Cakes, Gemma's Best Recipes

Best-Ever Carrot Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting

4.58 from 835 votes
Years of testing and tasting has led me to the Best-Ever Carrot Cake recipe — and now you can make it too with full instructions, tips, and how-to video!
Best Ever Carrot Cake with raisins and Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Unlike some cakes that have just one sweet flavor profile accentuated by frosting, this carrot cake has an unmatched depth of flavor due to the sweet carrots, raisins, and the best addition: cinnamon. When paired with my Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting, you have a cake that’s out of this world.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated and improved to include definition, additional notes for ingredients and instructions, step-by-step photography and answers to the most frequently asked questions and Pro Chef Tips.

Carrot cake is abundant during the spring, but only truly special carrot cake gets served all year round — and that’s exactly the type of carrot cake recipe you get with my Best-Ever Carrot Cake. It’s my favorite way to make this classic dessert, and I’ll tell you why.

It took me years to find this perfect recipe, and since every baker needs a great carrot cake recipe, I’m going to give you all my professional advice in addition to passing the recipe on to you!

Table of Contents

What is a Carrot Cake?

It is just that — a cake that includes carrots! Mine doesn’t only include carrots, though, it also includes lovely cinnamon and raisins as well, making a super moist cake that really shines when paired with my easy, Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

Layered Carrot Cake loaded with raisins and carrots, topped with creamy cream cheese frosting. A slice is cut and ready to serve.

The Secret To My Best-Ever Carrot Cake

This recipe originated from an Irish cookbook for Avoca Handweavers Cafe! Avoca Cafe is hidden off the beaten track in County Wicklow, just an hour outside of Dublin city. Whether you are a local or tourist, everyone should make the pilgrimage to Avoca for their amazing food and their endless array of freshly made baked goods that are a sight to be seen. This carrot cake recipe was published in their first cookbook in the early 2000s and I have been making it around the world ever since.

To be the best-ever cake, it has to be moist. To make a cake moist, you have to focus on the right ingredients, as always, but in perfect balance and concert. What sets this carrot cake apart is just that — how the ingredients work together.

This tried-and-true recipe uses oil to get that moistness a carrot cake deserves. It also doesn’t just have carrots, but it also uses both cinnamon and raisins! You can leave these out if you’d like, but they add a special warmth and sweetness you won’t get in other carrot cake recipes.

After years of delicious research, I’m happy to say that this is definitively the Best-Ever Carrot Cake with unmatched flavor and moistness.

Tools You Need

It’s simple to make this amazing cake, and it doesn’t take any special tools — you can even mix the batter by hand if you’d like, even though I use a mixer in my how-to video (below). 

What you’ll need is probably what you already have:

Carrot Cake Ingredients

  • Eggs: Eggs add richness, incorporate and retain air to aerate the carrot cake, and provide an emulsifier in yolks to bind ingredients into a homogenous mixture at the same density. Always use room-temperature eggs.
  • Granulated sugar: Granulated sugar provides sweetness and caramelizes to bind other ingredients and add golden color to cakes. Substitute some brown sugar for a richer
  • Oil: Oil adds a rich taste and works with egg yolks to form an emulsion stabilizing the aerated structure of the Carrot Cake.
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract adds flavor and sweetness to your cake. Make Homemade Vanilla Extract from scratch!
  • All-purpose flour (AP): All-purpose flour is the base of this cake with a perfect protein content of around 11% for a signature cakey texture instead of being chewy like bread.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder is the raising / leavening agent to make Carrot Cake rise.
  • Ground cinnamon: Highly aromatic, sweet, and warm, it’s perfect for a spice cake.
  • Carrots: Carrots add moisture, texture, and sweetness to your cake batter. Use fresh, finely grated or shredded carrots.
  • Raisins: Raisins add sweetness and a soft chewy texture to the carrot cake.
  • Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting: Make 1 recipe of my Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • Orange and green food coloring: Use good quality orange and green store-bought or my All-Natural Homemade Food Coloring for the decorative carrots.

Ingredients needed to make the Best Ever Carrot Cake

Why are Vegetables Added to Dessert?

