A wonderfully moist, perfectly spiced carrot cake recipe. This cake is surprisingly simple to make and includes a step-by-step video for no-fail results every time. Top everything off with my simple cream cheese frosting for what truly might be the perfect carrot cake.
If I had to choose a favorite cake recipe on my blog, I think this carrot cake recipe would be it.
Maybe I’m biased (and the cream cheese frosting definitely does have something to do with that), but even though I’m wildly in love with my white cake, vanilla cake (a reader favorite!) and chocolate cake, this carrot cake is hands-down the one I will reach for first every time.
There’s something about its deliriously moist crumb, the perfect amount of spices, and yes, that all-time favorite cream cheese frosting of mine. It’s sweet without being too sweet, carefully crafted with both butter and oil and just the right amount of carrots –the flavor is so good that even Zach reached for a second piece.
I think you guys are going to love this one just as much, so let’s dig in.
How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake
My carrot cake recipe uses 3 cups of finely grated carrots. This is usually about 4 large carrots for me and I always peel my carrots before grating them. You can use a box grater to grate your carrots, but I prefer to use my food processor.
To use the food processor, I’ll first use the “shred” blade, but I’ve found that this doesn’t get my carrots as fine as I’d like them to be, so I’ll then switch to the standard blade and briefly pulse the carrots until they’re fine pieces. Don’t overdo this step or you’ll end up with carrot puree (this is also why I start by using the shred blade on my processor, I’ve found that just tossing the carrots in with my standard blade quickly breaks down the carrots too much for my liking).
One thing you definitely want to avoid is store-bought shredded carrots (or “matchstick” carrots). Those are way too thick to use in this carrot cake recipe, unless you like biting into discernible chunks of carrot (I do not).
Can I make this Carrot Cake Recipe into Cupcakes?
While you could, I personally found this carrot cake to be a bit too heavy for cupcakes. Because of that I developed a carrot cake cupcake recipe that I would recommend using instead. It’s still flavorful and delicious, but not so moist that it requires a fork for eating.
Oh, and if you’re interested in more carrot cake variations, I also have a carrot cake cookie recipe you can try out, too.
Before I let you watch this carrot cake video I need to talk to you about my cake decorating skills. I am not a cake decorator, but I can usually modestly frost a cake so that it looks at least presentable. The frosting job you’re about to see in this video is not an example of my finest work, at all!
My pride compels me to inform you that this was my sloppiest frosting job ever. I had to turn off the air conditioning in my house to shoot the video (my microphone picks up the noise and it sounds awful if we don’t) and it was a 90+ degree day outside. I pulled the cream cheese frosting out of the fridge too far in advance and between the hot lights that I use for filming, the lack of AC, and the fact that I was right in front of my 350F oven, everything was a melty disaster, so while I’m not a cake decorator things aren’t usually that bad!
Alright I feel better now getting that off my chest 😉Enjoy!
Watch How to Make the Best Carrot Cake Recipe
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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (315g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar* tightly packed (200g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil (235ml)
- 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter melted (113g)
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups grated carrots** (340g)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans optional (125g)
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare two 8-inch pans**** by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly greasing and flouring the sides.
- In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Add your canola oil and melted butter and stir well (batter will be pretty stiff and thick at this point, I usually use an electric mixer or my stand mixer to combine everything nicely).
- Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Stir in carrots and nuts (if using) until ingredients are well-combined.
- Evenly divide carrot cake batter into prepared baking pans and bake on 350F (175C) for 40 minutes (toothpick inserted in center should come out mostly clean with only few moist crumbs).
- Allow carrot cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
- Allow cake to cool completely before covering with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until creamy, well-combined, and lump-free.
- Add vanilla extract and sprinkle salt into the bowl and stir well to combine.
- With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until ingredients are completely combined (be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula).
- Once your cake has cooled completely, cover with frosting.