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Moist & Fluffy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A fully-loaded Moist and Fluffy Carrot Cake that’s packed with pineapple, coconut and raisins, and topped with ultra decadent and creamy Cream Cheese Frosting. You really can’t beat this unbelievably easy recipe for the best carrot cake ever!

This is the BEST Carrot Cake Ever!

There’s carrot cake, and then there’s Carrot Cake

This is the ultimate, hands-down, over and above Best Carrot Cake Ever. Let me count the ways: fluffy, tender cake loaded with carrot and pineapple, sweetened with raisins and shredded coconut, with added walnuts for the perfect crunch. It’s moist and delicious and to top it all off is a melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese frosting that’s absolutely to die for.

You can make this as a multi-layer cake, but this recipe calls for a good old-fashioned single-layer carrot cake that’s simple to make and just as fabulous. The combination of flavor, moisture and texture is truly a game-changer! Be warned: carrot cake will never be the same again.

A moist and fluffy slice of frosted carrot cake on a plate next to a fork with a fresh bite of cake

What Makes this Recipe So Good?

This isn’t an out-the-box cake mix; this homemade carrot cake recipe is chock full of unbeatable flavor, texture, and moisture. I’m a huge fan of an easy carrot cake that still has all the fixings that make it positively the best! Here’s what I consider to be non-negotiable for the best cake ever:

  • Fresh Grated Carrots: If there’s one takeaway from this carrot cake recipe, it’s that grating your own carrots is what gives this cake the freshest texture and flavor! Pre-grated carrots are often thicker and can end up crunchy even after baking. Plus, there’s a chance they’re coated in preservatives. No thank you!
  • Texture and Flavor: The addition of crushed pineapple, shredded sweet coconut, crushed walnuts and fresh raisins are what take this carrot cake to a whole other level in terms of depth of flavor and rich, moist texture. Each ingredient brings something special to this recipe for the most fluffy, juicy, delightful version of a carrot cake you’ll ever taste!
  • Little Details: Small things, like using half brown/half granulated sugar, the addition of cinnamon, and an extra hearty tablespoon of vanilla, all come together with big impact for the perfect moist and fluffy cake.
  • The Ultimate Cream Cheese Frosting: A perfect, ultra-creamy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on the cake for any carrot cake recipe. It’s the one detail I’ll never compromise on! This recipe involves a tangy, delicious and classic cream cheese frosting that’s insanely fluffy, totally pipe-able or spreadable, and really can’t be beat.
Photo collage of carrots next to a grater, shredded carrots, carrot cake batter in a baking pan, and baked carrot cake in a pan

What You’ll Need

Here are the key ingredients for the perfect Moist and Fluffy Carrot Cake, plus my recipe for the best Cream Cheese Frosting.

For the Cake

  • All-Purpose Flour: The foundation of any cake, let’s be honest.
  • Sugar: Using half granulated white sugar and half brown sugar brings extra moisture to the cake.
  • Vegetable Oil: A moist yet light cake calls for oil! Canola oil can also be used.
  • Eggs: 4 large eggs to bind everything together.
  • Vanilla: A whole tablespoon of pure vanilla extract lets the flavor stand out next to the other ingredients.
  • Cinnamon: Fresh or pre-ground cinnamon compliments the flavors of the cake and gives it a hint of spice.
  • Grated Carrots: Freshly grated large carrots will bake to the perfect texture.
  • Pineapple: Fresh or canned crushed pineapple adds an extra dimension of sweetness and moisture to the cake. Make sure you drain the pineapple well to avoid the cake becoming too mushy. If buying canned, the pineapple should be in water and not syrup.
  • Walnuts: Finely chopped walnuts give the otherwise tender cake an unexpected and satisfying crunch! Walnuts also pair perfectly with the fruity, savory flavors.
  • Coconut: Sweetened Flaked Coconut for another layer of flavor and texture.
  • Raisins: Fresh raisins and carrot cake are a match made in baking heaven, always and forever! Absolutely magic when scattered throughout the cake like little pockets of juicy sweetness. Use regular or golden, just don’t skip them.

For the Frosting

  • Cream Cheese: A whole block at room temperature.
  • Butter: Unsalted and also at room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioner’s sugar, a nice quality powdered sugar for a fluffy, smooth frosting.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract or almond extract for an extra punch of flavor.
A close up of baked carrot cake topped with a generous smear of cream cheese frosting

How to Make Carrot Cake

This best ever recipe for carrot cake can be baked as a single layer or multiple layers. For a double-layer cake, use two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. Make sure they are greased and lined with parchment rounds and adjust the baking time to about 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes pass the toothpick test! No matter the layers you choose, here are the easy steps to follow for this perfect carrot cake:

Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to preheat at 350°F. Meanwhile, coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and leave this aside for now.

Combine the Sugar & Wet Ingredients: You can use a stand mixer or standard mixing bowl and a whisk to combine both the brown and white sugars, plus the vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla, and mix thoroughly until smooth.

Add the Dry Ingredients: Next add in the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the wet batter. Continue to mix and don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed! Slowly mix in the flour, being careful to not overmix.

