This carrot cake is moist, soft, and perfectly spiced, made with grated carrots, brown sugar, and fall spices, and topped with a cream cheese frosting.
Why this recipe works
- This cake is unbelievably moist and fluffy.
- Have the best combination of spices and sweetness.
- Filled with plenty of grated carrots, and oil which makes this cake extra moist.
- Topped with a dreamy cream cheese frosting.
- Made with simple ingredients.
- Stays moist for 4 days!
How to make even cake layers?
Our biggest tip to make even cake layers is to use a scale and cake strips. Weigh the cake batter and divide it into two even pans. Then use cake strips to make sure your cake layers bake evenly and don’t develop a dome on top.
Cake strips give you an evenly baked cake with a flat top.
Carrots- use fresh carrots for this recipe! Not canned carrots and not pre-shredded carrots, to get moist cupcakes to use fresh carrots and grate them yourself.
Flour– we used all-purpose flour for this recipe, self-rising flour, and cake flour will work great as well.
Baking powder and baking soda – to allow the cake to rise.
Brown sugar- we like using brown sugar for this recipe, the brown sugar adds extra flavor and tastes amazing with fall spices.
Granulated sugar– we like to use granulated sugar, also the most common sugar used in baking. Caster sugar will work great as well.
Vegetable oil – we used vegetable oil for this recipe. canola oil will work great for this recipe.
Eggs– To give the cake a good structure. Make sure you’re using room-temperature eggs.
Salt– We used kosher salt for this recipe. Salt doesn’t give the cake a salty taste, it helps to enhance the chocolate flavor.
For the cream cheese frosting:
Butter- make sure you are using room temperate butter. We used unsalted butter for this recipe. If you would like to use salted butter, skip the salt in the recipe.
Cream cheese- make sure that you are using whole-fat cream cheese that is at room temperature.
Powder sugar- is known as confessional sugar. For a smoother buttercream, sift it before adding it to the butter.
Pinch of salt- to balance the sweetness.
Preheat an oven to 180c (350f) and prep two 8-inch baking pans with parchment paper.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix the batter!
Divide the mixture into two 8-inch baking pans, we suggest using cake strips for even baking. (weight the batter for better results) and bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting:
Make the cream cheese frosting: into a large bowl add room temperature butter and mix with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy.
Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth.
Then add ½ of the powder sugar at a time (you don’t want to be in a powder sugar cloud).
Add a pinch of salt, and the vanilla extract and mix well until smooth.
For the assembly:
Pipe a small dollop of the frosting on the surface that you will frost on. Lay the first cake layer over the frosting dot.
Pipe ½ of the frosting on top of the cake layer and spread an even layer.
Top with the second cake layer and frost the cake.
For decoration, we like toasting either pecans or walnuts, chop them, and sprinkle the nuts around the edges of the cake. (see in the video)
- Use room temperature ingredients. It is important that you use room-temperature ingredients like eggs, cream cheese, and butter. This step ensures that your mixture mixes into a homogenous mixture and bakes perfectly. you don’t want to place cold batter into the oven.
- Don’t overmix the batter, you don’t want to develop the gluten in the flour. This step ensures you have moist cake and not dense and dry cake.
- Make sure that your butter and cream cheese is at room temperature. An hour or two before making this cake, take the butter and the cream cheese out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. They should be soft to the touch. If your butter and cream cheese are too cold, it will be harder to mix and there will be lumps of butter in the frosting.
- Use cake strips! Cake strips give you even and perfectly baked cake layers. Click here for the amazon link.
- Measure your flour correctly! When measuring your flour, avoid scooping it with a measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour with a spoon to create as many air pockets as possible, and spoon it into your measuring cup. Finally, level it with a back of a knife.
- Line your baking pan with parchment paper! This step helps the cake to release easily from the pan.
- Before you start to make this recipe, measure and prepare your ingredients so the baking process will go smoothly and easily.
- If you want to make these into cupcakes, check out our carrot cake cupcakes recipe.
Some people like adding pineapple to their carrot cake to make the cake extra moist, but we prefer only having carrots in our cake.
Our trick for making a super moist carrot cake is adding vegetable oil to it. We like adding oil to cakes because it makes the cakes super moist and tender.
Yes! This cake bakes great as a sheet cake! Make sure you change the baking time.
If you want to make carrot cake cupcakes, we have a recipe for that! Click here for the recipe!
This cake will last up to 3-4 days stored in the fridge. Cover the cake with plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from drying out. This cake tastes amazing the day after.
You can freeze this cake after it cooled completely in an airtight freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months, some people find the cupcake tastes better after freezing it.
our tip is not to freeze it decorated or covered with frosting, because it can ruin the decorating on the cake, we suggest freezing the cake and decorating it when you defrost it.
If you’re not looking to impress anyone with your decorating skills, it’s absolutely okay to freeze the cupcake with the frosting on.
We like to serve the cake with cream cheese frosting on top and we like to decorate it with chopped pecans or walnuts around the edges of the cake.
There are a few substitutions that may be helpful for your diet:
- Gluten-free - if you want to make this recipe gluten-free, replace the flour with gluten-free flour. We never tried this but let us know if it works!
- Dairy-free - you can make this cake dairy-free by replacing the butter with vegan butter or using your favorite recipe for vegan vanilla frosting or vegan cream cheese frosting.
Frosting- If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, you can use vanilla buttercream, maple buttercream, or cinnamon buttercream.
Add-ins- You can basically add any of your favorite add-ins to this cake. You can add chopped nuts, raisins, pineapple, chocolate chips, and applesauce.
More layer cake recipes:
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Lotus biscoff cake- This lotus biscoff cake is a layer cake made with a soft biscoff cake, biscoff buttercream, filled with biscoff cookie crumbs, and topped with biscoff cookies.
Chocolate orange cake- This super moist chocolate orange cake is made with fresh orange juice, orange zest, dutch cocoa powder, and topped with chocolate orange buttercream.
Strawberry jam cake- This strawberry jam cake is made with a moist and fluffy vanilla cake, filled with strawberry jam, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries, covered in vanilla buttercream, and topped with more fresh strawberries!
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Simple Carrot Cake
- 2 cups Flour
- 2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 4 Eggs
- 1 cup Granulated sugar
- 1 cup Brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 cup Vegetable oil
- 2.5 cups Grated carrots
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Cream cheese frosting:
- 115 g Butter soft
- 230 g Cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 3 cups Powder sugar
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Make the carrot cake:
- Preheat an oven to 180c (350f) and prep two 8 inch baking pans with parchment paper.
- Into a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix with a whisk until combined and set aside.
- Peel and finely grate the carrots. Into a big mixing bowl, add the eggs, vegetable oil, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, and the grated carrots. Mix until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix the batter!
- Divide the mixture into two 8-inch baking pans, we suggest using cake strips for even baking. (weight the batter for better results) and bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
Make the cream cheese frosting:
- Make the cream cheese frosting: into a large bowl add room temperature butter and mix with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy.
- Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth.
- Add ½ of the powder sugar at a time (you don’t want to be in a powder sugar cloud).
- Add a pinch of salt, and the vanilla extract and mix well until smooth.
For the assembly:
- Pipe a small dollop of the frosting on the surface that you will frost on. Lay the first cake layer over the frosting dot.
- Pipe ½ of the frosting on top of the cake layer and spread an even layer.
- Top with the second cake layer and frost the cake.
- For decoration, we like toasting either pecans or walnuts, chop them, and sprinkle the nuts around the edges of the cake. (see in the video)