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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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4.7 from 15 reviews
Best-Ever Carrot Cake & How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 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) flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • (400g/14oz) carrots (finely grated)
  • 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
  • ½ cup (4oz/120g )unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  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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  1. Victoria on January 31, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I love your recipe, tastes like a real irish carrot cake!
    I was just wondering if you’d have to change the amounts if you want to bake it in a baking tray?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 1, 2018 at 3:42 am

      Hi Victoria,
      This is a big cake! I think you are saying can you make this as a tray bake, and yes you can. You will need to adjust the amount according to the measurements of the tray, and the tray will need to be about 2 – 3 inches deep.
      Depending on how deep the mixture is, and the oven you are using to bake it, the big change may be the time it takes.
      Let me know these details and i will try to help.
      Size of the tray, type of oven, meaning full convection oven, toaster oven etc.
      Thank you for being in touch, others will be interested in this too,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Eenash on January 17, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Can i reduce the amount of icing sugar but if i do this will it mess the frosting?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 17, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Simply, yes it will mess with the end result. Frostings are recipes that really should be followed to a tee.

      P.s this frosting isn’t crazy sweet 🙂

  3. emily on January 9, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Gemma! Could I use frosting buttercream frost the carrot cake?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      yes you sure could, Emily. It will work really well 🙂

  4. Josephine on December 26, 2017 at 2:50 am

    Hi Gemma! I would like to use this recipe to make a carrot loaf bread. How can I adjust the ingredients that I’m going to use? Thank you. Sending love from the Philippines! ❤

    • Gemma Stafford on December 26, 2017 at 2:57 am

      Hi Josephine,
      I have never made a carrot loaf of bread, carrot is usually cake, a sweet thing!
      Carrot needs moisture to cook in a bake too, cannot see what it would add to a bread, sorry.
      You can of course bake this cake in a loaf shape, what you change in the ingredients quantities will depend on the size of your pan.
      I am sorry, not much help, but I am not sure if I am getting what you are trying to achieve,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Jamela on December 22, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Ate Gemma! Could I use swiss frosting or royal icing to frost the carrot cake? thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 23, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Hi Jamela! You can use either but I’d say swiss meringue would be preferable between the two. Check out my Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe. I hope you enjoy!

  6. Lovely Queen on November 30, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    So i decided to bake this in 2 7-inch cake pan and it’s delicious!!! I reduce the oil a little bit but the cake still moist, this recipe is a keeper so thank you! 😀

    I also have a few question Gemma

    1. I notice this recipe and the majority carrot cake recipe i found start with whisking sugar with oil but i found a few recipe that start with whisking sugar and egg until pale, does the difference method change the result for cake or not? Really curious about this

    2. Can i use peanuts? I’m dying to try this recipe with walnuts/pecans but it’s expensive and hard to find

    Thanks again Gemma <3

    • Gemma Stafford on December 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Hi there,
      Whisking the oil and sugar does a similar thing to whisking the egg and sugar, it forms a foam, which captures the air and makes the sponge light and fluffy.
      The egg forms a better foam, so it will hold the mixture better. This is best illustrated by an egg sponge, no fats, just eggs, sugar and flour. A carrot cake is a heavy mixture, not delicate, but depending on the richness of the oil, or butter and eggs. I am not sure that the whisking of the eggs with sugar is what is best in this recipe. You can try it both ways, and see what result you get.
      Peanuts will not be great in this recipe. Walnuts will be tender, as are pecans. If oyu cannot find these leave them out. Peanuts are a different thing, actually not a nut at all, but a legume, like a pea/bean!
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Neha Agnihotri on November 27, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Can I replace egg with something else (vegetarian)??
    For cream cheese can I use the recipie you published using milk and lemon?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 28, 2017 at 12:59 am

      Hi Neha,
      Yes, you can use the cream cheese using the recipe here.
      You can use applesauce as an egg substitute, Greek yogurt would be good, or flax egg. Flax egg is oily so you may need to reduce the oil a touch.
      People usually have one that they rely on, my egg substitute chart may help you (
      Applesauce will keep a nice texture in this cake, try that if you have it,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Neha Agnihotri on November 28, 2017 at 9:26 am

        Thanks Gemma for the swift response 😊

  8. Lovely Queen on November 13, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Gemma

    So recently i own 3 new 7-inch cake pan and i love the size, perfect for my not so small family, can you help me to adjust this recipe for 3 7-inch cake pan?

    Also do you have recipe for cream cheese frosting without butter?

