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 35 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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  • Darlene says:

    Could you make this with whole wheat flour?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes. 🙂

  • K says:

    Can I use self raising flour as I have used all purpose flour in birthday cake recipe and it turned out so rock hard and didn’t rise at all.

  • Amy says:

    Is it possible to 1/2 this recipes for a smaller cake? The 3 eggs in the recipe has me worried about cutting everything by 1/2.

  • Dot Cobb says:

    Yummy Yummy, love this cake.

  • Bill says:

    I always use currants in my carrot cake. My recipe is almost exactly the same as yours.

  • Michelle Avila says:

    Can I use apple sauce in place of oil

  • Sarah Hobson says:

    Oh my goodness! BEST carrot cake recipe EVER! I recently made this cake for a friend’s birthday party and it received rave reviews from everyone who wanted the recipe.
    I was concerned with how thick the batter was but it baked like a dream. Thank you for sharing the helpful tips as well.

  • b says:

    can i use 2 9 inch pans?

  • Jeannine Butler says:

    Masse your cake last Saturday for my Sister-in-law. Delivered at 10:30 pm, gone by Monday morning. Her husband my brother sneaking and eating it. Her friend had a piece and said “It was the bomb”. I added shredded sweetened coconut 1/2 cup, and only 1/2 cup raises. Used freshly grated nutmeg. I beat the frosting 3-5 mts,extra as suggested. Excellent. Making again today but for me. I will let you know my opinion. So far 5 stars.

  • Beth says:

    What can I do to make this cake more moist? Mine came out dense, still delicious though.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You can try baking for less time (it’s a very moist cake already) or adding a little diluted pineapple juice to the tops of the cake immediately out of the oven.

  • Maria says:

    Have made this recipe twice within a two week period, during pandemic lockdown.
    First cake was amazing, second cake was even better again which I was soo pleased about, as it was for a birthday. Fantastic recipe! As I’m not confident on baking carrot cakes, I stuck to each ingredient as listed and was perfect each time. Defo my go to recipe from here on in!! Thank you!!

  • Deana says:

    Super delish! I made this for my dads birthday since he loves carrot cake, and this was perfect! So moist and mouth watering! Great choice, and the cream cheese frosting was the perfect match. I did modify the recipe and used half extra virgin olive oil and half coconut oil , and it was still perfect.

  • Drew says:

    I’ve made this a half-dozen times and LOVE it. But the most recent time I made it, it turned out lighter in color than usual, and also undesirably crumbly — like, I couldn’t properly cut a slice, because it fell apart. I’m meticulous in my measurements — always by weight, not by volume — EXCEPT for the carrots. I probably added about 50% more carrots than the recipe calls for (always have), so I’m curious if that could account for the crumbliess? If not that, what would you look at first?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Drew! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. It sounds like you are doing something right by having the cake turn out so many times. It could be that you had a bad batch of carrots because adding extra carrots should only add more moisture. I hope you will try it again with better luck, and have a great day!

  • Hilda Archer says:

    I tried it before and it is delicious. Worth trying its good.

  • Diana says:

    Do I drain the pineapple if using canned?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Diana! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Yes, drain the pineapple. Have a great day!

  • Zoe says:

    Hi Amanda!

    Have you ever made this in a Bundt pant? If so, did you have to cook it a bit longer?


  • Cheree says:

    Can you use mixed spice and if so how much

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Cheree! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not used mixed spice in the recipe, so I cannot say how much you would need. Have a great day!

  • Christine says:

    Made this yesterday for our 20th anniversary.. We had carrot cake at our wedding.. It came out great..
    My husband loved it…. Will definitely make again…

  • Sharron Brown says:

    Can you use a 9 by 13 inch pan? So much easier to transport when taking to someone’s home.&

  • Helen says:

    I need a sugar free recipe please

  • Jamilie zazi says:

    Amazing cake excellent recipe

  • Kimberley Chalkley says:

    we have a nut allergy in our house, but love carrot cake, what can I use instead of walnuts

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You can leave out the walnuts.

  • Cindy says:

    This is absolutely the best carrot cake ever. So moist.

  • Markus says:

    That look’s nice and delicious

  • melissa says:

    Every post says the “best” and I always smile. It is really an opinion because everyone is looking for a certain “best” I had this amazing carrot cake in Vegas and spent a year trying to duplicate it. WaLa…your recipe is the closest. I just increased the pineapple and decreased the carrots, used raisins plumped with whiskey, increased the eggs to 4. The most noteable difference with the Vegas cake is that the frosting wasn’t sickening sweet, instead they centered on a butter & cream cheese flavor with less accent on the sugar. Perfect in MY OPINION.but who am I.