Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe

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5 from 15 votes
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This Carrot Cake recipe is made from scratch, tender, and moist with a delicious homemade cream cheese frosting. Perfect for Easter or anytime!

Looking for more delicious cake recipes? I think you’ll love my Chocolate Cake, White Cake, and my Vanilla Cake.

Carrot Cake recipe topped with cream cheese frosting, pecans on a clear glass cake stand.

Based on my Grandmother’s Carrot Cake recipe, this delicious recipe has become a family favorite for Easter, spring get-togethers, and family celebrations throughout the year.

This carrot cake is incredibly moist and is the standard by which my family compares every carrot cake! Flavorful and rich from the grated carrots, brown sugar, and the perfect balance of spices, this truly is the ultimate carrot cake recipe! My recipe includes toasted pecans, which also give amazing flavor. Each delicious, tender bite is perfectly moist and sticks to the fork while still being fluffy and luscious.

How to Make the BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

To make this carrot cake recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients.

Ingredients used to make my favorite carrot cake recipe.
  • Butter – softened to room temperature.
  • Coconut oil  – I love to use coconut oil in this recipe. You can also substitute it with vegetable oil or canola oil.
  • Granulated sugar – I use both granulated and brown sugar in my recipe.
  • Brown sugar – the brown sugar deepens the flavor of this cake and makes it taste amazing.
  • Vanilla extract – I love to use my homemade vanilla extract, but if using store-bought, be sure to use the highest quality you can. I don’t recommend using imitation vanilla flavoring as it can leave a bitter aftertaste, in my opinion.
  • Eggs – this recipe uses 3 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks.
  • Flour – this recipe uses all-purpose flour. The all-purpose flour that I use is light and lower in protein. You can also use cake flour.
  • Baking powder – my recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda as leavening to help the cake rise properly.
  • Baking soda – see the note above in baking powder.
  • Spices – I use ground cinnamon and ground ginger to spice my carrot cake. They both add so much flavor and give my carrot cake its signature flavor.
  • Salt – a little salt in sweet recipes helps to balance
  • Buttermilk – You will need to use buttermilk in my recipe for the acid to help activate the leavening for the cake to rise. If you don’t already have buttermilk on hand, use my simple tip on how to make buttermilk substitute.
  • Carrots – I prefer to grate my own carrots for this cake rather than buying bags of grated carrots. I find that the texture of the cake is much better in my opinion. You can grate them in your food processor or with a standard box or flat grater.
  • Toasted pecans – The toasted pecans add depth of flavor and additional texture to the cake. If you don’t care for pecans or nuts, you can omit them.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe – THE signature frosting for carrot cake. It is a must for this recipe. ♡
Photo of carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Photo of beginning to make carrot cake batter.

Mix together butter, coconut oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Mix in vanilla extract until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition before adding the next.

Photo of making carrot cake batter by adding egg yolks.

Add egg yolk, making sure well combined.

Photo of mixing together the dry ingredients for carrot cake.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Photo of adding dry ingredients to cake batter.

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until well incorporated.

Photo of buttermilk being added to carrot cake batter.

Add buttermilk, beating until just combined before stirring in remaining flour mixture.

Photo of carrot cake batter once all flour added to the batter.

Add the remaining dry ingredient mixture to the cake batter and stir until combined.

Photo of grated carrots added to cake batter.

Fold in the grated carrots and 1 cup of the pecans, if using.

Photo of carrot cake batter in two cake pans.

Divide the cake batter between two prepared cake pans. Bake until cakes spring back when gently touched in the center and the edges begin to turn loose from the sides of the pan, about 30 – 40 minutes. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.

Photo of baked carrot cake layers.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Turn out of pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Photo of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans.

Storage Tips

I love to make this carrot cake in advance. The flavors seem to become even richer and the cream cheese frosting and the cake meld together for the most incredible cake.

To make ahead. Prepare the cake according to the recipe. Frost with the cream cheese frosting, cover, and store in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days.

To freeze. Prepare the cake layers through baking and cooling. Allow the cake layers to cool completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap and carefully place each layer into a gallon zip-top freezer bag. Place the layers flat in your freezer (I like to place them onto a sheet pan.) Freeze the cake layers for up to one month. To frost the cake, simply remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator with the wrapping intact. Then, frost the cake once it has completely thawed.

