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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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4.44 from 101 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) flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • (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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440 Comments

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  1. Steve on December 5, 2018 at 10:45 am

    What type of flour may i ask?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 6, 2018 at 10:50 am

      I always use all purpose flour unless otherwise directed.

  2. Madhura on November 27, 2018 at 2:40 am

    Hi Gemma.
    I’m planning on making the cream cheese frosting for the cake but don’t own a mixer fit to whip it up with sugar. Can I use honey or something else to make it?

    P.S. ~ Love your recipes!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 28, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      Hi there, you can do this by hand with a large whisk, no need to use honey. Enjoy 😀

  3. Tonina Zhelyazkova on November 25, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Hi there. I’m planning on making these as a cupcakes. Is there anything different I have to do and what is the oven temperature in that case? Thanks in advance c:)

    • Gemma Stafford on November 26, 2018 at 4:42 am

      Hi there,
      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 🙂

  4. Ritu on November 24, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Hi Gemma,
    What would be a good substitute for the eggs? Or would this be better off being made with them? My mother-in-law isn’t very fond of them in cakes, hence the search for an alternative. Must keep her happy you know ☺️

    • Gemma Stafford on November 24, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      Hi,

      Apples sauce would be a great substitute. For more info check out my chart

      Best,
      Gemma.

  5. Niget on November 17, 2018 at 3:50 am

    Hi Gemm,
    Your recipe is absolutely fabulous, just wanted ask can I freeze the cream cheese frosting?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Hi there, yes you can. Just whip it back up once defrosted and you’re good to go!

  6. Gabriela on November 16, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the this wonderful carrot cake everybody in my house love it, tomorrow is first time I will put the frozzing but I have a quick question after do this should I keep the cake in the refrigerator in order not to melt??

    Thanks in advance, have a great holidays

    • Gemma Stafford on November 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      Hi there, yes i suggest storing this in the fridge to keep it for a longer period of time, for up to 4 days. That said, the cake is grand at room temperature for up to 2 days.

  7. Reji Joy on November 9, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Gemma,do you use simple syrup while frosting your cakes. Will this step make the cake more softer

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 5:55 pm

      Hi Reji,

      I personally don’t add simple syrups to my cakes and I’ll tell you why. My cakes are already moist enough that they don’t need the addition of sugar syrup. It’s preference so if you want to do it with your cakes feel free.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  8. Kazau Wele kapeleula on November 6, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Gemma,Am writing you all the way from Zambia,Africa😁am a huge follower of bigger bolder baking👏😂☺ I love all your posts. My question is can I use fresh cream maybe mix it with carrot yogurt?cream cheese is available through quite expensive for a small tab which requires I get 2 or more depending on the size of cake. Thanks💓💓

    • Gemma Stafford on November 7, 2018 at 1:50 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for being a Bold Baker in Zambia, it is good to have such a lovely international following, Bold Baking without borders!
      No! that would not work as a frosting for this cake. You would have a number of issues with it, chief of which would be keeping it fresh, and preventing the cream from dissolving into the cake, it is a big cake!
      You can make your own cream cheese though (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/how-to-make-cream-cheese/), and use this. Alternatively just use a buttercream, that will hold better on this cake for you, but temperature matters so refrigerate up to serving to be sure it is right.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Parul Halani on November 3, 2018 at 2:05 am

    Hello I don’t use eggs so can you tell me instead of eggs?

  10. Bhawna on November 2, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    How to get rid of eggy smell from cakes like i love to bake cakes with eggs but i find that eggy smell unbearable.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 3, 2018 at 4:01 am

      Hi Bhawna,
      The problem is that if you do not like eggs you will taste and smell them! I never notice it because I use them all the time, and eat eggs too, so it does not offend me.
      You can replace the eggs, or some of the eggs in a recipe using egg substitutes. I have a chart here (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/egg-substitutes-for-baking/). For this recipe applesauce, flax egg, or if you use some egg than yogurt for the remainder. Try it, it will resolve this issue for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Liberty on November 2, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Can i use other kinds of oil? Instead of sunflower
    Oil?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 3, 2018 at 4:22 am

      Hi Liberty,
      Use a light oil, light in color usually means light in flavor. There are so many seed/veg/nut oils out there. Choose one you can easily get at a good price.
      Happy baking,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Keren on November 22, 2018 at 11:37 am

        would coconut oil do?