Believe it or not, vegetables already have a lot of natural sweetness to them. That means that they don’t really need to be hidden by tons and tons of sugar. Though, it doesn’t hurt to add a little extra and some frosting.

Some use baking and desserts as a way to get kids (and let’s be honest: themselves!) into eating their vegetables. Whether or not that’s your goal is totally up to you ;).  

How to Make the Best-Ever Carrot Cake Recipe and Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’re ready to make this Best-Ever dessert, it won’t get much simpler than these steps:

For the carrot cake:

  1. Mix your wet ingredients and sugar
  2. In a separate bowl, mix your flour, cinnamon, and baking powder (you can leave the cinnamon out if you’d like)
  3. Add your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix together until just combined
  4. Add in your finely grated carrots and raisins and mix until they’re thoroughly combined
  5. Grease and line your 9in baking tin
  6. Pour mixture into the tin and place in the oven at 340°F (170°C) for 70-80 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Let cool before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

When it comes to carrot cake, the best way to top it is with tangy, sweet, and THICK cream cheese frosting! Get the full recipe, including measurements, for my Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting.

To make it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is:

  1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. 
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy (do not overbeat). 
  3. Chill until needed.

How to Make a Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

For those of you who need or prefer a gluten-free version of my best carrot cake, substitute Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blendalmond flouroat flour or coconut flour for all-purpose flour. If you want an added baking challenge, try my Gluten Free Flour recipes!

Check out my ‘Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Flours’ for more information. You can also try out my Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with no refined sugars.

How to Store a Carrot Cake

  • Room temperature & fridge: You can store leftover Carrot Cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. In the meanwhile, keep any leftover cream cheese frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
  • Freezer: You can also freeze your Carrot Cake if you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe bag. For the icing, you can either freeze the cake with the frosting or frost it after thawing.


How do I know if my Carrot Cake is done?

To check if your Carrot Cake is done, you can insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, then it’s done. You can also lightly touch the surface of your cake, and if there’s a slight spring, then it’s ready.

Why is my carrot cake dry? How can I avoid a dry carrot cake?

A good thick batter and monitored baking can contribute to a moist carrot cake.

  • A good thick batter: Make sure your batter is not dry in the first place. Flours in different places absorb liquid differently. Note to hold back some liquid by using up to 3/4 in one go and adjust it accordingly to get the same consistency as the recipe.
  • Monitored baking: Make sure to overbake your Carrot Cake in intervals. Keep a close eye on the cake and bake it until no wetness on top, firm to touch in the center, the edge pulls away from the mold a little bit or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Gemma’s Pro Tips for Making a Carrot Cake

  • If you want to make a smaller serving, feel free to also check out my 2-minute Carrot Cake Bowl recipe and 1-Minute Microwave Mug Cakes post!
  • Make sure your carrots are finely shredded, otherwise they won’t get fully incorporated and you’ll have big tough chunks of carrot in your soft cake.
  • Leave the cinnamon out if you’d like, but I love it. It adds a warm, deep flavor. Add some nutmeg to create a deeper spiced flavor!
  • A little freshly grated ginger (about ½ teaspoon) is an excellent addition to this cake.
  • If you like walnuts, pecans, or other nuts in your carrot cake, you can add roughly 1 /4 -1 /3 cup of finely chopped toasted nuts to the batter.
  • It’s optional, but you can sprinkle in a pinch of salt to your cake batter to balance out the rest of your ingredients.
  • Use this recipe to also make 2 x 900g/2lb loaves using loaf tins, but make sure you reduce the heat and use the same telltale sign for the doneness.
  • Don’t overmix the Cream Cheese Frosting, just mix until smooth and creamy.
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting, otherwise, the frosting will melt and get messy.
  • Watch the video below for all of my advice on making the Best-Ever Carrot Cake.
  • If you want to make a quicker full-size carrot cake, check out my 3-Layer Carrot Cake Made in the Microwave.

See? This cake is not hard at all, and if you’re still hesitant all you need to do is watch my easy how-to video (below) and give it a go!

A slice of moist and soft carrot cake full of carrots and raisins, topped with tangy smooth cream cheese frosting, on a plate with one bite taken to enjoy.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated and improved to include definition, additional notes for ingredients and instructions, step-by-step photography and answers to the most frequently asked questions and Pro Chef Tips.

