Learn how to make this easy carrot cake recipe. Step-by-step photos teach you how to bake this delicious, moist, carrot cake. Cream Cheese frosting is a must!
Sometimes you just want a simple carrot cake, no fuss. Easy, throw together one layer cake. Why is a one-layer cake also like a snack cake?! Meaning I eat this simple, easy carrot cake all the time. This is perfect for an Easter spread!
The beauty of carrot cake is the warm spices, moist and dense cake filled with delicious mixins. I am not a fan of coconut or raisins so I don't use them in my recipe but you can add them if you want. I love pineapple so I add crushed pineapple and add roasted nuts. My preference is roasted walnuts or pecans.
Check out all of my best cake recipes, next!
Let's get to the recipe
For the cake you'll need:
- All-Purpose Flour. Make sure you measure your flour properly, too little or too much can drastically alter the recipe.
- Chemical Leavening Agents. For this cake recipe, you'll use both baking soda and baking powder. While the baking powder is already activated the baking soda will activate with the acids in the recipe to activate while baking.
- Salt. Salt enhances the flavors of all of the other ingredients as well as balances out the sweetness.
- Spices. I have a heavy hand with spices because I love them but feel free to reduce the amount of spices if you don't love them as much as I do. I use a combination of ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger.
- Fat. You could use all butter or all oil. I like to use a combination of both, equal parts. I primarily use avocado oil but you can use any neutral oil, like vegetable oil.
- Sugar. I like a combination of white sugar and brown sugar.
- Large Eggs. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature so they properly emulsify into the batter.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. Vanilla pairs beautifully with all of the warm spices in carrot cake.
- Large Carrots. You'll need about two large carrots or 4 small carrots. I use the fine setting on a box grater to grate about 1 ⅓ Cup of finely shredded carrots. The food processor is my favorite way to grate a bunch of carrots.
- Crushed Pineapple. Make sure to drain your pineapple then weigh it. I love the juicy pineapple paired with the carrots.
- Toasted Pecans or Walnuts. To me, carrot cake is always taken to the next level if nuts are involved. I always prefer toasted nuts over dry nuts. I like to use walnuts or pecans with carrot cake. You don't need to add them if you don't like nuts.
- Shredded Unsweetened Coconut. Add this if you love it, it's not for me.
- Raisins. Such a controversial ingredient, if you like them add them.
For the cream cheese frosting, you'll need cream cheese and butter both completely softened to room temperature. Then you'll need confectioner's sugar, make sure to sift it to create a lump-free frosting. Then I like to add buttermilk powder it gives a great tangy flavor that pairs beautifully with the cream cheese. And with most frostings, I like to add some heavy whipping cream to have the frosting whip up nice and creamy and a little vanilla extract.
For ingredient quantities please reference the recipe card below. On the recipe card there is a button for US or M (Metric) measurements.
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and grease one 9-inch cake pan.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices then set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract.
Make sure to stir until no trace of the egg is left behind.
Add the shredded carrots and crushed pineapple to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Then gently fold in the dry ingredients and roasted nuts and raisins and coconut if using. Don't overmix the cake batter.
I grate my carrots on a box grater with the fine setting, but you can use the larger side if you want. You can also use a food processor to grate your carrots. Just make sure to use freshly grated carrots, the store-bought grated carrots have lost a lot of their moisture.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. As always check with a toothpick for any wet batter or gently press the center of the cake to see if it bounces back. Let cool completely before frosting the cake.
In a large bowl cream together the softened cream cheese and butter with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Spread on top of the cooled carrot cake and decorate with crushed nuts, coconut, and raisins.
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This cake has a great frosting to cake ratio, but the frosting is so creamy and smooth and not overly sweet. It's perfect!!
Can you double
This recipe was specifically designed for one eight-inch cake or nine-inch cake. You can easily double or triple the recipe to make a layer cake. On the recipe card below there are 2X and 3X buttons to double or triple the ingredient quantities.
I also have a carrot layer cake recipe which is quite simple too. You make that cake in a sheet pan and cut it into four rectangles. That cake is a little lighter in texture than this carrot cake.
More carrot recipes
If you love carrots then you gotta try this roasted carrots recipe, a favorite weeknight veggie for my family.
This carrot pineapple banana bread recipe is one of my friend's favorites!
Trust me on this one, I know you might think it sounds strange BUT carrot cheddar sandwiches are SO good!
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!Print
- 125 grams (1 Cup) All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- ¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 2oz (¼ Cup) Butter, melted
- 2oz (¼ Cup) Neutral Oil, I prefer Avocado Oil
- 50 grams (¼ Cup) Granulated Sugar
- 100 grams (½ Cup) Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 2 Large Carrots, about 1 ⅓ Cup Finely Shredded Carrots
- 4oz (½ Cup) Crushed Pineapple, drained
- ½ cup Toasted Pecans or Walnuts, if desired
- ¼ cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut, if desired
- ¼ cup Raisins, if desired
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4oz (½ Cup) Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2oz (¼ Cup) Butter, softened to room temperature
- 180 grams (1 ½ Cups) Confectioner's Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract or Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Buttermilk Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Heavy Whipping Cream
- ⅓ cup Toasted Nuts
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and grease one 9-inch cake pan.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices then set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract. Make sure to whisk until no trace of the egg is left behind.
- Whisk in the shredded carrots and crushed pineapple then gently fold in the dry ingredients and roasted nuts and raisins and coconut if using.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. As always check with a toothpick for any wet batter or gently press the center of the cake to see if it bounces back. Let cool completely before frosting cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl cream together the softened cream cheese and butter with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add in the confectioner's sugar, buttermilk powder, vanilla bean paste, and heavy cream. Mix on low until all of the powdered sugar is combined then mix on high for 2-3 minutes.
- Spread on top of the cooled carrot cake and decorate with crushed nuts, coconut, and raisins.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: single layer carrot cake, simple carrot cake recipe, easy carrot cake
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This post was originally published on November 9, 2012, as of April 16, 2022, the recipe has been updated.