|

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Carrot Cake Recipe with cream cheese frosting is a made-from-scratch, utterly moist, and mouthwateringly delicious layer cake. It’s easy and rather quick to make and filled with carrots, warm spices we love, chopped nuts, and raisins. And it’s irresistible!

Side view of Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white cake stand and topped with chopped walnuts.

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email, and we’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get delicious new recipes from us every Friday!

Save Recipe

It’s a little like carrot cake heaven. And with the cream cheese frosting, it honestly doesn’t get more tasty than this. It’s just a “happy sigh” kind of moment that can be all yours with a delicious homemade cake.

By the way, if you’re looking for a quicker carrot cake recipe, in perhaps a single serving, take a look at my Carrot Cake in a Mug recipe. It’s a favorite among our readers. And the Easy Carrot Cake Loaf is popular too!

Carrot Cake Recipe Overview

This cake is a delicious dessert in the spring and fall when we’re craving sweet treats with warm spices, a tender and moist crumb, and hearty ingredients!

  • Recipe Time: 35 minutes of prep, 35 minutes to bake
  • Kitchen Tools: Handheld mixer or stand mixer and two 9-inch round cake pans (or a 9×13-inch baking pan)
  • Servings: 16 servings
Side view of a serving of Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white scalloped plate with the cut cake in the background.

What I Love About This Carrot Cake

Number one, it’s layered. Number two, it’s delicious. Number three, that cream cheese frosting! As they say, “It’s the icing on the cake.” And if you’re a frosting person, you know what I’m talking about!

Here’s another reason I love this cake. It’s pretty- it’s simple to make- and rather quick, too.

But layer cakes don’t look simple or quick (your secret). Which means your people will be thrilled when you present it, delighted when they taste it packed with quintessential carrot cake flavor, and you’ll be secretly pleased because it looks SO much more difficult than it is.

If decorating a layer cake has you worried, this is the cake to practice on. In my book, the cake is so beautiful on the inside that the simpler you decorate this cake, the better!

Let it shine!

Happy baking…

Top view of carrot cake ingredients on a white wooden background.

Ingredients for This Carrot Cake Recipe

In the recipe card at the bottom of this post, you will find the specific ingredient measurements, but here is a quick look at the simple pantry ingredients you will need.

  • All-purpose flour: If desired, you can swap the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat or your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Leavening: A combination of both baking soda and baking powder gives this cake the perfect rise.
  • Flavorings: Vanilla extract (because almost everything is better with vanilla), salt, and ground cinnamon.
  • Sweetener: I love the combination of flavors and richness that comes from adding both granulated sugar and brown sugar to this recipe.
  • Large eggs: It’s important to bring the eggs to room temperature before adding to the cake batter.
  • Shredded carrots: I like to use a box grater, which I’ll admit can be a bit tedious, but I like the size of the grate and the resulting cake texture. However, you can definitely use your food processor to grate the carrots or buy them already grated at the market if you prefer.
  • Chopped walnuts: Nuts of any kind work in this recipe, like pecans or even hazelnuts, but my family has always used walnuts. Experiment and use your favorite nut.
  • Raisins: I’m using dark raisins, but a combination of golden raisins and dark raisins is delicious, too.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • Cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Pure vanilla extract

How to Bring Eggs to Room Temperature

In my Simple Anytime Almond Cake recipe, I go into greater depth on bringing eggs to room temperature. But here are a couple of quick and safe ways to do this.

  1. Plan Ahead: If you know you’ll be baking in the near future, simply take the eggs out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before you start baking. This allows them to come to room temperature without any sudden temperature shocks gradually.
  2. Quick Method: If you’re short on time, you can speed up the process by placing the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 5 to 10 minutes. Ensure the water is not too hot, as you don’t want to risk cooking the eggs.

How to Make Carrot Cake

For full, step-by-step instructions on how to make this carrot cake recipe, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post. This is a quick overview of how to make this easy dessert.

Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F and greasing two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

For the cake batter

  1. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk the oil, sugars, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Then, whisk in the eggs.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the oil mixture in three parts. Stir gently until the batter is smooth, then fold in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.

Baking the cake

Divide the batter equally, then bake until the tops are springy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean; about 35-45 minutes.