Don’t forget to buy a copy of my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook for even more recipes!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Best-Ever Carrot Cake Recipe (And Cream Cheese Frosting)

4.58 from 835 votes
Years of testing and tasting has led me to the Best-Ever Carrot Cake recipe — and now you can make it too!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 people
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Years of testing and tasting has led me to the Best-Ever Carrot Cake recipe — and now you can make it too!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 people


Best-Ever Carrot Cake

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups (14 oz/395 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups (14 fl oz/395 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups (14 oz/395 g) all-purpose
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 14 oz (400g) carrots , peeled and finely grated
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) raisins
  • 1 recipe Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Orange and green food coloring


  • Pre-heat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Grease and line a 9” springform pan. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer (or electric hand-mixer) whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract on High speed until very thick, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and stir on Low speed into the egg mixture.
  • Lastly, add in the grated carrots and raisins and mix in until well combined.
  • Pour mixture into the pan and bake for 70 - 80 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in tins for 10 mins then turn onto a cooling rack.
  • Take about ½ cup (4oz/115 g) of cream cheese frosting frosting and color half with orange food coloring and the remaining with green. Put into piping bags fitted with small round nozzles. Set aside.
  • Cut the cake into 4 layers and spread the cream cheese frosting  in-between them saving some to spread on top of the cake.
  • Using the colored frosting pipe carrots on top of the cake. (See video for step by step tutorial)
  • You can cut and enjoy the cake straight away or store it covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. Before serving allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 60 minutes.


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charlotte crane
charlotte crane
4 years ago

Hi Gemma, Have you tried crushed pineapple in your carrot cake. I have been making them for a long time and always add crushed pineapple and walnuts as well as all the same ingredients you add. You might also enjoy it. my children enjoyed it this way when they were young and now that they are all grown, they still do.

4 years ago

Thank you Gemma, I made this for my lockdown birthday yesterday. I wished I had my whole family with me I really miss my grandkids. But they passed by the house and sang happy birthday to me, I left them cake in tuppers on the garden wall for pick up! They called later and said it was the best carrot cake ever. So thank you for making my day sweeter 🤗

4 years ago

Hi Gemma
Can u make this a two layered cake and what is the carrots and cream cheese in cups?

Sonal Kapoor
Sonal Kapoor
4 years ago

Hi Gemma this is the best carrot cake recipe ever!! Tried it and it came out fantastic. Thank you
Have a quick question though the recipe says 2 3/4 cup flour just wanted to reconfirm the qty coz it made my batter very thick and was wondering it I added too much, it didn’t impact the final outcome though just wanted to check. Planning to make it again today 😊

Ayien Garganera
4 years ago

Hi Ms. Gemma, I want to bake your carrot cake for a wedding celebration. What other frosting can be used under fondant besides cream cheese frosting? In our country with a high humidity, it is not advisable to use cream frosting under fondant. Can white chocolate ganache fit to carrot cake?…thank you for your advise.😊

4 years ago

Hi Gemma. Sorry if i missed this answer… I’ve never made carrot cake before and wanted to make yours but was hoping to leave out the raisins. Do I need to add anything to replace them? I cant add nuts or my daughter cant try it. Thank you in advance 🙂

Kangna Mohindru
Kangna Mohindru
4 years ago

Thank u for sharing this amazing recipe Gemma. It came out so soft n mushy. Was perfect. Everyone loved it 😍. Served as a tea cake. So no icing. Avoiding extra calories ☺️ Used brown sugar instead of white. Added extra cinnamon powder n walnuts. Super yumm. Thank you so much. 😍

4 years ago

HI Gemma! Is there any other way to make frosting without powdered sugar and cream cheese? It’s a bit difficult to look for them at our local groceries because stocks are a bit low due to the quarantine we’re facing here atm.

3 years ago

Hello dear, you wrote 400g for the sugar and flour but numbers of cups are not the same, can you check the Quantity again plz

2 years ago

Absolutely epic recipe.. i have made it many many times and people loved it so much that i started selling actually. I replaced the raisens with walnuts and i add some fine orange peel. Thanx a million Gemma. You are amazing.

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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