Cakes, Gemma's Best Recipes

Best-Ever Carrot Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting

4.53 from 607 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 Recipe

Hi Bold Bakers!

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.

Unlike some cakes that have just one sweet flavor profile accentuated by frosting, this 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.

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!

What is 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. 

Close up of Best-Ever Carrot Cake showing texture, carrot decorations, and cream cheese frosting.

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. 

What You Need To Make Carrot Cake

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:

  • A 9in Cake Pan (like the ones you can get in my Bakeware Set!)
  • Bowls and whisks for mixing
  • An oven (or toaster oven)
  • All your ingredients, including finely shredded carrots and raisins for the cake, and cream cheese and butter for the frosting (which are best at room temperature)

Vegetables in Desserts

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 ;).  

A slice of Best-Ever Carrot Cake, with Cream Cheese Frosting

How to Make Carrot Cake

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

  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.

How to Make 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.

Gemma’s Pro Tips for Making Carrot Cake

  • 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.
  • Use this recipe to also make 2 x 900g/2lb loaves using loaf tins, but make sure you reduce the heat.
  • 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.

Best Ever Carrot Cake Recipe, finished and being served, showing all the layers and decorations.

How to Store Carrot Cake

Cover and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days! Or, let everyone you love eat it all in one go and you won’t have to worry about it.

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!

Try These Other Recipes:

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)

4.53 from 607 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: 10 people
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
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: 10 people

Ingredients

Best-Ever Carrot Cake

  • 1 ¾ cups (14oz/395g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups (14floz/395ml) oil (sunflower, vegetable, coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups (14oz/395g)all-purpose (plain flour)
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice or cinnamon
  • (14oz/400g) carrots (finely grated)
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) raisins

Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 cups (1 lb 4 oz/600g) powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1 lb (16oz/480g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4oz/120g ) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Best-Ever Carrot Cake Instructions

  • Whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and oil until thick.
  • Then add in flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix gently
  • Lastly, add in the grated carrots and raisins and mix in until well combined.
  • Grease and line a 9” tin. You can also use this recipe to make 2 x 900g/2lb loaf tins, but you'll have to reduce the heat.
  • Pour mixture into tins and place in the oven at 340°F (170°C) for 70- 80 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).
  • Leave to cool in tins for 10mins then turn onto a cooling rack.

Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions

  • 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.
  • Decorate as desired.

 

Submit your own photos of this recipe

122 Images

Khoulah

Mackenzie_Funk101

Vivienne Lau

LuisGianera

diana.salha

Mei Qi Josie

guest
938 Comments and Reviews
most useful
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
charlotte crane
charlotte crane
6 months 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.

Mariam
Mariam
3 months ago

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

5 months 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.😊

Mila
Mila
3 months 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 🤗

JulesK
11 months 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
3 months 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. 😍

Clare
Clare
4 months 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.

Ghadeer
Ghadeer
2 months 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

Sonal Kapoor
Sonal Kapoor
3 months 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 😊

Ayea
Ayea
1 day ago

hi Gem I wanted to know that can we use homemade cream cheese for the frosting because store bought cream cheese is really expensive where I live

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

Buy the Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook by Gemma Stafford