The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

This is truly the best carrot cake recipe – it’s made completely from scratch, is supremely moist, and packed full of carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and raisins. Filled and frosted with a simple cream cheese frosting, this cake is an absolute winner on every level. Make it for Easter, Thanksgiving, or anytime you need a special cake!

Carrot cake on a platter

We’re only a few days away from Easter and we NEED to talk about carrot cake. It is, in my mind, one of the most absolutely underrated cakes out there. Most people love chocolate or yellow cake, while others go nuts over white or red velvet. It’s understandable, they’re delicious… but my gosh, carrot cake is SO GOOD. Plus, we have cream cheese frosting, which just throws it right over the edge.

I’ve always been a fan of carrot cake, but on a weekend trip to the Outer Banks back when my husband and I were dating, we ate at the Outer Banks Brewing Station and for dessert had the most enormous, most delicious piece of carrot cake to ever grace my plate. I’ve been officially obsessed from that moment on.

And if there was ever a time to wax poetic about this cake, it would be just prior to a major holiday when maybe, just maybe, you’re trying to decide what to serve for dessert.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Let’s Talk Carrot Cake!

Assembled carrot cake with cream cheese icing and pecans around the outside.

What Ingredients are in Carrot Cake?

Are you a carrot cake purist? Or a carrot cake “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink”-er?

I most definitely fall into the latter category – the more deliciousness you can stuff into one cake, all the better as far as I’m concerned! SO, I pack this baby with tons of amazing ingredients that not only help to keep the cake moist, but also pack it with fantastic texture and flavor. In this bad boy, we have…

  • Carrots (of course)
  • Pineapple
  • Coconut
  • Pecans
  • Raisins

You can mix and match your favorite ingredients, but this cake is absolutely over-the-top amazing when you add them all in!

Mixing bowl with carrots, pecans, pineapple, raisins and coconut.

Carrot cake batter

Now let’s talk cream cheese frosting because, well, it’s so utterly amazing and just MAKES carrot cake.

At first I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough frosting because the frosting between the cake layers wasn’t THAT big, but once it all came together and I ate it, I think the ratio was absolutely perfect.

The frosting wasn’t overpowering and let all of the flavors of the carrot cake shine. I also loaded it up with a high cream cheese to everything else ratio, so it’s not overly sweet either.

A slice of carrot cake filled and frosted with cream cheese frosting.

Notes on the Carrot Cake

  • This cake is made exclusively with oil, which is a key ingredient in keeping it nice and moist. For that reason, I do not recommend substituting butter in this particular cake.
  • You can omit the coconut, pecans and/or the raisins in the cake without making any other adjustments to the batter, but the cake may bake more quickly so start checking for doneness sooner.
  • If you prefer, you can bake the cakes in 8-inch pans, but will need to increase the baking time slightly.
  • You can also bake this in a Bundt pan, but will need to increase the baking time.
  • The cake can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  • You can also bake the cake layers, wrap and freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw and assemble. The entire cake can be assembled, wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 1 month.
  • The amount of frosting is enough to fill and cover the cake, but if you want enough frosting to pipe decorations, I recommend making a larger batch (1.5x).
  • Cake stand is from Sur La Table.

A slice of carrot cake on a plate.

While carrot cake may look complicated and like a big kitchen endeavor, it is actually on the easy and simple end of the spectrum when it comes to cake baking. I mixed the batter totally by hand and the frosting takes just 5 minutes to whip up. Do not be intimidated!

Whether you’re looking for a holiday dessert, a birthday cake, or just something a little outside of the ordinary, this carrot cake is both simple to execute and packs a wow factor that will make everyone beg for a slice to take home.

Pass the forks!

A slice of carrot cake on its side with a forkful taken out.

Seven years ago: Baked Doughnuts with Cinnamon-Sugar
Eight years ago: Cucumber-Tomato Bruschetta Appetizer

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

Author Michelle
Servings 12 to 16 servings
Prep 45 minutes
Cook 28 minutes
Total 1 hour 15 minutes
Course:Dessert
Cuisine:American
This is truly the best carrot cake recipe - it's made completely from scratch, is supremely moist, and packed full of carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and raisins. Filled and frosted with a simple cream cheese frosting, this cake is an absolute winner on every level.

Ingredients:

For the Carrot Cake

  • cups
    all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons
    baking powder
  • 1
    teaspoon
    baking soda
  • ½
    teaspoon
    salt
  • 2
    teaspoons
    ground cinnamon
  • 4
    eggs
  • cups
    granulated sugar
  • ½
    cup
    light brown sugar
  • cups
    vegetable oil
  • 2
    teaspoons
    vanilla extract
  • 3
    cups
    peeled grated carrots
  • 8
    ounce
    can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1
    cup
    finely chopped pecans
  • 1
    cup
    raisins
  • ½
    cup
    sweetened shredded coconut

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16
    ounces
    cream cheese
    (at room temperature)
  • 10
    tablespoons
    unsalted butter
    (at room temperature)
  • 3
    cups
    powdered sugar
  • Pinch
    of salt
  • teaspoon
    vanilla extract

To Garnish

  • Chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Make the Carrot Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with a round of parchment, grease the parchment, then flour the pans and tap out the excess. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined and there are no lumps of brown sugar. Add the flour mixture and, with a rubber spatula, gently stir until mostly combined. Add the carrots, pineapple, pecans, raisins and coconut and fold together until thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with clean, 22 to 28 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  5. Make the Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat on low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Assemble the Carrot Cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter and spread with 1 cup of the cream cheese frosting. Top with a second cake layer and again spread with 1 cup of the cream cheese frosting. Place the final cake layer on top, top-side-down (so the bottom of the cake is actually facing up), then frost the top and sides with the remaining cream cheese frosting and garnish the sides with chopped pecans, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. The cake can be made up to 1 day in advance and leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes:

  • You can omit the coconut, pecans and/or the raisins in the cake without making any other adjustments to the batter, but the cake may bake more quickly so start checking for doneness sooner.
  • If you prefer, you can bake the cakes in 8-inch pans, but will need to increase the baking time slightly.
  • The cake can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  • You can also bake the cake layers, wrap and freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw and assemble. The entire cake can be assembled, wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 1 month.
  • The amount of frosting is enough to fill and cover the cake, but if you want enough frosting to pipe decorations, I recommend making a larger batch (1.5x).
  • Cake stand is from Sur La Table.
Nutritional values are based on one serving

Nutrition:

Calories: 561kcal
Fat: 26g
Saturated fat: 13g
Cholesterol: 90mg
Sodium: 280mg
Potassium: 325mg
Carbohydrates: 78g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 53g
Protein: 6g
Vitamin A: 93.6%
Vitamin C: 4%
Calcium: 8.2%
Iron: 10.7%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!