The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe EVER!

Carrot cake is moist, rich in flavor and melts in your mouth! This scrumptious dessert is what everyone will be raving about!

This truly is one of the best carrot cake recipes alone with whole wheat carrot cake bread, frosted carrot cake cookies or carrot cake cupcakes. All my carrot cake recipes are made with fresh carrots, the perfect blend of spices and a sweet, heavenly frosting!

Carrot cake sliced and being pulled away from the cake platter.

The Best Carrot Cake Ever!

You can’t go wrong with this BEST EVER carrot cake! Full of fresh carrots, sweet and savory spices, crunchy pecans with the most creamiest, cream cheese frosting. This cake is going to become your favorite go-to cake for all things. Each part of this cake is made with true love and is SO delicious. It is decadent and savory while having that hint of sweetness. Have a little slice of heaven on your plate with this delicious carrot cake!

There are several ingredients that make this cake individual and stand out above the rest. Applesauce is one of my favorite cake ingredients. It helps keep the cake batter moist and flavorful at the same time. The classic spices are all added in together and adds that boost of flavor too. All in all this carrot cake recipe is one of the very BEST cakes you will EVER have. With the rich cream cheese frosting over top, it sets a tone for this cake. Enjoy this for special holidays, Easter or just a spring time dessert. It is a homemade favorite!

Carrot Cake Ingredients:

Individually each ingredient has a special task in making this cake the very best. Combined this carrot cake is so moist, fluffy with a sweet and savory taste to it. It is a tried and true favorite!

  • Flour: Keep it simple with all purpose flour is perfect for this carrot cake recipe!
  • Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg blended together add a savory and sweet spice.
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder: A little different to add in both but this helps immensely when baking.
  • Salt: Just a pinch will go a long way.
  • Vegetable Oil: Helps bind the ingredients together keeping it moist.
  • Sugars: White and brown sugar is added in for some extra sweetness.
  • Eggs: The egg yolk is the most important when baking.
  • Applesauce: Keeps the mixture moist and soft
  • Vanilla: Adds that extra flavoring
  • Carrots: Grate your carrots prior to adding them into the cake mixture
  • Chopped Pecans: Adds a crunchy flavoring

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients: 

  • Cream Cheese: Block of cream cheese is best, not the spreadable kind. Soften your cream cheese at room temperature.
  • Butter: Cream the butter
  • Vanilla: For flavoring
  • Powdered Sugar: Thickens the frosting and adds a sweet texture.

Lets Bake a Cake!

I am not much of a baker compared to most recipe bloggers but I do love to enjoy it! I have high expectations on my recipes and I want every piece of my cake to taste just as delicious as the other. When I bake a cake I know that it is going to be perfect!

  1. Prepare Cake Pans:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9×9 inch pans (or a 9×13 inch pan).
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cake Batter Mixture: In a medium sized bowl whisk together vegetable oil, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and combine.
  4. Add in and Bake: Fold in the carrots and chopped pecans. Divide the batter evenly into the baking dishes. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cakes cool.
  5. Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth add vanilla. Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until you get your desired consistency. Frost on cooled cakes.

The Recipe Critic Pro Tip:

It is best to frost a cake when it is slightly chilled. If you have time, place the cake in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes before frosting it for a clean frost. 

The process of making carrot cake.

Tried and True Tips:

This carrot cake cannot impress me enough! Every piece of this cake from the way it looks to the taste is AMAZING! It is mouthwatering and heavenly all in one bite!

  1. Preparing Cake Pans: For a clean release with your cake, place parchment paper on the greased pan. Also, grease the parchment paper as well. It is easiest to cut the parchment paper by tracing the paper under the cake pan. This will ensure that it fit snuggly as well not overlapping on the sides.
  2. Carrots: Grating fresh carrots can be done by using a grater, or food processor. Try not to use pre-shredded carrots, they tend to be hard and dry.
  3. Frosting: When ready to frost the carrot cake, I have found it best to have the cake cold or chilled before doing so. Place in the refrigerator for less than an hour or in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help it from crumbling while trying to frost the cake.
  4. Topping: Make your cake look pretty with extra chopped pecans on the side or topping. Even sprinkling spices or making carrots out of frosting adds a sweet touch.
  5. Making Ahead: Carrot cake has a special trait about it. The ingredient flavoring continues to build on each other and becomes stronger the longer it stays together. Having the frosting and the cake completed, the frosting soaks into each indent and makes this cake even more heavenly. You can make this completed cake one day ahead of time. Cover it the best you can and keep it refrigerated. When ready to serve, enjoy it chilled or at room temperature.

A slice of carrot cake on a plate with the carrot cake in the background on a cake platter.

Change it up with these Substitutions:

This homemade carrot cake already has the perfect touch to it! I recommend using the original recipe but with these substitutions you can make this cake your own.

  • Nuts: Any type of nut is delicious in this homemade cake recipe. Substitute it, leave it out or add it along with the pecans.
  • Raisins: Always a fun soft treat to taste when eating.
  • Coconut: Shredded coconut is alway popular
  • Applesauce: Try crushed pineapple for a more tart flavor. Drain the canned pineapple before adding into the batter. Mashed bananas, sour cream or yogurt will also work as a substitute.
  • Frosting: Spice up your frosting with a pinch of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg blend. Mix it directly in the frosting or sprinkle on top.

Carrot cake on a plate with a fork cutting off a bite.

More Favorite Cake Recipes:

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe EVER!

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings 12 Slices

Carrot cake is moist, rich in flavor and melts in your mouth! This scrumptious dessert is what everyone will be raving about!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword carrot cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups carrots grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 8 ounces package cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9x9 inch pans (or a 9x13 inch pan) In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together vegetable oil, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and combine.

  3. Fold in the carrots and chopped pecans. Divide the batter evenly into the baking dishes. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cakes cool.

To Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. To make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth add vanilla. Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until you get your desired consistency. Frost on cooled cakes.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12

Calories579kcal (29%)Carbohydrates92g (31%)Protein5g (10%)Fat22g (34%)Saturated Fat12g (60%)Cholesterol95mg (32%)Sodium471mg (20%)Potassium239mg (7%)Fiber3g (12%)Sugar68g (76%)Vitamin A5898IU (118%)Vitamin C2mg (2%)Calcium67mg (7%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

 

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 5 stars
    I tried your recipe and this is the best tasty carrot cake ever! The cake was very moist because of the applesauce and I also added raisins. This a winner and no more buying carrot cake at the bakery.

  2. 5 stars
    Truly the best carrot cake ever! Rich, moist and spicy cake topped with the best cream cheese frosting is to die for good. I used pecans in the cake but next time I’m also going to add shredded unsweetened coconut and golden raisins and make a 4 layer cake, the frosting recipe makes enough for 4 layers. After eating this my husband said we had to add this recipe to our list of favorites. Great recipe!

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