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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe with Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

This is the best carrot cake recipe ever! It’s been a customer favorite for decades and it’s super simple to make.

carrot cake recipe

This isn’t just any carrot cake; it’s the perfect blend of spices and texture that makes this flavorful cake impossible to resist. I’ve even got an accompanying cream cheese frosting that pairs perfectly with the cake. What sets this apart from other recipes is its sheer simplicity. It’s been my favorite recipe for years and it’s bound to become your new favorite carrot cake recipe too!

When I owned my bakery we made this recipe as cupcakes every day in our shop. It was such a popular flavor, especially when paired with my delicious cream cheese frosting. It has appeared at many weddings and has been a customer favorite for decades. I guess you could say this classic carrot cake recipe has been tested thousands of times! It always turns out perfectly, it tastes delicious, and everyone always comments on how much they love it!

carrot cake recipe

Carrot Cake Wedding!

Key Ingredients for a Moist Carrot Cake

I love a carrot cake that has a little texture to it. That’s why I always use freshly grated carrots, pineapple, and raisins in my recipe.  Walnuts add a lovely flavor and texture to the cake, but they are optional, so you can decide for yourself whether you add them to the recipe or not.

The full printable recipe and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  •  2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  •  1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  •  2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1/2 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Easy Substitution for Pumpkin Pie Spice

A simple substitution for 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice can be made by blending a combination of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves or allspice.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe to replace 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice:

– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

– 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

Mix all these spices together, and you’ll have a homemade blend that can effectively replace 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice in your recipe. This blend is a great alternative when you’re in a pinch.

Tips for Grating Carrots

This moist cake depends heavily on shredded carrots, so here are some expert tips to help you get it just right.

  1. A food processor makes quick work of the process however make sure not to overprocess your carrots. You don’t want carrot mush.
  2. Peel the carrots for a more uniform smooth texture.
  3. It takes about four medium carrots to get two cups of grated carrots that you will need for this recipe.

Recipe Instructions

Step One: Preheat and Prepare Pans

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour your round cake pans, or line your cupcake pans with paper liners. You can use parchment paper for easier removal.

Step Two: Mix Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, brown sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step Three: Prepare Wet Ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, eggs at room temperature, and vanilla extract. Add in the grated carrots and crushed pineapple.

Step Four: Combine and Bake

Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Pour the cake batter into your prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs.

carrot cake recipe

What Size Pan for Your Carrot Cake

This versatile carrot cake recipe offers you the flexibility to bake a range of sizes.

  • Classic sheet cake– Using a 9×13 baking dish is the easiest method. It allows you to bake, frost, and serve in the same dish. (Bake the sheet cake for 35-40 minutes).
  • Cupcakes- This recipe makes 24 standard-size carrot cake cupcakes.  (Bake cupcakes for around 18-22 minutes).
  • Layered Cake- If a birthday cake is what you’re after, this recipe makes two 8-inch round layers. (Bake time 25-30 minutes).

Remember, all ovens are different, so these are estimated times. Always perform the toothpick test to ensure your cake is baked to perfection.

My Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This rich cream cheese frosting recipe is the stuff of dreams—smooth, creamy, and just the right balance of tangy and sweet. With only five ingredients, it’s incredibly easy to whip up and adds that final, decadent touch to your already delicious carrot cake.

All you’ll need is:

  • 8 oz. of room-temperature cream cheese
  • a stick of softened butter
  • 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream.

How to Frost a Sheet Cake: A Beginner’s Guide

Cool the Cake: First, make sure your sheet cake is entirely cool. Frosting a warm cake will make the frosting melt.

Check Frosting: Your cream cheese frosting should also be cool and not too runny. If it’s too soft, place it in the fridge for a few minutes.

Place the Cake: Put your sheet cake on a flat surface or keep it in its baking dish.

Spread Frosting: Use a rubber spatula or an offset spatula to spread a layer of frosting evenly over the top of the cake.

Smooth It Out: After you’ve covered the cake, use the flat side of your spatula to smooth the frosting. Make sure it’s an even layer.

Pro Tip   If your frosting is too soft, let it firm up in the fridge for a bit before you start.

Storage Tips

Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container. This keeps the cake moist and flavorful for up to 5 days.

Recommended Tools

Here are some of the essential tools that I can’t live without when decorating cakes.

Turntable-  A cake turntable is essentially a revolving cake stand that makes the frosting process a whole lot easier and more precise. Placing your cake on a turntable allows you to rotate it smoothly as you work, providing easy access to all sides. This ensures an even and uniform layer of frosting, making your cake look almost as if a professional did it. If you find yourself frosting cakes regularly, investing in a sturdy, high-quality turntable can be a game-changer.

Offset spatula- An offset spatula is your best friend when it comes to spreading frosting smoothly over the surface of your cake. Unlike a regular spatula, the blade is slightly bent, allowing you greater control and ease as you navigate the frosting over the cake. The offset design helps you achieve a smoother, more even layer without your hand getting in the way. This tool is particularly helpful for reaching tight corners and edges.

Pastry Bag and Tips- For those who want to get a little more creative with their frosting, a pastry bag with a variety of tips is the way to go. From creating intricate rosettes and swirls to writing messages or adding detailed borders, a pastry bag offers endless possibilities. It’s not just for the pros—beginners can easily get the hang of it with a little practice. Opt for a set that includes multiple tip shapes and sizes to explore a range of decorative options.

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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe with Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

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  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 4 Egg
  • 1 1/4 cups Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Crushed Pineapple drained
  • 2 cups Grated Carrots about 4 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts, toasted optional
  • 1/2 cup Raisins optional


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix these dry ingredients together, and then set the bowl aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla until they are well combined. Then, add the grated carrots, crushed pineapple, and any optional ingredients like chopped toasted walnuts or raisins if you're using them. Stir everything together until it's evenly mixed.
  • Now, pour the liquid mixture from the medium bowl into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to gently stir everything together. Be careful not to overmix; just stir until you can't see any more flour spots. This will ensure your cake stays moist and fluffy.
  • Evenly distribute the cake batter into the prepared cake pans and use a spatula to smooth the tops.
  • Place the pans in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Once the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Related Recipes From My Blog

If you enjoyed this recipe then I know you’re going to love these other posts from my blog.

Strawberry Chiffon Cake- If you’re a fan of easy cakes and adore strawberry-filled cake recipes then you’ll love these moist little chiffon cakes filled with homemade strawberry filling.

How to Cool and Frost a Cake– Making beautifully decorated cakes is easier than you think, and in this post, I’ll show you how!

The Ultimate Sheet Cake Guide- I’m sharing what I learned as a bakery owner about baking full, half, and quarter-size cakes. In this post I’m answering questions about how much cake you need and the number of servings they feed.

Enjoy This Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

So, if you’ve been searching for a delicious carrot cake recipe, look no further. This homemade carrot cake is the real deal and has won over many taste buds. If you’ve tried making this cake, I’d love for you to leave a 5-star review in the comments below.

Recipe Rating


Friday 23rd of February 2024

can you add the ingredient measurement in grams, please? I want to make sure esp for the carrots. thanks in advance!


Saturday 13th of January 2024

When you print this recipe it added an ingredient 1/2CUP of vanilla !!!! When you just read the recipe that line is not there. Big problem for beginners!!!

Better Baker

Wednesday 24th of January 2024

Oh my goodness! Thank you for pointing that out. It has been corrected!