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!
Carrot Cake is a perfect go-to cake recipe 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. It’s easy to make a few cake layers with Cream Cheese Frosting, then decorate with nuts or extra pieces of fruit. You’ll never trade store-bought for this homemade carrot cake again!
CAN I SUBSTITUTE APPLESAUCE FOR OIL IN THIS CARROT CAKE RECIPE?
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.
CAN I MAKE CARROT CAKE THE DAY BEFORE?
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 you’re working with a dairy-based frosting, like cream cheese, 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.
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WHAT CAN YOU DECORATE CARROT CAKE WITH?
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
WHAT MAKES THIS CARROT CAKE MOIST?
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.
MORE CAKE RECIPES
- Vanilla Pound Cake
- Oreo Cake
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Easy Strawberry Shortcake
- Pumpkin Crumb Cake
- Ultimate Carrot Cake With Carrot Cake Jam Filling
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS CARROT CAKE RECIPE
- 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.
HOW TO STORE CARROT CAKE
- Serve: This cake can be left at room temperature for up to 2 hours before needing refrigeration.
- Store: Keep Carrot Cake in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap for up to 1 week. Let return to room temperature before serving.
- Freeze: Freeze unfrosted Carrot Cake, wrapped tightly in foil and plastic wrap, for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight and make a fresh batch of cream cheese frosting to assemble.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9 inch cake pans with baking spray.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl.
- Into your stand mixer add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, carrots, walnuts, pineapple and vanilla on low speed, then add in the flour mixture.
- 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.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.