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Carrot Cake Recipe

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This Carrot Cake recipe is moist with a tender bite. Covered with thick cream cheese frosting and spiced to perfection, makes it the best! Check out my other Easter treats while you’re at it 🙂

Top of Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake, Keeping it simple!

Guys, you will DIE over this Carrot Cake Recipe. Like straight up take a bite and never want to eat anything else in life other than carrot cake.

I’m convinced that if you don’t like carrot cake, you’re making the wrong carrot cake recipe. Growing up, I really hated carrot cake because of the chunks of pineapple. Classically, a carrot cake recipe is made around Easter (or Spring in general) and does call for nuts, coconut (sometimes), and crushed pineapple. While I have directions for adding in these ingredients below, mine is the plain jane version featuring grated carrot, a variety of spices, and the most amazing cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake Ingredient Substitutions

This is an easy, homemade carrot cake recipe that will leave you wanting more. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples that you’ll be able to find already at home or at the store. However, here are some helpful ingredient substitutions just in case:

  • Milk – if you are looking to keep this cake vegan, replace the milk with almond milk. The milk and vinegar mixture can be completely replaced with buttermilk.
  • White Vinegar – this can be replaced with lemon juice if needed! The milk and vinegar mixture can be completely replaced with buttermilk.
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg + Cloves – all warm delicious spices found in traditional carrot cake recipes. I’ve learned from other previously published recipes that cloves can be quite a controversial ingredient. If you are not a fan of cloves, just omit them or reduce the listed amount by half.
  • Canola Oil – oil keeps the carrot cake nice and moist. Any light-colored oil will work like vegetable or grapeseed oil. Or if you’re in a pinch, melted butter!
  • Carrots – I highly recommend shredding your own carrots rather than buying pre-shredded carrots. But if all you have is the pre-shredded kind just note that your cake will tend to be drier.

Wait, No Eggs?

I think it’s important to note that this recipe *does not* call for eggs. It’s not a typo, folks!! There are no eggs listed in the recipe card because I don’t add eggs to this cake batter. Structurally, it’s fine without eggs and your carrot cake recipe will turn out just as beautiful as mine, pictured below. I promise this cake will turn out perfectly without the eggs. Dare I say you won’t even notice? And as an extra bonus, you can lick out the bowl with no raw egg guilt…not that that ever stops me. Ahem.

Carrot Batter

Carrot Cake Add-Ins

As I mentioned above, the listed recipe below does not include all of these extras. If you would like to add in the coconut, pecans, and/or pineapple, here’s how to do it:

  • Crushed pineapple: Reduce the milk and vinegar mixture by 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup extra flour to the batter. Drain one 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple. Stir in with the grated carrot. Bake, cool, and frost as usual.
  • Pecans: Stir in 3/4 cup of toasted and chopped pecans into the batter with the grated carrot. Bake, cool, and frost as usual. Walnuts or almonds are also a good substitution.
  • Coconut: Stir in 1 1/2 cups sweetened, desiccated coconut into the batter with the grated carrot. Bake, cool, and frost as usual.

If you do not want to add in the crushed pineapple but would like to add in pecans or coconut, the milk and vinegar mixture does not need to be reduced because you’re not adding in extra moisture like you would be with the pineapple.

Cake Size Options

This carrot cake recipe will make:

  • 24 cupcakes (350 for 15-20 minutes)
  • two 8 or 9-inch round cakes {350 for 20-25 minutes}
  • 9×13 cake {350 for 25-30 minutes}

No need to change the frosting recipe, it’s enough to frost any of the options above.

 Cake batter

How to Make Carrot Cake

No stand or hand mixer is required to make my carrot cake recipe. It’s a one-bowl, super simple recipe that is really really hard to mess up! I promise you will love it. For full details, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Prep and Preheat

Preheat oven. Line 2-8 or 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and parchment paper and set aside.

Make Carrot Cake Batter

Measure milk and stir in white vinegar. Stir and set aside.

In a large bowl, measure out all dry ingredients and whisk together to combine. Create well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk vinegar mixture, oil, and vanilla. Stir until just incorporated. Add in carrots and stir again. 

