This classic Carrot Cake is super moist, perfectly spiced and layered with velvety smooth cream cheese frosting. This recipe or carrot cake is easy to customize with walnuts or golden raisins. This is truly the best Carrot Cake Recipe!
Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
This recipe for Carrot Cake is the absolute best no-frills version of the classic dessert. We’ve skipped the nuts and raisins, focusing instead on making the most moist, perfectly spiced Carrot Cake we’ve ever tasted. Paired with our homemade cream cheese frosting, this is truly the only Carrot Cake recipe you will ever need.
Of course, if you love raisins and nuts, by all means feel free to toss them into the cake batter. You can also use this recipe to bake Carrot Cake Cupcakes, a single layer cake or even a bundt cake. As far as decorating goes, you can keep it basic or go all out with food coloring and piping tips. No matter what, we guarantee it will be delicious.
Ingredients in Our Classic Carrot Cake Recipe
- Flour - this recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but you could try substituting a portion of whole wheat flour. You could even use gluten-free flour if you’d like.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda - these help the cake rise a bit and keep it nice and moist.
- Cinnamon - any kind of ground cinnamon will work.
- Nutmeg - this has a distinct flavor that works super well in Carrot Cake.
- Ground Cloves - you should be able to find ground cloves, or you can grind your own in a coffee grinder.
- Salt - sea salt or kosher salt work great.
- Carrots - we recommend washing and grating your own rather than using pre-shredded carrots. They will keep the cake much more moist and give it a stronger flavor.
- Sugar - regular white granulated sugar.
- Brown Sugar - we also use ½ cup of brown sugar for the flavor and because it adds moisture.
- Eggs - any kind of large eggs will work great. It helps when you are mixing for these to be at room temperature.
- Vegetable Oil - we like to use vegetable oil because it has minimal flavor and adds a ton of moisture to the cake, as opposed to butter.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese - make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. If you forget, you can soften it gently in the microwave for about 10 seconds at a time.
- Butter - your butter should also be room temperature.
- Vanilla Extract - pure vanilla extract tastes best.
- Powdered Sugar - it’s always a good idea to sift your powdered sugar before using it.
If you've been following me for a while you know I love doing Freaky Friday Recipe Swap. My friend Micheala arranges it and it's so fun to participate. I have some blogging friends and we all swap recipes to share with our online friends. This time I was given the blog Off the Eaten Path. It is run by my friend, Chrissie. She's a public defender by day and a writer by night. Can you say talent!?! She's a hero in my book!
When she’s not working, writing, or taking photos of her kitchen creations, she visits local restaurants and craft breweries to find the best wing stops so we can all have THE best time in North Carolina. If you're going to NC anytime soon, be sure to check out her list of things to do. I think she’s incredible and I think you will love her too.
Chrissie is also known for her amazing drink recipes. Her Peach Whiskey Smash, Watermelon Frose, and Hurricane Drink look irresistable.
After seeing all the amazing recipes on her site, I chose to make her Carrot Cake Recipe. It really is so amazing. It's everything you want in a carrot cake. It's dense, moist, and has loads of decadent cream cheese frosting.
After you've had a chance to check Chrissie out, here are my other friends and their recipe creations for this round of Freaky Friday.
See all of our 2022 Freaky Friday Spring Edition Recipes
Hosted by - An Affair from the Heart
- An Affair from the Heart - Blueberry Lemon Pull-Apart Bread
- Aunt Bee's Recipes - Baked Asparagus with Parmesan
- The Carefree Kitchen - Carrot Cake
- The Culinary Compass - Dunkaroo Dip Recipe
- Devour Dinner -Fruit Charcuterie Board
- Family Around the Table - Fresh Strawberry Milkshake
- Feast + West - Frozen Grasshopper Martini
- Home Cooked Harvest - Rocky Road Brownies
- Hostess at Heart - Honey Bun Cake
- Kathryn's Kitchen Blog -Homemade Sour Cream Funfetti Cupcakes
- Off the Eaten Path - Beer Margarita Recipe
- The Speckled Palate - Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bourbon and Walnuts
- Sue Bee Homemaker - No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bites
- Take Two Tapas - Crab Dip
- The Wimpy Vegetarian - Texas Trash Dip Warm Bean Dip
How to Make Carrot Cake
- Prepare your cake pans. Spray (3) 9" round nonstick cake pans with nonstick spray, and set aside.
- Sift together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients. In a separate large bowl, mix together the shredded carrots, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil. Whisk until the eggs are broken up and the ingredients are well-combined.
- Combine and add to pans. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until evenly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, making sure there is an even amount in each pan.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
- Make cream cheese frosting. Place room temperature butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip until light and fluffy. Add the room temperature cream cheese and whip again until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer off and add the vanilla extract and half of the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low to combine, then add the remaining powdered sugar and increase to medium high speed. Whip until light and fluffy - about 2 minutes.
- Decorate and serve. Frost and decorate cake as desired, then either serve immediately or cover and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours before serving. Enjoy!