Here’s my Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe Ever

5 from 15 votes
This Carrot Cake recipe is made from scratch, tender, and moist with a delicious homemade cream cheese frosting. Perfect for Easter or anytime! My favorite carrot cake recipe!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 24

Ingredients 

  • 4 tablespoons (56.5 g) butter, softened
  • 5 tablespoons (70.6 g) coconut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (213 g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 g) vanilla extract
  • 3 large (150 g) eggs
  • 2 large (28 g) egg yolks
  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons (5.2 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (0.9 g) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup (75.6 g) buttermilk
  • 3 cups (297 g) grated carrots, (about 6 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups (171 g) roasted pecans, divided (optional)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven 350º F. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with butter or shortening and lightly dust with flour to prevent cake from sticking while baking. Alternately, coat well with baking spray.
  • Mix together butter, coconut oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Mix in vanilla extract until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition before adding the next. Add egg yolk making sure well combined.
    Photo of making carrot cake batter by adding egg yolks.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a medium bowl.
    Photo of mixing together the dry ingredients for carrot cake.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until well incorporated. Add buttermilk, beating until just combined before stirring in remaining flour mixture.
    Photo of adding dry ingredients to cake batter.
  • Fold in carrots, 1 cup of pecans and divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.
    Photo of grated carrots added to cake batter.
  • Bake until cakes spring back when gently touched in the center and the edges begin to turn loose from the sides of the pan, about 30 – 40 minutes. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
    Photo of carrot cake batter in two cake pans.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Turn out of pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
    Photo of baked carrot cake layers.
  • Frost cake with cream cheese frosting.
    Photo of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans.

Notes

1 – I use White Lily all-purpose flour, which is made of 100% soft winter wheat. If White Lily flour is unavailable, you may want to use cake flour instead.
2 – Additional mix-ins may be included or used instead of the 1 cup of pecans. I would recommend coconut, raisins, walnuts, or even pineapple. The total amount of mix-ins should not exceed 1 cup.
3 – I only used half of the cream cheese frosting recipe for the cake photographed and did not spread frosting on the sides of the cake. Nutritional information is estimated based on using the entire cream cheese frosting recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2795IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

5 from 15 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Review




58 Comments

  1. Debbie says:

    Hi Robin! This cake sounds divine! I’d love to make it for our next neighborhood party. I’m at 6000 ft, so I’ll need to make some adjustments, but I’m wondering what time/temp adjustments I would need to make if baked in a 9×13 pan?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Debbie, the best site I have found for baking at high altitudes is the Colorado State University Extension. I hope this helps.

  2. Geri says:

    White Lily has all purpose and self rising… which do you recommend?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I use White Lily all-purpose for the cake, Geri. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Pooja says:

    Hi Robyn, thanks for the amazing baking recipes. What can be the substitute of egg n egg yolk in thai recipe?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      You could replace the egg yolks with flax eggs, commercial egg replacer, or applesauce.

  4. Eda Murphy says:

    5 stars
    Me and my husband think that you’re the best! Every cake recipes I tried was perfect. Demolished everytime! I don’t think I’ll ever uze another recipes from now on.
    I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Oh, thank you so much, Eda. I hope you find many more of my recipes you enjoy!

  5. Amy says:

    5 stars
    I have always been a fan of carrot cake but never had a recipe to bake it myself. took a leap and made it first try for a family celebration and it was a hit with everyone. I’m on a fodmap diet so used fodmap flour and no one could tell so double win! Thanks for the brilliant recipes, have tried a couple now and they are always easy and delicious.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks so much, Amy. I’m so glad you were able to use substitutions to make this cake so you could enjoy it, too.

  6. AJ says:

    If I use 9” cake pans instead, do I need to adjust the time?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      The cakes may bake faster in the 9-inch pans, AJ. I would start checking the cake at about 20-25 minutes to make sure they don’t over bake.

  7. Allison says:

    What temperature and/or time adjustment would you recommend for using a cupcake pan?

    Thanks,
    Allison

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I would bake at same temperature and bake about 18 minutes, Allison.

  8. Valeria says:

    Hello! I made your chocolate cake a few months back and it was absoluetely delicious!! Im really excited about making your carrot cake but was wondering if I could replace the nuts in the cake with raisins ? thank you !

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      You can replace the pecans with raisins if you prefer, Valeria.

  9. Kristin says:

    Could I make ahead the cake and freeze it? Would it be as moist? I’d ice it the day of, but hoping to cut down on work day of.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      You can make the cake ahead and freeze it, Kristen. It will still be just as moist as the day you make it. Allow the cakes to cool completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap and place each layer into a gallon zip top freezer bag. Freeze the cake layers for up to one month.

      To frost the cake, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator with wrapping intact. Then, frost the cake once it has completely thawed.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    5 stars
    Could you use any other type of flour besides lily white?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I just prefer to use White Lily, Jacqueline, in all my baking. As I state in my Notes, if you don’t have it, I recommend using cake flour in this recipe.