Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake

This is my favorite carrot cake recipe. This carrot cake is 100% 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 How We Make The Best Carrot Cake

How To Make the Best Carrot Cake

This carrot cake is 100% from scratch, 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 carrot cake 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.

How To Make the Best Carrot Cake // This is my favorite carrot cake recipe. This carrot cake is 100% from scratch, easy to make, versatile and utterly delicious. One of our most popular recipes!

Carrot Cake 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 carrot cake ultra 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 Carrot 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.

How To Make the Best Carrot Cake -- Use 3 cups of carrots
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.

How To Make the Best Carrot Cake -- Use 3 cups of carrots

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.

Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

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.

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 carrot 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.

Our Favorite Moist and Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

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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1033 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Brian October 30, 2019, 3:30 pm

    Made this carrot cake for the first time ever (WOW) what a result came out amazing, a friend of mine said that it was the nicest carrot cake she has ever tasted,I must agree. Shall be making one again very soon.

    Reply
  • Syreeta Farrell October 25, 2019, 4:29 pm

    I made this a couple of months ago for my family (my husband is a chef) and he loved it, so guess what, lol, I’ve to make it again, I added the pecans and it was a beautiful cake, I’ll be adding the sultanas next time 🙂 it’s a lovely and easy recipe, thank you
    Syreeta

    Reply
  • Kate mclay October 23, 2019, 10:45 pm

    I was blown away. I will never make another. I added 1/8 nutmeg to it and didn’t use kosher salt. Nevertheless it is amazeballs. Nice and moist. A real treat.

    Reply
  • Melissa October 23, 2019, 8:18 pm

    Can I make the frosting tonight, store it in the fridge, and frost the cake tomorrow? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Joanne October 31, 2019, 1:55 pm

      Hi Melissa, This should be fine. If it gets a little flat overnight, use a whisk to whip it until thickened again (this shouldn’t happen, but just in case).

      Reply
  • Cecil October 23, 2019, 5:14 pm

    Hi. Do you squeeze out the juice from the carrots before mixing it to the batter? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Joanne October 31, 2019, 1:55 pm

      Hi there, we do not do this and have not found it’s needed.

      Reply
  • Patricia October 18, 2019, 3:56 am

    I love carrot cake and this looks like a lovely recipe. Thank you for publishing it.
    I prefer walnuts to pecans as the tartness/bitterness of walnuts compliments the sweetness of the carrots. I also halve the amount of sugar but I do this for all recipes as I always give some to my neighbor who is a diabetic. I like to put in about half a teaspoon of ground ginger as well and omit the sultanas (as my son hates fruit in cake. I have not made this one but I am looking forward to trying this recipe.

    Reply
  • Christine October 9, 2019, 2:22 pm

    No baking POWDER? Just baking SODA? Just want to confirm that is correct please.

    Reply
    • Joanne October 31, 2019, 1:56 pm

      Yep, that’s correct.

      Reply
  • Roberta October 6, 2019, 8:03 pm

    Have you had any comments after using Robin Hood gluten free flour? I have 2 gluten intolerance family members and a wonderful daughter-in-law who loves carrot cake. I would like to only make one dessert this Canadian Thanksgiving.

    Reply
    • Joanne October 7, 2019, 4:22 pm

      Hi Roberta, Unfortunately, we have not ever used this flour. You might need to do a little testing in your kitchen for this one.

      Reply
    • Lee October 9, 2019, 6:09 am

      Can you substitute in melted butter instead of the canola oil?

      Reply
      • Joanne October 31, 2019, 1:56 pm

        While we have not tried this ourselves, melted butter should work in this cake. I’d expect the cake texture to be a bit more dense, though.

        Reply
    • Tanya Dyer October 16, 2019, 6:26 pm

      This cake IS amazing! I made it with (Australia Woolies) a good store brand gluten free flour for my stepdaughter. I would never be able to tell the difference! I whisked it well. I increased vanilla to 1 tablespoon (b/c I love vanilla) and packed the brown sugar pretty firm. 3 overflowing cups of hand grated fresh carrots (6 decent sized ones). Accidentally left the heavy cream out, so it poured, but icing was easy to make and perfect. It stays soft. I did raisins only and half cake is gone by breakfast. My first ever carrot cake and from scratch icing was a huge hit! Thank you. Dyers in South Australia

      Reply
  • Amanda Dwyer October 3, 2019, 1:12 pm

    I made this carrot cake yesterday and it is delicious! I used a 9×13 pan 45 mins and it came out perfect. All I ate today was carrot cake 😁 Amanda

    Reply
  • Mary October 2, 2019, 3:26 pm

    I always used miracle whip in my home made carrot cake.Very moist. And creamed cheese frosting.

    Reply
  • Hannah September 30, 2019, 1:31 am

    I made this for my boyfriend’s 27th birthday and my thanksgiving party, it was a total hit! Our families and friends have been raving about it. I made 4 carrot cakes for different occasions just this September. I will be making this again for my grandma’s 88th birthday this coming October. It will be my 5th cake in just 2 months. Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe! I’m now looking at your other recipes and will try them too.

    Reply
  • Las Palmas September 22, 2019, 5:51 pm

    I substituted the sugar for Lakanto monkfruit sweetener. They came out absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply
  • Darlene September 19, 2019, 2:05 pm

    This cake turned out great!! Made it for my spouses birthday as carrot cake is his favorite….everyone loved it!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe!!

    Reply
  • Sandra September 19, 2019, 10:51 am

    Hi, how do I half the recipe?

    Reply
    • Joanne September 19, 2019, 5:39 pm

      We recommend cutting all the ingredients in half and then baking in one 9-inch cake pan.

      Reply
  • Soledad September 18, 2019, 1:30 pm

    Hi, one question: how can 2 cups of flour can be 250 grams?

    Reply
    • Joanne September 19, 2019, 5:45 pm

      Hi there, A cup measurement is volume, while the grams measurement is weight. When measured 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs 125 – 130 grams, while a cup of sugar weighs 200 grams.

      Reply

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