Best Carrot Cake Recipe

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A beautifully spiced, tender, and incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with luscious cream cheese frosting. The best carrot cake you'll ever make!

It's that time of the year: it's my husband's birthday!

Last year, his birthday cake was decadent and delicious tres leches, which is his absolute favorite. But this year, he told me that he wanted the 'carrot cake that you made that one time we visited JD and his wife in San Antonio."

A beautifully spiced, tender, and incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with luscious cream cheese frosting. The best carrot cake you'll ever make!

Hi J.D.!

Anyway, we're biased when it comes to carrot cake. It's Brian's third favorite (behind tres leches and my Strawberry Engagement Cake) and Greyson can't get enough of it. A moist and tender crumb, plenty of sweetness and spice from the brown sugar and spices, and that amazing, yet incredibly simple cream cheese frosting.

As much as I love frosting, as a grown up I actually like minimal frosting just to enhance the cake. A good helping between each layer...the top should, of course, be slathered in gorgeous swoops of frosting...

A beautifully spiced, tender, and incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with luscious cream cheese frosting. The best carrot cake you'll ever make!

Ugh, just so pretty.

What make this the best carrot cake recipe?

This carrot cake does not skimp on the carrots. At least three cups, or 4 medium carrots. This leads to the cake being really moist without being mushy or dense.

Next is the addition of brown sugar. While granulated white sugar is a purely sweet taste, brown sugar has the addition of decadent molasses which gives a deep, rich earthy flavor and adds extra moistness to your carrot cake. 

The spices are so perfect here. Most of the time when you find a carrot cake recipe, the cake ends up too dry and flavorless (or overwhelmingly over-spiced), but this was the best carrot cake we've ever had, needed no additions.

The cream cheese frosting isn't cloyingly sweet, so the tangy goodness of the cream cheese really shines and compliments the sweetness of the cake. And, once again, this is a naked (or semi-naked) cake so expert frosting skills are not necessary to make this cake look gorgeous. I find carrot cake looks pretty whether professionally decorated or rustically imperfect.A beautifully spiced, tender, and incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with luscious cream cheese frosting. The best carrot cake you'll ever make!

Perfect Carrot Cake Q&A's

Can I use matchstick or pre-shredded carrots?

No, matchstick carrots are too large to use in carrot cake. Grate the carrots by hand using a box grater. You can use a food processor with a shredding tool, but be careful because you can turn the carrots shreds into carrot puree.

Can I substitute vegetable oil in carrot cake?

Yes, You can use 1:1 applesauce, coconut oil, or butter.

Can carrot cake be made ahead?

Yes, the cake can be made up to two days ahead, kept wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge. 

Can I freeze carrot cake?

Yes, the cake layers un-decorated can be kept frozen for up to 2 months, wrapped in multiple layers of plastic wrap and a layer of foil, kept in individual gallon sized zip-top bags. The cream cheese frosting can also be frozen

How do I store carrot cake?

Wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and keep in the fridge for up to a week. Do not let sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

A beautifully spiced, tender, and incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with luscious cream cheese frosting. The best carrot cake you'll ever make!
Looking for more cake recipes? Check out:
Ultimate Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
Spiced Peach Shortcake
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
Tres Leches Cake 




📖 Recipe

Best Carrot Cake Recipe

Eden Westbrook
A beautifully spiced, tender, and incredibly moist carrot cake recipe with luscious cream cheese frosting. The best carrot cake you'll ever make!
4.93 from 14 votes
Course Easter
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 730 kcal


Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups finely grated peeled carrots about 4 medium-sized carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 8-ounce packages full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 ½-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper or coat with flour.
  •  Using a hand mixer, beat both sugars and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely.
  • Using a mixer, beat all frosting ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.
  • Place 1 cake layer on platter. Top with 4 to 4-½ ice cream scoops of frosting. Spread evenly over the cake using an offset spatula, taking it over the edge. Repeat with each layer, making swirls on the top of the cake. Use offset spatula to smooth the excess frosting over the sides until you have your desired naked or semi-naked cake. 
  • Decorate as desired.


Keep in fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap or foil for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.


Serving: 1gCalories: 730kcalCarbohydrates: 90gProtein: 5gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 570mgFiber: 2gSugar: 61g
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  1. Gerry - Bk says:

    I really enjoyed this lovely recipe. The cake and frosting were awesome. Easy to make with excellent results. The cake was light, tender, moist and flavorful. We also enjoyed the cream cheese frosting, it was the perfect accompaniment to the cake. Enjoyed as part of our Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. What a beautiful cake carrot cake is always a great choice happy Easter

  3. This carrot cake looks amazinnnng! So moist and delicious! This cake will make a great addition to any Easter brunch! Will in mine!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

    1. Happy to inspire! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Noel Lizotte says:

    I love carrot cakes, but I really like the way you used the sliced almonds around the edge to make this cake something extra special!

    Perfect dessert for the Holiday meal!

  5. This cake looks and sounds amazing! I know it would be a huge crowd pleaser at any party, but I may have to make several so I can be sure to have some leftover!

  6. Love me a good slice of a carrot cake made at home and your looks delightful. Loving the pictures too I am so hungry now. I would make this for my birthday coming up soon

  7. Morgan Eisenberg says:

    Carrot-heavy with tangry frosting, finally the perfect carrot recipe I've been searching for!

  8. Wowwww... this is one gorgeous cake! I love it and can't wait to make it. Thanks for including substitutions like using apple sauce instead of vegetable oil. I hate running to the store for that one ingredient I forgot! LOL Really beautiful cake and recipe. 🙂

  9. When a recipe is called the best, I always have to try it to see if it really is. This really is! Sooo good- and the frosting adds a great level of sweetness without being too much.

  10. The presentation on this carrot cake is so pretty. I love that you jam pack the recipe with carrots as that is a fantastic way of eating more veggies. You had me at carrot cake, yum!!

  11. Marlynn | Urban Bliss Life says:

    This carrot cake looks so beautiful! Love the almond decoration and bet it adds a nice extra crunch to each slice. Yum!

  12. This does sound like the best carrot cake. Will have to make this for Easter, I have leftover carrots.

  13. Tawnie Kroll says:

    Need to make this for Easter!

  14. Happy Birthday to your husband! Today is my son's and dad's birthdays too! This cake looks like the perfect way to celebrate. Love the almonds around the top.

  15. This carrot cake looks so delicious! I love that frosting!

  16. Jessica Formicola says:

    I've been looking for the perfect carrot cake recipe, and I think I've found it! I can't wait to try this!