        • Gemma Stafford on November 23, 2018 at 4:31 am

          Hi Keren,
          forgive me, I cannot find the link to the original question. If you mean in the cake then yes, but melt it. I think you can hold back a little on this too, judge it as you mix.
          In the frosting yes, though maybe not as much oil as you would use butter. It will need to be soft enough to cream, but not melted. If you are trying this I think You will need 2 cups of powdered sugar (8 – 9ozs) to 2 – 3ozs of coconut oil etc.
          I have not tried this, but it should work well for you,
          Gemma 🙂

  12. klaharris on October 23, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Hi Gemma, I made your carrot cake today but unfortunately I used the wrong flour & sugar so it didn’t quite go to plan wished I had found & read the comments before making it lol never mind I will give it another go 🤞🤞
    Karen 😀

    • Gemma Stafford on October 23, 2018 at 10:50 am

      Ah! I am so sorry to hear this.
      It is always best to pay close attention to a recipe. Every time we change ingredients we change the result. I have my fingers crossed here too, I know it will work out well for you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Karen Harris on October 24, 2018 at 2:06 am

        Thank you. Can you confirm the amount of baking powder required it says in the recipe 3tsp but in the video 1 tsp was used. Also what is the difference in vegetable oil & sun flower oil? 😀

        • Gemma Stafford on October 25, 2018 at 5:48 am

          Hi Karen,
          You have to follow the recipe! The video can be misleading as it is edited to make for a slick presentation.
          I think I got to the sumflower oil/veg oil question. One is a seed oil, the vegetable oil can be from a number of sources, it wil ltell you on the label. both are mild in flavor and useful for your recipes,
          Gemma 🙂

      • klaharris on October 24, 2018 at 8:10 am

        Hi Gemma
        Thank u for your reply. Can you tell me what the difference is between vegetable oil & sunflower oil. And can I use lemon juice you would put on pancakes to make butter milk or is it better to use fresh lemons 😀

        • Gemma Stafford on October 25, 2018 at 4:45 am

          Hi there,
          Really one is a seed oil, and the other varies! Actually look at the label in your store. The source of the oil should be named there. Sometimes you wil lfind it is the final pressing of Rape oil seed! either one is usually mild in flavor and suitable for your baking.
          Thank you for being in touch,
          Gemma 🙂

  13. Zonya96 on October 13, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Hi gemma..
    Was wondering for the frosting if I could use a plain salted butter instead of unsalted.. What do you think?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 13, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Yes you can! I usually use salted butter to bring out the flavor in my frostings. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  14. Zaira Khan on October 13, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Hey Gemma. Loved the recipe. Unfortunately, where I live, I’m unable to find unsalted butter. Ive looked high and low but was unsuccessful. Could you tell me if it’s okay to use salted butter instead?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Yes, I actually prefer salted butter because I believe that the salt brings out the flavor even in sweet baked goods. I hope you enjoy!

  15. Fanelyn Ola on October 12, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I tried your recipe and it is just so yummy and so easy to follow. Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I’m delighted you enjoyed it!

  16. mariadoms on September 23, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Gemma. Just want to thank you for sharing this recipe. I have been selling carrot cake (from your recipe)… 😊😊😊
    My family loves this recipe too. 😍😍😍

    • Gemma Stafford on September 24, 2018 at 2:29 am

      I am really delighted that you are using this recipe. Very happy to hear that you have customers for it, very well done to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  17. Daisy on September 22, 2018 at 10:17 am

    What type of flour did you used?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 23, 2018 at 4:58 am

      Hi Daisy,
      Plain white all purpose wheat flour.
      That is traditional in this recipe. Thank you for being here with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Elsa on September 22, 2018 at 12:30 am

    Hi, can I leave out the raisins?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 22, 2018 at 1:20 am

      Hi Elsa,
      sure you can. You can add another dried fruit too, some people add pineapple to this cake, or dried cranberries, chopped walnuts etc.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Yvonne on September 16, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Gemma. How long should I bake the cake if I use only half the ingredients?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 19, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Hi Yvonne,
      This depends on the size and shape of the pan you are using. You will need to monitor the bake. Generally you leave a bake alone in the first 20 minutes or so, depending on what it is. You will be able to judge it, it will look baked, pull away slightly from the pan, and feel firm to the touch.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  20. MJ on September 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Hello miss Gemma, i would like to ask how to create the design top of the cake? I dont know how to create.the carrot design🤔

    • Gemma Stafford on September 20, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Did you watch the video? I show you how to do it in the video. It is really easy.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  21. Hannah Stanton on September 16, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Hi, Is this self raising or plain flour?