Add in the Extras: Finally, toss in the grated carrots, pineapple, walnuts, coconut, and raisins and stir until you have an even consistency.

Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the carrot cake to cool completely before frosting.

How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting

If you do decide to make this into a layer cake, you will need to increase the amount of frosting by about 50% to account for the filling as well as a generous layer of icing on top! You may need to further double the frosting recipe if you’re planning to pipe out additional swirls or decorations.

Mix the Cream Cheese & Butter: First, in a mixing bowl you’ll need to blend together the cream cheese and butter until they’re fully combined. You can use a whisk or spatula to do this, but it’s always easier with a stand mixer! 

Add in the Sugar & Beat Until Smooth: Slowly add in the powdered sugar; if you’re using a stand mixer, do this on the low setting. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, switch the speed to medium and beat to get a frosting that’s smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Once the frosting is done and the cake is cooled, spread a healthy layer of frosting over top of the carrot cake, and serve!

A slice of fluffy, tender carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting, on a plate

Tips for Success

  • Change Up the Frosting: If you are fully opposed to cream cheese frosting, there are alternatives! My delicious Buttercream Frosting, Heritage Frosting, or Brown Sugar Frosting are all wonderful for topping this fully-loaded carrot cake.
  • Vegetable Oil Instead of Butter: For a lighter cake that doesn’t sacrifice the combination of flavors!
  • Line the Pan: Lining the cake pan with parchment paper and giving it a light spray with cooking oil will ensure that cakes don’t stick!
  • Make the Cake Ahead of Time: Allowing the freshly baked carrot cake to rest for a day will let the flavors develop, the frosting to mingle with the cake, and the overall texture to settle.

How to Store Carrot Cake

For longer storage and fresher cream cheese frosting, keep your frosted carrot cake covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. This cake will also keep well on the counter at room temperature, albeit for a shorter time, about 2-3 days. Store the cake using a cake carrier or airtight container to keep everything protected!

Can I Freeze Extras?

Carrot cake is surprisingly easy to freeze after baking, and even after frosting! For best results, let the cake chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the icing to firm up. Afterwards, wrap the whole cake well in a double layer of plastic wrap, plus a layer of aluminum foil to help with freezer burn. Store the whole cake in an airtight, freezer-safe container to freeze for up to 2-3 months.

More Easy Cake Recipes to Try

Looking for more easy, delicious baking ideas? Try these:

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Perfect Carrot Cake

Moist & Fluffy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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

Description

A fully-loaded Moist and Fluffy Carrot Cake that’s packed with pineapple, coconut and raisins, and topped with ultra decadent Cream Cheese Frosting. You can’t beat this unbelievably easy recipe for the best carrot cake ever!


Ingredients

Scale

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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 595
  • Sugar: 58.1 g
  • Sodium: 409.3 mg
  • Fat: 28.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 85.1 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 76.2 mg

Keywords: moist carrot cake, best carrot cake, homemade carrot cake

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305 comments on “Moist & Fluffy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. I halved this recipe and baked in an 8 x 8 pan for 35 minutes. This is a most amazing recipe. Perfectly moist, perfect combination of carrots, nuts and raisins……totally yummy. I did frost with cream cheese frosting, but honestly this cake is so yummy next time may just dust with confectioners sugar. I was not sure about the coconut- but I trusted the process & so glad I did. Thankful I found this recipe.

  2. This looks great! So excited to try it but could it be made into a layered cake instead of a sheet cake?

  3. I made this cake for a second time for a Christmas dinner and it was even better than the first time. I made a happy mistake by adding a 20-oz can of very well drained crushed pinapple (instead of 8 oz can) along with using Swans Down cake flour (instead of all purpose flour). I have to say, the cake was even more moist and delicious! Of course I well hydrated the raisins (I used golden raisins) and a fresh bunch of hydrated organic carrots before grating. The blend of spices are fabulous! This is my go to recipe for every day and especially for special occassions. The BEST carrot cake ever!

  4. Truly the beat carrot cake! I get empty pans everytime I bring this somewhere. Love it! Only thing I substitute is applesauce for the oil believe it or not it makes it even more tender a cake.

  5. WOWED my husband with this recipe for his Birthday Cake! So moist, so fluffy, and the oh so creamy frosting? YUMMY. I used fresh sliced pineapple rather than canned, and added toasted coconut on top. A glass of milk was required LOL

  6. Delicious. Cake took about 60mins yo bake and I left out some of the icing sugar in the frosting as too sweet for me, but otherwise perfect carrot cake for me!

  7. I made this cake for my mother’s birthday and we were blown away by how amazing it was. It was better than any carrot cake that I’ve every had. The cake was moist and incredibly flavorful with the raisins, pinapple and coconut. I made sure the carrots were well hydrated before I grated them. I followed the recipe exactly and it was fun and easy to make, one layer worked perfectly in my non-stick pan. The only thing I changed was I added 1 tablespoon of vanilla to the cream cheese frosting instead of 1 teaspoon. I’ve already had requests to make again for Christmas. A truly outstanding cake!!!!

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