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Best Ever Carrot Cake Recipe

Best-Ever Carrot Cake & How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

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Hi Bold Bakers! Every baker needs a great carrot cake recipe and that’s exactly what I’ll show you this week. This cake is moist, delicious and the perfect springtime dessert. Plus, I’ll share my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe that will give you a perfect result anytime. So let’s get baking!

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4.27 from 206 votes
Best Ever Carrot Cake Recipe
Best-Ever Carrot Cake & How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • Carrot Cake
  • 2 Cups (400g/14oz) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.65 cups (400ml/14oz) sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ Cups (400g/14oz)all purpose/plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
  • (400g/14oz) carrots (finely grated)
  • 125 g , 4ozs of raisins
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 4 cups (1 lb 4 oz/600g) powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1 lb (16oz/480g) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4oz/120g )unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Whisk together sugar, eggs and oil until thick.
  2. Then add in flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix gently
  3. Lastly, add in the grated carrots and raisins and mix in until well combined.
  4. Grease and line a 9” tin. You can also use this recipe to make 2 x 900g/2lb loat tins
  5. Pour mixture into tins and place in the oven at 340oF (170oC) for 70- 80 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).
  6. Leave to cool in tins for 10mins then turn onto a cooling rack.
  7. To prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then slowly add in the powdered sugar and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy (do not overbeat). Chill until needed.
  8. Decorate as desire.

 

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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548 Comments

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  1. namal on July 11, 2019 at 3:17 am

    I made the best ever carrot cake and it was sooooo good.

    • Gemma Stafford on July 11, 2019 at 1:33 pm

      Well done, you! Gemma 😊

  2. Jenna on July 10, 2019 at 4:52 am

    Hi Gemma, I’ve just baked this cake for my mum’s birthday tomorrow. Since I only have a 7 inch cake tin, I turned the leftovers into cupcakes. For the 7 inch cake, I poked it with skewer after baking for around 30minutes because it has already turned brown,and it came out clean. Same goes to my cupcakes. The outer look of the cupcakes looks good but the inner looks kind of wet and brown instead of light brown. Is there anything I might have done wrongly? Hope that the 7 inch ones will be better🤞🤞

    • Gemma Stafford on July 11, 2019 at 5:17 am

      Hi Jenna,
      you did not tell me about the cooker. That is really an important factor in baking. If you were using a regular oven, and the correct temperature, then you should never have an issue.
      Cupcakes should bake in about 15 – 20 minutes in a large oven. In an OTG/Oven Toaster Grill this will be a different bake, you would need to follow the instructions for your oven.
      Do let me know, I feel I do not have sufficient information,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. LM on July 7, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Hi Gemma 👋

    It seems your recipe is asking for almost same amount of Sugar, Oil, Flour, and Carrot. Are these amounts correct?

    2 Cups (400g/14oz) caster sugar
    4 eggs
    1.65 cups (400ml/14oz) sunflower oil
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 ¾ Cups (400g/14oz)all purpose/plain flour
    3 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
    (400g/14oz) carrots (finely grated)

    Besides Raisins, can I add same amount of Walnuts?

    Thanks so much 🙏

    • Gemma Stafford on July 8, 2019 at 10:45 am

      Yes they are almost the same amounts.

      You can add a handful of walnuts, which will be about 2ozs/60g/4 tablespoons. Chop the walnuts, not too finely, as a tender but they will remain tender in the bake. You can lightly toast them in the pan too before adding, but I do not bother. Scatter a few on top too for contrast if you are not frosting it.

      Gemma 😊

  4. Lisette on July 4, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Hey Gemma.
    Can you freeze this with the frosting or without it not at all?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 5, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Lisette! I would rather freeze the cake and the frosting separately. So that you can thaw and whip up the frosting before applying to the cake. Like brand new! Gemma 😊

  5. Lisette on July 1, 2019 at 4:27 am

    Ps. It was a small convection over because I was at my mother in laws house and my father in law is a chef so his stove is super hard to bake in. I made your chocolate chip cookies there last weekend and those were a disaster in presentation also. Maybe that’s why it cooked so fast, bc of the convection oven?