Bake + Cool

Divide batter evenly between baking pans and smooth the tops. Bake 20-25 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool until pans are just warm. Invert cakes onto cooling racks, remove parchment paper and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

While cakes are cooling make the cream cheese frosting. Place cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla into a large bowl. Stir with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) until completely combined, thick and smooth. Scrape the sides and stir again briefly to ensure a smooth frosting.

Decorate Carrot Cake

Place one cake onto a cake plate or serving platter. Spread about 1 1/2 cup of frosting onto the cake evenly (doesn’t have to be exact) being sure to push frosting right to the edges of the cake. Top with the other cake round. With the remaining frosting, frost the cake exterior. This can be done with simple tools like the back of a spoon or butter knife or an offset spatula.

Decorate with anything from chopped pecans, coconut shreds, sprinkles, or even colored frosting in the shape of carrots. Happy baking 🙂

carrot cake on a blue cake stand

Make-Ahead Options

This carrot cake recipe is a great make-ahead dessert, especially around the holidays. Because of that, I’m going to outline three options on how you can make this cake recipe ahead of time.

1. Make and Store Separately

Bake and cool your cake layers completely. Cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. You can also make the frosting ahead of time and store it in the fridge (covered). When ready to decorate the cake, let your frosting come to room temperature (15 minutes) then give it a quick mix to loosen it up again.

2. Make, Assemble + Store

It’s pretty self-explanatory, make your cake, frost it, and then store them in the fridge for up to a week. Make sure to cover well.

3. Freeze (Frosted or Unfrosted)

This carrot cake can be frozen for up to 3 months! To serve, transfer your frozen carrot cake to the fridge to thaw overnight. Then let it come to room temperature on your counter before decorating or serving.

slice of carrot cake on a plate

Love Carrot Cake? Try These:

Friends, I may have a problem. I love carrot cake so much, that I’ve developed quite a few recipes inspired by it!

The printable recipe card is below! Have a great day, friends! xo

Carrot Cake Recipe

Spicy, moist, soft and delicious, this Carrot Cake Recipe with thick cream cheese frosting will become your go-to favorite cake! 
servings 14 servings
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins

Ingredients

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-8 or 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and parchment paper and set aside.
  • Measure milk and stir in white vinegar. Stir and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, measure out all dry ingredients and whisk together to combine. Create well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk vinegar mixture, oil, and vanilla. Stir until just incorporated. Add in carrot and stir again. 
    carrot cake batter
  • Divide evenly between baking pans and smooth the tops. Bake 20-25 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool until pans are just warm. Invert cakes onto cooling racks, remove parchment paper and cool completely.
    carrot cake batter being poured into a cake pan
  • Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Stir with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) until completely combined, thick and smooth. Scrape the sides and stir again briefly to ensure a smooth frosting.
    cream cheese frosting
  • Place one cake onto a cake plate or serving platter. Spread about 1 1/2 cup of frosting onto the cake evenly (doesn’t have to be exact) being sure to push frosting right to the edges of the cake. Top with the other cake round. With the remaining frosting, frost the cake exterior. This can be done with simple tools like the back of a spoon or butter knife or an offset spatula.
    Decorate with anything from chopped pecans, coconut shreds, sprinkles, or even colored frosting in the shape of carrots.
    carrot cake on a blue cake stand

Notes

  • Buttermilk: Milk and vinegar mixture can be replaced with 2 cups of buttermilk.
  • No Eggs: There are no eggs in this recipe! It’s not a typo and yes, they will turn out just fine.
  • 9×13 Inch Cake: Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.
  • Two 8-inch Round Cakes: Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  • Crushed pineapple: Reduce the milk and vinegar mixture by 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup extra flour to the batter. Drain one 8 oz can of crushed pineapple. Stir in with the grated carrot. Bake, cool, and frost as usual.
  • Pecans: Stir in 3/4 cup of toasted and chopped pecans into the batter with the grated carrot. Bake, cool, and frost as usual. Walnuts or almonds are also a good substitution.
  • Coconut: Stir in 1 1/2 cups sweetened, desiccated coconut into the batter with the grated carrot. Bake, cool, and frost as usual.

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin A: 5060IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best carrot cake recipe, carrot cake, carrot cake recipe, how to make carrot cake

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Recipe Rating




34 Responses
  1. Jessica

    Tried posting before, but realized I mistyped my email…

    Was wondering how I would need to adjust the recipe to add fresh cut up apples. Thanks!