    Thank you so much Gemma ><

    • Gemma Stafford on November 14, 2017 at 5:03 am

      Hi there,
      I would not be inclined to change this recipe for three pans. It may finish up a bit deeper, but if it is too much you could divide the layers, and freeze what is too much for you. he change in the recipe would be too slight to manage well.
      You can make cream cheese frosting with just a little fresh double dairy cream, beating it into the cream cheese until it stiffens.
      I have not tried this any other way. Reducing the cream cheese recipe to 1/2 may suit you too, cut down on the richness.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Lovely Queen on November 14, 2017 at 6:36 am

        So it’ll be best to bake this recipe in 2 7-inch pan? And do you think it’s okay if i reduce the oil by half?

        • Gemma Stafford on November 15, 2017 at 3:36 am

          Hi there,
          If you reduce the oil you will get a different result.
          I use a deep 9 inch pan for this and slice it through. You should get two deep layers from 7 inch pans, and you can slice these through too.
          I would be concerned that the oil quantity will not be sufficient for this cake.
          Gemma 🙂

          • Lovely Queen on November 15, 2017 at 4:07 am

            Thanks Gemma

  9. Aizhan on November 3, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Hi Gemma! I loved your crazy cupcake batter recipe!! This is so easy and amazing, thank you soooo much!
    I have a question about cream cheese frosting. How many cupcakes cant I decorate with this amount of frosting?
    Greetings from Kazakhstan!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 4, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your kind comments. This is a big recipe of frosting. It would decorate about 48 cupcakes, or even more! You can of course cut this in 1/4 or 1/2.
      If you are doing this then write it out, and divide it, to ensure you get it right, I always do this too!
      1/4 of this recipe will be sufficient for 12 cupcakes,
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Danuta Pukalo on October 30, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Hello there,
    If the cake itself is a little bit too sweet for me, can I reduce the sugar amount in the cream cheese frosting to compensate? It smells so amazing straight from the oven. I’m making it for my husband’s birthday. I think he will totally love it!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 31, 2017 at 1:55 am

      Hi there,
      Good, I am happy that the cake is good, well done you.
      I would tend to reduce the quantity of the frosting, rather than the quality. You need the balance of sugar to cheese to make it work. You can 1/2 the recipe, and use it sparingly, this will give the ‘tang’ or the cheese, without too much sweetness.
      I hope your husband has a very happy birthday,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Gerile Gallarda Pao on October 27, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Hello Gemma.. Good Day! is it okay if I use Canola Oil instead of sunflower oil? Does it matter with the texture or the taste of the cake or not? i will be making this recipe excited because its my first time to bake carrot cake.. 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on October 30, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Hi there,
      Canola oil is rapeseed oil, cultivated to be food grade. You can use it as you would any seed oil really.
      If you are concerned about it you can reduce this recipe to 1/2 size, to try it. It is a big cake!
      good luck with your baking,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Theresa on October 16, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Gemma, in regards to your carrot cake recipe it calls for vanilla essence is that different from vanilla extract?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 18, 2017 at 4:25 am

      Hi Theresa,
      I usually use extract, and would have done in this recipe too. thank you fro bringing this to my attention, I will change it right away.
      Essence is available, and cheaply, in some places where extract is less available, and expensive. It is a manufactured product nodding at the real thing, which is the extract!
      Good to have you with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Julie on October 9, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I’ve got the carrot cake in the oven. We don’t have the bars of cream cheese in the UK, only the tubs. Can you tell me how to adjust the recipe to compensate, please.
    I tried a cream cheese frosting before following the recipe exactly only for it to look like soup.
    Any advice grately received. Thanks.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Hi Julie,
      Yes, and this can be an issue. The tubs are designed for spreading, so they are ‘wet’ this really upsets the balance in a frosting.
      TESCO, my Mum tells me, do an own brand SOFT cheese, the full fat version of which really works for her, in cheesecake too. It is also considerable cheaper than the best known brand.
      I prefer to reduce the amount when it is from the tub, this helps too. You can then judge it, add 1/2 then the remainder until you reach the right consistency, that will do it.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Titee on October 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Can we use your homemade cream cheese

    • Gemma Stafford on October 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      yes you can. Just note save some of the whey (liquid) to blend it up really smooth to use in baking.


  15. Laura Zeller on October 2, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Your recipe on your website calls for 1.65 oz oil but your YouTube recipe says 2 cups. Which should I follow? Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 3, 2017 at 12:55 am

      Hi Laura,
      The recipe calls for 1.65 cups, not ozs. (400 ml).
      I will need to go back to the video, I usually do not call the recipe, but I may have done for this one!
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Laura on October 3, 2017 at 6:32 pm

        Sorry, I meant cups. Yes, 1.65 cups on your webpage but 2 c on the YouTube video. I will use the 1.65 cups.

  16. Helen on September 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Hi, Will this cake freeze well? thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on September 24, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Yes, this cake freezes very well :). Up to 8 weeks

      • Helen on September 25, 2017 at 7:11 am

        Thank you.

