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

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


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


  • Make Batter
  • 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.

    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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246 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Christopher March 28, 2017, 3:46 am

    The cake is really good, but the icing recipe is a complete fail. So soupy!! Even after adding an additional 1-1/2 cups of icing sugar, it was way too runny and ruined the appearance of what would have been a beautiful cake. The 1/3 heavy cream was just too much. My normal cream cheese frosting recipe only calls for 1/4 pkg (4 oz) cream cheese, 1-2 Tbsp milk, and 3 cups icing sugar. Not using this icing recipe again!

    • Christopher March 28, 2017, 3:50 am

      And yes, I did use whipping cream, and I did whip it for 2 minutes, thinking it would thicken like whipping cream. Nope. Just a soupy mess.

  • Harini March 6, 2017, 3:44 am

    With this one recipe, I have achieved an instant promotion in the family from someone who has never baked and is a clumsy cook- to star baker. Thank God I found this!

  • Ellis March 2, 2017, 1:56 pm

    I’m making it for the 2nd time. It was very good and a hit among my daughters friends. I substituted the raisins for crystallized ginger.

  • Pat Gray February 28, 2017, 9:16 am

    Hi I can’t wait to try this recipe! For the frosting, could I use half and half instead of whipping cream?

    • Joanne February 28, 2017, 2:03 pm

      Hi Pat, I’d stick with cream since that will whip up better than half and half.

    • Jo March 4, 2017, 7:36 am

      This cake went down incredibly well with my colleagues, lots of people wanted the recipe! The only thing id do differently is use mascapone instead of normal soft cheese as i had to add vanilla essence to the icing. Other than that, it was perfect! Will definitely be making again soon!

  • Molly February 24, 2017, 10:26 am

    Hi – I am excited to try this recipe for my twins’ birthday party coming up very soon. Just one question on the frosting…what can I use as a substitute for the whipping cream because I need it to be dairy and soya free.
    I have found cream cheese alternative, but need advise on the whipping cream alternative.

    • Joanne February 24, 2017, 2:57 pm

      Hi Molly, Since I have never tested it, I’m not sure what would be best when substituting the whipped cream. You might be better off using a dairy-free frosting recipe instead and adding that to the cake. Here’s one from Minimalist Baker that might be helpful.

    • Stella February 25, 2017, 11:51 am

      Molly, We are modifying this to be a vegan cake, as well! We used a mixture of coconut milk (the heavy stuff in a can,) earth balance “butter,” daiya cream cheese, and powdered sugar for the icing. Turned out great!

    • Anne March 3, 2017, 2:08 pm

      Full-fat coconut milk can be used to replace heavy cream. Just refrigerate it before adding it to be whipped.


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