Classic Carrot Cake

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Carrot Cake is incredibly MOIST and SOFT, made with carrots, , walnuts, pineapple juice, buttermilk, and cinnamon, then topped with sweet cream cheese frosting, ready in under 60 minutes!

We’re always searching for the best cake recipes we can find, and right now we’re loving this Easy Chocolate Cake, Classic Yellow Cake and Red Velvet Cake!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake is one of my go-to cake recipes for Easter, or just spring time in general. It’s made with sweet pineapple and carrots, with creamy buttermilk and oil that combines in the batter to make one of the most moist cakes ever. I like to make a few cake layers with my cream cheese frosting, then decorate with nuts or extra pieces of fruit. Trust me, you’ll never trade store-bought for this homemade carrot cake again!


You can absolutely substitute unsweetened applesauce for vegetable oil in a carrot cake, but keep in mind that the fat in the oil adds a lot of fat and moisture to the cake. Applesauce is still good, but oil is slightly better for the texture.


Bake this carrot cake the day before and either store on the counter if unfrosted, or if you’ve already added the cream cheese then in the refrigerator. Any time I’m working with a dairy-based frosting, like cream cheese, I don’t leave it on the countertop for longer than 2 hours.

You can also make carrot cake several weeks ahead of time and freeze, then defrost in the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature before serving.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I like to keep my cakes decorated plainly because I’m not overly artistic but you can certainly dress up your cakes.

  • Nuts (try pecans, walnuts, or almonds)
  • Buttercream, even though carrot cake is traditionally made with cream cheese frosting
  • Powdered sugar
  • Caramel sauce
  • Easy whipped cream
  • Extra pineapple
  • Crumbs from the cake if you trimmed the layers flat


Carrot cake is full of carrots and pineapple, which both contain a lot of moisture. Plus the acid and fat from the buttermilk, which works with the batter to create an incredibly moist and tender texture.

You can add more moisture and flavor to this carrot cake recipe by substituting half of the granulated sugar with brown sugar, which will give the carrot cake a deeper molasses type sweetness.



  • Add a cup of raisins to this carrot cake recipe for extra sweetness.
  • You can make this recipe in cupcake tins for carrot cake cupcakes, then pipe the tops with the cream cheese frosting.
  • Add a cup of sweetened shredded coconut to the cake batter, then decorate the cake with extra coconut flakes.
  • Mix together your dry ingredients before adding any wet ingredients to make sure everything gets evenly dispersed in the cake batter.
  • Add some extra spices, like nutmeg, ginger, or even pumpkin pie spice to add some variation to this recipe.
  • You can use Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese to lower some of the fat in the frosting. Honestly, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the Neufchatel and cream cheese, they’re so much alike.
  • You can grate the carrots, or chop and pulse them in the food processor for a faster method.
  • Make this cake in a bundt pan for a more decorative look, then frost as usual or dust with powdered sugar once the carrot cake has cooled. Butter and dust the bundt pan with all purpose flour before pouring the batter in to prevent the cake from sticking.
  • As a general rule, you want to bring cakes to room temperature before serving, or they may be mistaken for stale when they’re actually just cold.
  • If you’re making this for someone with an allergy, substitute the 3 large eggs with 1 ½ mashed bananas, or ½ cup applesauce.

Easy Carrot Cake

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Carrot Cake

  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Carrot Cake is incredibly MOIST and SOFT, made with carrots, pineapple juice, buttermilk, and cinnamon, then topped with sweet cream cheese frosting, ready in under 60 minutes!


  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Cream Cheese Frosting


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9" cake pans with baking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl.
  3. Into your stand mixer add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, carrots, walnuts, pineapple and vanilla on low speed, then add in the flour mixture.

  4. Pour half the batter into each cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and let cool completely before frosting with your Cream Cheese Frosting.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Amount per serving: 330 calories, Calories: 330g, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 285mg, Potassium: 160mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 5430g, Vitamin C: 1.9g, Calcium: 40g, Iron: 1.3g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: carrot cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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  1. Made this cake and it is delicious–evidentially because it is disappearing at a fast rate. It is so easy and so soft and moist. I did not have pineapple so I used some applesauce and brown sugar because that was what I had on hand and after reading your recipe tips I thought , why not.

    Seriously, who thought home made carrot cake could be so not stressful. Next time trying the raisins.

    So good for breakfast–Hey, it’s a veg.

  2. Hi Sabrina! I have leftover cake flour from trying your chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can this be used in this recipe or should I stick with all-purpose flour? Thanks!

    1. Yes but you’ll need to add an additional 1/4 cup of cake flour (total of 2 1/4 cups) to equal the substitution needed. Enjoy!

  3. Do you have an easy method of grating the carrots? I think I will grow old and die by the time I grate enough. Seriously!

    1. Haha, you can always use a shredding disk (the one with all the holes) in your food processor to quickly grate them. Hope this helps get you to this cake faster! Enjoy.