Incredibly 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. 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 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 350Âș 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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163 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Molly November 26, 2016, 11:25 pm

    Could I halve the recipe for a smaller cake?

    Reply
    • Joanne December 2, 2016, 12:59 pm

      Hi Molly, You can definitely halve the recipe.

      Reply
  • Manu November 25, 2016, 5:30 pm

    So perfect recipe..so effortlessly we can njoy this moist carrot cake.. I tried twice this recipe md it’s my family fav😊

    Reply
  • Tamara November 25, 2016, 4:08 pm

    Hello Joanne , I am using this recipe
    For my grandparents 55th anniversary cake right now. The frosting is it a cream cheese or more of a buttercream with a cream cheese flavour ?

    Reply
    • Joanne December 2, 2016, 1:00 pm

      Hi Tamara, The frosting is a cream cheese frosting. (There is no butter added to the recipe).

      Reply
  • KP November 9, 2016, 11:35 pm

    Made this recipe into cupcakes – took about 25mins in my oven. These were absolutely amazing though, so moist and tasty. Best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever made and I thought the ones I used before were fantastic! This one is the best by far.

    Reply
  • Arlene November 9, 2016, 9:33 pm

    Can this be made in a bundt pan? How long to bake?

    Reply
    • Joanne November 10, 2016, 1:47 pm

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

      Reply
  • Annie November 7, 2016, 10:20 am

    I love carrot cake and this recipe looks so good and have been planning to make it tomorrow. I just moved to India and managed to find all of the ingredients. Yayy for that! I bought my three sugar packs-light brown, white sugar, powder sugar today but when I opened the white sugar, it was very coarse (like turbinado cane sugar except it’s white) I grinded it a bit in the nutri bullet and it has now become almost like powder sugar but not as fine as ps. Will this still be alright to work with for the cake recipe? Do I need to adjust the cup consistency? Please advise, thank you!!

    Reply
    • Joanne November 10, 2016, 1:46 pm

      Hi Annie, It’s hard for me to say since I’n not exactly sure what it is that you have in your kitchen. In general, I think you will be fine. If you are worried, though, use 100% brown sugar for the cake instead of the combination of white and brown. Happy baking!

      Reply
  • Emily Coprada November 7, 2016, 9:12 am

    I made this on my birthday and everybody loves it. Super moist and very tasty carrot cake. Thank you for sharing your recipe to us.

    Reply
  • Nell November 2, 2016, 8:18 pm

    Your carrot cake looks amazing and I would love to try it but with a diabetic husband, the amount of sugar in the cake worries me – can I use Splenda instead? Also, can I substitute applesauce for the oil, or a combination of oil and applesauce?

    Reply
    • Joanne November 10, 2016, 1:48 pm

      Hi Nell, this cake is pretty forgiving, so substituting some of the oil for applesauce should be fine. As far as using Splenda, I really cannot say. We do not bake with it in our kitchen and are not sure how it would play out in this recipe. You may find that Splenda itself has a helpline or guidelines for substituting it in recipes.

      Reply
  • Gee October 29, 2016, 11:17 pm

    OMG, I was looking for an easy carrot cake recipe that I could make at the request of a friend. I have never made one before. This cake is sooooooooo delicious, moist and very very easy. Thank you so much, I will definitely be making this one again.

    Reply
  • Linda October 28, 2016, 3:53 pm

    could half self raising flour and plain whole meal flour be used, or all wholemeal?
    Also, if self raising used does the amount of baking soda need to be reduced?

    Reply
    • Joanne November 10, 2016, 1:52 pm

      Wholemeal or wholewheat flour will likely cause the cake to be a little heavier, but should still work. I’d skip self-raising flour since we already call for baking soda in the recipe.

      Reply

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