This Moist Easy Carrot Cake is the absolute BEST! It’s made with a whole pound of carrots, loaded with warm spices, covered in the most divine cream cheese frosting, and garnished with crunchy toasted pecans.
This Easy Carrot Cake is the one you’ve been dreaming of!!! It has an incredibly moist, fluffy, tender crumb and is full of flavor. The carrots are finely grated which allows them to fully cook, becoming soft and one with the cake.
2-Layer Carrot Cake
I think of Carrot Cake as the spring version of Pumpkin Cake, but honestly, I would gladly eat this any day of the year! Easter is the perfect excuse to make this delicious cake and share it with your family. They’re sure to fall head over heels for it and go back for seconds.
Ingredients for Carrot Cake:
- All-Purpose Flour– This is the best type of flour to use in this cake to create a moist and tender crumb.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda– These are chemical leavening agents and react differently. The cannot be interchanged.
- Cinnamon– Yes, it seems like there’s a lot but it’s delicious!
- Ginger– This is a warm spice that is sweet but also has a slight spicy bite.
- Nutmeg– It is very often used with cinnamon. It too is a warm spice with a nutty flavor.
- Salt– Added to almost every baked good because it helps to enhance the other flavors.
- Eggs– The yolk of the egg brings moisture and the white helps with creating structure in baked goods. Size large eggs are the standard size used in baking.
- Granulated Sugar– This type of sugar in the carrot cake helps keep the crumb light and airy instead of heavy and dense.
- Oil– A mild oil like canola or vegetable should be used. Using oil instead of butter leads to a very moist crumb.
- Vanilla Extract– Pure extract should be used for best flavor.
- Carrots– This recipe calls for 1 pound of carrots. Wash, peel, and then grate the carrots on the side of your box grater with the small holes. You should end up with about 2 cups of packed shredded carrots.
- Crushed Pineapple (or applesauce)– This adds additional moisture as well as flavor. Be sure to drain the crushed pineapple well by pressing through a mesh sieve.
- Coconut, Nuts, & Raisins– These are optional add-ins that are often seen in carrot cake. Be sure to use BAKING raisins and toast the nuts (pecans or walnuts) for better texture.
How to make Carrot Cake:
Time needed: 2 hours and 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven & prepare pans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease two 9″ cake pans with shortening or spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper (trace around pan and cut) and grease again. Add about a tablespoon flour and rotate pan around to lightly coat the bottom and sides. Shake out excess flour.
- Mix dry ingredients
In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Mix liquid ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid until combined. Stir in the grated carrots and pineapple until evenly dispersed.
Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove & Cool
Allow cake to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and then invert over a wire rack. Give the back of the pan a good pat and it should release. Remove parchment paper and let cakes cool completely.
Frost cooled cakes and top with toasted pecans. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes! Since the cake is frosted with cream cheese frosting, it does need to be refrigerated. Cover tightly in plastic wrap or top with a dome lid. Remove from the fridge 30-60 minutes before serving to allow to come to room temperature.
Carrot Cake is good for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Yes! Slice up the carrot cake, wrap each individual slice tightly in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer plastic bag, removing all air. Place in the fridge the day before or leave on the counter for 1-2 hours to defrost. Lasts up to 3 months in the freezer.
The cake can be frozen before frosting as well. Once completely cooled, wrap in plastic and then place in a freezer bag, removing all air. Freeze for up to 3 months. Pull out of the freezer and frost. No need to let it thaw. It’s actually a lot easier to frost a frozen cake!
Carrot Cake Variations:
Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners and fill each 3/4 full (about 1/4 cup batter). Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. Remove from pan after 5 minutes and cool completely before frosting.
9×13 inch Pan
Pour all batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Spread batter into a greased 18×13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 23-25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Pour all batter into a well greased and floured 10-inch bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS LAYERED CARROT CAKE:
- Grater– This is the grater I have and it does an awesome job grating cheese, carrots, zucchini, potatoes… I love that it has two sides, folds up, and stands sturdy when grating. It’s also really easy to clean!
- 9-inch Round Baking Pans– I highly recommend these pans. From my years of baking I have found that light colored pans cook the most evenly and these are nice and sturdy.
- Rubber Bottom Mixing Bowls– These are my very favorite mixing bowls because of the rubber handle and bottom. I use them all the time from mixing pancake batter to pie dough to cake batter.
- Glass Mixing Bowls– These are the bowls in the process shots and they are great for mixing as well as storing/transporting food since they come with lids.
- Cake Stand– You’ll need at least a 10 inch cake stand for this 9 inch cake. You can also use a plate or cover the bottom of a baking sheet covered with foil. I get most of my cake stands for a very reasonable price at Target (in the Dollar Spot section) or T.J. Maxx and Home Goods.
- Mesh Sieve– This makes draining the pineapple a lot easier. It’s also great for making sauces, rinsing berries, draining pasta…
LOOKING FOR MORE EASTER DESSERTS? CHECK OUT THESE:
- White Chocolate Easter Egg Cupcakes
- Carrot Sheet Cake
- Carrot Cake Cheesecake
- Warm Caramel Carrot Cake
- The BEST Caramel Pecan Carrot Cupcakes
For the Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups finely shredded carrots, (1 pound)
- 2 8 ounce cans crushed pineapple, well-drained (or 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce)
- 3/4 cup sweetened coconut (optional)
- 1/2 cup baking raisins (optional)
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional), chopped
For the Frosting:
- 3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature but still firm (~30 minutes on counter)
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature but still firm (~30 minutes on counter)
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped (toasted)
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease two 9″ cake pans with shortening or spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper (trace around pan and cut) and grease again. Add about a tablespoon flour and rotate pan around to lightly coat the bottom and sides. Shake out excess flour.
- Spread pecan halves on a baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes until fragrant. Remove and allow to cool completely before chopping.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid until combined. Stir in the grated carrots and pineapple until evenly dispersed.
- Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and then invert over a wire rack. Give the back of the pan a good pat and it should release. Remove parchment paper and let cakes cool completely.*
- Frost cooled cakes- Place on round on a platter or plate. Spread frosting on and then place second cake upside down on top. Apply frosting to sides and top of cake and then garnish with toasted pecans.
- Store in an airtight container (or covered in plastic wrap) in the fridge for up to 5 days.
For the Frosting:
- With an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer with paddle attachment), beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes).
- Add the vanilla and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, mixing on low speed. Once combined, increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes. Remove and mix on low speed (or by hand with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon) briefly and then spread on cake.**