When it comes to dessert, nothing rivals the best carrot cake. This is a classic recipe that is the perfect blend of spices, sweetness, and creaminess, brought together by the rich cream cheese frosting. In 1 hour and 30 minutes, you can have a showstopper dessert that's perfect for any occasion. Its extraordinary moistness and ease of preparation make this cake the ultimate sweet treat.
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Classic Carrot Cake
- Fool-Proof: Suitable for both beginners and experts.
- Deliciously Moist: Thanks to the grated carrots and optional pineapple.
- Perfectly Spiced: Cinnamon and vanilla offer a warm, comforting flavor.
- Creamy Frosting: Nothing beats the taste of homemade cream cheese frosting.
- Simple Ingredients: All the ingredients are commonly found in your pantry.
- Versatility: Perfect for holidays, family gatherings, or an everyday treat.
- Gluten-Free Option Available: You can easily adapt this recipe for various dietary needs.
- Flour (including gluten-free options): Forms the structure; choose according to your preference.
- Salt, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract: These add flavor and a hint of warmth and richness.
- Oil or Applesauce: Both options work well for keeping the cake moist.
- Sugar: Regular white sugar works great, but feel free to experiment with alternatives like coconut sugar
- Carrots: Freshly grated carrots are essential for the classic carrot flavor.
- Optional Ingredients: Add raisins, nuts, or pineapple for a customized experience.
See recipe card for quantities.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
- Making Carrot Cake Cupcakes: Instructions for cupcake versions.
- Add Tropical Flair: Incorporate crushed pineapple or coconut flakes into the batter for a tropical twist.
- Muffins or Cupcakes: The same batter can be used to create delicious carrot cake muffins or cupcakes. Adjust the baking time accordingly.
- Spice it Up: Include spices like ginger or nutmeg to give the cake a unique twist.
- Fruit Variations: Consider adding raisins or finely chopped apples for a fruity flair.
- Vegan Carrot Cake: Substitute eggs with a flaxseed mixture and use vegan cream cheese for the frosting.
- Nut-Free Option: If there are allergies, simply omit nuts or replace them with seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
- Gluten-Free Version: Use a gluten-free flour blend to make the cake suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
👩🏻🍳 Step By Step
- Prepare Ingredients: Peel and grate carrots; ensure all ingredients are at room temperature.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Combine Wet Ingredients: Mix oil (or applesauce), eggs, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
- Combine Wet and Dry Mixtures: Gradually add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
- Fold in Carrots and Optional Add-Ins: Stir gently to maintain the cake’s tender crumb.
- Bake the Cake: Divide the batter into greased pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool and Frost: Let the cake cool completely before adding the cream cheese frosting.
- Garnish: Use walnuts or pecans for a crunchy finish.
- Serve and Enjoy: This cake is best served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
💡 Top Tips
- Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
- Room temperature ingredients for a smoother batter.
- Fridge: Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
- Freezer: Wrap slices individually and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: Microwave briefly to bring back to room temperature.
💡 Top Tips
- Use freshly grated carrots instead of pre-shredded for better moisture.
- Don’t overmix the batter. This helps to keep the cake tender.
- Always sift the powdered sugar for the frosting to ensure smoothness.
Absolutely! Follow the same instructions but scoop the carrot cake batter into a muffin lined with cupcake liners. Fill the cups about ¾ full. Adjust the baking time. *see the recipe notes below for specific instructions.
You can substitute applesauce for oil; the cake will still be moist and delicious.
Yes! You can add drained crushed pineapple for a tropical twist.
Absolutely! Make it a day ahead, and either frost it the day of or store the frosting separately.
Feel free to reduce the sugar by up to one-third, but be mindful that it may alter the texture slightly.
Embrace your inner baker with this fool-proof carrot cake recipe. Its simplicity, flavor, and versatility make it a beloved classic and family favorite. Whether you’re a novice baker or an experienced home chef, these detailed instructions will guide you to a flawless carrot cake every time. Don’t forget to share your variations and successes in the comments below!
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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe
For the Cake:
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (½ teaspoon) salt
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) cinnamon
- 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (220 g) packed brown sugar
- 4 (4) large eggs
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
- 3 cups (385 g) grated carrots
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces (226 ⅘ g) cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup (115 g) butter room temperature
- 4 cups (480 g) powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
Preheat the Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
Mix Dry Ingredients:
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Prepare Wet Ingredients:
- In a separate large bowl, beat together oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
Combine Wet and Dry:
- Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing just until combined. Stir in the grated carrots.
Bake the Cake:
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the Cake:
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the Frosting:
- In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
Frost the Cake:
- Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread frosting over the top. Add the second layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. To make a taller 3-layer cake double the recipe.
Cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!
- Make sure the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature for the frosting to ensure a smooth and creamy texture.
- If using a Bundt pan or making cupcakes, adjust baking times accordingly.
- For a tropical twist, add crushed pineapple or coconut flakes to the batter.
- See "Substitutions and Variations" section for vegan, gluten-free, or nut-free options.