Decadent cream cheese frosting and naturally sweet carrot cake pair perfectly for the ultimate dessert for any season. With our homemade recipe, you'll be set to reign supreme at your next bake sale. No "bunny" can beat our tried-and-true tips for perfectly moist carrot cake topped with from-scratch frosting. Learn how to make the treat to beat below.

close up of carrot cake

The Recipe

What You'll Need

  • measuring cups
  • mixing bowls
  • 10 inch cake pan
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • stand mixer
  • spatula
  • toothpick


For the cake:

  • 3 cups carrots, grated or matchstick
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
carrot cake ingredients


Step #1: Set It And Forget It

In medium bowl, combine carrots with brown sugar and let sit for an hour. Then, mix in golden raisins.

Step #2: Prep Step

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Rub butter on bottom of cake pan and up the sides, then dust flour onto butter so it sticks. This process is referred to as "greasing and flouring" and helps the cake stay moist and not stick to pan.

Step #3: Combination Station

In large bowl, whisk eggs until light and fluffy. Next, add the white sugar, vegetable oil, pineapple, and vanilla paste. Stir until evenly mixed. To that mixture, add baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and flour. Combine until these dry ingredients are fully absorbed into the wet ingredients.

Step #4: In The Pan, Man

Add in the carrot, brown, sugar, and raisin combo. Then, stir in chopped walnuts. Carefully pour evenly into the greased pan and cook for 45 minutes.

homemade layered carrot cake

Step #5: Frost Yourselves

While your cake is baking, it's time to tackle the cream cheese frosting component. Add the paddle attachment to your stand mixer, then whip cream cheese until it's smooth. Medium-high speed will work best for this step.

Step #6: Magnificent Mixing

Lower to medium speed and add butter and vanilla paste to cream cheese. Using spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl to combine.

Step #7: Sugar Sugar How You Get So Fly

Change mixer speed to medium-low. One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar to the frosting mixture. Each time you add a cup of sugar, add a teaspoon of milk to the bowl so the consistency stays smooth and doesn't get too thick. Once your frosting reaches desired consistency, turn off mixer and set aside.

Step #8: Toothpick Test

Now back to the actual cake. To make sure your carrot cake is adequately cooked, after the 45 minutes are up, stick a toothpick in. If it comes out with no residue, the cake is done. If not, cook for another couple minutes (up to five more, testing each time with toothpick). Once done, let cake cool completely, then add finished frosting. Yum!

carrot cake cupcakes


Now that you've mastered our best carrot cake recipe, we have some extra tips and twists to share with you.

  • For additional texture, consider garnishing the frosting with more chopped walnuts. Other ideas to adorn the top of the cake could be additional matchstick or grated carrots or toasted coconut.
  • You could also change up the dried fruit option; we like dried apricots inside the cake batter instead of golden raisins.
  • For a cuter presentation that's easier to serve, alter our recipe by making adorable carrot cake cupcakes instead of the large cake. This is a better option for classroom treats or for a dessert at parties.
  • For additional tang, add some liquid buttermilk to the cake.
  • For a healthier version, consider low-fat cream cheese frosting and sugar substitutes like stevia or Splenda.

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