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 that make is THE BEST and topped with ultra creamy cream cheese frosting!

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

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!

Today, behold, the BEST Carrot Cake Recipe EVER!

Perfect Carrot Cake is the best carrot cake recipe ever!

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.

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 the BEST 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 This Carrot Cake Recipe Be Made 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!

If you’re on the fence about making my Perfect Carrot Cake, here are a few other options for similar desserts:

  1. Banana Cake
  2. Carrot Cake Cookies
  3. Cream Cheese Swirled Apple Cake
  4. Lemonade Cake

Perfect Carrot Cake

  • 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


The Best Carrot Cake Recipe EVER!!



  • 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


  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar


  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. 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 in the carrots, pineapple, walnuts, coconut, and raisins and stir until evenly incorporated.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool completely.


  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. 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.
  2. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake.


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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newest oldest most voted

This is by far the BEST carrot cake recipe I have ever made. Thank You. You have taken one of my favorites to a whole new level. I would give it 10 Stars if possible

esha salian
esha salian

what if i dont have coconut? will it mess with the recipe?

Angela T
Angela T

Great recipe! I cut down the sugar in the cake to 1.5c total as well as the icing sugar in the frosting to 3/4c and it was plenty for me. I also added pure vanilla extract to the frosting. Mmm 🙂


I had never made a carrot cake before. This was my first time making one and it was so easy! I actually used two round 8” cake pans instead of the 9×13. I followed the baking instructions for the rounds and the bake time actually took a bit longer than 25-30 minutes. Bake time was closer to 45minutes but just keep an eye on it. I opted to leave out the raisins but did add nuts and pineapple. I also used Shellys recipe for the cream cheese frosting and OMG it’s the best ever!!! I will definitely be baking this… Read more »

Sherri crawford
Sherri crawford

I haven’t made it yet but wondered if a 9 x 13 stone, sheet pan stone or metal sheet pan had been used by anyone. Thoughts?


I made this yesterday and it was perfect! No raisins because I hate them and everyone else in my family but it was perfect l! Thank you for this will for sure be trying more of your recipes


Can I cook in a bundt pan?

Annette Zimmerman
Annette Zimmerman

I made this for Thanksgiving and it was awesome. I would like to make in the form of cupcakes. How much batter in each cup and how long do I bake? Also, do the cupcakes freeze well? If freezing, should I freeze with the frosting on or frost after thawed? Thank you so much and sorry for all the questions.


This is the recipe I have been looking for and I wanted to put it in my notes as the perfect carrot cake for me to find like the perfect corn pudding. After I did this wherever I go back is like I change the name of your carrot cake to the perfect carrot cake if I’ve done something wrong/Please help me correct it I I don’t care if you post it or not it’s just between you and me and I might’ve said something I’m Not supposed to say I’m not very knowledgeable at this


I made this carrot cake last week and it was outstanding!! It truly is the perfect carrot cake. Thank you, Shelly!


The best carrot cake I’ve ever made and eaten. Absolutely beautiful!


Update. I swear this cake was even better on day 2-3 if that’s possible! Still super moist on day 3. I did refrigerate day 2 and loved it. Sadly no cake left for day 4. Thanks again!



i’m making this recipe for 40 people but just small squares !
i was going to bake it in a large baking/grilling tray. the tray that comes with your oven!

i figure i could just double the recipe for a large tray bake. do you think this will work?


This is honestly the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. It was so easy to make too! My mom asked me to e-mail her the recipe and everything.


Please could you tell me what flour you use? I’m in uk so either self raising or plain flour.
Thank you


It IS the perfect carrot cake! This time we are going to soak the raisins for a short time in a little brandy and hope that goes well.


Hi, can I use fresh pineapple.


This recipe sounds fantastic! I can pretty much tell a recipe will be good by the ingredients. I’m not a fan of the typical carrot cake recipe either. My question is, what if I don’t have a mixer with a paddle attachement? How can I adjust for that?


This recipe is perfect in my opinion and did not disappoint a single member of my family when we had it for my son’s 4th birthday party. Some people were requesting a second piece before I had even finished cutting it – true story. I made the recipe exactly as is, however I did make it “1 plus a half” to accommodate the number of people I had. This was really easy to do because of the EVEN number of eggs, lol! It fit and baked perfectly in an 11×15 pan. This will easily feed 25-30 people (possibly more depending… Read more »


I would like to make this cake as a 2 layer cake using a 9×13 cake pan, would I have to double the recipe? or Split batter into 2 pans? Would the layers be thick because I like kind of thick layers.


Loved the cake. Made it for friend’s housewarming. A mutual neighbor said, “You can make that


Best carrot cake ever! And one of the best cakes I ever tried making!! Thank you ?

Linda Cantwell
Linda Cantwell

I have been looking for a perfect carrot cake recipe and now I have found it! I made two 9” cake layers and they were a perfect size. I was afraid the finished layers would be skimpy but they rose to the tops of my pans. I included everything – raisins, walnuts, coconut, and pineapple and loved how moist the cake turned out. Someone suggested adding chocolate chips so i may try that next time. On second thought, why mess with perfection? One recipe of the cream cheese frosting was plenty to ice the cake. This is now my go… Read more »


This really was an amazing cake. I made it just as you said and it was just perfect. When we served it we put some crushed pineapple on top just for fun – yum. I sent some home with my friend who came for dinner and she said she at it for six days and didn’t want it to end… haha! I’m making it tomorrow for Mother’s Day as a treat for myself! Thanks for giving me our new favorite carrot cake!


I made this for Easter. My brother in law took one bite and went back to the cake, cut it in-half and wrapped that half to take home. He is the pickiest person I now!! This was the best!!

Amy Binns
Amy Binns

Such a great recipe! My 9 year old daughter made it Gluten Free using King Arthur Measure for Measure and it was so yummy!

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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