This is the best carrot cake recipe you’ll find. It is moist, flavorful, perfectly spiced and topped with an irresistible cream cheese frosting that will knock your socks off. Making carrot cake from scratch is EASY and you cannot mess it up with step-by-step instructions, as well as an instructional video!
Original recipe posted: April 2019 | Recipe updated: October 2019
Do you ever wonder who made the discovery that carrots and baked goods taste delicious together? I mean, carrots aren’t the most flavorful things in the world. Unless they’re drenched in Ranch dressing. But when thrown into some cake batter? YUM.
Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes on the planet, with its yummy spice and moist texture and then there’s the totally irresistible cream cheese frosting that gets slathered all over it. Once you make this carrot cake recipe you will never need another. It bakes perfectly every single time and it is the perfect dessert for any occasion, any time of the year.
WATCH THIS VIDEO TO SEE HOW TO MAKE CARROT CAKE EASILY!
Enjoy the step-by-step video tutorial we have created for this recipe! Our goal is to make your time in the kitchen as easy as possible and to ensure that your version of this recipe is a success. See our full collection of cooking and baking videos on YouTube!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST LAYERED CARROT CAKE
This is such a simple recipe – don’t limit yourself to making it once a year at Easter, because it is so scrumptious!
Preheat your oven to 350°F and generously spray two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans (or you can use one at a time) with cooking spray. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), combine the butter, oil, both granulated sugar and brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until creamy and free of lumps.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Fold in the grated carrot.
Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake one at a time in the preheated oven. Bake time is for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Using a serrated bread knife, cut the rounded tops off each cooled cake.
Place one cake in the center of a rotating cake stand. Spread cream cheese frosting evenly and generously over the top in an even layer. Top with the remaining cake and use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides.
OPTIONAL “EXTRAS” TO ADD TO CARROT CAKE
Do not exceed a total of 1 cup of the following ingredients:
Chopped walnuts or pecans
Chopped maraschino cherries
CARROTS: 3 cups of grated carrots are called for in this recipe, which equals approximately 4 medium-sized carrots. Grate the carrots yourself as opposed to purchasing pre-packaged matchstick-style carrots. Your food processor may have an attachment to make this go fast. While you don’t have to peel your carrots, I do. It gets the gritty exterior off the carrot, making them more appealing.
BUTTER AND OIL: Both butter AND oil are used in this recipe! Why, you ask? Oil allows baked goods to stay moist and more evenly fluffy, while butter adds a uniquely yummy flavor. Using both is the way to go with carrot cake!
FLOUR: Be sure to spoon up and then level off your flour. You don’t want too much and the cake being dry.
OVEN: Keep the door of your oven closed until your timer beeps! Peek using your oven light and allow the oven to do its thing uninterrupted. Opening the door too soon can deflate the cake if it’s not done baking.
CAKE TOPS: After you cut off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface for frosting, don’t throw the “extras” away! Feed them as a snack to hungry children or use them to create cake truffles! Also, if you chill the cakes about 15 minutes before frosting them, they’ll be a little more forgiving as you spread on the layer of cream cheese frosting.
KEEP COOL: Because of the cream cheese frosting, once it is assembled this cake will need to be refrigerated until serving time.
CUPCAKES: You can easily turn this cake into individual sized carrot cake cupcakes! Simply line a 24 cupcake pan with paper cups and fill them 3/4 full. Bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You won’t need as much frosting for this version but you can still generously top each one for a perfect final touch.
HOW TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
One of the best things about homemade frosting is that it is so ridiculously easy to make and the flavor crushes that of store-bought frosting. Make this easy and delicious cream cheese frosting with just a handful of ingredients and in a few simple steps!
In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, Two 8-oz. packages cream cheese and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a hand mixer), mix cream cheese and butter mixture until smooth. Add 6 cups of powdered sugar to the bowl.
Beat the mixture on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
Spread or pipe the frosting onto your favorite cakes, cupcakes or bars!
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
For a sturdier frosting, add extra confectioner’s sugar (1/4 cup at a time) until the desired consistency is reached OR add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch. You may want an extra sturdy frosting when you are piping it onto certain baked goods.
Use good quality, full fat cream cheese! Do not be tempted to buy a super cheap brand or to use a low-fat version. The end product will be altered if you do!
This frosting tends to get a little bit soft, especially if it sits in warm weather, so be sure to refrigerate the baked goods once they are frosted until they’re ready to be served.
SALTED BUTTER VS UNSALTED BUTTER
Ahh, the great baking debate. Many bakers use unsalted butter in their baked goods in order to avoid over-salting. I, however, believe that there is no such thing as “over-salting.” I always use salted butter in my baked goods (and for everything else under the sun) because it gives everything I make an extra touch of salty deliciousness. If you go the unsalted route, keep in mind that you may need to add a bit extra salt to the recipe!