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Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This truly is the Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. The cake is supremely tender, moist, and bursting with great carrot cake flavor. The frosting is creamy, smooth, and decadent.

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting Slice
Super Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s finally officially spring. Though the weather can be somewhat of a finicky unknown during spring in this neck of the woods, nobody’s complaining. There might be an April snowstorm (no jinx, please) and puddles of mud, but it’s definitely on the upswing.

Spring calls for the appearance of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread and carrot cake, despite the funny fact that lemons reach peak harvest in winter and carrots are more of a summer farmer’s market staple. Thankfully, fresh carrots are available year round for most of us, and magical carrot cake can happen whenever the craving hits.

And when the carrot cake craving hits, there’s none better than this extraordinarily moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s a family & friends’ favorite recipe which has ruined all other carrot cakes for us…fair warning, it may do the same for you.

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting with plates and fork
This carrot cake is perfect with just a slather of cream cheese frosting.

The perfect texture and balance of flavors

This genuinely is the best carrot cake we’ve ever sunk our sweet teeth into, and that includes many restaurant carrot cake tastings. Here’s why:

  • The combination of baking soda and baking powder gives this cake an extra tender crumb.
  • This cake doesn’t skimp on the spices; your taste buds will appreciate the generous combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
  • Brown sugar is combined with granulated sugar for a boost in moisture and depth of flavor.
  • Four large eggs go into the batter, binding the ingredients and providing structure
  • The cake utilizes oil to give it that supremely moist texture – we often use light olive oil, which does not impart any olive-ish flavors to the cake. Feel free to use vegetable or canola oil.
  • An entire pound of fresh carrots offer plenty of carrot cake respect. The cake won’t taste like a big carrot, we promise.
  • Whether you grate your fresh carrots using large vs. small holes of your box grater is your choice. If you prefer the carrots to “melt” into the cake more, grate them finer.
  • Crushed pineapple is a legit moisture-booster in this cake. You’ll squeeze out all the excess juice from pineapple to ensure correct liquid to flour ratio.
  • If you’re a raisin fan, feel free to drop in 1/2 cup of raisins.
Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

This carrot cake needs nothing else but a generous slathering of velvety cream cheese frosting. Feel free to embellish it to your heart’s content with carrot-shaped candies or orange and green swirls on top if you’d like.

Just know that the cream cheese frosting is really all you need:

  • It tastes like smooth, creamy soft cheesecake layers in between moist carrot cake layers.
  • Do use regular, whole cream cheese.
  • Salted butter provides smooth, rich, salty buttery goodness to the frosting.
  • A bit of sour cream give the frosting a tangy boost, helping to offset the sweetness.
  • Pure vanilla extract brings this cream cheese frosting home.

    All the flavors of the cake swing and jive so well together.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting with plates and fork

Make the entire cake in advance

You’ll love the fact that this entire carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is a make-ahead deal. You can frost and assemble the entire cake and keep it chilled up to a day or two in advance. Just be sure to keep it covered and not exposed in the fridge.

This handy cake container/carrier is super useful for storing cakes or bringing them to a friend’s house.

We love this cake so much, it shows up on birthdays and holidays often. We even have this simplified version for any day carrot cake cravings come calling.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Square

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

A slice of Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting on a white plate with a fork.

Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 75 ratings
This is truly the very Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting we've ever had the pleasure of sinking our sweet teeth into! The cake is super moist and tender. The cream cheese frosting is smooth and velvety. This cake can be made a day ahead, and actually tastes better the next day!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: Amy Dong


For the Cake

For Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position. Line 2 (9 in) round cake pans with parchment paper on bottom. Grease parchment paper and sides of pan. Set aside.
  • Make the Cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat both sugars with eggs on medium high until combined, 45 sec. Reduce to medium speed and add oil gradually. Increase to high speed and mix until light in color, 1 min.
  • Remove bowl and using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and pineapple. Gently fold in dry ingredient mixture just until no flour streaks remain; do not over mix.
  • Scrape batter, divided evenly, into prepared cake pans. Smooth top to release air bubbles. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few tender crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes.
  • Remove pans and cool cakes completely in pans on a wire rack (at least several hours.)
  • Meanwhile, Make the Frosting. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix the softened cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed until combined, 30 seconds, scraping down as needed. Add confectioners' sugar and mix until very fluffy, 1 minute. Keep chilled until ready to use.
  • Be sure cakes are completely cooled. Run thin knife around edge of cakes to loosen and invert one round cake onto serving platter. Tap back of pan to remove cake and gently peel off parchment paper. Spread half of the cream cheese frosting on top of cake.
  • Repeat with second layer of cake, placing it gently over the top of frosting. Spread remaining frosting on top, and garnish however you like, but no garnish necessary. Cake may be covered and chilled 1 day ahead.


  • When preparing your carrot cake, ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This helps them blend together more smoothly, resulting in a more even and moist cake.
  • Use a mix of large and small holes on your grater for the carrots. This will give your cake a nice texture and ensure the carrot flavor is evenly distributed.
  • Be careful not to overmix your batter after adding the dry ingredients. Overmixing can lead to a dense cake, so mix until no flour streaks remain.
  • To ensure your cake is baked perfectly, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out with a few tender crumbs attached, your cake is done.
  • Always cool your cakes completely before frosting. If the cake is still warm, the frosting will melt and slide off.
  • Cake can be fully assembled a day or two in advance. Keep covered and chilled until ready to serve. This cake container/carrier is helpful for storing or transporting. 
  • Optional: you can add 1/2 cup raisins if you like. Top with toasted chopped pecans or walnuts if desired.
  • Click here if you'd like to make carrot cake cupcakes.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 667kcal | Carbohydrates: 81.9g | Protein: 6.8g | Fat: 36.8g | Saturated Fat: 8.8g | Cholesterol: 82.6mg | Sodium: 327.8mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 57.8g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: baking

More to Bake and Eat

1. Best Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake – This moist, tender cake is easy and bursting with berries and bright flavors to cheer up anyone’s day. Super easy, too!

