Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
You will love this incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with ultra-creamy cream cheese frosting. It’s effortless to make and tastes incredible. Just read all the rave reviews! Jump to the Easy Carrot Cake Recipe or watch our quick recipe video below to see how we make it.
It wasn’t until recently that we realized just how much we love carrot cake. It wasn’t something either of us grew up eating. Thanks to this easy recipe, we fell in love. This carrot cake is 100% from scratch, easy to make, versatile and utterly delicious.
This lovely pineapple upside-down cake with fresh pineapple in a brown sugar glaze is amazing. It’s also extremely simple to make.
How To Make the Best Carrot Cake
Not only is this the best tasting carrot cake we’ve made, but it’s also straightforward. You can make this carrot cake quickly and easily without lots of fancy equipment.
Here’s why we love this carrot cake recipe:
- No fancy equipment! Just bowls, a whisk, and spatula are all you need for the cake itself. It comes together really quickly. Just whisk the dry ingredients together, whisk the wet ingredients together then combine. Then stir in lots of carrots. Easy!
- It has lots of carrots. We add three cups of carrots to the carrot 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 number of carrots called for in our recipe below, don’t. You need all three cups. It is a carrot cake, after all.
- It’s adaptable. We add pecans and raisins to the batter, but you don’t have too. Swap for different nuts or try other dried fruits instead.
When it comes to baking the cake, divide the batter between two buttered and floured cake pans. The cake layers bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes (they smell fantastic). After baking, let the layers cool then frost with your favorite frosting.
We love our extra creamy cream cheese frosting. It’s soft and creamy and doesn’t firm up like some cake frostings. (If this is what you are looking for, check the notes section of the recipe, we provide alternatives).
The frosting is actually the same one we used to top our Guinness Chocolate Cake. It’s made with only three ingredients:
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Heavy cream
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 bit of powdered sugar on top. When Adam and I were testing this recipe, we skipped the frosting the first couple of times and fell in love with the cake completely plain.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This easy banana bread recipe with ripe bananas, flour, butter, eggs, and spices. This one is so good, you’ll want to make 2 loaves.
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
This is the best carrot cake recipe we’ve ever used. For the carrots, you hand grate for the finest carrot pieces that melt into the cake batter or use a food processor. It makes quick work of grating carrots, but the pieces will be slightly larger. You can also use grated carrots from the store. The carrot cake is forgiving. You can make this with or without the nuts and raisins. We like using both granulated and brown sugar in this, but using one or the other is an option
**The creamy frosting recipe shared below is a soft frosting and is not ideal for frosting the entire cake. It is more of a stabilized whipped cream consistency than traditional cream cheese frosting.
You Will NeedFor Carrot Cake
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) raisinsFor Creamy Frosting
8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (140 grams) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (50 grams) coarsely chopped pecans, for topping cake
- Make Batter
- Bake Cake
- To Finish
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round 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 combined.
Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, gently stirring until they disappear and the batter is smooth. Stir in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.
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.
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. The recipe should make about 24 cupcakes.
- Using a bundt pan: 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.
- Using a 9-inch by 13-inch pan rectangular pan: Simple add all the batter to the rectangular pan and bake. The bake time should be similar.
- 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 Cupcakes.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We assumed 22 slices of cake.
Food Travel: Our Lives Outside the Kitchen
We spent 5 days exploring the San Juan Islands in Washington State. See what we did and where we ate while we were there. Read More…