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The Most Amazing Carrot Cake is moist, fluffy, and is topped with an easy, homemade cream cheese frosting that is over-the-top delicious!

Carrot cake on a white cake platter

There are two types of people in this world: those who love carrot cake, and those who have not yet come to love carrot cake. We see you, and we’re here to convert you. We get it, there is a lot of sub-par carrot cake out there, and this recipe is everything you’ve ever wanted. Moist, fluffy, raisins optional. That’s right, raisins are optional. Don’t want them? Don’t add them! Cream cheese frosting is absolutely necessary. Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting go together like peanut butter and chocolate, ham and cheese, glaze on a donut…well, you get the picture. 

History Lesson: It is thought that the carrot cake of today comes from a European Medieval carrot pudding. Sugar and sweeteners were expensive, and carrots were used as a substitute for sugar. The term ‘cake’ is actually relatively new, dating back to the 13th century, and there is a lot of speculation if the puddings of old were actually a solid pudding: cake!

  • Are nuts necessary in carrot cake?

    Absolutely not! Whether you have allergies, or simply don’t like them, nuts are completely optional. We love the added crunch and texture they give, but you are always welcome to simply leave them out. 

  • Why are raisins listed as optional? 

    Raisins are a traditional staple, and go all the way back to Medieval European carrot pudding. However, carrot cake has come a long way since then, and we love options! Not everyone likes raisins, and we don’t think that should stop you from enjoying carrot cake. So, if you are a traditionalist and enjoy raisins, add them! You do you! If you typically don’t like raisins, then you probably won’t like them in carrot cake either, and you can omit them.

  • Can I use store bought frosting?

    We think homemade cream cheese frosting really makes this carrot cake go from amazing to over-the-top delicious. However, if you are crunched on time and need an easy shortcut, you can use a canned cream cheese frosting. 

  • Egg Replacement Options

    There are several options that work well when substituting for eggs in this recipe.

    • 1/4 cup of plain yogurt per egg
    • 1 tablespoon vinegar+ 1 teaspoon baking powder whisked together per egg
    • 1/4 cup mashed banana per egg
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce per egg
  • Storage Instructions

    Cakes that are frosted with a cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated. They can safely sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. After slicing, cover any exposed cake to prevent it from being exposed to the air and drying out.

Cake Conversion Guide

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious cake recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

A slice of carrot cake on its side on a stack of white plates
A slice of carrot cake on its side on a stack of white plates
The Most Amazing Carrot Cake is moist, fluffy, and is topped with an easy, homemade cream cheese frosting that is over-the-top delicious!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple lightly drained
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups golden raisins (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 - 4 cups powdered sugar
Instructions

Carrot Cake Recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease three 9-inch cake rounds. Dust with flour and tap out the excess or line bottoms with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and salt.
  • Add applesauce, crushed pineapple, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Use a rubber spatula to stir in shredded carrots, walnuts, and raisins (if using) until just combined.
  • Divide batter among the three pans, about 3 cups of batter per pan.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined, about 10 seconds.
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar, one half cup at a time until smooth, mixing between additions. Use to frost completely cooled cakes. Store frosting and/or frosted cake in the refrigerator.
Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1large slice | Calories: 849kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 590mg | Potassium: 449mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 93g | Vitamin A: 4852IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Carrot Cake

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Ari

5 stars
I made this last weekend for my mom’s birthday and it was amazing!! I wasn’t sure about how the spices were going to affect the taste of the cake but it was fantastic. Spicy yet sweet and soft. The icing was perfectly good too. I baked it in two pans because that is all i had and leaved it about 40 minutes in the oven. Totally recommend this cake and definitely will do it again.

5 stars
Turned out amazing!! I’ve baked my family so many of your desserts and everything has come out so good. Worst chocolate chip cookies has made me a legend at work. Your tutorials are so easy to follow and I enjoy your humor. Keep up the great work and looking forward to cooking with you again soon!!

Gretchen

I made this with some alterations. Omit nutmeg and clove, add 2 tsp powdered ginger, omit nuts raisin and pineapple, add 1 tsp grated fresh ginger and 1 cup mashed mango. So yummy!

Mari

5 stars
I have made this cake twice and it is amazingly moist and delicious! My kids absolutely love it. It is a keeper! One question, is it possible to substitute all purpose flour with whole wheat? Has anyone tried this? Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

Tshi

5 stars
The best carrot cake I have ever made, thanks for the recipe

Joy

I have always wanted to make a Carrot Cake, so this recipe is perfect. Thank you for sharing.

I made this cake. It was delicious! Everyone who I shared it with was really impressed and they said that they enjoyed tremendously. My husband and I were in awe over the frosting. It is the best cream cheese frosting I have ever made. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

Rosie Ball

5 stars
My friend from work makes this but uses a larger size
Cake pan to make a carrot cake roll. She makes them for the holidays. They are really great frozen too.

Rashmi

5 stars
This quarantine period, I start cooking different foods and today I found this now I’ll prepare this for my family 🙂 Thank you!

Daiya Cunnane

5 stars
This was really good! I made it for our quarantine Easter. I didn’t put nuts in it and didn’t have pineapple. I halved the recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan. It baked in the convection oven for about 30 minutes. I halved the icing recipe too. The icing was really good. I loved how it wasn’t overly sweet. Thank you for this recipe! It will become a new tradition for us. My hard-to-please husband that doesn’t like sweets loved it too.

Joyce Mitchell

5 stars
Looks amazing, I cannot wait to try this.

Michele Khurana

5 stars
Super good! Just the right spicing….everyone was over the moon with it! Thanks for posting!

Joyce Sanders

I love good carrot cake, and my opinion is that it must have pineapple in it and have cream cheese frosting. Thank you for the recipe, Rachel.

Margaret

5 stars
Am trying this carrot cake ..seems very delicious ☺

Jaime Palecek

My husband loves carrot cake but hates cream cheese. Can I use butter cream frosting?

Yes! Carrot cake traditionally has a cream cheese frosting, but you can use whatever frosting you like!

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