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Carrot cake recipe from scratch on a marble cake plate. The cake is garnished with caramel and walnuts.
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5 from 3 votes

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe From Scratch

This moist, spiced, carrot cake recipe from scratch is the most tender and delicious carrot cake you will ever make.  Made from simple ingredients and easily assembled - this cake will be your new holiday favorite.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
cooling time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 561kcal

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 1.5 cups canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups shredded carrots loosely packed (about 4 carrots)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts optional

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • ½ cup butter room temperature
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Carrot Cake

  • Start by grating your carrots.  Skip the pre-shredded ones - they are too dry.  You'll need 4 cups of carrots - about 4 carrots worth.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine canola oil and sugar.  Mix until well combined.
  • Add eggs and mix until well blended.
  • Toss in shredded carrots and stir until combined.
  • Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  • Mix until well combined. Add nuts if desired and stir to combine.
  • Generously grease your baking pans. (See notes for pan size options.) I've found that adding a piece of parchment to the bottom of your pan prevents sticking.
  • Transfer batter to your greased pans.  Bake at 350 degrees.  Time will depend on your pan size.  (See notes for baking time based on cake pan size.)
  • After baking - let cake cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a large mixing bowl combine butter and cream cheese.  Whip until well combined and smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
  • Mix until smooth and well combined.
  • Use frosting to ice cooled cakes.
  • If making a layered cake - frost layers and then stack.
  • Frost the outside of the cake last.

Notes

There are a few options when it comes to cake size with this recipe:
  • Here I have made a 3 layer cake with a 9 inch cake pans - the cook time for this is 25-30 minutes.  Double the frosting recipe for this option - you'll need more frosting for this larger cake.
  • Another option is to make a 3 layer cake with  6 inch cake pans.  The cook time for these is 45-50 minutes because the cake layers are thicker.
  • You could also make the cake in a 9x13 pan.  The cook time is 45-50 minutes for this size.
  • You could also do cupcakes.  Bake them for 13-15 minutes.
With all of these options - you'll want to test your cake to make sure it is done.  There are a couple of methods for this.  My favorite is to press your finger lightly into the center of the cake.  If it bounces back, the cake it done.  It if leave and impression - the cake needs to cook longer.
The second option is to insert a toothpick into the center.  If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
Every oven is different, so cooking times may be slightly off. 
What Can I Add To My Carrot Cake?
I am a purist when it comes to carrot cake. I don't like to add anything else to it, but you totally can!  Some additions include:
  • chopped walnuts
  • raisins
  • shredded coconut

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 561kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 274mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 7618IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg