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 147 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


  • 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.
  • 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.



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 147 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
taking a slice of The Best Carrot Cake Recipe out of the pan with a title
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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Recipe Rating


  1. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. You can leave the coconut out or add extra nuts or raisins if you prefer. Enjoy Liz!

  2. 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.5 stars

      1. I am making this for Easter and am so excited! Do you use sweetened or unsweetened apple sauce?

      2. I usually use unsweetened because that is what I have on hand, but either will work. Enjoy the cake Nancy!

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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! =)

  6. 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

  7. 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

      1. We have only made this recipe as written, Claire. But if you try substituting it we would love to hear how it turns out!

  8. 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

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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!