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Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake is a classic and my all time fav cake! A light and fluffy cake filled with shredded carrot and spices, and layered with a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Recipe

Hands up if carrot cake is your favourite cake flavour too! Move over chocolate cake, you’re over rated!

It’s one of my most popular recipes and it gets overwhelmingly positive reviews. Tried and tested numerous times so it’s 100% perfect. It’s super moist but also light and fluffy so it never feels heavy. It’s filled to the brim with shredded carrots which is what gives the cake so much moisture.

Flavoured with spices and brown sugar, all layered up with tangy cream cheese frosting. You wont be able to stop at just one slice!

Why this is the BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

  • Super moist crumb
  • Will stay fresh for up 4 days
  • The perfect level of sweetness
  • Never dry
  • Can be made ahead of time
  • Perfect ratio of cake to cream cheese frosting
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks to getting the ultimate carrot cake

  • Use freshly shredded carrots. These will have the most moisture compared to pre shredded which has been sitting in a bag drying out for days. Carrot is the one of the main sources of moisture for the cake.
  • Don’t over mix the cake batter. One of the worst mistakes you can make with baking is over mixing! Mixing develops gluten in the flour which is what will make your cake tough a chewy. Stop mixing as soon as you no longer see any dry flour in the batter.
  • Make the cake ahead of time. This is one of those perfect recipes that you can make a day or two ahead of time and the flavour and texture just keeps getting better with time!
  • Let the cake rest. Make sure to let your cake rest for 30-60 minutes in the fridge before serving. This will give the cream cheese frosting time to firm up so your slices will come out perfect!
Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Frosting

In my opinion you simply can’t have carrot cake without my cream cheese frosting. The cake is sweet and warming and cream cheese just works perfectly at cutting through that flavor.

Of course everyone has different preferences so here are a couple of other options!

  • Lemon Icing – A simple lemon icing made with lemon juice and icing sugar.
  • Brown Sugar Buttercream – I make this for my Banana Cake but it would go just as well with carrot cake!
  • Vanilla Buttercream – A classic that will just go with anything, you can get that recipe here.
Carrot Cake Recipe

History of Carrot Cake

It is not known for sure the history of carrot cake but it is thought to have been created when sweeteners like sugar were expensive. Carrots were used in baked goods as a substitute for sugar, this is the same for pumpkin pie and a lot of other recipes that use vegetables.

Carrot Cake had another resurgence in popularity in the United Kingdom during World War 2 as there was rationing of food like sugar.

When was Carrot Cake invented?

Variations and early additions of the cake have been around since the 1500’s but not until 1824 was a recipe published by Antoine Beauvilliers which is similar to what we know today.

Carrot Cake Additions

I like my cake to be soft and fluffy without many additions but here are a few you can add to this recipe.

  • 1/4 Cup Crushed Pineapple
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Fruit
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Nuts
Carrot Cake Ingredients

Carrot Cake Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 2 1/2 Cups / 300g Shredded Carrot – Use a box grater to shred your own carrots. Pre shredded carrots have lost so much of their moisture which will lead to a dry cake.
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Cups / 200g Sugar – Brown sugar can be used instead of white sugar for a deeper more caramel flavour.
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 1/2 / 375ml Cups Oil – Use a flavorless light oil like canola, sunflower or vegetable. Olive oil is too strong.
  • 2 Cups / 250g Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda – Baking soda is used in this recipe instead of baking powder as the batter is more acidic.
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon – Mixed spice or a small amount of nutmeg can be substituted here.
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 Stick / 8 Tbsp / 115g Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature. If you forgot to get it out of the fridge you can place it into the microwave in short bursts to soften.
  • 7oz / 200g Cream Cheese – This recipe needs a block of room temperature cream cheese. Spreadable or light cream cheese wont work in this recipe.
  • 3 Cups / 375g Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar, icing sugar and confectioners sugar are all the same ingredient just different names in different parts of the world. 

How to Make Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake

Preheat the oven to 170C / 340F and make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.

In a medium size mixing bowl add the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients together well.

Shred you carrots using a box grater and add them to the bowl. Fold through with a wooden spoon and set to the side.

In a second bowl add the dry ingredients, the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix together well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold the carrot cake batter together gently until you no longer see any dry flour.

Divide the batter between two 8″ or 20cm lined and greased cake pans and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

While the cakes are cooling make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl if you are using a hand mixer add the butter. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add in the room temperature cream cheese and beat for a further 2 minutes.

Add the sugar in thirds, mixing well in between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl until well combined.

Place the frosting into the fridge for 30 mins to firm up before spreading over the cake.

Decorating the Cake

Take one of the cooled cakes (you can cut off the dome if you would like a perfect looking cake) and place it on a cake stand or serving plate.

Spread 1/3 of the cream cheese frosting over the cake and top with the next layer. Add the other 2/3 of the frosting and spread it evenly over the cake, covering the sides.

Place the cake into the fridge for 30-60 mins to set before cutting and serving.

How to Store Carrot Cake

Store the frosted cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, it does not need to be stored in the fridge.

How to Freeze Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake can be frozen in slices or the cake can be frozen before adding the frosting. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and into the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the cake fully at room temperature before serving or decorating with cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake FAQ

What nuts go in carrot cake?

Walnuts are the most popular nut to dd to carrot cake. This recipe doesn’t have any nuts in it but you can add 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds to the recipe.

How long does carrot cake last?

Carrot cake will last at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Can I make cupcakes using this recipe?

You can but I do have a carrot cake cupcake recipe here which is a little more of a dense crumb which works much better for cupcakes.

More Cake Recipes

Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 8" Layer Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A light and fluffy cake filled with shredded carrot and spices, and layered with a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 2 1/2 Cups / 300g Shredded Carrots
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Cups / 400g Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups / 375ml Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups / 250g Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 Stick / 8 Tbsp / 115g Butter
  • 200g / 7oz Cream Cheese Frosting 
  • 3 Cups / 375g Powdered Sugar / Icing Sugar

Instructions

Carrot Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C / 340F and make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl add the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients together well.
  3. Shred you carrots using a box grater and add them to the bowl. Fold through with a wooden spoon and set to the side.
  4. In a second bowl add the dry ingredients, the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix together well.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold the carrot cake batter together gently until you no longer see any dry flour.
  6. Divide the batter between two 8″ or 20cm lined and greased cake pans and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. While the carrot cake is cooling make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl if you are using a hand mixer add the butter. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the room temperature cream cheese and beat for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar in thirds, mixing well in between each addition until well combined.
  4. Place the frosting into the fridge for 30 mins to firm up before spreading over the cake.

Decorating the Cake

  1. Take one of the cooled cakes (you can cut off the dome if you would like a perfect looking cake) and place it on a cake stand or serving plate.
  2. Spread 1/3 of the cream cheese frosting over the cake and top with the next layer.
  3. Add the other 2/3 of the frosting and spread it evenly over the cake, covering the sides.
  4. Place the cake into the fridge for 30-60 mins to set before cutting and serving.

Notes

The recipe can be halved and baked in one 8" or 20cm cake pan or two 6" or 15cm cake pans.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Slices Serving Size: 1 Slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 593Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 339mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 1gSugar: 63gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is estimated and not always correct

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