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 178 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
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  • 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 178 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. I have only made this recipe as written Kim so I can’t say for sure if it would work. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  1. So glad i found this recipe. I made it just as the recipe reads. Lots of ingredients and is a process to make, but worth it. Doesn’t even need frosting. super pleased!5 stars

  2. I’m making this cake today, but family doesn’t like raisins and walnuts in it, will it work without? Thank you!

  3. I’m so excited to use this recipe! quick question, can I make it into cupcakes and if so will that change the temp or time to bake them? thank you so much

    1. This cake should work as cupcakes. The cooking time will need to be reduced, I would check them at about 18-20 minutes and ensure a toothpick comes out clean.

    1. I made this fabulous cake a few months ago. I would like to make a few days in advance of my party (frosted of course). That should be ok?

      1. Absolutely! 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.

    1. I have only made this recipe as written Sarah so I can’t say for sure. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

    1. Hi Donna, this recipe calls for an 8 oz can of crushed pineapple before it’s drained. Once drained it is approximately 2/3 cup. I hope this helps!

  4. Made this a couple days ago & it was perfect!
    I made some substitutions tho:
    Used macadamia nuts instead of walnuts
    Used cinnamon apple sauce and cut back on the dry cinnamon
    Used a can of mandarin oranges drained and crushed up instead of pineapple.
    It was a hit!

  5. Which cooking oil is optimal in this recipe? Sunflower would be my first thought but any other suggestions? Thanks!

    1. I use a vegetable oil. Sunflower oil should work although it does have a slightly different flavor.

  6. The best cake I’ve ever made. Didn’t use the coconut and used lemon juice and zest in frosting.

  7. 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

  8. 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 as well! You might enjoy checking those out.

  9. 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.