Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake

This is my favorite recipe for carrot cake! It is 100% made from scratch, easy to make, versatile and utterly delicious. One of our most popular recipes! 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.

Watch us make the recipe

How to make carrot cake from scratch

This cake is quick and easy to make, versatile and utterly delicious. 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.

You can make this quickly and easily without lots of fancy equipment. Not only is this the best tasting carrot cake we’ve made, but it’s a cinch to make.

If you are looking to make cupcakes, see our easy carrot cake cupcakes recipe! It’s inspired by this cake.

Slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

The ingredients

The ingredients needed for this cake are simple and I bet you have quite a few of them already in your kitchen!

I like using all-purpose flour, but you can substitute some of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat or white whole wheat flour. For a gluten-free carrot cake, swap the flour for your favorite gluten-free flour blend.

Baking soda helps the cake to rise.

Salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract make the cake taste amazing.

Oil keeps the cake nice and moist — any neutral flavored oil will work. (Melted coconut oil works, too, but there will be a light coconut flavor in the baked cake.)

Sugar makes the cake moist, light, and delicious. I love a combination of white and brown sugar, but you can use one or the other. (Since posting the recipe, some of our readers have asked whether or not we can reduce the sugar called for in the recipe. You can, just keep in mind that the amount we specify will produce the moistest cake.

Eggs give the cake structure.

Lots of carrots make this the best carrot cake. I like to hand grate my carrots since I prefer the texture, but you can use your food processor or buy pre-grated carrots from the store. When we first tested the cake, we scaled the amount of carrots 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.

Pecans and raisins are up to you! I know that some people love nuts and raisins in carrot cake, while others cannot stand to add them. These are completely optional, so go with what you love.

Making the cake batter

The method for this carrot cake recipe could not be simpler! If you have a couple of bowls and can stir ingredients together then you can absolutely make this cake! As you can see from our recipe video, all you need to do is combine all the ingredients. Here’s how I like to do it:

Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another: I like to whisk my dry ingredients together in one bowl until they are well blended. Then I whisk all the wet ingredients together in another bowl.

Fold the dry and wet ingredients together: Then I switch to a rubber spatula or large spoon and fold the two — wet and dry ingredients — together until I don’t see any large streaks of flour. (We use the same method when making this easy pineapple upside down cake and this buttery blueberry cake. Both recipes are so good!)

Add carrots, nuts, and raisins: When I’ve got the batter ready, I fold in the carrots and if I’m using them, the nuts and raisins.

Adding grated carrots to the cake batter.
We add 3 cups of shredded carrots to this carrot cake!

Baking the cake

When it comes to baking the cake, divide the batter between two buttered and floured cake pans and bake until done. 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.

Pouring carrot cake batter into round cake pans

Frosting the cake

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 a recipe for traditional cream cheese frosting).

The frosting is actually the same one we used to top our Guinness Chocolate Cake. It’s made with only three ingredients:

  1. Cream cheese
  2. Powdered sugar
  3. 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.

An 8-inch round carrot cake with a slice cut out

What our readers are saying

If you don’t believe that our recipe helps you bake the best homemade carrot cake, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.

“Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, very easy to follow, came out perfect first attempt great hit with the family, now a regular demand from my kids.” – A

“This carrot cake was amazing!!! I made it for my husband’s birthday and he said it would win a Paul Hollywood handshake (from The Great British Bake-off)” – Yuna

“This is an absolutely divine carrot cake recipe!!!! It is so hard to find one that is not dry – this one is moist and works perfectly every single time and we make it often as it is definitely our favorite!!!” – Jodi

Since posting this recipe, we’ve had some frequently asked questions. Here are the most common:

Frequently asked questions

Can I make carrot cake cupcakes using this recipe? Yes, absolutely (and if you read through the comments, many of our readers have done just that). To make cupcakes instead of a cake, 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. We have been asked this question so often, that we’ve added a carrot cake cupcakes recipe to the blog (click to see it now).

Can I make one large single layer cake? Yes, but the baking time will change. For a bundt cake, a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan should be fine. You will likely need to increase the baking time by about 30% in the 10-cup pan, somewhat less in the 12-cup. The batter will also fit into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, but you might need to leave out a bit of the batter so it does not overflow. (I’d also bake the cake on a sheet pan, just in case some batter comes over the sides.)

How do you store the carrot cake? Technically, because there is a cream cheese frosting on the cake, it should be kept in the fridge, but most bakers (even professional ones) are okay with leaving a frosted cake on the counter for a day or two (as long as your kitchen isn’t hot). If you prefer to refrigerate the cake, it will last for 5 to 6 days.

Can I use applesauce instead of oil in the carrot cake recipe? This is something we have never tried ourselves, so you may need to do some experimenting on your own. That said, you should be able to swap some of the oil for applesauce without too many issues.

Can I add pineapple to the carrot cake? Yes, absolutely. It will add even more moisture to the cake so use fresh pineapple or if you are using canned, drain it first before adding to the cake. We do not recommend adding more than 1 cup.

