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Grandma’s classic carrot cake is covered with my favorite cream cheese frosting. This recipe is perfect for holidays and birthday parties. It’s quick and easy to make.
If you love carrot cake, you’ll also love my Sweet Potato Cake. The frosting is to die for!
Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
This recipe may be simple but it’s certainly not basic. It’s moist, full of spice and the texture is perfect.
Obviously, this has the most amazing cream cheese frosting, because there’s no better combination than carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. There’s plenty of frosting to go around, so expect every bite to be better than the next.
Don’t wait for Easter to come around to make this recipe. It’s a family favorite, it’s been a part of plenty of birthdays and I even made it as a wedding cake. I hope you’ll love it as much as we do.
How to easily shred the carrots
I don’t know about you but shredding carrots with a handheld shredder to messy and takes too long. Instead, peel the carrots, chop into a few smaller pieces and pulse them in a food processor until they’re broken into small pieces. This will also maximize the carrots in each bite of cake.
How to make carrot cake
Prepare the pans and preheat the oven
Shred the carrots- see my above tip!
Beat the eggs- beat them until they’re nice and fluffy.
Add the sugar and oil- first beat the eggs and sugar, then add the oil
Combine and add the dry ingredients
Fold in the carrots and walnuts- I like to do this by hand so I don’t overmix the batter
Pour batter in the prepared pan- divide evenly between the two pans. Use a measuring cup for the most accurate results. This will ensure evenly baked cakes.
Bake and Cool
Frost and Eat- the best part
Tips for the best cream cheese frosting
Perhaps the best part of carrot cake is the frosting, and if you look at my slices, you’ll see a nice thick layer in the middle which means frosting with every bite.
Okay fine, I’ll share my secrets to make the perfect cream cheese frosting
- Start with cold ingredients – To achieve a smooth texture, be sure to really beat the butter until it’s smooth prior to adding the cream cheese.
- Butter to cream cheese ratio– butter adds stability to the frosting
- Full fat cream cheese- this is not the place the cut calories. Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese for the best result.
The combination of these things helps to make a nice, thick frosting that isn’t too soft, it’s great for piping too. If you do find that your frosting is thin or runny, you can either add additional powdered sugar, or put it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Decorating this cake
I kept it pretty simple here, but I wanted to share a couple tips with you to frost this cake. I do recommend adding a crumb coat layer, as the edges of this cake tend to be a little flakey. Once the crumb coat is added, pop it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to let it set before adding the final layer of frosting.
I like to invert my layers, so the top of the cake is nice and flat. Don’t worry about all that uneven space, we’re going to fill that in with frosting. Lastly, To add the walnuts, it’s best to do so before the frosting has set.
How to store carrot cake
I store my cake for 2-3 days at room temperature in an airtight container. I love my cake carrier for storing cake. If you live in a hot or humid environment, then you’ll need to refrigerate this cake. However, be sure to serve it at room temperature for best results.
This classic carrot cake is moist and perfectly spiced. It’s topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting.
- 3 cups grated carrots, raw
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (236ml) vegetable oil
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (5g) ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (8.5g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (116g) walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cups (226g) unsalted butter, cold
- 12 ounces (339g) full fat cream cheese, cold
- 6–7 cups (911g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons (9ml) heavy whipping cream or milk
- 1 ½ cups (174g) walnuts, chopped (optional)
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides, lightly dust with flour.
- Peel the carrots and use a grater or food processor to shred into small pieces. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. Next add the oil and continue beating on low speed until well mixed.
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until incorporated. Fold in walnuts and carrots.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake for approximately 28-35 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.
For the frosting:
- Cut the butter into pieces, about 1 tablespoon size. Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally until the butter is light and fluffy.
- Then add the cream cheese and cream together with the butter for 2-3 minutes until they are whipped and free of lumps, scape down the bowl occasionally.
- Slowly add confectionary sugar, 2-3 cups at a time, alternating with the liquid (vanilla extract and heavy cream) and beat until desired consistency is reached. Add salt if desired.
To assemble the cake:
- Level off the cakes by removing any domes. Place a dollop of frosting on your cake board and place the bottom layer of cake centered on a cake board.
- Pipe a layer of frosting in circles working outside edge to the middle. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Add the second layer of cake, inverted. Apply a crumb coat the cake and put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from freezer and add remaining frosting to the side and top of the cake. Use your hands to gently push the walnuts into the side of the frosting.
- To make gluten-free: Use a one-for-one cup gluten-free flour replacement
- Storage and make ahead: The cake layers can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cool completely and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Once frosted, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator such as a cake carrier. Serve at room temperature for best results
- This recipe can also be made as carrot cake cupcakes
- Category: Cake
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Cream cheese frosting, Cake recipe, Easy Carrot Cake Recipe, easter cake