    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on September 16, 2018 at 4:42 am

      Hi Hannah,
      I only realized now that the recipe does not indicate this, than kyou for your question, I will correct it.
      Plain flour/All purpose flour. You will see that there is an addition of baking powder to this recipe to provide the leavening.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  22. Guhan on September 14, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Thanks for such a simple to follow recipe. I am working on this now. I have a question though…. With reference to your point on using a 9” tin and 2 x 900g/2lb loaf tins, if I were to half this recipe, can I use a 1lb loaf tin (23x13x6cm)? Should I use the same timing and temperature?

    Rgds
    Guhan

    • Gemma Stafford on September 15, 2018 at 2:05 am

      Hi Guhan,
      A 23x13x7cms is a two pound loaf pan. 1/2 of this recipe will work well in this pan.
      I think that is what you mean. Try it, it is a good choice,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. fanny on September 14, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Hey Gemma,
    Can I add butter instead of oil?If yes then can you please tell me the quantity of butter that I need to add?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 15, 2018 at 3:17 am

      Hi there,
      sure you can, melt the butter, and add about 1/4 more than you would oil. butter has other ingredients apart from the fat.
      I am guessing this, but if I am swapping oil for butter in a recipe I reduce the amount by about 1/3. Butter had a milk residue. which is effectively water content, as opposed to oil which is a pure fat.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Latipha on September 13, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Any chance i could give this 10 stars?
    Hi Gemma, thank you so much for this wonderful site. I made this cake and it turned out great first time something that’s never happened! I’ve now made it 3 times and i always get the same perfect results. My family and friends loooooooove it!!!!!Thank you sooo much for making me love baking! You are the queen of baking in my humble opinion.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 14, 2018 at 3:19 am

      Hi Latipha,
      That is so kind, thank you, and thank you for being in touch to let us know.
      happy dance here!
      Gemma 🙂

  25. Carolina on September 13, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Gemma

    Am I able to use the cream cheese frosting to cover the cake and then decorate with fondant?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 14, 2018 at 3:33 am

      Carolina, in a word, NO!
      I would not do this. If you are going to cover a cake with fondant then use a buttercream as the crumb layer, it will not marry with a cream cheese frosting.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  26. Laura on September 10, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Hi Gemma,

    I tried this recipe twice and the first time I halved the ingredients and made a single cake, it came out so soft and moist, so yummy!
    The next time i wanted to make a layered cake and followed the weight of the ingredients as per the recipe, but after the I whisked the oil, eggs and sugar it became so thick that after i added the flour, the batter didnt mix. I had to add milk to the batter and then add carrots. The cake came out soft but really heavy , it wasn’t like the first time.

    Please advise.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 10, 2018 at 3:47 am

      Hi Laura,
      I am not too sure what happened here, but clearly something was not right, perhaps in a measurement. I cannot be sure about this, I am sorry, it sounds like there was something off in the liquids, and the effort to correct it toughened the gluten in the flour. That is my best guess. Not much help perhaps?
      Gemma 🙂

  27. Umikaa Ghatge on September 7, 2018 at 2:54 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Firstly, I’d like to thank you for this amazing website that stores all the detailed insights required for baking. I’m a novice and I find so many of your videos helpful. I also tried your best ever brownie recipe and oh my god was it absolutely delightful !

    This recipe again is a gem ! Infact, my mom was surprised that I could get this cake well in the first attempt. Now, i’m thinking of doing an eggless one (instead I’ll use some mashed banana) and I wanted to know if I can use whole wheat flour ? Is that possible and will it affect the taste ?

    Thank you ! 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on September 7, 2018 at 8:07 am

      Hi there,
      thank you for your very kind comments, I appreciate your support for what we do here.
      I am delighted your mom enjoyed your baking, well done you.
      There is a reason that whole wheat flour is generally not used in fine baking, it just is not the same result.
      A finely ground flour can work well in the likes of muffins, and perhaps in this recipe too, but I think it would need about 1/2 and 1/2 white an wholemeal to have a satisfactory result.
      Replacing the egg in this recipe should be easy enough, and banana or applesauce would be a good choice. try it, I would suggest you cut the recipe down to 1/2 and bake in a loaf pan while you are experimenting, it is a great way to test a recipe.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Umikaa on October 4, 2018 at 2:04 am

        Hello!

