Perfect Carrot Cake

Today I’m sharing Perfect Carrot Cake! This Carrot Cake Recipe is so easy, made in a 9×13 pan, loaded with essential extras like pineapple, coconut, and raisins that make is THE BEST. AND it’s all topped with an ultra creamy cream cheese frosting!

The Best Carrot Cake is so moist and topped with cream cheese frosting

Today I’m Sharing The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe EVER!

I feel like I have been holding out on you. I’ve had this carrot cake recipe in my back pocket for years and years. I’ve made it countless times…sometimes as a layer cake, but most of the time in a 9×13 as a sheet cake because…well…it’s easier, and I am lazy. #alreadyestablished.

Carrot Cake has always been a favorite of mine…BUT I am a little picky. I am not a fan of “plain” carrot cake…you know the kind without any extras, typically from a boxed mix. The thing is the “extras” are where the magic happens: flavor, texture, moistness. If there aren’t bits of carrot poking out…a raisin here or there…coconut to add sweetness…or (gasp) walnuts to add crunch…well, no thank you, please. So let’s stop talking and start doing!

Perfect Carrot Cake is the best carrot cake recipe ever!

What Makes This Carrot Cake the BEST?

So this perfect carrot cake recipe is all about my personal preferences. SO let’s talk about some of the things that I add INTO my recipe that I think are a must.

  1. Fresh Grated Carrots: Don’t skip this step and buy the pre-grated carrots. The ones you buy in the bag are too thick, and they will be crunchy in your cake. No thanks. Plus they are coated with something to help preserve them. Please if you listen to me at all, make sure this is the one take-away. Grating carrots isn’t hard, I promise.
  2. Pineapple: I use crushed pineapple from the can, and I drain it well. The pineapple will add sweetness and moisture, but make sure you drain it, otherwise it will be too liquidy in your cake and the texture will be mushy. Also make sure that the pineapple is packed in water and not syrup!
  3. Walnuts: Ok, I am a no-nuts-in-desserts kind of gal, but in this cake they are a piece of the puzzle. Chop them up fine, so you don’t have big nut chunks. Trust me.
  4. Coconut: Sweetened Flaked Coconut is so perfect in this recipe. Try it, I swear…even if you “don’t like coconut”.
  5. Raisins: Yes always and forever in carrot cake. Make sure they’re fresh raisins too, old raisins are hard and too chewy. Use regular or golden, just don’t skip them.

Do You Have To Add All Those Ingredients?

Now, I know, I know, I will get questions…Can I leave out the coconut? Can I skip the nuts? Can I CHANGE ALL THE THINGS? Well, the answer is yes. But no. Sure, you can leave out the coconut, or nuts, or raisins…SURE YOU CAN. But I’m just asking…unless you have a life-threatening allergy…try my carrot cake recipe the way God intended. Just this once.

All the Steps on How To Make Carrot Cake

Tips On Making Carrot Cake

I hit on some of the carrot cake tips above, but let’s break down the process…which is seriously easy!

  • I use vegetable oil in this recipe, as opposed to butter. I do this because there are so many flavors in carrot cake, that the butter isn’t essential for flavor. PLUS oil tends to give cakes a slightly lighter texture, and with all the add-ins like pineapple, carrots, etc you don’t need anything that will make the cake more dense.
  • The combo of brown sugar and granulated sugar in equal parts provide a little extra moisture and flavor then if you used all granulated.
  • The addition of cinnamon in the cake adds another layer of flavor, but don’t worry it isn’t overwhelming at all.
  • A whole tablespoon of vanilla might seem like a lot to you, but it is competing with a lot of other flavors, so don’t worry, use a heavy hand!
Perfect Carrot Cake is the best carrot cake recipe ever and it's topped with cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting Is A MUST!

Cream Cheese Frosting and Carrot Cake go together like the best of friends. AND I happen to make the actual best cream cheese frosting in all the land. It’s perfectly fluffy, totally pipe-able, and it spread on like a dream if you use an off-set spatula. If you are just completely opposed to cream cheese frosting here are a few other options of frosting you could use:

The Best Carrot Cake recipe is my Perfect Carrot Cake and it's topped with cream cheese frosting!

Can You Make This Into A Layer Cake?

Yes, you can ABSOLUTELY make this into a layer cake. Use 2, 8 or 9- inch round cake pans. Make sure they are greased and line them with parchment rounds.  Bake the cakes for 25 – 30 minutes and check the doneness, add more time if necessary.

Note, if you do decide to make this into a layer cake you will need to increase the amount of frosting by 50% (at least) so you can fill it and cover the whole cake with a generous amount of frosting. If you are looking to pipe pretty swirls on top of the cake for decorations you might need to double the frosting to make sure you have enough!

Looking For More Carrot Cake Inspired Recipes? Try These:

Print

Perfect Carrot Cake

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category Category: Cake
  • Method Method: Baking
  • Cuisine Cuisine: Dessert

Description:

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe EVER!!


Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 3/4 cups grated carrots, approximately 5
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins (regular or golden)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Frosting

  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • optional – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix both sugars, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla together on medium speed until smooth, 1 minute.
  3. Add in the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and continue mixing for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Mix in the flour until just combined.
  5. Add in the carrots, pineapple, walnuts, coconut, and raisins and stir until evenly incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

Frosting

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until combined.
  2. With mixer on low, slowly add in the powdered sugar.
  3. Once incorporated, turn the speed up to medium and mix for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake.

