The Best Carrot Cake

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This really is the Best Carrot Cake and it is one of my most requested dessert recipes of all time.  It’s quick, incredibly moist, and homemade.

This cake fully loaded with pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins and all topped off with cream cheese frosting. If you like carrot cake, you are going to love this easy, from scratch recipe!

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe on a white plate

A Classic Dessert

Carrot cake is a classic dessert that I think we’ve all enjoyed!   I have sampled and savored countless recipes over the years, and I think it is safe to say that today I am sharing The Best Carrot Cake Recipe ever!

It seems to me there are two types of carrot cakes, the ones that are light and fluffy almost more like a spice cake with carrots and then there are the ones like this which are incredibly moist and fully loaded with goodies from nuts and pineapple to coconut and raisins.  I personally prefer the latter!

Everyone seems to have that one dessert they’re known for… this one (along with Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake) is a dessert I am asked for ALL of the time.

Full of Goodies

This easy homemade carrot cake recipe creates a rich cake that is packed full of goodies! It’s completely loaded with pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins and it’s impossible to mess up!  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)!

Ingredients for The BEST Carrot Cake recipe in a glass bowl

Carrot Cake Additions

The walnuts in this cake add a nice nuttiness which is perfect with the cinnamon, you can certainly substitute pecans if you happen to have them on hand (but walnuts are my favorite in this recipe). Making a cake with crushed pineapple makes it incredibly moist (just like adding zucchini or banana to a cake adds moisture)! I grate my carrots using the larger holes on my cheese grater.

An Easier Way

While a lot of carrot cakes are made in layers, those cakes tend to be a little bit lighter in texture and to be honest, I feel like making a layer cake is a bit too fussy for me. I prefer to bake cakes in a 9×13″ pan with a lid so that we can bake and serve (and even freeze) in the same dish.  I find these types of cakes easiest to make and to store.

Piece of The BEST Carrot Cake in a clear dish

A Delicious Dessert

In fact, this cake is so good and so moist, you really don’t need frosting but I personally LOVE a good homemade Cream Cheese Frosting on carrot cake.  If you prefer, this is also amazing topped with whipped cream. Regardless of how you serve it, this is one dessert that is always a crowd favorite so don’t count on having any leftovers!

This cake is a deliciously rich cake and it’s very moist so I store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  It’s best if you bring it to room temperature for serving.  Keep in mind that this freezes well, in case you want to bake now and savor later!

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homemade carrot cake with frosting on white plate
4.91 from 20 votes
Review Recipe

Best Ever Carrot Cake

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


  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • Cream Cheese Frosting

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  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon 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 prepared pan for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

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.)

Keyword best carrot cake

Carrot Cake with a title



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About the author


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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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Recipe Rating


  1. Amazing recipe! Followed it exactly except just a little box of raisins because I wasn’t sure. Followed the cream cheese frosting exact too- minus lemon zest. My family ate it up!5 stars

  2. I will be using this recipe,but omitting the coconut and raisins. My husband doesn’t like coconut. I don’t like raisins. But I like the idea of using a 9×13 pan .5 stars

  3. Hey Holly! Awesome flavor and very moist. Made a couple of changes, substituting the applesauce for extra pineapple (since I love pineapple) and because I was out of walnuts, I used pecans instead. Also, my cake was done with 20 minutes left on the timer, baking it at 350. Suffice it to say I did use a dark non stick pan which most likely decreased the baking time. Thanks for sharing! =)

  4. I made this gluten free (because I’m celiac and I have to) and while I’ll say it came out really moist which is nice, it was REALLY bland. The most prominent flavour was baking soda. Definitely needs more cinnamon, maybe add some nutmeg or cloves. Other than that the recipe works well.3 stars

  5. I made this cake a while ago, and it was the best carrot cake we ever had. Next time I plan to double the recipe & made it into a frosted layer cake layer cake. The other cakes in this post also look to be fabulous! Thanks :-)5 stars

  6. Delicious cake! Everybody just loved it! Like you said, there is even no need in cream. I did’t have cream cheese at home so I’m gonna do a cream made of sour cream, butter and sweet cream.5 stars

  7. This recipe calls for buttermilk but I can only find low-fat buttermilk in our local grocery stores. Will low-fat suffice?

  8. I will make this carrot cake this week for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. I don’t have any buttermilk. Is there a good substitute?

  9. I made this today and was glad I did. This is the moist and delicious carrot cake that I was hoping for. The calories are much less than most versions, only 1/2 c of oil, that is a bonus. Thank you for a delicious recipe.

  10. Made this recipe and carrot cake was excellent. Very moist and excellent flavour. Was a hit, will definitely make again

  11. I haven’t made this but can tell you it hits all my carrot cake requirements and has apple sauce to boot. Can’t wait to try it!

    Thank you!

