Perfect Carrot Cake

Perfect Carrot Cake is so moist and topped with cream cheese frosting

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!

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

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

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe Ever


94 Responses

        1. Shelly

          Oh gosh! I can’t believe I didn’t catch that omission! Yep, add it with the carrot, pineapple, walnut and coconut. I updated the recipe! Thank you!

  1. Essie

    I am with you on this one! Carrot cake is best with ALL the bells and whistles! Thanks for this one, this will be our dessert on Easter. Yum!

  2. Keri

    I really don’t like when people change up recipes…. except for…. swapping out applesauce for the oil… have you tried that with this recipe? Is there a significant flavor or texture difference?
    Usually, I’ll make the recipe as written and then if it’s yummy and worth a repeat…. that one will get the swapto see if it works. Figured I’d ask the expert though!
    As is …. It looks delish!

    1. Shelly

      I have never tried this specific recipe with applesauce, although I imagine it would work! It might not be quite as moist, but it’s worth a shot!

    2. Debbie

      I make a carrot cake which is almost identical to this one (minus the coconut) and I substitute apple sauce for half of the oil. Never had a problem doing this!

  3. This carrot cake will be SO GOOD! I have a recipe for a carrot cake like this one and it is called the Outrageous Carrot Cake. Your recipe is almost the same one. However, it will be easier to find if I keep yours instead of the one that I lose half the time. Thank you for posting this recipe! I can’t wait to make it! I can just taste it in my mind!

  4. Dana

    I made this for Easter and it was delicious! Even my brother, who is very particular about his carrot cake, said it was one of the best he’s had. I left the raisins out due to personal preference, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly!

  5. Jennifer

    I made this nearly exactly as written, except nuts and coconut ( family members that can’t eat those) I did add about 6 big tablespoons of applesauce, 1/2 c of dried cranberries & 1/3 c dark chocolate chips to the batter. Amazingly good, moist & not super sweet! My mom turns 85 & asked for my carrot cake, I made these & put them in cupcake form! Rave reviews!!

  6. Have made this recipe twice already and it’s not even Easter! Made mini breads and the 13×9 pan…….added mini chocolate chips because I add chocolate to most of my baking! ha DELISH!!

  7. jill

    This receipe for alot of things you posted as “your receipe” such as the cream cheese frosting has been around a long time..i have used that receipe for over 20 yeard just like the Red Velvet Cake and Carrott Cake. Just clearing up that you may need to change the way you say “your receipes”.

  8. Andrea

    Everyone who owns a webpage and post reciepes claim them as “theres” so what!! It’s the reciepe she uses and she likes so who cares if she says it’s hers after making this carrot cake I dont care how she posts her reciepes as long as she keeps on posting!!
    Some people need to grow up and check their own problems before putting down others!!

  9. Carrie

    I’m going to try this recipe…it looks yummy! Do you think the cake would turn out ok without the pineapple, coconut and raisins?

  10. Alma

    I’ve tried a few carrot cake recipes, and this is by far the best one out there. My husband gave it a thumbs up, and he is picky when it comes to carrot cake because it’s his favorite. It’s packed with all the good stuff without being heavy and dense. No need for buttermilk or glaze~ it’s the perfect consistency just using vegetable oil. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. April

    Cake was so moist and easy to make. I subbed a shredded apple for 1/2 c. of the oil. I also put my walnuts on top because I like them toasted. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  12. George

    This recipe is perfect! I did one bowl with a wisk sifting the dry over the wet ingredients. The cake looked so good I only frosted with 2/3rds of the frosting to make sure the cake was the star of the show . It was! Thanks!

  13. Cate

    I made this recipe as a two layer 9”cake. It is perfection. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve got my eye on that coconut cake recipe next. ?

  14. Malou

    please put the weight against all ingredients. Without it the recipe is useless as everyone’s idea of a cup weighs something different. thank you

  15. krista

    My 8 year old Fallowed the recipe made a two layer rouad cake for my birthday and a rectangle tester. It was perfect! PERFECT!

