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. For the same delicious flavors, try my Carrot Cake Cruffins, too!
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.
For the exterior, I did a version of my original Rosette Cake.
Why Rosettes on a Carrot 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!)
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.
Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling the cake. I like to use a chilled cake for assembly and 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.
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! For a fun twist on frosted carrot cake, try my Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Cupcakes where the cream cheese is inside!
How to Store Carrot Cake
If you chose to decorate a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, it should be stored in the refrigerator. Refrigeration can dry out baked goods, but cream cheese frosting does need to be refrigerated. It will last 2-3 days. Save a piece of cake to crumble up for my Carrot Cake Milkshake!
Can I Use a Different Sized Pan?
Yes! This works great in a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350°F for 36-42 minutes. The cake is done when it no longer appears wet on top or when an inserted toothpick is removed with crumbs, but no wet batter.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 ¾ cups (352 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 2 ¼ cups finely grated carrots
- ½ cup pineapple, drained from a can or freshly diced
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups (512 g) confectioners' sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans. (You can also use three 7-inch round cake pans.) Generously butter the pans or spray each with baking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs until light yellow, about 3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. (Double sifting is recommended)
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly and gently add in the dry ingredients. Mix until JUST combined.
- Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the raisins, nuts, carrots, and pineapple.
- 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!
- Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Place room temperature butter, cream cheese, and vanilla into mixer and blend for 1-2 minutes on medium until fully incorporated.
- Add confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, until the frosting is light and creamy. Whip cream cheese frosting for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Frost the cooled cake with the cream cheese frosting.
Did you make this recipe?
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