    • Gemma Stafford on July 1, 2019 at 8:53 am

      Hi Lisette. Yes, with the convection fan on, it will change the way heat is distributed. Can you turn off the convection fan? If yes, you can turn it off and follow my bake times per the recipe. If not, you will have to reduce the temperature by 25F (4C) using the same bake times. Give it another go and let me know

  6. Lisette on July 1, 2019 at 4:23 am

    Thanks for the response. I’m. Going to try the dough again with your suggestions. I was sloppy the first round. ——I didn’t put salt and followed the recipe of the carrot cake to a T. It was amazing in taste and texture, however it cooked in 50 minutes, it was golden brown and was afraid to keep it in any longer. I let it cool for about 40 min and then started to make layers. I tried to do your 3 cuts but it was a DISASTER. I should have either let it cook for the whole time or just cut it into one or two cuts. Anyway, presentation was two thumbs way down but the taste was a true 10. Let me know if I should have just cooked it longer or let it cool for like 3 hours?? It was still moist and my husband who is a connoisseur of carrot cake loved it. Guess that’s all that matters for my first time.

    • Gemma Stafford on July 2, 2019 at 2:45 am

      Hi Lisette,
      I am glad you liked the flavor, though I hear you around the texture. This type of cake will need to be really cold when you slice it, it is indeed really moist.
      I am wondering about your oven temperature! this is such a variable thing, almost all ovens vary to some little degree. I suggest you judge the doneness at the halfway point, and if it seems to be baking too fast you can adjust the temperature down by about 10c/20f or cover the top of the cake with a sheet of silicon baking paper.
      I hope this is of help to you, and I am delighted your connoisseur enjoyed the flavor, boys are the best carrot cake and ice cream judges,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Butter and Sweets on June 29, 2019 at 1:15 am

    This carrot cake is sooooo yummmmm… Easy to follow recipe. Making my own cream cheese from scratch and make it into cream cheese frosting for this cake was just so rewarding. I feel so proud of myself 😄🤣…
    Thanks a lot Gemma… Please continue inspiring us…

    • Gemma Stafford on June 29, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      You should be proud!! That is awesome.

      Thanks for being apart of the community.
      Best,
      Gemma.

  8. Lisette on June 28, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Gemma. I noticed there is no salt in this recipe. Haven’t made it yet. Making it tomorrow but I recall in your other videos you love salt. Curious. I love baking and love your website. I made the cinnamon rolls the other day but I messed up and used old yeast so the dough wasn’t so yummy but it was still eaten. Anyway. Let me know about the salt omission in this one.
    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on July 1, 2019 at 1:15 am

      Hi Lisette,
      first of all the cinnamon buns! I am sorry these were not too good for you. I think you should sponge your yeast in future as it may be that your yeast will not activate in the flour without this step. This means activating the yeast, usually in the liquids to be used in the recipe. Normally you would bring the sponging liquids to blood temperature, that is when you put your finger into the liquid it should feel neither hot nor cold. A touch of sugar or honey will speed up the activation. This is really ‘proving’ to you that the yeast is good and active. A foam will form/sponge on top of the liquids after 5 mins or so, you stir this through before adding to the flour. Add ¾ in one go, then the remainder until the dough comes together in a clean ball.
      Using a mixer: If you are using a mixer with a dough hook, you should have a ‘foot’ form, attaching the dough to the bottom of the bowl, this will ensure a good texture to the dough.
      If it seems over-wet, add more flour.
      Now for the salt, you will see that this recipe uses unsalted butter too, and this is because it is an adapted recipe which I have used for years. It will take a little salt too but as it has the spice I have never added it, it just works as it is. However, if I did not have unsalted butter here I would use the salted one, or indeed add a pinch of salt too, it will not do any harm.
      I hope all of this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Shan on June 23, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Hi, can this be made into cupcakes and/or mini loaf pans?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 24, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Shan!
      I think there will be little different for you. The temperature should be the same, but remember the carrot needs time to cook out, so grate this as finely as you can.
      Make in muffin sizes too, that will help to maintain the texture for you. This is a crumbly/moist thing, so you will need to bake it well to make it hold in the hand. You will need to monitor the bake.
      Check this recipe too (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/small-batch-cupcakes-spring/) there is a cupcake carrot cake here,
      Gemma 🙂

    • BETTY MANOULIAN on June 30, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      Shan, to be sure the carrots are cooked, microwave the shredded carrots before adding them to your mini loaf or cupcake batter.

      • Gemma Stafford on July 1, 2019 at 6:17 am

        Hi Betty,
        what a great tip! very useful, especially for a muffin or cupcake where the baking time is fast. This also brings out the sweetness of the carrot, win-win!
        Thank you for this great input,
        Gemma 🙂

  10. San on June 17, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Hi Gemma
    U r amazing with your work. I’m very new to baking and the Boldbaking basics are real lifesavers. Butter cream recipe especially is unbeatable for me.
    My kiddo chose this cake for his 4th bday over all the other options I showed him. So gonna bake it in a couple of days. My first ever bday cake.
    One doubt. I don’t use sunflower oil. Can I use coconut oil/peanut oil? Will it work or will it change the taste? Any other suggestions?
    Thanks in advance
    Love
    San

  11. San on June 17, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Hi Gemma
    U r amazing with your work. I’m very new to baking and the Boldbaking basics are real lifesavers. Butter cream recipe especially is unbeatable for me.
    My kiddo chose this cake for his 4th bday over all the other options I showed him. So gonna bake it in a couple of days. My first ever bday cake.
    One doubt. I don’t use sunflower oil. Can I use coconut oil/peanut oil? Will it work or will it change the taste? Any other suggestions?
    Thanks in advance
    Love
    San

    • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      A peanut oil should work if you do not want to add any flavor as coconut oil will add a little bit of that coconutty taste

  12. Paula Tiu on June 6, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Gemma! I love watching your videos. I would like to try this recipe but my oven is just small. I only have 1, 9in round pan that is deep. What will be the temperature and how long should I bake it? Thank you for sharing your recipes!

    • Gemma Stafford on June 7, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Paula,
      The big issue for me is that I do not know the type of oven this is. If it an OTG, and a convection model, then this may work well. I think you need to consult your instruction book for the oven. All things being equal you will know when this cake is baked in a number of ways.
      1. the smell.
      2. the color – it should be caramel in color.
      3. the texture, you will need to test it by inserting a skewer into the cake when you think it is right, it should come out of the cake more or less clean.
      4. The feel, touch the top center of the cake, it should feel firm.
      5. it will pull away slightly from the pan.
      Do not open the oven door unnecessarily. This will reduce the temperature and cause the cake to fall. I hope this is of help, maybe try 1/2 of the recipe for the first try,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Carolyn on May 31, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Hi Gemma,

    My grandfather LOVES your carrot cake, but says that the frosting is too sweet. What adjustment would you recommend I make to the frosting to make it a bit less sweet for him? I’m worried that it’ll be too runny if I just cut the powdered sugar without adding something else.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 31, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      Hi Carolyn,

      I I’m thrilled to hear that!!!! If you want you can reduce the sugar by 1/3 cup but I wouldn’t do much less then that.

