake. The batter should all fit in that pan size. We have never substituted yogurt for the oil in this cake so I cannot tell you exact amounts. I would start with the following and adapt from there: Replace half of the oil with 3/4 the amount of yogurt.

      Reply
      • Geraldine August 11, 2016, 11:09 pm

        Hi Joanne, I tried baking last night with the same amount of oil in the recipe. Turned out a little too oily and I’m also curious as to why the two 9 inch layers turned out way thinner than yours? Is there any reason that could have caused this? Since I followed the exact same recipe and method you used in your video.

        Reply
        • Joanne August 12, 2016, 1:53 pm

          Hi Geraldine, I’m sorry your cake didn’t turn out well. It is possible the batter was over beaten before baking or that the baking soda you used has expired. Hope that helps. – Joanne

          Reply
  • Valentina August 7, 2016, 12:54 am

    Just made it yesterday – super easy, tasty and almost impossible to do something wrong. Thanks for the recipe and instructions!

    Reply
  • Valeria July 19, 2016, 11:02 pm

    The best and easiest carrot cake ever.Yes!!!

    Reply
  • Um Dyab July 8, 2016, 3:36 am

    So Yammmmmi!!! My family loved it so much. The best carrots cake ever tasted. Since I didn’t have 9in pans I used two loaf pans instead,it was a high cake. Tasted so delicious & very moist, it did not stick at all, I lightly l flowered the pans.
    Thank you so much Joanne & Adam, GOD bless your hands.

    Reply
  • M Frankens June 25, 2016, 5:22 am

    Fantastic

    Reply
  • Katarina White June 9, 2016, 2:55 am

    This cake is fool proof….absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing this receipe!

    Reply
  • Mark William Wardlaw May 27, 2016, 2:06 am

    Brilliant cake, added 1/2 cup cranberries soaked in crabapple syrup

    Reply
  • Sonia Gallardo May 21, 2016, 7:28 pm

    Sooooo. Delicious. I just bake it, and It’s SOOO, tasty and delicious. Thank You Very Much for the recipe..

    Reply
  • Yas May 9, 2016, 3:17 am

    have baked this cake twice, no alterations. simply awesome!! thank you so much for sharing this receipe

    Reply
  • Sameera May 3, 2016, 10:52 pm

    Is this cake dense? Looks awesome.

    Reply
    • Joanne May 18, 2016, 1:33 pm

      I wouldn’t say dense, but it does have a lot of extras added (carrots, nuts, etc). The cake stays quite moist.

      Reply
  • shirley March 23, 2016, 11:03 am

    can I substitute the oil with a healthy coconut oil?

    Reply
    • Joanne May 18, 2016, 1:34 pm

      Coconut oil should work well. We have never tried this in our own kitchen, so you may need to experiment at home yourself. Happy baking!

      Reply
  • Mariela Rivas January 21, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Best Carrot Cake Recipe… I followed all the steps and the cake was amazing 🙂

    Reply
  • Tom January 20, 2016, 12:20 am

    Hi Adam & Joanne

    This is an excellent moist carrot cake and a similar recipe to the one I used to make in England (I use your recipie know). I like the idea of substituting some of the oil for yoghurt and must try although I’m not in a hurry. Your granola chewy bars are also fantastic and go down well with family and friends. For cake and bars ?????

    Tom

    Reply
  • Kaitlynn January 5, 2016, 10:22 pm

    This cake turned out great. I am a fairly experienced baker and have been looking for a great carrot cake recipe. Unfortunately, my cream cheese frosting came out totally runny and I followed the recipe and instructions spot on. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Ying February 28, 2016, 3:28 pm

      try icing sugar instead of sugar.

      Reply
    • alexandrea March 11, 2016, 12:38 pm

      has to be full fat cream cheese anything else will make the frosting runny

      Reply
    • Manda March 24, 2016, 12:44 am

      Hey – do not over beat cream cheese – will make it go runny. hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
    • Dubiousm March 27, 2016, 2:31 pm

      Mine was a little runny as well. I put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes and that sorted it.

      Reply
  • Halana January 2, 2016, 1:28 am

    Sooo so yum and moist, as the recipe claims. Best carrot cake I have ever tried. Even better than those sold in cafes. Loved the cream cheese recipe, not too cheesy after taste which was wonderful (I think the cream really made the difference compared to other recipes) I substituted the walnuts/pecans with pistachio nuts, which added a nice flavor and color.

    Reply

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