  12. I made this two days ago…OMG this cake is amazing. Literally the BEST carrot cake ever! I doubled your cheesecake frosting recipe and added in extra lemon juice for a little extra tang. This recipe is definitely a keeper!5 stars

    1. YAY!! I’m so glad you loved it Bridgette, it’s the #1 dessert I’m asked for by my “real life” friends!! :)

  13. Hi! I’m over from StoneGable. I love carrot cake and want to make this for my next book club. Not a fan of coconut though. If I delete that what do I need to make this recipe work?

  14. Looks delish. Can I make this into mini loaves? Looking for bake sale ideas.
    If so how long do I bake them? How much batter in each pan? Thank you.

  15. Hello Holly! 

    I am planning to bake this cake, frost and cover it with a readymade fondant as I am doing it for a event! 

    In that case, how much should I reduce the sugar quantity!? 

    Pls reply…5 stars

    1. I’ve only made it as written, so I’m not sure about that. For many recipes, you can reduce the sugar by about ⅓ cup without adjusting other ingredients. Let us know if you try it!

  16. This is the best carrot cake I have ever made!!! Make this every year for my father (89 years old), it’s his favorite as well as all family!!! So moist!! Don’t change a thing!!!!5 stars

  17. Is the applesauce sweetened or unsweetened? I am planning to make this today and I picked up applesauce which is not labeled as either sweetened or unsweetened. The label says it has 14g sugar in 0.5 cup. I am wondering if using this would make the cake too sweet and if I should reduce the amount of sugar in the cake. (I prefer to err on the side of not-so-sweet dessert)

  18. Hi! Is it okay to not use flaked coconut? What can be used in place of apple sauce? Is molasses acceptable or will it ruin everything?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    I am new at baking and would really love to hear your thoughts :)

    1. I have only made this as written so I can’t say how your changes would affect the recipe. You can leave out the coconut and for the applesauce you can substitute extra oil. I would not recommend molasses.

  19. If I want to bake half a portion (8×8) I suspect baking time will remain same or will I need to reduce it?

    1. I would check the cake about 5 minutes earlier just to be sure, but it would take close to the same amount of time. Enjoy!

  20. Wonderful cake receipes…

    Very eager to try!!

    But pls let me know how much does one cup measure!?

    One cup equals ____ ml

    1. I’m wondering the same thing. I’d like to make it a layer cake. I’m going to try and do it this Tuesday. I’ll let you know how it turns out

  21. Making this as my new Easter cake! 2 9×13 with coconut cream cheese filling, then cut into a cross. The extra squares will be made into Bibles!! Creatively Christianity!!

    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.

  22. This week I baked this cake 4 times and I am going to bake it tonight again!
    First time for a potluck at work. 2 at the same time for my sister (one so she can take it to work, and one for her family and friends). I posted pictures on the Facebook and tagged your Facebook page. Then I baked again for our CFO – he came today with a visit and I promised long time ago to make a cake for him. (he loved it). Tomorrow we have a meeting with out Bible study group – I still have carrots (and rest of the ingredients) so I am making again tonight.

    I did not change a single thing in a recipe and in all cases I had very positive feedbacks. Everyone loved it. Some asked for recipe and I gave them link to this page.

    Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. I am so glad that you have enjoyed the recipe! You have some lucky friends, family, and co workers!!

  23. Can I make this cake without the pineapple! Would I need to substitute something for it to make up for the loss of moisture? Thank you!

  24. This looks so delicious! I love that this is only one layer. I’ll be making it soon!

    1. I usually use sweetened but have used unsweetened when it was all I had on hand and it worked perfectly. Enjoy!

  25. I made this last night for my coworkers. I did not use raisins (the lady I was making this for does not like them) it still turned out great! I would post the picture, but it was gone before I took the picture. I used Cream cheese frosting.

    I was going to use Dried Cranberries instead of raisins, but did not want to risk it. Do you think that would work?
    Also – I removed the cake from the pan to cool, but served it in the pan. Could I cool it in the pan or better to remove it?

    Thank you again for the great recipe! It’s for sure will be permanent part of my baking “repertoire”.

    1. Hi Allan,
      I think cranberries would be a yummy addition to this cake! You can cool the cake in the pan next time to save a step. I always consider it a good thing if the cake disappears before a photo is snapped, but maybe next time you will get a photo and share it with us on facebook? I would love that! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you and your coworkers liked the recipe!

      1. Thank you for your reply.
        I am baking this cake tonight and will post the pictures on Facebook. One question – Coconut flakes should I use sweetened or unsweetened? (I was planning to by sweetened, but accidentally end up with unsweetened and I used that). Maybe you mentioned that in the video, but unfortunately video never worked for me.(I am sure it’s my problem)

        1. I usually use sweetened but have used unsweetened when it was all I had on hand and it worked perfectly. Enjoy!

  26. This sounds delish! However, I am not a coconut fan. If I remove the coconut, do you think I need to replace it with something else? Thank you!