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!
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 & 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.
How to Make Carrot Cake
Have a dessert ready that they will all love.
- In separate bowls, combine the wet and dry ingredients.
- Stir dry into wet ingredients in a large bowl just until combined. Fold in the add-ins.
- 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.
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!
More Great Cake Recipes
- Tres Leches Cake – Easy and delicious!
- Easy Apple Cake Recipe – with a cream cheese filling
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – So moist!
- Zucchini Cake – Family favorite!
- Simple Chocolate Cake – Simple & decadent
Did you enjoy this Carrot Cake? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
The Best Carrot Cake
- 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
- 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 and bake for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
© SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.
Like our recipes?
Follow us on Pinterest!
Hi Holly, in your recipe for carrot cake, it says to drain the crushed pineapple well. What is the best way to drain and how can I tell it’s been drained well? Difficult to tell since the can is full of liquid! Thank you!
Hi Cindy, I find if you keep the lid once removed from the can you can use it to help drain out the liquid and use it to press down on the crushed pineapple to help drain it well. Hope that helps!
Can I use cake tins instead of the big 9×13 pan.
Yes, that will work fine. Cooking time will need to be adjusted based on the size of the pans you use.
I dont like coconut… can that be left out or replaced ?
You can leave the coconut out or add extra nuts or raisins if you prefer. Enjoy Liz!
I made your carrot cake on Friday it was delicious. I followed your recipe exactly and it came out wonderful. My family enjoyed it. I will definitely make it again. Thanks.
You’re welcome Teleckies!
I am making this for Easter and am so excited! Do you use sweetened or unsweetened apple sauce?
I usually use unsweetened because that is what I have on hand, but either will work. Enjoy the cake Nancy!
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!
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 .
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! =)
Yum, great substitution Jules! Glad you enjoyed it :)
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.
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 :-)
I have no pineapple, what can I use as a substitute?
We have only made this recipe as written, Claire. But if you try substituting it we would love to hear how it turns out!
Made this today. It was great!!
So happy to hear that Kathy :)
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.
So happy to hear that Irena! I am glad everyone enjoyed it.
The cake looks delicious.
What can I use instead of pineapple to add moisture?
I have only made this cake as written Irena.
This recipe calls for buttermilk but I can only find low-fat buttermilk in our local grocery stores. Will low-fat suffice?
That will work perfectly.
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?
Hi Maria, check out our Easy Buttermilk Substitute post for some great information on what you can use! Happy Birthday to your Daughter!!
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.
You are welcome Cheryl! We are glad you enjoyed it!
Do you store the cake in the refrigerator?
I usually keep it at room temperature.
Is that an 18 oz can of pineapple or an 8 oz can
One 8 ounce can Dianne. Enjoy!
Made this recipe and carrot cake was excellent. Very moist and excellent flavour. Was a hit, will definitely make again
Patti, I am so glad you liked this carrot cake!
any way to change the measurement to metric which is now widely use. thanks
I am unable to provide ingredients in grams however you can find conversions here.
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!
You’ll be happy you did Ro!!