        I followed your suggestion of halving the ingredients in the recipe and that worked well. But, i did notice something a bit different and that is – the cake batter was thick in consistency. Though the taste was good i felt as though the batter was a bit lumpy and thick. can i do anything to fix it ?

        Also, is there something that I could do to make my cakes moist?

        Thank you !

        • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2018 at 6:05 am

          Hi there,
          The problem with adjusting a recipe is that often times an ingredient is missed out. I am wondering if this is what happened here. This should be a moist cake, I think you may have missed out some of the oil. Halving the cake mix should not affect the texture, something sounds off!
          Gemma 🙂

  28. Mateja on August 31, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Hello Gemma!

    I love the recipe but the frosting is not working for me. It was completly liquid! 🙁 Even after beeing for 3 hours in the freezer. What did I do wrong? Overstirred? Were the ingredients too warm?

    Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 1, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Hi there,
      I think this is to do with the cream cheese! Here in the US we get a block of cream cheese, which is firm and which blends really well with fresh cream for cheesecake, and buttercream for frosting.
      In some places it is not available. The tubs are designed for spreading, and are not the same thing, and this depends on where you live. In the UK, Ireland and other places the Tesco own brand ‘soft cheese’ full fat one works really well, as do other own label store brands. I am not sure what the solution is for this other than to cut the amount of cheese in 1/2. It is a problem, I am sorry, I am never sure how to resolve it,
      Gemma 🙂

  29. Christine Godornes on August 30, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Hi Gemma! I have tried your Best Ever Carrot Cake and it was soooooo good! I made it on my mom’s birthday she was surprised that I was going to bake a cake for her since we both love cakes and it was actually my first time to bake a cake in a real oven! ( i had no bake cakes for a while before we had an oven ) i actually had no raisins at the time since it was very last minute but i worked it out with nuts! My family and I loved it a lot. Thanks Gemma! I look forward to making great cakes and other desserts from your recipes.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 31, 2018 at 4:23 am

      Hi there,
      I am really happy that you have a new oven, and now you have to use it!
      I am delighted you worked this recipe well, and that your mom was pleased with it. Well done you, now carry on baking. I bet she would love the lemon bar recipe here this week too!
      Gemma 🙂

  30. Cassia DeSena on August 22, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Gemma you said 3 teaspoons or 3 tablespoons of baking powder?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 23, 2018 at 5:28 am

      Hi Cassia,
      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)
      125 g , 4ozs of raisins
      Here it is for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  31. Cássia DeSena on August 22, 2018 at 5:19 am

    Hi Gemma!
    I loved your red velvet cake I made it for my daughter and it was sooo good and came out just like yours! Thankyou 😀😋
    Now I want to make your carrot cake. My question is can I divide the amount of oil and add the other half with melted butter? And add less sugar and how much it could be? My family don’t like it too oily and sweet

    • Gemma Stafford on August 23, 2018 at 7:17 am

      Hi Cassia,
      Yes, you can reduce the oil in this cake, but there is a point at which this will affect the texture of the cake.
      Replace 1/2 the oil (7ozs) with 8 ozs melted butter for best results. butter is not all fat! This should give you a good result, but I have not tried it, I am going on instinct!
      I think you can reduce the sugar to about 12 ozs here without too much trouble. Carrots are sweet too, and they vary depending on their age etc. but i think that will be good.
      Do let us know if you try this,
      Gemma 🙂

  32. Liz on August 10, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    I’ve noticed a lot of questions about “mixed spice”. I think that that is coming packaged as “Pumpkin pie spice” in the US is what you want. It is as you have explained in earlier responses, a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. I thought this might clarify things for some of your bakers out there. I’m off to the store to buy the ingredients for your sky high 5 ingredient chocolate pie and your 10 minute key lime pie which I’m going to make both of tonight! I’ll get you know how they turn out!
    Best,
    Liz

    • Gemma Stafford on August 11, 2018 at 2:30 am

      Hi Liz,
      WOW! You know I never thought of that, for some reason. It is exactly that, the balance may be slightly different, but it is a great alternative, thank you for bringing this to my attention, I will be all over this now!
      Happy baking, I will be looking forward to seeing the pics here too! sounds like you are having a party!
      Gemma 🙂

  33. S.Hussey on August 8, 2018 at 4:54 am

    Hi Gemma, Can I use apple sauce as a egg substitute? Will it give the same result? Thanks 🙂

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