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!

Carrot Cake

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!)

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 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! For a fun twist on frosted carrot cake, try my Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cake Cupcakes where the cream cheese is inside!

The BEST Cream Cheese frosting!

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
4.95 from 97 votes

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
This amazing carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is going to be your new family favorite!


Carrot Cake

  • 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


Carrot Cake

  • 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.


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. silly question. 2 round pans bake for an hour, but a 9X13 is only 42 minutes? Isn’t there more batter to be baked? I don’t imagine I’ll get a reply before the cake is done – I’ll just keep checking it, but it is confusing to my old brain! Thanks

    1. I just baked a 9×13 and I had to bake it for 50 minutes before the toothpick came out with only slight crumbs.

      1. I saw the same thing! Mine is in a 9 x13 with some not so accurate measurements since I wanted a lot more pineapple I upped everything a little …I’ve made a recipe much like this one before and in a pan, you can’t really mess it up…unless your burn it! I’m sure it’ll be awesome! It’s for my favorite veteran! I set my timer at 45 and will check on it when I start to smell it cooking!!

    1. I’ve done on in other cakes and they’ve turned out well…. Sometimes I substitute a small amount of the sugar with brown sugar….. Haven’t made this cake yet but plan to this week

  2. Very tasty. But I would watch the timer on this. 55 min is WAY too long mine turned out really well done.

    1. I used a bundt cake pan and cooked my cake for 37 mins. I could have pulled it out a few minutes earlier to get a moister cake. 55 mins is a long time.

  3. I made these into jumbo sized cupcakes… have made them several times. I soak my raisins overnight in the pineapple juice and quarter the tidbits into smaller pieces. This is THE BEST carrot cake in the whole world!!

  4. I made this cake for my birthday tomorrow. Unfortunately I was disappointed because 55 minutes is to long. Not sure if it was a typo. But after 40 minutes I took it out only to see that it was over cooked 🙁 I guess no birthday cake this year 🙁 please fix the time on your recipe so this doesn’t happen to someone else.

    1. Sorry that happened to you, Peggy. What size pan did you use? Was your oven set to the correct temperature? I’m happy to report that this recipe is heavily tested and perfected so no changes are needed to it. But if I can help you troubleshoot what was changed in your kitchen, please let me know!

  5. My son has work at superb fine dining restaurants. He said that this is the best carrot cake he has ever tasted.
    *Soaked raisins in Orange Juice with 1 tsp. Of Balsamic vinegar for two hours
    *added 1/2 cup of sour cream to cake recipe And to icing.
    * added 3/4 tsp Allspice to cake recipe.

  6. I’ve made this cake 5+ times every year for Christmas. My oven doesn’t take 2 pans so I make just 1 giant cake 9×13
    And it comes out perfect. I’ve shared your recipe with so many and I’ve become known(thanks to you) as the one who makes the best carrot cake. Last year just before Christmas my oven broke down so I didn’t make it. Family who visits from overseas were so disappointed because they’d come to expect it as a regular on the menu. I then made it for new years ^_^
    Thanks so much for an amazing, family favorite recipe!

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