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This Carrot Cake is perfectly moist, sweet and loaded with carrots, raisins, walnuts and pineapple, then topped with a delicious, delicate and easy to make cream cheese frosting.
This is my go to carrot cake recipe that I’ve been making for years and I think it’s finally perfect after a few tweaks here and there with the ingredients. The perfect carrot cake has to be sweet, delicate, moist and beautiful loaded with fluffy cream cheese frosting.
For me carrot cake is a must for pretty much all holidays, but it doesn’t have to be served just during the holidays. It’s really perfect for any time of the year. Did you know carrot cake has been around for a very long time but it became popular during the second World War because of rationing?
Carrot cakes are loaded with fruits. For my cake, I not only used carrots, walnuts and raisins which are pretty standard when it comes to carrot cakes, but I added pineapple. The pineapple just makes the cake more moist, because many times they can be quite dry. It also acts as a tenderizer, meaning it breaks down proteins which results in a more moist cake.
The pineapple also adds a bit more sweetness to the cake. Don’t knock it till you try it. It really does make it more special.
Carrot Cake Ingredients:
- Flour – good all-purpose flour is all you need here.
- Baking soda – it’s a leavening agent and causes the cake batter to rise when baking.
- Salt – to bring out the flavors of everything else.
- Cinnamon – you can add other spices as well such as nutmeg or cloves.
- Sugar – I used only white granulated sugar, but you can sub some with brown sugar if you want.
- Eggs – to bind everything together.
- Oil – I used vegetable oil, but any mild vegetable oil will do. What’s cake without a little bit of oil.
- Fruits and nuts – I loaded this cake up with walnuts, raisins and pineapple.
- Carrots – the most important ingredient. I find it easier to use a box grater to freshly grate my carrots, don’t buy the already shredded kind.
How To Make Carrot Cake
First of all though, this cake is really easy to make. If you don’t want to make a layered cake you could easily do this in a 9×13 inch pan. Just ice it with the cream cheese frosting and serve it right out of the pan. I’ve done it both ways many times.
I load my carrot cake with other great ingredients such as raisins, walnuts, pineapple and of course, loads of grated carrots. Carrot cake is perfect for those times when you want to clean out your pantry and use up those leftover raisins and walnuts from Christmas.
- Preheat your oven and prepare your baking pans. I used two 8 inch cake pans which I lined with parchment paper circles. This will make it easier to take the cake out of the pans.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together. This includes the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Mix all the wet ingredients together. This includes the sugar, eggs and vegetable oil. Yes, sugar is part of the wet ingredients because it dissolves as you mix it in with the oil and eggs.
- Add the carrots, nuts and fruits. Stir in the carrots, walnuts, raisins and pineapple
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Use a spatula to combine the two. Do not over mix. Mix only until there’s no more flour visible in the batter.
- Bake. Pour the batter in the prepared baking pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
How Do I Know When My Carrot Cake Is Done Baking
Use a toothpick and insert it all of the way through the cake. Once it comes out clean, your cake is all done. Let the cake cool in the pans for about 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack or a cutting board and cool completely.
But then where would carrot cake be without that cream cheese frosting? Nowhere, I say, because I think it’s the frosting that makes the cake and the more frosting the better.
How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting For Carrot Cake
Just like in a Red Velvet Cake, this frosting is also super easy to make. All you need are 4 simple ingredients; cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Whip them all up and that’s all it takes.
To assemble the cake, start by placing 1 cake layer onto your serving cake platter, then spread some of the cream cheese frosting, about 1 1/2 cups, evenly over the cake layer. Add the other cake layer. Using a spatula, spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the top of the cake and up the sides.
Don’t be shy when spreading the frosting over the cake, use up all that frosting.
Tips For Making The Best Carrot Cake
Carrot cakes really are one of the world’s most delicious health food and everyone loves them. To ensure you get the best cake every single time, here are some tips to help you along:
- Don’t be shy when it comes to spicing your cake. A carrot cake really is a spice cake. Besides the cinnamon, feel free to add other spices such as ginger, nutmeg or cloves.
- Baking powder is not needed as it tends to add a chemical flavor.
- Don’t slice the cake layers. Keep in mind that carrot cake is supposed to be a rustic cake. Slicing the cakes in half will work against you, and you might end up with a crumbly mess. Stick to a simple two-layer cake.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting it. If the cake is still warm it will turn the frosting into a runny liquid.
- Cream cheese frosting is a must!
How To Store And Freeze Carrot Cake
Keep the cake in a closed cake container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can freeze carrot cake slices in airtight containers for several months. Wrapping carrot cake slices individually allows you to thaw slices one at a time, as needed.
Why This Carrot Cake Is The Best
- Easy to make with everyday ingredients you likely already have in the pantry!
- No stand mixer or electric beater needed! You just need a whisk!
- Beautifully moist, sweet and delicious!
- Virtually fool-proof!
- Readers love it!
Made this cake for our ski gangs potluck 2 weeks ago! Had requests to make 3 more cakes they said it was best and moist carrot cake they ever tasted!
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For Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 12 oz cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioners sugar same as icing sugar or powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Prepare 2 8 inch cake pans. Cut out 2 parchment paper circles that will fit inside each pan and spray them with some cooking spray. Make sure to spray some cooking spray up the sides of the pans too.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In another bowl add the sugar, eggs and vegetable oil. Whisk until it all comes together. Alternatively you could use your mixer.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk everything until well combined.
- Add the carrots, walnuts, raisins and pineapple. Using a spatula mix everything together until all the fruits are well incorporated into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the 2 prepared pans, equally.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans for about 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack or a cutting board and cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the cream cheese together with the butter, then add the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Start by placing 1 cake layer onto your serving cake platter, then spread some of the cream cheese frosting, about 1 1/2 cups, evenly over the cake layer. Add the other cake layer. Using a spatula, spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the top of the cake and up the sides.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.