The BEST perfectly moist carrot cake recipe. It’s perfectly spiced, perfectly sweet and so delicious! So good, I made it for my wedding!
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but baked my own wedding cake. Is that crazy? If it is, then I should also mention that made a full dessert table – full of my own dessert creations.
The crown jewel of the dessert table was a two-tiered wedding cake. The larger tier was this incredible carrot cake. It’s my favorite cake in the whole world – and my husband’s too!
Read on for the best carrot cake recipe decorated with beautiful candied carrot curls…
The rest of the table included blueberry pie, NY style cheesecake, sugar cookies with royal icing, and cupcakes! I guess that does sound a little crazy. With a lot of organization and planning, and a little luck, it all turned out ok – and I didn’t rip my hair out! You can see a photo of the final dessert table here.
How to Make Carrot Cake from Scratch
This carrot cake recipe is so easy to make. It doesn’t have any complicated steps or need any fancy equipment. You can make a perfect carrot cake even if you’re a beginner.
There are lots of ways to make a delicious carrot cake, but this recipe has a few tweaks that truly make it the best carrot cake you’ll ever eat. It’s super flexible, whether you’re a nut person or not, and also has optional raisins if that’s your thing. Crushed pineapple gives sweetness and moisture, and it has a generous amount of cinnamon to really maximize the flavor.
Carrot Cake Design Ideas
There are many ways to decorate a carrot cake, from crushed nuts dusted on top to decorations made with frosting. My favorite carrot cake design gives maximum visual impact with minimal skill needed. Thin strips of carrot are candied in sugar water and then wound into curls. As you can see from these photos, it looks super professional!
Storing & Freezing Carrot Cake
One of the best parts of this carrot cake is that it can be made in advance. The assembled carrot cake will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days before serving. Just put it in a sealed container. This cake container is my favorite for storing cakes. The unfrosted baked cake rounds will keep in the freezer for up to a month. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container or a freezer ziploc bag.
If you have leftovers, the assembled cake freezes well enough to enjoy later. Sometimes I’ll make an entire cake just for Pat and I and then cut it up and freeze it in slices so we can have it as an occasional treat.
Why You Should Make this Perfectly Moist Carrot Cake Recipe
- This carrot cake is straightforward with no fancy techniques or ingredients.
- It’s perfectly moist with just the right amount of crumb.
- It’s dense enough to use for a layer cake without being tough.
- It keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for up to a month, so it’s perfect for making ahead of time.
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Best Carrot Cake Recipe
The BEST carrot cake recipe you will ever eat. It’s perfectly moist, perfectly sweet and so delicious! So good, I made it for my wedding!
- Prep Time: 90 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2¼ cups (450 grams) granulated (white) sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed (dark or light)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups finely grated peeled carrot, packed
- 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1¾ cups sweetened coconut flakes, lightly packed
- 1½ cups raisins (optional)
- 8-ounce can crushed pineapple – reserve 1.5 tablespoons of juice
- 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh orange zest (about two oranges)
- 1½ cups vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 24 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 packages)
- 4.5 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Make the carrot cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray two 9 inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line each with a parchment paper round. Spray another layer of cooking spray on top of the parchment paper. You can also use 20 jumbo cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and all spices.
- In your mixer bowl, combine peeled and grated carrots, nuts, coconut flakes, raisins (if using), drained pineapple, and orange zest and mix at low speed until combined.
- Add the vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs one at a time, mixing well, Scrape bowl between additions.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice and mix well, scraping bowl down after.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix by hand or Kitchen Aid on low speed for about 1 minute or until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Pour divided into prepared pans. To ensure even layers, I recommend weighing each layer.
- Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 25-30 mins for cupcakes, 35-40 minutes for 9-inch layer cakes, or 50-60 minutes for 8-inch layer cakes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pans halfway through baking.
- Allow cooling completely in pan for 1-2 hrs. Remove from pan and ice with cream cheese icing (recipe below).
- Frost with Cream Cheese Icing. Recipe below. Place 1/4 of icing between the two layers and when placing the top cake layer on, put the flat side of the cake (the bottom when it was in the cake pan) facing up for a flat top which makes a more attractive cake and easier to ice.
Make the cream cheese frosting and assemble the cake:
- Cream the butter with a mixer for 2 minutes until pale and light.
- Add the cream cheese and cream for 2 minutes, until well mixed.
- Stir in the powdered sugar one cup at a time.
- Add the salt and vanilla and mix well. Add additional powdered sugar as needed to thicken.
Assemble the cake:
- Place one cake layer on your cake stand with the flatter end up. Layer with about half the cream cheese icing, letting the frosting hang over the edge slightly.
- Place your second cake layer, flatter end up. Spread with the remaining cream cheese icing
- Decorate as you like!
The assembled cake will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Add carrot curls immediately prior to serving. Unfrosted baked cake rounds will keep in the freezer for up to a month. Make sure they are wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and in a sealed airtight container.
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This recipe is an update from one of my first recipes published way back in 2013! Here’s a look at what my photography was like back then:
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