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

A slice of homemade carrot cake

How to Make Carrot Cake From Scratch

This carrot cake is quick, easy to make, 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 cake quickly 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.

More carrot recipes: Try our quick and easy roasted carrots, carrots with garlic butter, or these honey roasted carrots.

Carrot Cake Ingredients

The ingredients you need for this cake are simple and I bet you have quite a few of them already in your kitchen! The full recipe is below, but here is a quick overview:

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. We don’t add baking powder, the cake does not need it.

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 number 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 optional! 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 cinnamon coffee cake, our easy pineappleupside-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 carrot 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.

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

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

For Carrot Cake

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ¼ 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 ¼ 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

  • Frosting Substitute — 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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1836 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Joy Munier November 24, 2021, 3:18 pm

    Baked my first carrot cake for hubby using this recipe…so yummy!!He loved it!!! Well, I’m not sure if I baked the cake for him or myself 😄coz I can’t help but have a dessert everyday. It’s so good👍 thank you for the recipe!!

    Reply
  • Megan November 24, 2021, 11:52 am

    LOVE this recipe, it’s our go to for birthday cake. Do you think I could use walnuts instead of pecans and get a similar flavor/texture?

    Reply
    • Joanne November 24, 2021, 2:07 pm

      Absolutely! Walnuts would be lovely.

      Reply
  • Corrol Registe-Charles November 23, 2021, 2:00 pm

    Hello Adam and Joanne,I have been using your recipe for carrot cake recently and its absolutely beautiful and easy.I have been making carrot cakes in the past with wonderful comments but i had never use nuts.Wanted to say i love your recipe but have yet to try the frosting.Thank you, as i will hopefully try others.

    Reply
  • Teresa Heathfield November 22, 2021, 2:30 am

    So moist and delicious: I used less 3/4 C brown sugar and 3/4 C monk sugar to cut down on the calories. Might use a little less oil next time too as it was a little too oily for my liking. Hubby love it!

    Reply
  • Thristna November 22, 2021, 2:25 am

    Your carrot cake resipe such a super taste… no word to describe it….Already bake many times… very easy method… love it.. thank you 😊…

    Reply
  • Najwan November 21, 2021, 6:43 am

    So tasty

    Reply
  • Evelyn November 18, 2021, 7:22 am

    My first ever carrot cake, indeed it is so easy to do..and so so delicious! thank you so much for the easy recipe. Baked 3 times already ..will make more.My husband and Friends luv it ! requesting me to bake again specially this Christimas season.

    Reply
  • Mary Lambert November 15, 2021, 8:14 am

    This cake was amazing. I was told by the Birthday Boy that it was the best carrot cake he’d ever had (and he’s 39!)

    Reply
  • Lindsay Gow November 13, 2021, 5:34 pm

    I’ve been on an extended stay in Brittany, France with friends. While here I have been making and impressing lot of friends by baking and sharing American Apple Pie more flavorful than their “Tarte aus Pommes.” The light bulb clicked on one day and went looking for a carrot cake recipe and discovered your Easy & Moist recipe. I fine-grated my French carrots and used walnuts instead of pecans. I added the raisins (called grapes here). Your recipe with “Philadelphia” cream cheese was an instant and newfound taste sensation and discovery for my French friends. Thanks (Merci beaucoup). Your oiled parchment paper tip also now works for my American banana nut loaf. Voila! Lindsay Gow

    Reply
    • Aaron Clark November 22, 2021, 4:29 pm

      Just wanted to say… I’m trying this recipe out now – cake’s are in the oven. But I used to live in Rennes maybe 30 years ago so your post caught my eye! My friends over there got hooked on maple syrup (we had with crêpes every Friday night) and Oreos thanks to me. 🙂

      Reply
  • Shellby November 12, 2021, 8:18 pm

    super excited to try this! I only have two 8 inch round pans. HOw would I have to adjust the recipe? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Joanne November 24, 2021, 3:06 pm

      Hi Shellby, You do not need to adjust the recipe, but when you are adding the batter to each pan, fill it about 3/4 of the way up the side. You might have some batter leftover, but not much.

      Reply
  • Maxine November 12, 2021, 4:12 pm

    First time iv ever attempted to make carrot cake and it turned out fabulous. Will make again and again. Great recipe.

    Reply
  • Frank November 12, 2021, 3:56 pm

    Followed this recipe for my First ever go at baking apart from at school some 40+ years ago and it worked out perfect. Friends & family wouldn’t believe it was made by me,such a beautiful,moist cake.Thanks for publishing the recipe.

    Reply
  • Cecelia Ramos November 12, 2021, 3:22 pm

    Best carrot cake ever!I wouldn’t change a thing but I Love walnuts and raisins.Some like coconut in the frosting.I also made it in a bunt pan and your right it did need about 15 more minutes!

    Reply
  • Aysenur November 12, 2021, 9:34 am

    This is an awesome recipe with possible alterations depending on your preferences. I used 150 gr brown sugar and 50 gr white sugar and sweeteness worked great well for me. Also the cream cheese frosting is sweeter than the cake, It balanced perfectly. ( Although I cut the sugar in frosting as well:) Also I used 1 cup sunflower oil. Increased cinnamons to 3-4 teaspoons. Skipped raisins and added walnut instead of pecan (this is what I had) Still Absolutely moist.Thank you.

    Reply
  • Anne November 12, 2021, 9:18 am

    I have used this recipe for years and found Junior Baby Food Carrots can be substituted for fresh carrots.

    Reply

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