Top view of carrot cake batter in two round cake tins ready for baking.

Cool in the pans for 15 minutes before carefully turning them out onto a metal rack. Remove parchment and cool completely.

Two carrot cake layers cooling from the oven on a metal rack.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

Using either a stand mixer or a hand-held mixer, beat the room-temperature cream cheese until smooth. Add the softened butter and beat until well mixed, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined and smooth. Scape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Bringing Cream Cheese to Room Temperature

Bringing cream cheese to room temperature is essential for achieving a smooth and creamy texture, especially when using it in recipes like frosting or cheesecake. Here’s the best way to bring cream cheese to room temperature:

  1. Plan Ahead: The simplest way to bring cream cheese to room temperature is to remove it from the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This allows it to gradually soften without the risk of melting or becoming too warm. Cream cheese should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
  2. Cut Into Smaller Pieces: If you’re short on time and need to speed up the process, you can cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces. This increases the surface area, allowing it to come to room temperature more quickly.

Assembling the cake

When the cake layers are completely cool, place one on a cake stand. Top evenly with a heaping 1/2 cup of frosting with a butter knife or offset spatula. Place the second layer over the top, and use the remaining cream cheese icing to frost the top and sides of the cake.

Baking Tips

  • Measuring Flour: Before measuring, stir the flour with a fork. Then, spoon into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Be sure to bring the eggs, butter, and cream cheese block to room temperature before using.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: This recipe makes just enough to frost this cake and its sides. However, if you love layers of frosting on your cake, increase the recipe by half so you have plenty!

Carrot Cake Recipe Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Absolutely! You can easily swap out the all-purpose flour for an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. Just make sure it’s a 1:1 substitute for best results.

Can I use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil?

Absolutely! Although I prefer vegetable oil in this recipe, coconut oil adds a delightful hint of coconut flavor to the cake, which pairs beautifully with the carrots and spices. Just make sure it’s melted and cooled slightly before adding it to the batter. You may also want to sprinkle some shredded coconut on top of the frosting for an extra tropical twist!

How did you get the decorative ridges on top of the cake?

I used a decorative cake scraper with a scalloped edge. It’s the easiest, quickest way to add an elegant and interesting finishing touch to the top of your frosted cake.

Can you bake this cake as a sheet cake?

Absolutely! Preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray, pour the batter into the pan, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Closeup view of a bite of carrot cake on a fork.

More Recipes You May Also Love

SAVE THIS AND PIN IT FOR LATER!

Make sure you don’t lose track of this recipe by pinning it for later! If you are not already, you can follow me on Pinterest, as well as keep up with me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. If you make this recipe, I would also love it if you’d tag me in your photos and leave a star rating below!

Horizontal side view of unsliced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white cake stand.

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

This Carrot Cake Recipe with cream cheese frosting is an easy, irresistible and mouthwatering cake to satisfy all your carrot cake cravings!
4.6 from 7 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (5-6 carrots)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese frosting brick style, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

For the cake batter

  • Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Then, whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the oil mixture in three parts, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed after each addition. Stir gently until the batter is smooth, then fold in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.

Baking the cake

  • Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans. Then bake until the tops of the cake spring back when touched and when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean; about 35-45 minutes.
  • The cakes should cool in the pans for 15 minutes before carefully turning them out onto a metal rack. Then, peel the parchment lining from the cakes and cool completely.
    Top view of two baked carrot cake recipe layers in round cake pans cooling on a metal rack.

For the cream cheese frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the room-temperature cream cheese until smooth. Add the softened butter and beat until well mixed, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined and smooth. Scape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Assembling the cake

  • When the cake layers are completely cool, place one of the layers on a cake stand. Top evenly with a heaping 1/2 cup of frosting with a butter knife or offset spatula. Place the second layer over the top and use the remaining cream cheese icing to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with chopped nuts in the center if desired.

Video

Notes

  1. Storing the cake: The cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  2. Freezing the cake: You can also freeze the cake layers for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature before assembling and frosting the cake.
  3. Baking in a 9×13-inch pan: Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F, pour the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 4255IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe? Pin it Today!Follow me on Pinterest for more and use the "Pin" button at the top of the recipe card.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake recipe, carrot cake

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating