Carrot Cake Recipes to Celebrate Spring (and Any Other Cake-Worthy Occasion)

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Zucchini-Carrot Cake
Photo: Blaine Moats

The best carrot cake recipes are moist, tender, and bursting with sweet and spiced flavors—and all of these homemade carrot cakes deliver. With classic carrot cake recipes, tropical carrot cake recipes with pineapple, and bake sale-worthy carrot cake bars, these easy yet elegant spiced carrot cakes will steal the show (and have everyone begging for your best-ever carrot cake recipes)!

01 of 16

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Recipe on a Silver Cake stand with a slice cut out. Carrot ribbons on top.
Waterbury Publications

If a classic cake is what you're craving, this might just be the best carrot cake recipe for you. Easy to make yet elegant enough to entertain with, BH&G reader Suzi says, "This is the one carrot cake recipe that I use. It isn't too 'spicy,' and you can really tell it's carrot cake. Everyone loves it."

02 of 16

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese-Mascarpone Frosting

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Mascarpone Frosting
Jennifer Davick

This homemade carrot cake recipe is a slightly modern variation on the theme. With a pinch of cardamom in the batter and equal parts cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in its lick-the-bowl-delicious frosting, prepare to be asked to make this lovely layer cake again and again. (Or at least be begged to share the recipe!)

03 of 16

Zucchini-Carrot Cake

Zucchini-Carrot Cake
Blaine Moats

Carrot cake recipes from scratch are rarely this cute. With playful marzipan produce "planted" in the honey-scented frosting, this nutty zucchini and carrot cake will steal the show at every spring and summer celebration.

Buy It: Odense Marzipan Almond Candy Dough ($6, Amazon)

04 of 16

Ginger-Carrot Cake

Ginger Carrot Cake
Con Poulos

Spiced carrot cake gets a unique flavor boost by way of freshly grated ginger (or a spoonful of ground ginger, if you prefer). That sweet-spicy element, along with tangy orange juice, creates a tasty new spin on carrot cake. A double-cream cheese frosting that's infused with whipping cream adds decadence to every bite.

05 of 16

Honey-Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Cream

Honey Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Cream
Andy Lyons

Pumpkin pie spice and honey permeate this carrot bundt cake with cozy, sweet flavor. A bit of whole wheat pastry flour adds a pleasant nutty element, and buttermilk delivers a super-soft crumb.

Test Kitchen Tip: To make this a gluten-free carrot cake, simply use a cup-for-cup flour replacement in place of the all-purpose flour.

06 of 16

Carrot and Zucchini Bars

Carrot and Zucchini Bars
Andy Lyons

If typical cream cheese frosting is just a hint too sweet for you, turn to this beautiful bar recipe. Each square is smeared with a citrus zest-spiked frosting that's refreshing and rich all at once. But let's not forget what's hiding underneath—the irresistible carrot cake bars hide lots of good-for-you (and flavorful) shredded carrots, zucchini, raisins, and walnuts.

Buy It: Cuisinart Box Grater with Storage ($15, Target)

07 of 16

Best-Loved Carrot Cake

Best-Loved Carrot Cake
Jason Donnelly

Don't just take our word for it about this aptly named best carrot cake. BH&G home baker Rosemary raves, "This is the most delicious, moist cake ever. I have made it on several occasions, and my guests rave about it—the best carrot cake ever!" A sprinkling of toasted pecans around the edge of the cake makes a simple but sweet garnish.

08 of 16

Carrot Bread with Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Bread with Cream Cheese Icing
Andy Lyons

Start your day with a slice of this delicious and easy carrot cake recipe in loaf form. The luscious cream cheese icing adds a special sweetness atop the quick bread. What really takes it over the top in our opinion: the homemade candied carrot garnish.

09 of 16

Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot Cake Bars
Blaine Moats

Whip up these tender carrot cake bars when you're serving a crowd. Because the recipe takes advantage of boxed cake mix, these bars are especially quick to make. Once the batter is dressed up with ginger and vanilla, and the baked cake is crowned with cream cheese frosting, no one will ever guess this is semi-homemade.

10 of 16

Orange-Carrot Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Orange Carrot Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Jason Donnelly

That chocolate-orange flavor combo isn't just for Christmas. This chocolate carrot cake includes a burst of citrus to brighten up the batter, while soft flakes of coconut give it an island-style twist. To take it to the next drool-worthy level, slather soft cream cheese between layers of the cake, then shower the top with a rich coating of silky-smooth dark chocolate ganache.

11 of 16

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

carrot cake cupcakes
Scott Little

Surprise! Even though these carrot cake cupcakes are ultra soft and taste as rich as a bakery version, they're fewer than 200 calories each—yes, even frosted—thanks to unsweetened applesauce in place of the butter or oil. Flaxseed meal and white whole wheat flour bump up the nutrition even more. That will be our little secret, however, especially once you top each single-serving cake with a sweet swirl of homemade cream cheese frosting.

Buy It: Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal ($4, Target)

12 of 16

Carrot-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Carrot-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Andy Lyons

Carrot cake recipes with pineapple often call for the tropical fruit to be stirred into the batter. But for this showy, totally Instagram feed-worthy dessert, bake fresh pineapple slices whole on the bottom of the sweet, nutmeg-spiced carrot cake. When you're ready to serve, simply invert the pan to show off the caramelized pineapples—and the tender carrot cake underneath.

13 of 16

Carrot Cake Cream Pies

Carrot Cake Cream Pies
Carson Downing

Seeking something a bit different from the classic carrot cake recipe? Whip up these kid-friendly cream pies. With heart-healthy oats, pecans, and carrots in the lineup to balance out the decadent cream cheese filling, this cookie sandwich recipe is the epitome of balance.

14 of 16

Harvest Carrot Cake with Skillet Fruit

Harvest Carrot Cake with Skillet Fruit
Andy Lyons

Speaking of sneakily nutritious, this autumn-inspired homemade carrot cake recipe contains both shredded carrot and canned pumpkin (or mashed sweet potato). As a result, it packs in 5 grams of fiber and loads of vitamin A—in addition to being particularly moist and tender. Topped with a melange of sautéed fruit, each saucy slice is sure to hit the spot.

15 of 16

Easy Orange-Carrot Cake

Easy Orange-Carrot Cake
David Loftus

Don't be intimidated by the fact this creation comes from a celebrity chef. (Hat tip to British culinary icon Jamie Oliver!) Walnuts give this easy carrot cake recipe a hint of nutty flavor as well as a pleasant crunch. A frosting made with sour cream and oranges adds a tangy twist. The rest of the lineup is full of the usual baking suspects: flour, brown sugar, and a variety of warm spices.

16 of 16

Pineapple-Carrot Cupcakes

Pineapple-Carrot Cupcakes
Scott Little

One bite of these tropical treats and your taste buds will feel transported to a sunny beach (well, almost). Infused with both pineapple and coconut flavors, these delightful carrot cake cupcakes offer a sweet surprise under the luscious cream cheese frosting. Dive in to discover a pineapple-and-cream cheese filling.

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