A slice of homemade carrot cake

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

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

This is the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever used. For the carrots, we prefer to hand grate for the finest carrot pieces that melt into the cake batter, but you can also use a food processor. It makes quick work of grating carrots, but the pieces will be slightly larger. Some grocery stores sell bags of grated carrots, as well.

This recipe 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 the consistency of stabilized whipped cream, rather than traditional cream cheese frosting. For a more traditional cream cheese frosting, see the notes section.

Makes 1 (9-inch) double layer cake (16 thin slices) or 22 to 24 cupcakes

You Will Need

For Carrot Cake

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea 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

For 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

Directions

  • Make Batter
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176C). 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.

    • 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. (If you find that a cake layer is stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave the cake pan upside down and allow gravity to do its thing).

      • 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

  • Traditional Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large bowl, beat 16 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of softened butter together for a minute or two until smooth. Add 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes until extra creamy. If it is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of cream or milk.
  • 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 22 to 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: Simply add all the batter to the rectangular pan and bake. The bake time should be similar.
  • 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.

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

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1 slice (1 of 16) / Calories 535 / Total Fat 33.4g / Saturated Fat 6.9g / Cholesterol 69.3mg / Sodium 315.9mg / Carbohydrate 56.4g / Dietary Fiber 2.4g / Total Sugars 40.5g / Protein 5.6g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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1341 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Basma Faraj September 23, 2020, 11:58 pm

    I made the Carrot cake and it was amazingly delicious thank you very much my whole family loved it.

    Reply
  • Lina Alameddine September 21, 2020, 10:15 am

    The best carrot cake i have ever made!!! Full in flavor and moisture !!( i just added more cinnamon)

    Reply
  • Vie zhang September 21, 2020, 5:07 am

    Great recipe. Made this carrot cake for my niece birthday. I put less sugar and add more carrot and raisin on it. Delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply
  • Gerhardus Carinus September 18, 2020, 3:27 am

    This recipe is amazing! So easy and delicious! I adapted the recipe slightly and made a 2 tier wedding cake, which was a total hit! I got an order from one of the wedding guests after she tasted it. Absolutely brilliant – I will never use another recipe for carrot cake!

    Reply
  • Jenny September 17, 2020, 9:47 pm

    This was the first time I made carrot cake. It was amazing!! This will be a family favorite from here on out!

    Reply
  • Samantha Collins September 17, 2020, 12:56 pm

    I made this about a month ago and it made so much I had to give the neighbours and friends some.. they all keep raving about it and asking when I’m making another; a really great recipe, it was definitely a hit and I haven’t really baked before – super easy!

    Reply
  • Maha Ameen September 15, 2020, 6:13 am

    I’ve just tried this recipe and it was amazing! even better then most of the cakes I tasted in restaurants. thank you so much I am a big fan of you already ❤️

    Reply
  • Laurene September 14, 2020, 6:20 am

    This was the easiest and nicest carrot cake I’ve made!!!! Thank you.

    Reply
  • Alicia S September 10, 2020, 2:21 pm

    Made this last night for my husband’s 50th birthday. It is so delicious and moist. I added 1/2 cup of the pecans and some fresh pineapple. The only question I have is why would the center of the cake collapse after taking it out of the oven? I have this issue with a lot of recipes. I hand folded all of the ingredients and used the recipe exactly as listed.

    Reply
  • Jill September 10, 2020, 8:52 am

    Came in from the garden with so many carrots that I decided to try this carrot cake. I actually ended up making muffins with no frosting as we not big on super sweet.Huge hit at my house, will be making more for the freezer (I have a lot of carrots!)

    Reply
  • Verna September 9, 2020, 11:56 am

    I forgot to line my pans with parchment paper! It came out a little dark around the edges, live and learn to follow the recipe to a Tee, I added I added crushed pineapple, it’s still delicious and will bake this recipe again ! PS( with a lining of parchment paper!! Lol

    Reply
  • Millie September 9, 2020, 6:25 am

    Made this cake last night. I’m having it for breakfast with my coffee this morning! :)) It’s addictive! It’s stunning! My son never tried carrot cake before and he said to me, whilst I was making it, that he’ll never ever tried. Well, he tried and absolutely loved it, took photos and shared with his buddies haha! Thank you guys, this will now be my go to carrot cake recipe! Xx

    Reply
  • Elsje September 9, 2020, 4:37 am

    Good recipe!

    Reply
  • AJ September 8, 2020, 7:06 pm

    This recipe was great right off the go. Mom doesn’t eat eggs, so we did made a slight modification. Replaced the 4 eggs with 1 cup of apple sauce, and a half teaspoon of baking powder, and were extra generous with cinnamon. It was an instant family hit.

    Reply
  • Sharon B September 7, 2020, 7:27 pm

    DELICIOUS!! Made this for my mother-in-laws birthday. Her favorite is carrot cake, she’s super picky but reviews convinced me. She absolutely loved it!! My father-in-law who hates carrot cake ate 2 pieces & took home the remaining 2 pieces. Can we say success!!?! No raisins or nuts, 2-1/2 of cinnamon. Used the traditional frosting recipe & folded in 1/2 a batch of homemade whipping cream. Light, moist & full of flavor!! (FYI, this is my first cake from scratch)

    Reply

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