This easy carrot cake recipe is super moist, and has deliciously sweet cream cheese frosting that’ll give you rave reviews no matter where you serve it!
Extra Moist Carrot Cake
If you asked the child version of me if I wanted a slice of carrot cake, chances are I would have scrunched up my face at the mere thought of eating vegetables in a cake… but boy was I wrong!
It’s a tough job to be a cake tester, you have to make and eat a lot of cake (bummer) but it was worth it because we’ve crafted the most heavenly carrot cake.
The raisins, chopped walnuts, and moist crumb give it the perfect texture while the carrot, hint of cinnamon, and nutmeg provide that warm, spicy flavor that compliments the cream cheese frosting SO well. DELISH.
why you’ll love it!
Serves a crowd: this carrot cake will serve 12, making it the perfect dessert to pass at any gathering.
Features our famous cream cheese frosting: you’re going to LOVE this frosting 😀
Customizable: don’t like raisins? Skip them!
Carrot Cake Ingredients
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- light brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- cream cheese frosting (see below 😀 )
Cream Cheese Frosting
This carrot cake recipe calls for our cream cheese frosting, and it’s absolute perfection!
How to Make Carrot Cake
This carrot cake is just as simple as it is delicious. With enough testing and eating (…and more eating), we’ve mastered how to make the best carrot cake recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.
Beat the vegetable oil, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer for 3-4 minutes. Then add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until combined.
Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once combined, fold in the shredded carrots and raisins.
Spread the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Prep candied walnuts
Add the remaining sugar to a large pan over medium/high heat. Stir until it melts into a syrup then add the walnuts and fold them into the sugar. Once completely coated, transfer them to a plate to let them cool.
Chill Carrot Cakes
Once the cakes are done baking, take them out of the oven and let them rest for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cakes from their pans and place them either on a cooling rack or in the refrigerator to chill.
Frost Carrot Cake
Place one carrot cake round on a plate or cake stand and spread a thick layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Then place the other cake round on top of the frosted cake and use a piping bag or spatula to spread another thin layer of frosting on top of the second carrot cake.
Spread (or pipe) more frosting until there are no holes between the two cakes. Place your carrot cake in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Top with Walnuts & Serve
Once the frosting has set, take the cake out of the fridge and frost it with the remaining frosting. Use your hand to press the candied walnuts up onto the bottom of your cake. Serve and enjoy!
Top Tips for the Best Carrot Cake
- To prevent your cake from sticking to the pan, try lining your cake pans with parchment paper. First, trace the bottom of your cake pan using the paper. Then cut out the circles and grease the pan and parchment paper.
- Carrot cake tastes better with time, so feel free to make your carrot cake ahead! Bake and frost the cake a day in advance to let the flavors mingle, boost the moisture, and allow the cream cheese frosting to set.
- Use freshly grated carrots for the best carrot flavor!
Why do carrot cakes use oil instead of butter?
Unlike many other cakes where you cream the butter and sugar, a carrot cake uses an oil base instead of a butter base. Using oil will help your carrot cake last longer and maintain its moisture.
Should carrot cake be eaten cold?
It’s up to you! You can eat carrot cake cold, warm, or at room temperature. However, most prefer their carrot cake slightly chilled as it provides the best moist texture.
Since there is cream cheese frosting, it is recommended that you store your carrot cake in the fridge.
However, many bakers are fine leaving it on the counter for a day or two in room temperature conditions. If you prefer to refrigerate your cake, cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
Carrot Cake Recipe
- 1.25 cups vegetable oil
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar divided
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 cups cream cheese frosting
- 1.5 cups chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray 2 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set them aside.
- Place the vegetable oil, ¾ cup sugar, and brown sugar into a large bowl. Beat together using a hand mixer for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the eggs and vanilla to the oil and sugar mixture and mix until combined. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together until combined.
- Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once the wet and dry ingredients are fully combined, fold in the shredded carrots and raisins.
- Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Make sure not to over bake.
- While the cakes are baking, prepare the candied walnuts. Place a large pan over medium/high heat. Add the remaining ¾ cup of sugar to the pan. Stir with a spatula until the sugar is melted. Once the sugar has melted into a syrup add the walnuts and fold the walnuts into the sugar.
- Once the walnuts are completely coated, transfer the walnuts to a plate and allow them to cool.
- Remove the cakes from the oven. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes and then remove them from the cake pans. Place them on a cooling rack to cool or place them in the refrigerator to cool quickly.
- When the cakes have cooled, it’s time to frost. Place one cake round on a plate or a cake stand. Spread a thick layer of cream cheese frosting over the top of one round. Then place the other cake round on top of the cream cheese frosting. Using a piping bag or spatula spread another thin layer of frosting on top of the second cake.
- Spread or pipe more frosting to fill the holes between the two cakes. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the fridge and frost with the remaining frosting. Using your hand press the candied walnuts up onto the bottom of the cake.
- Serve immediately.
Tips & Notes
- We used vegetable oil in this recipe, avocado oil or corn oil would be acceptable substitutes.
- We made a double batch of our cream cheese frosting for this cake. It allows for a ¼ inch of frosting between the 2 layers. If you would like a thicker filling between the 2 layers make a triple batch.
- 3 cups of shredded carrots is roughly ¾ of a 10 oz. bag of shredded carrots.