There is nothing more satisfying than serving a moist, fluffy carrot cake you made yourself.
Here are the secrets to baking the ultimate carrot cake from scratch that will wow the crowd. Once you know the important tips, it’s easy.
Secrets to an Amazing Carrot Cake
Carrot cake is made like a quick bread. (You add a bowl of wet ingredients into a bowl of dry ingredients.) This creates a texture more coarse than traditional cake.
Carrots: freshly grated carrots are the best. (You can cheat by purchasing shredded carrots but they aren’t as moist or flavorful.)
Oil not butter: I use butter in cooking more than Julia Childs, but in a carrot cake you want to use oil instead of butter because it is flavorless which brings out the carrot, spice and nut flavors.
Sugar: Use double the amount of brown sugar as white sugar to add moisture and flavor.
Flour: carefully measure your flour so you don’t add too much to the recipe or it won’t be as moist and fluffy.
Ultimate Carrot Cake from Scratch
- 2 c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 c grated carrots
- ½ c sugar
- 1 c brown sugar
- 2/3 c canola or vegetable oil
- ½ c unsweetened applesauce
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c walnut pieces
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ c butter at room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 c icing sugar
- 1 tsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a 9" round cake pan on parchment, trace a circle and cut out. Place on bottom of pan and grease pan and parchment. This will make the cake turn out of the pan easier.
- Combine in a large bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl.
- Whisk together sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until there are no lumps.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine.
- Fold in grated carrots and walnuts.
- Bake the cake for 35 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- For the frosting: using a handheld or upright mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese for 3 minutes on medium. Add the icing sugar, cream and vanilla and beat on low until the sugar is incorporated, then beat on high until the icing is fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Turn cake out and cut in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place one layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread a cup of frosting on layer. Place remaining cake layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and side. Garnish as you wish.
- Refrigerate cake for at least ½ hour before serving so it won't be crumbly.
- Substitute pineapple tidbits for applesauce
- Substitute pecans for walnuts
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup coconut
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