  16. Marilyn

    I made this cake this week for a women’s birthday gathering with about 12 in attendance. I had three small pieces left because everyone wanted to take some home for themselves, spouses or significant others. They raved about it. I used dark brown sugar (because that is what I had on hand) and organic unsweetened coconut flakes. Delicious.

  17. Chris

    I had been looking for a good recipe for Carrot cake for a while. I had heard that pineapple was one of the best things to add as well. Cooked this up on Sunday and we all really enjoyed it. Bake time ended up being a bit longer than the recipe stated, likely a combo of using a 13×9 glass dish and my oven running cooler. Nothing that can’t be overcome by a good ole toothpick test.

    Thank you!

  18. April

    I’ve just baked it yesterday minus the coconut flakes. My neighbour says it is to die for. wish i could attach a photo. overloaded my topping with walnuts for more crunch

  19. Nassra

    I LOVE that you’re a “no nuts” dessert gal! I can’t stand nuts in my desserts either. So much so, that my mom and grandma make a little fudge and brownies etc. JUST for me with no nuts when they make stuff (and I’m in my 40s ??).

  20. Jane

    This is very close to the recipe I’ve been making for years, and it’s the best. I’ll eat carrot cake without pineapple and without nuts or coconut, but it isn’t nearly as good.

    Like Melanie said earlier, I use the fine shredding disk of my food processor to prep the carrots. After I’ve done them and because the FP needs to be washed anyway, I whir the coconut until it’s finer. I like the taste of coconut but not the chewy pieces and processing helps with that. I didn’t like raisins much until I started buying them at Trader Joe’s. They’re much moister and tastier, very good in carrot cake.

    One more thing is that I always toast walnuts to get rid of their slightly bitter taste.

    I make non-dairy cream cheese and use it to make the frosting. It’s nice those of us with dairy problems can enjoy good things like this again.

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be making it this week. Have a delicious Easter.

  21. Emily

    I love your site and your recipes. Anytime I’m looking for a new recipe in general or a specific recipe, I check to see if Cookies and Cups has it, first, and I start with that recipe. Every single recipe I’ve tried of yours is a hit—from cookies to cakes to main dishes (creamy beef pasta was actually a MAJOR hit!). But Girl. I hate raisins with every bit of my being. I HATE THEM. So I will try this recipe, but for the first time ever, I have to modify it. Because I would rather eat marginal carrot cake without raisins than “the best” carrot cake WITH raisins. 🙂 Keep up the amazing work. I love, love, love your site!

      1. Shelly

        I use salted butter but that’s a personal preference. If you have a sensitivity to salt you can certainly use unsalted!

    1. Stephanie

      The store only had unsweetened coconut flakes, can I do it with the unsweetened and compensate somehow? Or should I go to another store and get the sweetened?

  22. Suzanne

    This is almost my mother’s carrot cake. She did a few spices differently, but yours give similar flavor. Oil is deffinately the way to go, so easy to mix. I love that you say not to leave out the raisins, coconut, pineapple, and walnuts. They add awesome texture and flavor. This is great.

  23. Therese

    This was the best carrots cake I have ever tasted. My family all said remember this recipe . . I will never buy a box cake again..

  24. Marilyn

    This is absolutely THE best carrot cake. From now on this is the only carrot cake recipe I will make. I made it in 2 – 8″ round cake pans and it was outstanding. I don’t care for raisins so I left them out and substituted pecans for the walnuts. I highly recommend this recipe.

  25. 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!

  26. Nancy

    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!!

  27. Jackie

    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!

  28. 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 to recipe for carrot cake.

  29. Bettye

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

  30. Nikki

    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.

  31. Blythe

    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 how small you cut the pieces, but everyone will want a big piece, trust me!) …and if you’re increasing the recipe in this way, use your biggest bowl for mixing 🙂 Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  32. Angela

    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?

    1. Shelly

      You can use a hand mixer if that’s what you have! Just be careful not to over-mix the batter! The paddle attachment is just my preferred method 🙂

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