Best Carrot Cake Recipe

by Alli

This is the best carrot cake recipe! The cake is tender, full of flavor and the cream cheese frosting adds even more deliciousness to this three-layer cake.  

This easy-to-make cake is perfect for any time of the year. However, this carrot cake recipe is always my go-to cake for Easter dinner or any spring event. 

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Best Carrot Cake (full printable recipe card below!)

  • granulated sugar
  • light brown sugar
  • pure vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil
  • eggs
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • grated raw carrots (you’ll need 3 cups)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • softened butter
  • softened cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • pure vanilla extract
  • chopped, toasted pecans (optional but highly recommended) I like to toast the pecans but you don’t have to.

Best Carrot Cake before slicing on a glass cake plate

Helpful Hints For The Best Carrot Cake

  • Grate the carrots by hand, with a grater. The cake will taste so much better if you hand grate the carrots. 
  • Line cake pans with parchment paper. I cut out the parchment paper the easy way by placing a cake pan on the parchment paper and tracing the bottom with a pencil. Then cut out the parchment paper. Spray the pans with a baking spray with flour, like Baker’s Joy. 

How To Make Best Carrot Cake

Spray three 9-inch cake pans with baking spray with flour (I use Baker’s Joy). Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with baking spray/flour. 

parchment lined round 9-inch cake pans

Toast pecans in a single layer in a baking pan for 5-7 minutes. 

Cream sugar and oil together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract. 

Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with the grated carrots.

3 cups of grated carrots on a blue and white paper plate

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans.

Bake at 350º for 25 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Let cool completely on wire racks.

two layers of carrot cake cooling on a wire rack

To make the frosting, cream the butter, vanilla, and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and mix until smooth. Turn the mixer to low and add the pecans. Mix on low until combined.

This frosting makes enough to frost the top of each layer. It will not be enough to frost the sides. In my opinion, frosting the sides makes it a tad too sweet. 

carrot cake with one slice on a plate and the rest of the cake behind the slice

How To Store Carrot Cake

Because this cake has a cream cheese frosting, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It will keep in the fridge for up to four days.

You can freeze carrot cake by slicing and double wrapping with saran wrap and aluminum foil. The slices will keep in the freezer for up to three months. 

Yield: 12-14

Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake before slicing on a glass cake plate

This Carrot Cake is tender and flavorful. The cream cheese frosting with toasted chopped pecans adds the finishing touch to this delicious cake.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated raw carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16 oz.) box powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray/flour like Baker's Joy. Line the pans with parchment paper and spray parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Toast pecans (for frosting) in the oven on a baking sheet in a single layer for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Sift the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients alternately with the carrots until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the three cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire cooling racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, peel off the parchment paper and let cool completely on racks.
  5. To make the frosting, cream butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until well combined. At low speed, add the chopped pecans and mix until combined.
  6. Place a cake layer on a cake stand and frost the top. Add the next layer and frost the top. Add the final layer and frost the top. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


This Carrot Cake can be made a day ahead. Store covered in the fridge. Remove the cake from the fridge and bring it to room temperature before serving.

Leftover Carrot Cake can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to four days. To freeze the cake, cut it into slices and wrap the individual slices with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. The cake slices can be frozen for up to three months.

The frosting recipe makes enough frosting to frost the tops of each layer. It does not make enough to frost the sides.

If you want enough frosting to cover the sides of the cake, add another 8 oz. block of softened cream cheese and increase the powdered sugar to 4-1/2 cups.

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