This carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is made in one bowl and only a wooden spoon is required! Super moist and has the perfect amount of sweetness. The best dessert to make for Easter Sunday or any celebration!
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Moist and Easy Cake!
Carrot cake tastes amazing all year round, but I especially love to serve it at our Easter brunch or Easter dinner. It’s one of those classic Easter desserts that everyone always looks forward to, as well as coconut macaroons drizzled with melted chocolate or this pineapple upside down cake recipe. So, so yummy!
This carrot cake is super moist and is such a delicious treat! The recipe comes together so quickly and is perfect for a small dinner party. I also love that you just need one bowl and a wooden spoon. No mixer is required!
It’s so moist and has the perfect sweetness from the pineapple. Plus the rich cream cheese frosting is to die for. I could have just eaten it by the spoon (okay maybe I did…shhh). There will most likely be leftover frosting, so feel free to just dive in or use it on carrot cake cookies! Or spread it on graham crackers (or just about anything). That is one of my favorite childhood treats.
Homemade Carrot Cake Ingredients
This carrot cake recipe is one of the best and easiest recipes to make for any special day! It is light and tasty with a sweet and savory flavor! These pantry staple ingredient
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Vegetable oil: Moisten the cake with vegetable oil.
- Sugars: Combine white and brown sugar together for extra sweetness and a delicious base. Sugars lock in moisture helping the wet and dry ingredients combine together.
- Eggs: Bind together the cake batter with eggs and makes the structure of the cake.
- Carrots: Just what the cake is all about! Shredded carrots are needed for texture and an amazing flavor.
- Pineapple: This is a hidden treat that makes the carrot cake moist but also adds extra texture and a sweet flavor.
- Vanilla extract: Added in for flavor!
- All-purpose flour: Soft and tender cake is created from the flour as the base of the cake.
- Baking soda and powder: Together these leavening agents work together to balance flavor and texture while lifting and rising the cake batter as it is baking.
- Cinnamon: A sweet and savory flavor that has a hint of spice.
How to Make Carrot Cake
Best carrot cake recipe is right here! It is moist, flavorful, and a delicious combination of a rich and savory dessert. It is the perfect combination!
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Shred carrots with a grater.
- Mix: In a large bowl, stir the oil and sugars with a wooden spoon. Then stir in the eggs, carrots, pineapple, and vanilla. Next stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and stir, just until combined.
- Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick come clean. Let the cake cool completely.
- Frosting: For the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add more powdered sugar until you reach desired thickness and sweetness.
One of the keys to the BEST carrot cake is using freshly grated carrots. They make the cake super moist and delicious. The pre-grated carrots are too big and have usually lost a lot of their moisture and fresh taste. Grating whole fresh carrots at home ensures they’ll retain a lot of their moisture and flavor.
There are two ways to grate carrots:
- Hand grater. Using a hand grater is an easy way to grate the carrots. Make sure to use the side of the grater with the large holes. This method does require a little more elbow grease, but it gets the job done!
- Food processor. To make it faster, use a food processor. Pulse it a few times until the carrots are grated into small pieces (but not puréed).
TIP: For this recipe, you’ll need about 2 medium carrots to make 1 cup of packed grated carrots. You might want to buy a couple of extra though just in case it doesn’t make enough.
Here are some baking tips to make this cake even better! Add in fruit, top with coconut or nuts, and learn to line the perfectly. All these tips are helpful and best to read over for this recipe and future ones.
- Pineapple. Make sure to drain the pineapple. The carrots already contain a lot of moisture, so adding crushed pineapple to the juice will ruin the consistency of the cake.
- Applesauce. Applesauce can be used in place of crushed pineapple if you prefer.
- Extra mix-ins. Feel free to mix extras into the batter, like raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts, or shredded coconut. You can even toast the nuts first for even more flavor.
- Line the pan. The cake is super moist, so make sure to use parchment paper and cooking spray. You don’t want it to stick to the pan!
- Toasted coconut. Before serving, try topping the cake with freshly toasted coconut. It adds incredible flavor and just the right amount of sweetness.
- Doubling. To double the recipe, use a 9×13″ baking dish or two 9-inch round circle cake pans.
- Frost cake. Wait for the cake to cool to room temperature before adding on the frosting. If the cake is too hot or warm, the frosting will melt to the sides or leave spots unfrosted.
Cream Cheese Frosting
You can’t have carrot cake without cream cheese frosting! The rich, tangy flavor is the perfect complement to the sweet flavor of the cake. There will most likely be leftover frosting after making the recipe, so feel free to save some for later when making cinnamon rolls or pumpkin bars. Or if you really like frosting, add it all on top of the cake! I won’t judge. :)
For a fun twist, make a caramel carrot cake! Add 1/2 cup dulce de leche to the frosting and a pinch of salt to make caramel cream cheese frosting. You can even make a fun caramel swirl by placing 9 dots on top of the cake, then swirling with a knife.
The caramel flavor adds a great touch and pairs wonderfully with the other flavors of the cake. A maple cream cheese frosting, cinnamon cream cheese frosting or sour cream frosting would also taste delicious.
Compared to most other cakes, carrot cake is on the healthier side for a dessert. However, the carrot cake has a rich and decadent frosting that is usually made out of cream cheese and that contains more saturated fat than other cake recipes.
Carrot cake is described as a spice cake. Most carrot cakes have baking spices like ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg that are used for flavor and a savory combination. The taste is most described as savory with a hint of sweet and spicy.
It is said that the texture and taste of cakes with oil are generally better compared to butter. Vegetable oil cakes tend to bake up thicker and stay moist and tender far longer than butter cakes. It is a preference and what you may have on hand too!
Storing + Freezing
Learn the best way to store this carrot cake recipe. It is an easy recipe to make but can be made ahead of time or store leftovers after serving. This is cake is one of the best and so simple to store!
- To store: Simply place the cake in an airtight container and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap/aluminum foil. It will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days.
- To freeze: If you plan on freezing this dessert, I’d recommend cutting the cake into squares and then freezing them in the pan overnight. This allows the icing to harden up so that it won’t stick. Then wrap the cake squares in plastic wrap and add them to a zip-top bag. Place in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, remove the plastic wrap and thaw in the fridge.
5 star review
“Made this today and I must say its the best carrot cake ever. Easy to make with on hand ingredients that I always have. The cake is very light, however the taste is intense and wonderful. This is a keeper in my recipe box.”– Ferryal
More Delicious Recipes for Easter
- ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar , packed
- 2 large eggs , beaten
- 1 cup packed freshly grated carrots , about 2 large carrots
- ½ cup crushed pineapple , drained
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8" pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Shred carrots with grater.
- In a large bowl, stir the oil and sugars together with a wooden spoon. Then stir in the eggs, carrots, pineapple and vanilla. Next stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and stir, just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes clean. Let the cake cool completely.
- For the cream cheese frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add more powdered sugar until you reach desired thickness and sweetness.
- Frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting, then cover until ready to serve.
- Cut carrot cake into 9 large squares or 12 medium pieces. Enjoy!
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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Recipe adapted from Dessert for Two by Christina Lane.