How to Decorate Carrot Cake
There are plenty Carrot Cake decoration options, but my personal favorite Carrot Cake decor is to pipe little carrot decorations over the top. You can save a small amount of frosting and use food coloring to color some of it orange and some of it green. You could also sprinkle chopped nuts over the top, or leave it as is!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! The only adjustment will be the baking time, which will be slightly less. Otherwise, you’ll want to fill the muffin tins about ¾ full and make as directed.
You could also make this in just two 9” cake rounds instead of three, which would give you less but thicker layers. Or, if you want to make this a single layer cake you could bake it in a 9” x 13” baking pan or even a 10-cup bundt pan. The only difference will be that the baking time will be slightly longer, so be sure and keep an eye on it while it is in the oven.
The best way to know when your Carrot Cake has finished baking is to insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, your cake is done baking.
Yes, absolutely! Carrot Cake actually seems to get better with time - it gets even more moist and flavorful after sitting for 24 hours. If you do make this ahead of time, we recommend pulling it out to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
The best way is to use a cheese grater. It will keep the shredded pieces nice and even. You can also put the carrots in a food processor and pulse gently until finely grated.
Storing Carrot Cake
- Refrigerator: cover the cake completely with foil and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. When it comes time to serve, pull the cake out to room temperature for about 30 minutes beforehand.
- Freezer: you can freeze both frosted and unfrosted cake. Make sure to wrap well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and store frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, transfer to the refrigerator overnight.
Classic Carrot Cake Recipe
- 2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 3 cups Carrots shredded
- 1 ½ cups Sugar
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 4 large Eggs room temperature
- ½ cup Vegetable Oil
- ½ cup Golden Raisinsptional optional
- ½ cup Walnuts Chopped, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese room temperature
- ½ cup Butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray (3) 9" round nonstick cake pans with nonstick spray, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk together.
- In a separate large bowl, mix together the shredded carrots, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil. Whisk until the eggs are broken up and the ingredients are well-combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until evenly combined. Add raisins and walnuts, optional.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, making sure there is an even amount in each pan.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool to room temperature before frosting and decorating as desired. Enjoy!
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
- Place room temperature butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip until light and fluffy. Add the room temperature cream cheese and whip again until light and fluffy.
- Turn the mixer off and add the vanilla extract and half of the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low to combine, then add the remaining powdered sugar and increase to medium high speed. Whip until light and fluffy - about 2 minutes.
- Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More Of Our Favorite Cake Recipes
- Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Gingerbread Cake
- Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
- Old-Fashioned Pineapple Cake
- Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Lime Bundt Cake
- More Dessert Recipes
- More Easy Cake Recipes
If you’ve tried this recipe, please rate it and leave a comment on this post. I love hearing feedback from you helps me and other readers too! If you love Pinterest, feel free to leave a comment and photo there too. Also, if you like to share, use the hashtag #thecarefreekitchen on Instagram and tag me @thecarefreekitchen so I can find you and give your post some love. You can also find me on Facebook at The Carefree Kitchen. Thank you!!
This recipe for Carrot Cake is super moist, perfectly spiced and paired with velvety homemade cream cheese frosting. It's a perfectly simple, utterly delicious version of this classic dessert favorite.
There is really nothing better than a good slice of carrot cake! This looks so pretty too!
Such a beautiful cake! Carrot is my husband's favorite and he tore into this with reckless abandon!
This is just the most darling carrot cake! I love that there's loads of shredded carrots in it too.
So much flavor with all those warm spices! It's a huge perk you can make this ahead too. It's a favorite.
This is the cutest carrot cake of all time! It's one of my favorite cakes and I can't believe I've never tried making it. It's so good!
What a stunning and delicious cake! While I didn't decorate mine exactly like yours (because I'm not good at the decoration piece), it tasted AMAZING. Saving this to serve for next year's Easter festivities for sure!
We loved this carrot cake, Jill! It truly is AMAZING! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.
This is the CUTEST carrot cake ever! I love a good carrot cake that bakes up super moist and the cream cheese frosting is the best part!
Chrissie Nelson Rotko
I love that you picked this recipe from my site, it's one of my favorites! And I adore your photos. Hope you loved it!
This carrot cake looks so perfect, tender, and moist. Love those layers and I can't wait to try this over the weekend!
I adore Carrot Cake, and this looks wonderful. I love the cute frosting on top, it's so simple and yet so beautiful too. This will be a goto recipe for sure!
You have amazing skills. This cake is just as beautiful as it is delicious.
susan | the wimpy vegetarian
I make carrot cake every year for my birthday because it's my FAVORITE!!! Great tips and I adore your little carrots!!
This is quite possibly the cutest carrot cake I have ever laid eyes on!! Carrot cake is one of my absolute FAVORITES and I love the looks of this one! Thanks for sharing your amazing talents with us, Jill!
Thank you, Michaela, you are so kind! I'm a huge fan of carrot cake too!