This recipe makes a super moist and delicious carrot cake that is covered with the BEST cream cheese frosting!
When I think of desserts that are perfect for Spring, this carrot cake recipe is one of the first that comes to my mind. It’s so fresh and vibrant, and decorating it with cute little frosting carrots always brings a smile to my face. This recipe makes a perfectly moist and delicious cake that is covered with hands-down THE best cream cheese frosting.
What’s in this Carrot Cake Recipe:
One of the biggest challenges when creating a carrot cake recipe is finding a balance that results is a moist cake that is still structurally sound. The majority of the structure comes from the eggs and the flour. The moisture and flavor come from the fat, sugar, and any extra liquid you manage to incorporate-without going overboard. For this recipe the moisture comes from:
- Freshly grated carrots: Don’t buy pre-grated carrots! Grating fresh carrots not only gives you a great arm workout, but it also adds a ton of moisture to your cake.
- Brown sugar: I like to use brown sugar along with white sugar because of the extra moisture and softness it adds. You can use light or dark brown sugar, whatever you have on hand.
- Oil: Carrot cake is an oil-based cake, which helps add extra moisture and keep it fresh longer.
- Pecans: Toasted and finely chopped. Toasting the pecans intensifies their flavor and makes a great addition to this carrot cake recipe.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Leavening agents that help make the cake more light and fluffy.
- Other flavorings: Generous amounts of vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg are key for amazing flavor.
Tips for Making Carrot Cake:
- For the best texture, finely grate carrots using the smallest hole on your grater. This also ensures the carrots will become fully soft and cooked during baking.
- Since carrot cake is an oil-based cake, we miss out on the fluffiness that comes from creaming together butter and sugar. To compensate for this, whisk the eggs together vigorously with the sugars. This will aerate the eggs and result in a lighter cake.
- Don’t overmix the batter, overmixing can result in a more dense and chewy texture. When adding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients whisk until just combined and there are no more flour pockets.
- Before frosting cakes make sure they are as cold as possible or it will melt. I like to put my cakes in the freezer overnight so that adding the frosting is especially easy the next day. Place the cakes back into the freezer for at least 5 minutes in between coats of frosting.
Can Carrot Cake be Frozen?
Yes! Before frosting, wrap carrot cake in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for 4-6 months. Bonus, it will be especially easy to frost when you take it out!
I hope you enjoy this carrot cake recipe as much as I do! ♥️
Carrot CakeThis carrot cake recipe makes a perfectly moist and delicious cake that is covered with hands-down THE best cream cheese frosting.Print Pin RateServings: 8 peopleCalories: 375kcalCost: $10
- 2 - 9" round cake pans
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 2 cups fresh, peeled and finely grated carrots
- 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 and ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- ½ cup butter (1 stick) softened to room temperature
- 8 oz. brick style package full-fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 and ½ cups powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 225°
- Add pecan halves to a baking pan and toast them for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Peel and finely grate fresh carrots using the smallest holes on your grater. Set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 350°. Line 2- 9" round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Set aside.
- Add both sugars to a medium bowl along with the 4 large eggs. Whisk vigorously to combine. Whisk in the oil and vanilla.
- Finely chop the cooled and toasted pecans. Stir the pecans and grated carrots into the wet ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients using a whisk or a spatula. Make sure there are no flour pockets remaining.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into the 2 prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pans. Use a butter knife to separate the cake from the edge of the pan and then flip over to remove the cake. Keep the cake sitting upright because the top of the cake will stick to any surface. Let the cake cool completely before frosting. I like to put the cakes in the freezer overnight, which makes them extra easy to frost the next day.
Make the cream cheese frosting:
- Beat together softened butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
- Add the salt and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and beat until smooth after each.
- Slice the round part off of the top of the cake if desired. Frost the completely cooled cake all over. In between coats of frosting place the cake back in the freezer for 5-10 minutes so the frosting hardens and you can add another coat more easily.
NotesGarnish cakes with more chopped pecans if desired. Store cake, covered in the fridge, for up to 1 week. Before frosting you can also freeze carrot cake. Wrap the cakes tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for 4-6 months.