The Best Carrot Cake

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This really is the best Carrot Cake Recipe.

This extra moist carrot cake has a tender moist crumb and is jam-packed with add-ins including pineapple, nuts, and raisins if you’d like! It’s 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

A Classic 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 (and I think most of the times are for my friend Billy who loves this cake more than anyone else)! I love that it’s made in a single pan, fiddling with cake layers.

  • This carrot cake recipe is extra moist and incredibly flavorful.
  • It is fully loaded with add ins from nuts and pineapple and is perfect every time.
  • Rather than making layers, we love that this easy carrot cake recipe is baked 9×13 inch pan. No layering required.
  • This cake is so good and so moist, that frosting isn’t needed and it can be sprinkled with powdered sugar. That being said, 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 & Variations

DRY INGREDIENTS All-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and some warm spices like cinnamon and ginger are the base. Add a tiny pinch of nutmeg if you’d like.

WET INGREDIENTS Eggs, applesauce, oil, buttermilk, and sugar are combined and make this extra moist and decadent. Use a light flavored oil like vegetable or canola oil.

Use unsweetened applesauce for this recipe. No buttermilk? No problem, simply add 1 tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let sit for a few minutes. The remaining 1/4 cup will keep for another recipe.

ADD-INS Crushed walnuts (or pecans), coconut, raisins, and a can of pineapple are what set it apart from other carrot cake recipes in both flavor and texture.

Making a cake with crushed pineapple makes it incredibly moist, just like this Hummingbird Cake which calls for pineapple and banana.

VARIATIONS Don’t feel like making a cream cheese frosting? This cake is also amazing when it is topped with whipped cream. This cake would also work well as cupcakes, like these Carrot Cake Cupcakes.

4 images showing the steps to prepare carrot cake batter

How to Make Carrot Cake

Have a dessert ready that they will all love.

  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 with cream cheese frosting, or your favorite frosting recipe!

Easy 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 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 cheese grater, or with the shredding option of a food processor.
  • Ensure ingredients are at room temperature.
  • While a lot of carrot cakes are made in layers, this cake is easier because it is baked in just one layer. Line your 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 cake 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.
  • Keep in mind that this freezes well, in case you want to bake it now and enjoy it later!

A square of carrot cake being served

More Great Cake Recipes

Did you enjoy this Carrot Cake? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

A square of carrot cake on a plate
4.96 from 48 votes
Review Recipe

The Best Carrot Cake

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

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 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 oz canned crushed pineapple well drained
  • Cream Cheese Frosting

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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan or glass baking dish, set aside.
  • 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 flour mixture just until mixed. Add carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins and mix until combined.
  • Pour into the prepared pan for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Recipe Notes

This recipe works best baked in a glass pan. If using a metal baking pan, check it a little bit early.
*to make soured milk, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup.  Fill to ¾ cup with whole milk, stir and let rest 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.

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 Dessert
Cuisine American
A piece of carrot cake with a title
carrot cake being served with a title

A slice of carrot cake on a plate with a title

Top image - a slice of carrot cake. Bottom image - carrot cake sliced into squares in a baking pan with a title

About the author

Holly

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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. Truly is the best carrot cake! I made as written but didn’t include the coconut. I froze half the cake so am anxious to see how that works. I will have this recipe ready for the next special occasion. I’m sure my guests will think it’s from a bakery! Thanks!5 stars

  2. This is the best! Made it for Easter. Exactly the way I think carrot cake should taste – packed full of nuts, raisins, coconut, pineapple, etc. outstanding!5 stars

    1. Hi Elaine, we do post recipes with almond flour on occasion, you can search low carb on our site for some examples. We do love these low-carb recipes from easylowcarb.com as well! You might enjoy checking those out.

  3. I made your carrot cake the other day and it was awesome! I’m just wondering if I drained the can of pineapple correctly. What is the best way to do this? Thank you!5 stars

    1. So glad you loved it! I usually open the can and lightly hold the lid over to drain most of the liquid and then I gently squeeze or press the pineapple to remove a little bit more in a small mesh strainer.