  17. Allison on September 22, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I tried making this today without the icing, the cake turned out to be too sweet for me…I will probably half the amount of sugar next time when making it. Thank you still Gemma!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Oh I’m sorry to hear that Allison. Yeah feel free to cut down a little bit of the sugar. Hope you liked the texture and flavor. It is one of my favorites 🙂

  18. Sincere Herrera on September 21, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Good day Gemma! Can i use canola or olive oil instead of sunflower oil? Thank you and God bless!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 23, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Hi Herrera,

      You can use canola oil but not olive oil. Olive oil is too strong of a flavor and won’t taste good. You won’t be able to taste the canola oil 🙂

  19. Ash on September 19, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Gemma

    I’ve noticed that to make the cream cheese frosting, the icing sugar you printed here is 4 cups
    But the printed recipe in the youtube states 2 1/2 cups.
    Please clarify 🙂 thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 20, 2017 at 2:16 am

      Hi Ash,
      I will need to go back to the YouTube one to check it out. Please follow the recipe as printed here.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Ayushi Agarwal on September 18, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Hi Gemma, could i bake this one with whole wheat flour and not using whole eggs but only egg whites? Any precautions i should take?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 19, 2017 at 2:47 am

      Hi Ayushi,
      I would not use all whole wheat flour for this recipe, though if you can get spelt, it is a finer thing, and easier to use for cakes.
      Egg whites will be good as a leavening agent, and will give a good texture to the cake, but will not enrich it. I think I would have to try this recipe, with your subs, to see how it would work, I am not convinced. Perhaps a mashed banana would add richness, without adding flavor! I really do not know,
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Pranita Naik on September 9, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Hi Gemma,
    Can u please tell me how much of this recipe is required for 100 kids. I want to prepare a sheet cake.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 10, 2017 at 6:54 am

      Wow! That is a lot of kids! I hope they are not all your own! 🙂 This is a big mix, and will serve about 12 generous portions. I think you will need to use a very large bowl, an industrial mixer if possible, and multiply this mix by about 8. If you can measure your ingredients on a digital scales, or one showing grams, this will be easy to do. I would do it for you if I knew which measurement system you use!
      Gemma 🙂
      Carrot Cake
      2 Cups(400g/14oz) caster sugar
      4 eggs
      1.65 cups (400ml/14oz) sunflower oil
      1 tsp vanilla essence
      2 ¾ Cups (400g/14oz) flour
      3 tsp baking powder
      1 tsp mixed spice
      (400g/14oz) carrots (finely grated)
      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
      ½ cup (4oz/120g )unsalted butter, at room temperature
      1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  22. Eeman asim on September 7, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Hey Gemma,
    I’m making this cake tomorrow and I was wondering if I could use half brown sugar and have white???

    • Gemma Stafford on September 7, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, there is a little difference, but you will not notice it in the bake
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Judy Tolentino Pazon on September 4, 2017 at 11:47 am

    hello gemma! fan here from the philippines! i have a question. what is mixed spice? <3

    • Gemma Stafford on September 4, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Judy,

      Mixed spice is a mix of cinnamon, cloves, all spice etc. You can make your own for just replace it with ground cinnamon. That will work well 🙂

  24. Marietty on September 3, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Hi Gemma! I’m planning to bake this cake tomorrow on a 7″ tin, since that’s the cake tin that I have. Would it be okay to have the ingredients in half? And, how long would it take for it to bake? Thank you!
    Big fan 😊

    • Gemma Stafford on September 3, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, it will be perfectly fine to halve the ingredients. write the recipe out, or print it, then make the changes to it to prevent getting it wrong.
      The baking time will be different, but you will need to judge it. If it is a shallow tin then it will be quicker than a deep one, but the temperature will remain the same. Bake it for 25 minutes, then test it, it should feel firm to the touch when baked. It is a learning curve!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Marietty on October 19, 2017 at 9:29 am

        Hello again Gemma. 🙂
        I’ve baked this cake for a couple of times, and they’re wonderful! they’re moist and flavorful.
        However, I often get an oily bottom of the cake when I take it out from the tin. is this a normal occurrence? I followed the recipe and the procedure as it is, but, still. Also, in the small batch of carrot cupcakes, the bottoms are oily too. I’m not sure what to do.

        • Gemma Stafford on October 20, 2017 at 1:31 am

          Hi Marietty,
          I think you can reduce the oil in the recipe a touch.
          How are you measuring it? it calls for 1.65 cups/400ml/14oz.
          Try it at 1.25 cups/300ml/11ozs. This may do it for you. I have had this report before, but I have not found it with this recipe, and I think it may have something to do with the flour where you live. Increasing the flour by 2oz may help too.
          Gemma 🙂

          • Marietty on October 20, 2017 at 10:39 am

            I see. Thank you Gemma 😊

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