This really is the best Carrot Cake recipe!

This extra-moist carrot cake has a tender crumb and is jam-packed with goodies, all topped off with our favorite cream cheese frosting.

Incredibly moist, this homemade cake is the dessert I am known for and one of my most requested. There is so much to love about this easy, from-scratch recipe!

Carrot cake cut into squares in a baking pan

An Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

This is a cake I’ve been making for about 25 years now, and it’s one I’m known for. I’ve made it literally a hundred times (most of those times for my friend Billy who dubs this the best carrot cake recipe ever)!

  • This carrot cake recipe is extra moist and fully loaded with add-ins.
  • I love that this easy carrot cake recipe is baked in a 9×13-inch pan. No layering is required.
  • It’s so good and so moist, that frosting isn’t needed but we all know that carrot cake deserves a good homemade cream cheese frosting.
  • Once baked, this cake freezes well (even with the frosting).
Ingredients to make Carrot Cake labeled

Ingredients for Carrot Cake

Dry Ingredients – The base of this cake consists of all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and warm spices like cinnamon and ginger. Add a pinch of nutmeg for extra flavor.

Wet Ingredients – Eggs, unsweetened applesauce, light-flavored oil such as vegetable or canola oil, buttermilk, and granulated sugar make this cake extra moist and decadent.

Add-Ins – What really makes this the best carrot cake is the add-ins! Crushed walnuts (or pecans), coconut, raisins, and a can of pineapple.

Adding a can of crushed pineapple makes it incredibly moist, similar to a hummingbird cake which calls for pineapple and banana.

Variations – Don’t feel like making cream cheese frosting? This cake is also amazing when it is topped with whipped cream or can be used to make carrot cake cupcakes.

How to Make Carrot Cake

  1. In separate bowls, combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  2. Stir dry into wet ingredients in a large bowl just until combined. Fold in the add-ins.
  3. Pour the prepared batter into the prepared pan and bake (per the recipe below).

Let the cake fully cool, then top it with cream cheese frosting or your favorite frosting recipe!

Decorating Tip

Remove a few tablespoons of the cream cheese frosting and color a little bit of it orange and a little bit of it green. Place in a sandwich bag and snip off the corner to pipe little carrots on the cake.

Cream Cheese icing being spread on carrot cake

Tips for Moist Easy Cake

  • Grate carrots using the larger holes on a box grater, or with the shredding option of a food processor.
  • Ensure ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Line the pan with parchment paper if you’d like to lift the cake out to slice.
  • No need to pull out the stand mixer; this cake is so simple that I use a spoon or rubber spatula and a bowl.
  • This cake is deliciously rich and very moist, so store it covered in plastic wrap or in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  It tastes best if you bring it to room temperature before serving.
  • This cake freezes well, bake it now and enjoy it later!
A square of carrot cake being served

Our Fave Flavorful Cakes!

Did you love this Carrot Cake as much as we do? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

sliced The Best Carrot Cake Recipe
4.99 from 179 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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The Best Carrot Cake

The Best Ever Carrot Cake is one of my most requested dessert recipes of all time. It’s quick, incredibly moist, and homemade.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 16 servings
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Ingredients  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup soured milk* or buttermilk
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup flaked coconut optional
  • 8 ounces canned crushed pineapple well drained
  • cream cheese frosting

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan or glass baking dish, set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt with a whisk. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, oil, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Stir in the flour mixture just until mixed. Fold in the carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple, and raisins and mix until combined.
  • Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Video

Notes

This recipe works best baked in a glass pan. If using a metal baking pan, check it a little bit early.
No buttermilk? No problem, simply add 1 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup.  Fill to ¾ cup with whole milk, stir, and let rest for 5 minutes. This can be used in place of buttermilk in most recipes.
Shred carrots using the large side of a box grater. 
Applesauce can be replaced with additional oil. We prefer the lighter flavor with applesauce.
To drain the pineapple, place in a mesh strainer and gently press.
A dark or non-stick pan will cook faster, check the cake at least 15 minutes early.
4.99 from 179 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 299 | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 2270IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Comments

  1. This cake is so delicious My hubby requested it for his birthday, I’m so glad he did! I used everything but coconut. It is so moist and tender. I used a glass dish and it was done in 45 minutes, so be sure to keep an eye on it. This will definitely be my go to carrot cake recipe. Oh and your cream cheese frosting is the icing on the cake! Thanks for a great recipe!!5 stars

    1. Thank you, Jean! That is so sweet of you. I am glad he enjoyed it. Happy Birthday!

  2. Such a good easy carrot cake! Only used the carrots and pineapple and everyone loved it. Is there a frosting alternative you’d recommend on this? While this was the best cream cheese frosting I’ve tried, me and my daughter just aren’t big cream cheese frosting fans, so I’d love to try it with another frosting next bake!5 stars

  3. I made this cake for our Easter dessert and it was a big hit! It was much quicker and easier to prepare than a layer cake. Your cream cheese frosting is delicious on it. Thank you so much for giving me another “keeper”, especially for this time of year!5 stars