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 156 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

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 156 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
The Best Carrot Cake Recipe baked in the pan with writing
pan of The Best Carrot Cake Recipe sliced with a title
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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe baked in the pan and taking a slice out with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

    1. I would probably stick to a 9×13 pan for this cake, Dale. I would be concerned baking it in a 11×17 pan would affect the texture and thickness too much.

    1. You can find the amounts of ingredients in the recipe above this comment box or by using the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of any page.

  1. What do you think about using cinnamon applesauce vs regular applesauce in this recipe? I’d love to know before I try it!

    1. We have only tried this recipe as written, Ivey, but I think that sounds delicious. Let us know how it turns out!

  2. Excellent, reliable and not complicated. Huge hit as birthday cake with requests to make for others. Will be making again for next birthday party this weekend.5 stars

    1. Hi Erika, we have never tried preparing this recipe as a 3-tiered cake. I worry it would be too soft to stack nicely, but I would love to hear how it turns out for you!

      1. Turned out great! I used 3 8″ aluminum cake pans. Made sure the cakes were chilled before stacking and used a little bit of a sturdier cream cheese buttercream recipe as regular cream cheese icing does not generally hold up. I used royal icing to make little carrot decorations. It was stunning. Wish I could show you a pic.5 stars

      2. We would love to see a picture, Erika! I am so glad it turned out. Tag us on instagram @spendpennies!

    1. It should work just fine but I’d suggest adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into the measuring cup and then adding the coconut milk (per the soured milk instructions). The acidity is needed in this recipe to get a proper rise and texture.

  3. This sound divine. Can’t wait to make it. Can I make it as eight mini cakes. How long should I bake them?

    1. Hi Mary, I have never tried make this recipe as mini cakes. But I would start checking them around 15-20 minutes to make sure they don’t overcook.

  4. This really is the best carrot cake I’ve ever made! I made it for Easter & everyone went crazy over it. The cream cheese frosting is the best I’ve ever made & really puts the finishing touch on this cake.5 stars

  5. I’m really excited about this recipe and would like to use it but I’d like to make it in two 9’’ round pans will this change the recipe or cook time?

    1. I haven’t tried two round pans but that should work just fine. The baking time will likely be reduced, I would check it early and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out Devyn!

  6. Amazing & moist, not dry. I omitted raisins, coconut & pineapple. I am super happy with the result. Also I made cupcakes and a small loaf with the batter so we can freeze & thaw portions easier. Wonderful recipe! Thank you5 stars

  7. This was so good! I made it exactly as written and used your cream cheese frosting recipe. It turned out great. I served it at Easter and it was a big hit ( I also used your deviled egg recipe for Easter which is 5 star btw). Everyone loved it.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe.5 stars

    1. You can omit and it will slightly change the flavor and texture of the cake, but will still be delicious Wendy!

  8. My daughter made this cake for my birthday. It was amazing. The cake was
    moist and the raisins and nuts were a great addition. The cream cheese frosting was not too sweet and perfect. We do not eat a lot of cake and usually throw most of it away. We will be making another one for Easter.

  9. This is amazing! My first time ever making carrot cake and this is the best I’ve ever had! Moist and delicious! Thank you for sharing❤️5 stars

    1. I think the raisins are delicious in this recipe. However, you can just omit them rather than feeling the need to make a rude comment.5 stars

    1. I haven’t made this in a bundt pan so I can’t say for sure. I would ensure your pan is not more than ⅔ full and bake at 325. You’ll want to start checking your cake for doneness at about 40 minutes. Please let us know how it turns out for you.