  2. Gina R

    5 stars
    I made this for my husband’s birthday. First time I have ever made a carrot cake…..it was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipes!!!

  3. Aynsley

    5 stars
    I made some “use what I have” adjustments : old can of evaporated milk + water in place of milk; four-spice powder in place of nutmeg; added a ton of sunflower seeds and some raisins; doubled the recipe; baked in a 13×9 and a 8×8 at 325 while I went to the dog park for 40-45 mins. I am floored by how after all this it turned out SO WELL. Ultra moist and fluffy tender, not too sweet so the frosting is welcome and not cloying. Thank you for the bomb-proof recipe!

  4. Peggy

    5 stars
    It’s just finished cooking and smells wonderful. I have a different recipe for carrot cake but this is easier and my husband likes it better. It took much longer to bake…an hour before it was fully cooked but worth the wait.

  5. Kee Sha

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe and it’s fantastic, I’ve never had carrot cake and actually always wondered what people liked about it, to my surprise I can’t stop eating it now… I really finessed this recipe

  6. Lisa

    The recipe looks amazing. Alas I have family that have gluten issues. May we sun almond flour, or almond -coconut flour mix?
    Pls let me know and thanks..

  7. Ayana

    5 stars
    This was my first time making carrot cake and after reading the comments I decided to use this recipe on Mother’s day it was AMAZING thanks for sharing, i shared with friends and family and they loved it,the frosting to was GREAT.

  8. Jodi

    5 stars
    Do you pack the grated carrots into the measuring cup? I made it and it wonderful, but didn’t bake all the way through, my oven might have been turned up too high, but I just wanted to make sure I got the right amount of carrots in it… Wonderful flavor though! Or could have been the monk fruit sweetener we used….

  9. S

    Looks yummy, but I’m wondering how difficult would it be to give also measurements in grams? I am from Ireland and I never attempt baking when there is no conversion to grams. It is a shame because American bloggers have delicious recipes but the recipes are not very European friendly 😔

    1. CR

      Why don’t you just convert it. Google has many conversion options. I am an American living in Europe and never have had an issue. Several measuring containers have dual conversion options. Good luck.

  10. annette peterson

    This cake sounds so good, but how do I adjust it for high altitude. I have not had good luck baking at a 7500 feet high altitude.

  11. Robin Tichy

    Hi looks delicious!! How do you think it would if I only needed 1/2 the recipe? BTW your recipes are so good 😊 Thx!!

  12. Kate Scroggins

    5 stars
    Yum! My husband always asks for carrot cake for his birthday every year. Looking forward to trying this one out for his birthday!

  13. Jean Hitchman

    I’ve never been brave enough to bake a carrot cake. Lauren makes it look easy in this recipe, so I’m going to have to try it out.

  14. Shelly

    5 stars
    Looks amazing! I love carrot cake (who am I kidding….I love CAKE!?) and will be trying this one soon. I know a lot of folks think this is a springtime recipe, but I’ve always thought if carrot cake as a fall cake. Yours is beautiful. 🥕 ♥️

  15. Emilee

    5 stars
    I’m so glad I found this recipe! My husband wants a carrot cake without any extra stuff like nuts in it and I’m allergic to eggs, so this is the perfect recipe for us!

  16. Shareen Amershi

    5 stars
    I made this last night and it was AMAZING! My family and co-workers were raving about it ! Thanks for the easy and delicious recipe!

  17. Melanie

    5 stars
    I made this cake to take to Easter lunch at my in laws and they all raved about it! I promised to bring it every holiday now. 🙂

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  20. Judy Murdoch

    I don’t usually use substitutions in your recipes however I have buttermilk to use up. Do you suppose I could sub it for the milk and vinegar?

  21. Judy Egger

    5 stars
    Oh I can’t wait to make this cake too. It looks perfect Lauren and I like carrot cake too. The frosting will take it over the top! Thanks for all of the recipes you have shared over the years. You are certainly doing a great job!

  22. Tina F

    5 stars
    You had me at no pineapple or raisins!! Don’t like them in my carrot cake either! This looks like the bomb diggity, looks like I know what I’m making this weekend for dessert!!

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