      Thanks for trying this recipe 🙂

      Best,
      Gemma.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 4, 2019 at 8:40 am

      Thank you Peggy for taking the trouble to do this, I appreciate it,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Yvonne Choo on May 10, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Hi Gemma. I love raisin would like to put 250g instead of 125g. Should I reduce the sugar since the raisin is sweet. Afraid the cake will be very sweet.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 10, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Yvonne,

      I don’t recommend reducing the sugar but you can add the extra 125g without having to substitute another ingredient. It’s easily added in without how to move other ingredients around.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  15. Ayesha on May 10, 2019 at 1:39 am

    Hi Gemma! I love your vids sm! I was just wondering if I can use vanilla frosting instead of the cream cheese frosting? Bc, I have alooooot of vanilla frosting.

    Love,
    Ayesha <3

    • Gemma Stafford on May 10, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      Hi Ayesha!

      Really glad you like my recipes :). Yes absolutely you can use vanilla buttercream instead of cream cheese. That will still work well. Do you know my recipe?

      Best,
      Gemma.

      • Ayesha on May 11, 2019 at 5:25 am

        Thank you so muchhh, yea I know your recipe, it was a HUGE help!
        Thanks again 😉

        Love,
        Ayesha

  16. Sandie23 on May 4, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Gemma, I want to make your Best ever carrot cake for a birthday, how long will it keep and should I keep it 8n the fridge.

    Thanks
    Sandie

    • Gemma Stafford on May 4, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Sandie,

      keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let it come to room temp before you eat it however because cake tastes much better and better texture at room temp.

      Best,
      Gemma.

      • Sandie23 on May 6, 2019 at 8:30 am

        Thank you Gemma .

  17. Petra on May 1, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Hi Gemma, I wanna make this cake tomorrow but since I’ve never made a carrot cake before I am a little bit nervous. I wanna get it perfect for my partner’s 40th birthday. I just have a few questions. I want to make the cake a little bit healthier. Can I use coconut sugar and xylitol instead of caster sugar? And to make the frosting healthier what can I use instead of cream cheese?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 1, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Petra,

      Yes absolutely you can use coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. I’m not an expert on using xylitol however.
      Also feel free to use whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour instead of regular plain white flour.

      The frosting is a tough one however. right now we don’t have a low sugar frosting on the site but I’ll add it to our list.

      Best,
      Gemma.

      • Petra on May 2, 2019 at 1:56 am

        Thank you Gemma. One more question. I can see that the temperature of the oven should be 170oC but is it the same temperature for a fan oven as well?

        • Gemma Stafford on May 2, 2019 at 3:57 am

          Hi Petra,
          I tend to use the fan oven for all of the bakes and keep an eye on the time, that means to monitor the bake.
          If you are happier to reduce the temperature, do that, for this long bake all will be well. The conventional wisdom then reduces the temperature by 20f/10c, or you may be able to choose the conventional oven setting on your cooker.
          I hope this helps,
          Gemma 🙂

  18. Nicole Braun on April 30, 2019 at 10:44 am

    This is my second (and third if you count the frosting) recipe I’ve used of Gemma’s. It’s amazing!! I forgot to line the pan and can’t get the cake out as a whole (whoopsie!) so I didn’t do the frosting in the center, which also left me with a bit of extra (yum). But the cake is still delicious and so is the frosting! I didn’t add raisins however because my husband doesn’t like them. But otherwise followed the recipe to a T. AMAZING. 5 stars for sure. Can’t wait to move on to recipe number 4!!

    • Gemma Stafford on May 1, 2019 at 6:31 pm

      I’m thrilled to hear that, Nicole!!

      Thanks so much for trying it out and for your lovely comment.
      Best,
      Gemma.

  19. Chiara on April 26, 2019 at 5:32 am

    Hi Gemma! In case I want to use walnuts instead of raisins, how many do you suggest and how to include them in the recipe? And what if I want to use both raisins and walnuts?
    Thank you!!!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 27, 2019 at 3:05 am

      Hi Chiara,
      if you asked my mum she would say, just throw in a handful! But she is not wrong, a handful will be about 2ozs/60g/4 tablespoons.
      Chop the walnuts, not too finely, as a tender but they will remain tender in the bake. You can lightly toast them in the pan too before adding, but I do not bother. Scatter a few on top too for contrast if you are not frosting it.
      Buy walnuts as fresh as you can, store them in a cold place as they oxidize really easily being full of good oil.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Chiara on May 1, 2019 at 12:50 am

        Thank you so much! This quantity is to add them to the 125g of raisins or to substitute them? And in the other case (add/substitute) how much should I add of walnuts?
        Thanks a lot, as always! :*

        • Gemma Stafford on May 1, 2019 at 9:06 pm

          Yes, Chiara, just replace the raisins with the same amount of walnuts.