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

2. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – This is a super duper easy carrot cake in a pan that doesn’t involve layers but involves lots of moist flavor!

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese

3. Banana Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting. An easy pan cake that is always moist, soft, and perfect for any time of day.

Banana Cake Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting 2

4. Banana Chiffon Cake. This light, spongy, airy cake is moist and tender all the way. So good and addictive, you can almost eat the entire thing all by yourself.

Banana Chiffon Cake 2

5. Best Ever Angel Food Cake. I never tasted real angel food cake until I tasted this. It blows away any store bought version.

Best Angel Food Cake

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Ramona
    • 5 stars

    I actually made carrot cupcakes yesterday and they were amazing, but I definitely need to try out this recipe next time! I can’t wait to give these a go, thank you for sharing this recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re welcome, Ramona!

    • Veronika
    • 5 stars

    Carrot Cake is my most favorite cake! It’s moist, flavorful, with silky cream cheese frosting! Definitely making it for Easter!

      • chewoutloud

      Excited for you to taste this!

    • Eva
    • 5 stars

    I love trying out new carrot cake recipes and I can’t wait to try yours! It looks delicious, you can tell how soft and moist is already from the pictures.

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Eva!

    • Leslie
    • 5 stars

    I can’t think of a more perfect recipe to bring for an Easter dessert! LOVE the cream cheese frosting…perfect way to compliment this!

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Leslie!

    • Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
    • 5 stars

    Oh my sweet heavens LOOK AT THIS CAKE!!! It looks absolutely perfect! And those carrots pieces… I’m in love! Seriously, this is a showstopper for sure! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re welcome, Lori!

    • Heidy
    • 5 stars

    Good Morning!

    Your cake recipe looks delicious, and I am betting this would go over well with my friends and family! A must-make recipe for sure. Have a wonderful day, and I will come back to let you know how it turns out.

      • chewoutloud

      Hope you all love it!

    • Silvia
    • 5 stars

    So moist and delicious as a carrot cake should be. And the cheese frosting is dreamy, I just cannot stop eating it.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you liked it!

    • Stephen

    Any thoughts on how long to bake usi g a Bundt pan?

      • chewoutloud

      Stephen, try 350F for 50 min to start with. When toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few tender crumbs attached, it’s done 🙂

    • Veronika Sykorova
    • 5 stars

    This carrot cake came out super soft and fluffy. It wasn’t overly sweet which I appreciate. The cream cheese frosting was great too, I can’t have carrot cake without it! SO delicious.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, I’m so happy to hear that, Veronika!

    • Amanda Dixon
    • 5 stars

    This cake looks fabulous! It looks so moist, and I love all the spices you included. Can’t wait to try it!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, can’t wait for you to taste it!

    • Heather
    • 5 stars

    Love carrot cake! I don’t usually add pineapple but can’t wait to give this version a try! Thanks for the tip on the box grater!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re welcome, Heather!

    • Heather
    • 5 stars

    So good! I don’t always add pineapple because I don’t have it on hand but still delicious! And perfect with cream cheese frosting!

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you liked it! 🙂

    • Chet

    Hi! My oven’s not big enough to fit 2 pans. What do I do with the recipe to make just one pan? Carrot cake’s my favorite and i’d really like to make this. Thank you very much!

      • chewoutloud

      You can bake the pans separately, or adjust bake time if you’re baking entire batter in one pan. If you’re halving the recipe to fit one pan, that will work too. 🙂

    • Nettie Moore
    • 5 stars

    Thank you for contributing! I appreciate all the shares and comments on this Parade Post. \

    • LAGORE

    can make cupcakes instead of layer cake using this recipe?

      • Galueru

      Yes, just alter the cooking time. For small cupcakes 10-15 mins, for bigger cupcakes 12-20 mins (depending on your oven)

    • Dpk

    Can I make this with pineapple juice instead of the chunks?

      • chewoutloud

      You can omit the pineapple rather than subbing with juice. If you sub with juice, you’ll be adding liquid to the batter, which will alter your dry to liquid ratio. Hope you truly love this cake as much as we do 🙂

    • Emmie
    • 5 stars

    Just made this for a baby shower. It truly is THE.BEST.CARROT.CAKE.EVER. Everyone at the shower raved. And it was super easy to make as well. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Dalynn Holling

    Somebody would like me to make this for their wedding cake! Do you have any suggestions for baking 8” and 6” cakes?

      • chewoutloud

      Dalynn,how exciting! For an 8″ you might need to increase the bake time a little bit (if the batter reaches up higher than with the 9″)… start testing at the original bake time, and remove when toothpick inserted in center comes out *almost* clean with a few tender crumbs attached. With a 6″ you’ll likely need to shorten the bake time. Start testing maybe 10-15 minutes earlier, again until toothpick comes out with few tender crumbs. Congrats on being the cake baker! 🙂

    • Anna S.
    • 5 stars

    This cake was truly moist and delicious, but if the cake is cut into 8 slices, I calculated almost 1100 calories per serving! Next time I might try subbing applesauce for about a cup of the oil, and Neufchâtel for the cream cheese for starters

    • Ellie
    • 5 stars

    I made this cake today and my family loved it I only added half a cup of shaved coconut and and half a cup of crush pecans, thanks for sharing it with us I will continue making it.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, love to hear it, