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

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Make cake batter. 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. Add in the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and continue mixing for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the flour until just combined.

Add mix ins. Add in the carrots, pineapple, walnuts, coconut, and raisins and stir until evenly incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

Frosting

Make frosting. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until combined. With mixer on low, slowly add in the powdered sugar. 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.

Frost carrot cake. 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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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

Robbin
February 10, 2021 6:10 pm

Can I use pineapple in syrup and just rinse it ??

Rebecca
February 3, 2021 6:16 pm

Seriously one of the best Carrot cakes I have ever had.

Ana
January 27, 2021 10:35 pm

My husband like to go to a restaurant just for they carrot cake. I say to my self why not try, it was my first time and I am 62. So I did this one my husband fall in love with the cake I did twice in the same week. We have a couple that comes to our house once a week, he try it and love it. His wife tells me I don’t like carrots. I gave them some to take home. She call me from the car and told me she doesn’t think it will make home is… Read more »

Catherine
January 18, 2021 6:02 pm

Never have I made a cake without a box! My family teases me (weekly) because I can’t cook but a dear friend wanted a homemade carrot cake “the real kind with walnuts” he said for his birthday…so I decided I would try it (hubby said buy a store bought one as a back up) I followed everything just as you wrote , yep shredded carrots too and finely chopped walnuts….and it was PERFECT, LIKE BAKERY PERFECT!!!! I am 41 (my mother is an Excellent cook) I am so thankful for your recipe so I can finally show something offTRUE STORY… Read more »

Nicholas Heyns
January 16, 2021 11:48 am

I replaced the pineapple with grated beetroot and baked it in a Bundt cake pan. Don’t kill me! It looks festive. The half brown sugar half white sugar is an excellent hack. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Audrey
January 13, 2021 6:42 pm

Can you use shredded cooconut instead of flakes?

Dee
December 23, 2020 1:57 pm

Would there be any issues with adding other spices like nutmeg, cloves allspice ? Would I need to reduce the cinnamon?

Michelle
December 31, 2020 12:42 pm
Reply to  Dee

I’m making this recipe right now and no there are no issues with adding those spices.

Dee
December 21, 2020 11:29 am

Can you make cupcakes with this?

Shabnam
December 3, 2020 3:58 am

THE BEST CARROT CAKE. Every one loved the recipe. Thank you so much.

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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