          I hope you like this cake, it’s one of my favorites.
          Gemma.

  20. Marie lenon on April 25, 2019 at 2:02 am

    Hi ms Gemma, first of all I would like to thank you for sharing your recipe ❤️❤️❤️😊😊😊. I tried making your crazy dough and it’s really great 😊😊😊 one of my favorite is making pizza 🍕 …. learning more about your recipe. Thanks again and more power 😊😊😊

    • Gemma Stafford on April 26, 2019 at 1:34 am

      Hi Marie,
      Thank you for your kind words. I am delighted you like this recipe.
      I am happy you are baking with us, keep at it!
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Grace-Ann on April 22, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Hi Gemma, I made this cake for my dad’s birthday here in India. It was fab and everyone enjoyed it. I added orange rind to the cake batter and it really gave it a freshness, working well with the cinnamon flavour too. The cream cheese frosting (with your CC recipe) worked very well, just that it almost gave in to the summer heat!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 22, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      That’s a lovely addition. Great job, so glad you enjoyed it!

  22. Elizabeth L Audas on April 18, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Gemma.. I’m going to be making your Best Ever Carrot Cake for my husband’s birthday this weekend. I’ve watched your video a few times so that I’m pretty confident that I know what I’m doing and my questions were answered by others in this thread so I’m good there. The only thing that concerns me is that I’m not used to measuring ingredients in ounces so this will be a new experience for me. My glass measuring cups do have marks for ounces so I should be fine! I will be splitting this cake into 4 layers as in your video and am really hoping this part goes well. I will be sure to take photos to upload when I’m done!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 19, 2019 at 5:31 am

      Hi there Elizabeth,
      I will have my fingers and toes crossed for you. Boys love carrot cake, so I think it will be a big hit!
      Make sure the cake is cold before you split it, that will really help.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Dutch-Queen on April 9, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Gemma, want to bake this cake for my dad, but he is not allowed to have lots of sugar. 400g is way too much. Is that recipe also working with 150g? Or can you recommend a low sugar recipe that would serve as a birthday cake?
    Txs and cheers
    Jacky

    • Gemma Stafford on April 10, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      Hi you can use a sugar sub for 1/2 the amount, i like swerve or Lakanto sugar. Enjoy!

  24. Jill A Parks on April 3, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Am I missing something? The recipe says to use ONE cake tin yet the picture shows four layers. Am I to split the one cake into four layers?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 4, 2019 at 4:58 am

      Hi Jill,
      Yes! This is a deep cake, and you would slice it through if you wished to make layers. At home we usually would just add the frosting to the top, but you can layer it if you wish.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  25. C on March 22, 2019 at 2:50 am

    Thanks.. would like to ask also why are you not using cake flour?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 22, 2019 at 6:43 am

      Hi there,
      I do not always use cake flour, generally for fine sponge cakes. This is a robust cake, it will be good with the higher level of gluten.
      Gemma 🙂

  26. C on March 21, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Hi Gemma, apologies as my question is related to your Best-Ever Chocolate Cake recipe, as I cannot write a comment under it. Did you use the same unsweetened cocoa powder for the batter and frosting? Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on March 22, 2019 at 2:17 am

      Hi there,
      Yes! I generally use an unsweetened cocoa powder for all of my baking. This helps to cut the sweetness of the frosting too. I hope you like this cake, it is a popular one!
      Gemma 🙂

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