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Carrot Cake Recipe

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close up shot of a slice of cake on a plate
This classic carrot cake offers incredible flavor in an easy recipe that everyone will fall in love with.
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Table of Contents
  1. Carrot Cake Recipe Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Carrot Cake Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This yummy homemade carrot cake recipe is a decadent treat that only takes 30 minutes to whip together. You’ll be dreaming of this delicious dessert that features moist cake from scratch and a sweet cream cheese frosting.

If you want another classic cake, make sure you check out our oatmeal cake recipe or our version of the better than sex cake.

close up shot of a slice of cake on a plate

Carrot Cake Recipe Ingredients

Carrot Cake Recipe raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla flavoring
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional garnish)

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

SPICES: You can add nutmeg and ground allspice to the cake batter for a different twist.

NUTS: You can substitute chopped walnuts for the chopped pecans in this delightful recipe.

RAISINS: Add half a cup of raisins to the batter for a sweet surprise in your cake.

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How To Make This Carrot Cake Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Instead of a layer cake, you can use the cake batter to make carrot cake cupcakes. You will want to bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven.

For the Carrot Cake

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously spray two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray (Baker’s Joy or generic version). Set them aside.

PRO TIP:

You can also buy pre-cut parchment paper rounds to make lining the pans easier.

STEP TWO: Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour, white sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.

ingredients whisked together in a bowl

STEP THREE: Add in the vegetable oil and eggs with the dry ingredients. Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, blend the ingredients just until well combined.

vegetable oil and eggs added blended into the bowl of ingredients

STEP FOUR: Fold in the shredded carrot and chopped pecans with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

PRO TIP:

Carrots can be shredded using a box grater or the grater attachment on your food processor.

carrots and pecans folded into the bowl of ingredients

STEP FIVE: Divide the carrot cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

cake batter placed into two pans then baked

STEP SIX: Allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Gently flip the cakes upside down on the cooling rack to remove the pans and continue to completely cool.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

STEP SEVEN: Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter for 1 to 1½ minutes.

cream cheese and butter blended together in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Lower the mixer speed to medium, and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until the frosting is completely smooth.

powdered sugar and vanilla blended into the bowl of frosting

STEP NINE: Once the cakes are completely cooled, place the bottom cake layer onto a serving plate.

bottom cake placed on a large serving tray

STEP TEN: Using an offset spatula, spread a thick layer of frosting over the top of the bottom cake layer.

bottom cake layered with frosting

STEP ELEVEN: Carefully place the top layer of cake on top of the bottom frosted layer.

top cake placed on top of the frosted bottom cake

STEP TWELVE: Using an offset spatula, spread a thick layer of frosting on the top of the cake layer. Frost the sides of the cake as well.

cake layers frosted on all sides and garnished with pecans

STEP THIRTEEN: Sprinkle the optional chopped pecans over the very center of the frosted cake. Evenly slice 12 slices when you are ready to serve.

How To Serve

If you are a fan of carrot cake, this cake will get rave reviews. Add a drizzle of caramel sauce and a scoop of our no-churn vanilla ice cream and you will have yourself a decadent and sweet treat.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftovers of this easy carrot cake recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze the unfrosted cake layers wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the cake to completely thaw before frosting and serving.

close up overhead shot of a cake with a slice being removed with a spatula

This carrot cake has it all going on. Fluffy, perfectly spiced cake with plenty of carrots and a tangy cream cheese frosting that creates the perfect hint of tart mixed in with your sweet.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze this cake?

This delicious recipe can be frozen unfrosted for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container or wrapped in plastic wrap.

What can I use instead of cream cheese frosting?

While cream cheese frosting is the traditional choice for carrot cakes, you can use buttercream frosting instead.

How do I store this cake?

Since the cake contains dairy products in the cream cheese icing, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.

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close up shot of a slice of cake on a plate

Carrot Cake Recipe

5 from 3 votes
This classic carrot cake offers incredible flavor in an easy recipe that everyone will fall in love with.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla flavoring
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, optional garnish

Instructions
 

Carrot Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously spray two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray (Baker’s Joy or generic version). Set them aside.
  • Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Add in the vegetable oil and eggs. Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, blend the ingredients just until well combined.
  • Fold in the shredded carrot and chopped pecans.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans, on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Gently flip the cakes upside down on the cooling rack to remove the pans and continue to completely cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter for 1 to 1½ minutes.
  • Lower the mixer speed to medium, and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until the frosting is completely smooth.
  • Once the cakes are completely cooled, place the bottom cake layer onto a serving plate.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread a thick layer of frosting over the top of the bottom cake layer.
  • Carefully place the top layer of cake on top of the bottom frosted layer.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread a thick layer of frosting on the top of the cake layer. Frost the sides of the cake as well.
  • Sprinkle the optional chopped pecans over the very center of the cake. Evenly slice 12 slices when you are ready to serve.

Video

Notes

  • Instead of a layer cake, you can use the cake batter to make carrot cake cupcakes. You will want to bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven.
  • You can buy pre-cut parchment paper rounds to make lining the pans easier.
  • Carrots can be shredded using a box grater or the grater attachment on your food processor.

Nutrition

Sodium: 185mg | Calcium: 45mg | Vitamin C: 2mg | Vitamin A: 5601IU | Sugar: 61g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 222mg | Cholesterol: 27mg | Calories: 485kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Fat: 18g | Protein: 4g | Carbohydrates: 80g | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Natasha Sands says

    Hi. Sorry if I’m missing something but is the recipe here for the caramel sauce?
    The cake sounds amazing!

    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Sue – we haven’t tested baking this another way so I’m not sure what adjustments would need to be made for another pan size. If you try it out, please let me know. Enjoy!

  2. Kathy says

    5 stars
    Could I use a bundt pan to make this recipe? If I put raisins in, would I need to cut back on the sugar? I love Carrot cake, just haven’t ever made one before.

    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Kathy – we’ve never tested this in a bundt pan so I’m not sure how that would work. You can add half a cup of raisins without changing anything in the recipe. Enjoy!

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