Notes:

store airtight for up to 3 days.

* I don’t ever refrigerate this cake, even with the cream cheese frosting, and it’s fine. But you can absolutely refrigerate this if desired.

Keywords:: Carrot Cake, Best Carrot Cake, Carrot Cake Recipe, Cream Cheese Frosting

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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe Ever

Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Cupikake
June 16, 2021 8:25 am

THE BEST Carrot Cake!
I’ve never been a fan of carrot cake, but this recipe is divine!
The only substitution I use is pecans instead of walnuts. I also make two layers using round cake pans.
Everyone LOVES this cake and I get requests often to make it.

Pauline
June 6, 2021 7:23 pm

I am not a sweet eater, however, my husband is. He is and dedicated grower of produce so, needless to say, when he produce a few kilos of carrots from the garden and asked for a carrot cake (me, being a professional baker) had to fulfill his wishes. The only thing that I would give you as a tip – something I learned in TAFE – regarding the butter for the icing, brown the butter before adding it to the cream cheese then place it in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool. It makes a very big difference… Read more »

Mary
May 30, 2021 7:24 pm

Absolutely amazing! I am not a real big carrot cake fan, but this was delicious . It was so easy to make! I changed a couple small things though. I used Cisco baking sticks instead of vegetable oil and pecans instead of walnuts because I had some in the freezer from our trees.
Thank you so much for the fantastic recipe and tips!

Mckenzie Henderson
May 29, 2021 6:19 pm

Does anyone have baking instructions for cupcakes? I followed the recipe and tried to make them cupcakes but the middles collapsed

Pam
May 29, 2021 11:52 am

I’m really enjoying you site, however, my first try was going to be your carrot cake and the recipe doesn’t give any information on the amount or kind of flour to use. Help!

Ellie
May 26, 2021 8:07 pm

I have made this carrot cake time and time again and it always turns out great and is ALWAYS a hit!! The best carrot cake I have ever tried. Although I probably add about 1/2 cup of icing sugar to the cream cheese frosting instead of the recommended 4 cups, but that is personal preference.

Jen Tracy
May 9, 2021 3:31 pm

This is seriously the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever tried. I’ve gotten many rave reviews from family members when I make it. I’m actually making it for my mother-in-law’s birthday in a couple of months and I can’t wait to get to enjoy it again. I usually bake it in 2 rounds pans and then slice each of those in half to make 4 layers. Then I layer it with the delicious frosting and press additional chopped walnuts into it.

Natalie
April 21, 2021 12:49 pm

This is a fairly standard recipe (from the many I’ve seen) except the added spices, which I really like bc they give the otherwise bland cake (typically seasoned only with cinnamon) a nice flavor. Some recipes call for baking powder, some don’t and after using it in your recipe I didn’t notice an appreciable difference. Not sure what others think but, even for my sweet tooth, this cake is a bit sweet. Therefore, I’d rec either reducing the sugar to 1 & 3/4 cups while also using a less sweet cream cheese frosting recipe. Or, as I did in the… Read more »

Dawne
April 20, 2021 10:28 am

Wonderful recipe! Made it today in an 8×12” pan and 3 cupcakes on the side. Cupcakes were in my oven 30 minutes. The cake was 45. I added all my mix-ins before the flour on purpose so I wouldn’t be tempted to overbeat. 15 seconds exactly of mixing and 2 turns with my spatula to get a little flour off the side of the bowl and it was perfect. I did 1/2c oil and 1/2 c applesauce and it was perfect. I also cut the sugar back a bit for health reasons. The cake is so lovely in flavour it… Read more »

Sabrina
March 28, 2021 1:10 pm

Received rave reviews. Made for a friend and she absolutely loved it! She thought it was special that I made her favorite cake from scratch for her birthday.
My husband commented several times about the icing…very good!
Followed the recipe as is and it was delicious!

Chris
March 27, 2021 1:47 pm

JUst wondering how this cake freezes? I plan to make it for Easter next week, but won’t have time closer to the date. Can I make now and freeze with icing on it until next week??

Amber Bonnes
March 17, 2021 2:07 pm

I made your Banana cake for my sons birthday and it was such a hit with my family! (Thank You!) Now they are coming to me to make the next cake for my niece. I chosen to make your Perfect Carrot Cake and I have a question about the coconut. Do the flakes retain their texture and if so, can I substitute it for toasted coconut?

Becky
March 10, 2021 4:30 pm

If I want to leave out the pineapple what should I substitute? Maybe some applesauce?

Richard
February 21, 2021 4:16 pm

Hi Shelly,

Hello from Hungary. Looks wonderful. I plan on turning this into a layer cake with 3 x 8 inch layers. Would I need to make extra to be able to make 3 layers?

Thank You!

Paul
February 23, 2021 2:30 pm
Reply to  Richard

There is enough batter for 3 x 8 inch layer cake.

Robbin
February 15, 2021 11:21 am

How many cupcakes do you think this would make? 20-24?? Making for a birthday present. I am guessing the cook time would be 22-24 minutes.

Julie
February 19, 2021 1:55 pm
Reply to  Robbin

For me it makes about 28-29 cupcakes with a normal ice cream scoop, and bake them about 18-20 min

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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