This is the Best Carrot Cake Recipe around! A moist, lightly spiced carrot cake topped with classic cream cheese frosting. I added coconut and chopped walnuts for some extra crunch and to satisfy your sweet and salty cravings!
My Favorite Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
I try not to label things as “The Best” very often, so when I do – you know it’s got to be legit. I’ve been around the block a few times. That’s the carrot cake block, to be exact, and I’ve found the ultimate best carrot cake recipe. It’s the most moist, with the best spices, and the creamiest icing. Each bite takes you on a wild flavor ride.
So buckle in as I walk you through what I (and basically everyone I’ve ever met) think is truly the BEST carrot cake recipe.
What Does Carrot Cake Taste Like?
Well, not carrots. When I bite into carrot cake, the most recognizable flavors to me are the cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts. I’d liken the flavor to a spiced wafer. BUT, carrot cake is one of the most moist cakes you’ll ever try. So, spice wafer flavor, but definitely not texture.
Here’s a pro tip for ya: If you make your cake ahead of time, the spice flavors will intensify!
Carrot Cake Ingredients
For the cake, I like to keep my spice blend simple. You won’t find anything surprising or exotic here.
This is all you’ll need for the cake:
- eggs at room temperature ← important
- vegetable oil
- baking soda
- baking powder
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- shredded carrots
- chopped walnuts
How to Make Carrot Cake
Prep: Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease a 15x10x1-inch pan with butter and then dust it with flour and set it aside.
Mix: In your electric mixer’s bowl add eggs, oil, and sugar; beat until completely smooth.
In a separate mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk everything together to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat it well, until everything is thoroughly incorporated.
Add-In: Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the carrots and walnuts.
Bake: Pour the batter into the previously prepared baking pan. Smooth out the top and rap the pan on your kitchen counter to even it out and eliminate any air bubbles.
Bake your carrot cake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
How to Make Your Carrot Cake Moist
There are a couple of key tricks to having the most moist cake around. Here are my top tips:
- Freshly grate your carrots (don’t use store bought shredded carrots) fresh carrots will have more moisture and make your cake more moist.
- Use room temperature eggs. Room temp eggs will whip up with a greater volume and this will make your cake lighter and fluffier.
- Use oil instead of butter. Since this cake is full of spices, you won’t need butter to add flavor. Use oil as your fat instead because it will make your cake more moist than butter.
- Ice your cake a day before serving. The icing will seep into the cake and make it super moist!
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
To frost our top notch carrot cake, I use a homemade cream cheese icing. The ingredients are pretty simple.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- unsalted butter
- cream cheese
- vanilla extract
- lemon zest (add more if you like a stronger lemon-taste)
- powdered sugar
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
This classic cream cheese frosting is so simple to make and only takes a few minutes. Here’s how:
Combine: Combine the butter and cream cheese in your electric mixer’s bowl. Add vanilla and beat the mixture until it’s smooth.
Add: Add the lemon zest and sugar, one cup at a time. Continue to beat until everything is completely incorporated, fluffy, and smooth.
Ice: When the cake is completely cooled, cover it with your prepared frosting.
Tips for the Best Carrot Cake
I said it was the best carrot cake and I stand by my declaration. These tips will make sure your cake turns out the best, too. 🙌
- Let your cake cool completely before you frost it. Resist the urge to frost your cake too soon!
- For a super moist and flavor rich cake, make and ice your carrot cake 1 full day before cutting into it.
Carrot Cake FAQs
Can I Make this Cake Ahead?
Absolutely! In fact, if you make it ahead of time, the flavor actually gets even better! The spices intensify and the cream cheese icing gets absorbed into the dense cake for an even more tender texture. As if we ever even imagined that was possible?!
What is the Best Way to Store Carrot Cake?
It’s best to store this cake in the refrigerator. Pop it into an airtight container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap. It will stay nicely in your fridge for about 5 to 7 days (and it will taste the best on day 2 or 3).
Carrot Sheet Cake
For the Cake
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- ⅔ cup chopped walnuts
For the Frosting
- 1 stick ( 1/2-cup OR 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest , add more if you like a stronger lemon-taste
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- finely chopped walnuts, for garnish
- coconut shavings, for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Grease a 15x10x1-inch pan with butter and then dust it with flour. Set aside. (You can also use an 18×13 baking sheet, but cake won’t be as tall)
- In your electric mixer’s bowl add eggs, oil, and sugar; beat until completely smooth.
- In a separate mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg; whisk to combine.
- Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat well, until everything is thoroughly incorporated.
- Remove bowl from the mixer and stir in carrots and walnuts.
- Pour batter into previously prepared baking pan. Smooth out the top and rap the pan on your kitchen counter to even it out and eliminate any air bubbles.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- In the meantime, prepare the frosting.
- Combine butter and cream cheese in your electric mixer’s bowl; add vanilla and beat mixture until smooth.
- Add lemon zest and sugar, one cup at a time; continue to beat until completely incorporated, fluffy, and smooth.
- Remove cake from oven and let cool completely before frosting.
- When cake is completely cooled, cover it with prepared frosting.
- Sprinkle with walnuts and coconut shavings.
- Cut and serve.
- Store cake in refrigerator.