Best-Loved Carrot Cake


Our carrot cake recipe is delicious on its own, but becomes irresistible once topped with homemade cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.

two-layer carrot cake complete with cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans

BHG / Ana Cadena

Hands On Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
35 mins
Cool Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 5 mins

This is the classic carrot cake recipe you crave—just baking pantry staples, shredded carrots, and a rich cream cheese frosting. If you'd like to change up the classic cinnamon flavor notes, swap it for ginger in the Carrot-Ginger Cake Variation recipe below.

Oil-based cakes like this carrot cake recipe, are usually moist with a dense crumb. They use baking powder and baking soda for leavening and you can mix them by hand without the need of an electric mixer, like you need for butter-based cakes.

The tops of baked cakes will never come out of the oven flat and even. To make a prettier layer cake, use a long serrated knife to carefully saw the uneven portion off horizontally. Turn the cut top upside down so you can frost the side that's less crumbly.


Carrot Cake

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 4 eggs, room temperature

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 3 cups finely shredded carrot* (lightly packed)

  • ¾ cup cooking oil

  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

  • ½ cup butter, softened

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 5 ½ - 6 cup powdered sugar


Carrot Cake

  1. greased cake pans for making carrot cake

    BHG / Ana Cadena

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans ; line pans with waxed paper and grease the pans. Set aside.

  2. whisking dry ingredients together for carrot cake

    BHG /Ana Cadena

    In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon (if desired), salt, and baking soda; set aside.

  3. carrots, eggs and oil mixed together in bowl

    BHG / Ana Cadena

    In another bowl combine eggs, carrot, and oil.

    *The carrots need to be finely shredded by using the fine shredding surface of a box grater, so they stay evenly distributed in the cake and won't sink.

  4. add wet and dry mixtures together for carrot cake

    BHG / Ana Cadena

    Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until combined.

  5. adding carrot cake batter to pans

    BHG / Ana Cadena

    Pour batter into the prepared pans.

  6. baked carrot cake

    BHG / Ana Cadena

    Bake in the preheated oven 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans; cool thoroughly.

  7. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. If desired, sprinkle chopped pecans over frosting. Cover and store cake in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. cream cheese frosting for carrot cake

    BHG / Ana Cadena

    In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

To Toast Pecans: Spread nuts evenly in a shallow pan and bake at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice (watch closely, they go from toasted to burnt very quickly!)

How to Store Carrot Cake: After frosting, you can store the carrot cake in the refrigerator up to 3 days. So you can make up to 3 days in advance, or store any leftovers this way.

Carrot-Ginger Cake Variation:

Prepare as above, except omit the cinnamon; add 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger or 3/4 tsp. ground ginger with the eggs, carrot, and oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many carrots do I need for 1 cup of shredded carrots?

    In general, one carrot = 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot. This recipe requires about 6 carrots.

  • Why should my eggs be room temperature?

    Eggs will incorporate more air into your baked goods if they are not refrigerator-cold. For safety, don't leave eggs sitting out for more than two hours. Simply let them stand on the counter for 30 minutes and they'll be an appropriate temperature for adding to the recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

711 Calories
30g Fat
108g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 711
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 350mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 108g 39%
Total Sugars 90g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1.8mg 9%
Calcium 60.6mg 5%
Iron 1.4mg 8%
Potassium 173mg 4%
Folate, total 56.4mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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