Homemade Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

filed under: Cakes · Rose + Rosette Cakes on December 14, 2017

The best Carrot Cake Recipe you will ever try. This homemade carrot cake is bursting with flavor and moisture! But one of my favorite things about this cake is (in my opinion) the best cream cheese frosting on the planet.

Homemade Carrot Cake

Trying to find a real carrot cake recipe is not as easy as you would think.  My Mother-in-Law was having a big birthday party last Sunday and her only request was a carrot cake from scratch.

Real carrot cake.  With real ingredients. (No box mixes allowed!) After testing out several recipes, I finally found one that everyone loves and that is now a tradition in our home.

Carrot Cake

For the exterior, I did a version of my original Rosette Cake.

My beautiful mother-in-law was turning 67 (she really doesn’t look a day over 45!) and so piped out 67 flowers.  Some are with the 1M tip (remember you can always use a 2D tip in place of the 1M) and the rest are with #27 tip from Wilton. (It brought her to tears… if you ever have the opportunity to replicate this for a loved one I highly recommend it!)

Easy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Rosettes!

How to Make the Best Carrot Cake

Once you have added the flour to the wet ingredients you want to be very gentle with the batter. I recommend removing the bowl from the stand mixer and mix all dry ingredients in by hand.

If you do not want to add pineapple, you can add 1/4 more oil and omit the pineapple. You can also make other substitutions or changes like adding sweetened coconut (1/4 cup should do!) or using a little brown sugar.

Chunky Carrot Cake From Scratch with Cream Cheese Rosettes!


Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling the cake. I like to use a chilled cake for assembly and a room-temperature frosting. You may need to level your cake prior to assembly. (Get detailed instructions on that here.)

BONUS: One way to make this cake AMAZING (and for the 21+ crowd) is to plump up your raisins in rum or brandy.


Easy Homemade Carrot Cake Recipe {Best Frosting}

Cream Cheese Frosting

This cream cheese frosting is amazing for a few reasons. First, it’s amazingly sweet AND you can pipe with it. If you do not want to pipe out 67 rosettes, you can simply spread it over the cake in glorious swoops. This recipe and a “rustic” design are a match made in heaven!

The BEST Cream Cheese frosting!

Tips for the Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting:

So the ingredients for this frosting are pretty basic. Butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioners sugar. But it’s how you put them together that makes the difference! And it is important that your cream cheese and butter are room temperature. If your cream cheese is chilled it will be lumpy and those lumps are impossible to get out!

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING FOR PIPING: You will want to get all the wet ingredients combined before adding the sugar. The trick is to NOT overbeat the cream cheese. The more you mix the creamier it gets and the harder it is to pipe. I add my sugar 1 cup at a time so that I can gauge the consistency as I go.

CREAM CHEESE FOR FROSTING CAKES: When covering a cake with this cream cheese frosting you can beat for 3-5 minutes additional minutes in your stand mixer. This results in the creamiest cream cheese frosting you will ever have.

Everything about these recipes is perfection.  The flavor of this homemade carrot cake recipe is delightful.  The texture was exquisite. It’s the world’s best!

I think I just talked myself into making another one. Hope you enjoy this Homemade Carrot Cake recipe!

4.95 from 37 votes
Carrot Cake
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins

This amazing carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is going to be your new family favorite!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Carrot Cake, cream cheese frosting
Servings: 12
Calories: 464 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
Carrot Cake
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup (250g) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cup (352g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/4 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, drained from a can or freshly diced
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) salted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (512g) confectioners sugar
Carrot Cake
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans. (Can also do three 7-inch round cake pans) Butter pans generously or spray with baking spray.
  3. Beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs in mixer until it is a light yellow, about 3 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. (Double sifting is recommended)
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly and gently add in the dry ingredients. Mix until JUST combined. (Can also mix by hand!)
  6. Remove bowl from mixer and fold raisins, nuts, carrots, and pineapple.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. A few crumbs are what you want for a MOIST cake!
  8. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Place room temperature butter, cream cheese, and vanilla into mixer and blend for 1-2 minutes on medium until fully incorporated. 
  2. Add powder sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting is light and creamy. Whip cream cheese frosting for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

  3. Cover cake in frosting.

Recipe Video

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  • Sheila says:

    Can this cake be cooked in a 13 X 9 pan?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Sheila! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. You can try baking the cake in a 9×13-inch pan, but we have not tried to replicate that here. The cake will be a bit thinner since the volume of 2 8-inch pans is a little less than the amount of batter a 9×13-inch pan holds. You would probably also have to adjust the baking time. Let us know how it turns out, and have a great day!

  • Katherine says:

    Can the flour be substituted for GF flour?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Katherine! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Yes, you can use gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio. However, we have not tried that in the recipe, so I can’t say how it would turn out. Let us know, and have a great day!

  • Eva Campbell says:

    Looks lovely…how do I convert recipe to make cupcakes? It’ll be a lot easier for me to share that way…Thank you. BTW, Love your recipes, they never fail me.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Eva! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not made this recipe into cupcakes, but the batter would yield 12-18 cupcakes, and you would have to adjust the baking time. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Migdalia Vega says:

    This is the best carrot cake I had made.This is my second time doing it.My husband and family love it.Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  • Barbara. Bobbie. Baker says:

    Every time I try to put in e mail address they say not valid. It is. 80bobbielee@gmail.com

  • Victoria says:

    Same as the recipe I have used for 45 yrs!! Love it (minus the nuts but that’s a personal preference!).

  • Melissa says:

    I thought I didn’t like carrot cake. I was wrong. Soooo good.

  • Gethzaida says:

    Excellent Carrot Cake. My Soldier love it.

    My husband wants to eat vanilla wafers cookies but am a retired teacher. At the present time am learning to cook pastry.

    Would you like to share a vanilla wafers recipe and Birthday cake. Am a grandmother for the first time. God bless you. Am from Puerto Rico.

  • Frances cruz says:

    Am going to bake this carrot cake for my 50th anniversary wedding dessert

  • Sharon Joy Vess says:

    I have made this cake and it is my favorite carrot cake!! Sadly my sister has diabetes and carrot cake is her favorite, I want to make a cake for her birthday in a couple of weeks, the question is can this be make for a person with diabetes using sugar substitute and flour substitute

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Sharon! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Sorry, but we have not tried any substitutions in this recipe, so I can’t say how it would affect the cake. Let us know if you try the substitutions, and how it turns out. Have a great day!

  • Jennifer Longenbaugh says:

    Do you squeeze the carrots after grating to remove the moisture?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Jennifer! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. No, we don’t squeeze the carrots after grating them. Have a great day!

  • Winnie says:

    Is 55mins a typo…that’s seems awfully long for a layer cake? I made this and my layers were done in 35 mins.

  • Kirsten says:

    I keep coming back to this recipe over and over. It is incredible and my family and friends request. Thanks!

  • Janet says:

    Great recipe Delicious

  • Lila says:

    Your recipe for carrot cake: is it considered gauche to use prepackaged shredded carrots from the store ?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You can absolutely use pre-shredded carrots. 🙂

  • Janet says:

    Can you omit the raisins, pineapple, and nuts? I just want a carrot only carrot cake. Would you have to make any adjustments to the recipe if I did this?

  • millie says:

    My family loves this carrot cake, I make it for all the birthdays.