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Carrot Cake| The Best Out There!
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.
Main Ingredients Needed
This is an easy, homemade carrot cake recipe that will leave you wanting more. To start out, gather up these ingredients.
- Milk + White Vinegar- this base mixes with white vinegar to make homemade buttermilk.
- Granulated Sugar – to make this cake sweet!
- All-Purpose Flour – helps add structure. I like using unbleached.
- Baking Soda + Baking Powder – baking soda reacts with the vinegar to help the cake rise while baking powder counteracts even more of the moisture weighing the cake down.
- Salt – to bring out all the other flavors
- Ground Cinnamon + Nutmeg- two warm spices that help compliment the carrots.
- Cloves – 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 it or reduce the listed amount by half.
- Vanilla Extract – a classic ingredient that adds a subtle vanilla flavor that goes a long way.
- Canola Oil – oil keeps the carrot cake nice and moist. Any light-colored oil will work like vegetable or grapeseed oil.
- Carrots – shredded! The main star of this recipe is carrots!
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.
Like 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 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 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.
How to Make Carrot Cake
No stand or hand mixer 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 🙂
Preheat oven. 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.
Bake + Cool
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.
Stack and frost cakes with cream cheese frosting and serve.
Tips + Tricks
- Grate Your Own Carrots. Store-bought carrots are no good for this recipe because they are hard and dry. We are making a moist cake here so take the time to shred your own carrots.
- Frosting. I made this frosting specifically for this cake and it is DIVINE.
- Make It Ahead. After about a day, the flavors in the cake really start to mingle together and the cream cheese frosting grabs onto the cake. This carrot cake gets better with time, so try making it a day ahead and storing it in your fridge until ready to serve.
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.
Make + 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.
Make, Assemble + Store
It’s pretty self-explanatory, make your cake, frost then store in the fridge for up to a week. Make sure to cover well.
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.
More Carrot Cake Recipes!
- Carrot Cake Cookies
- Carrot Cake Cobbler
- Carrot Cake Oatmeal
- Carrot Cake Donuts
- Carrot Cake Protein Bites
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Printable recipe card is below! Have a great day, friends! xo
The Best Carrot Cake Recipe
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 3 cups grated carrot
- 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
- 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.
- 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.
- Stack and frost cakes with cream cheese frosting and serve.