Classic Carrot Cake

12 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

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 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!


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 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.

Carrot Cake Frosting Collage



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.


Classic Carrot Cake slice being lifted from whole cake


  • 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.


  • 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.

Classic Carrot Cake slice on plate with fork

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Carrot Cake

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


  • 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


  • 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.



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


Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 285mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 5430IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Keyword: carrot cake

Classic Carrot Cake Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingCarrot Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingEasy Carrot Cake

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. This classic carrot cake is so decadent and moist! The sweet cream cheese frosting is a winner! Can’t wait to have this for my Brother’s birthday this next week!

  2. Had this carrot cake this day for our family outing and it was a crowd favorite! The elders even want the recipe, so I gladly send them!

  3. This was soooo good! The perfect carrot cake; my whole family gobbled it up! I think it will be a new Spring tradition.

  4. I’ve never made carrot cake before and this recipe made it so easy! Everyone loved it. Thank you!

  5. I have made this cake many times and it is always delicious and perfect texture. It is a very easy and forgiving recipe. This is one of my favorites for a reliable cake.

  6. I own a restaurant and everything I serve are my personal recipes as a Chef/Cook for my passion for cooking and baking since I’m 5 years old ?
    I just LOVE ALL your recipes and kindness I needed to share with you ?

  7. I need a carrot cake RECIPE to be baked in a 15×10 alum pan. Do I double the recipe? If I do what temp & how long do I bake? I have reg oven & convection.

    Also, need instructions for German Choc in this pan size. Thank You!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.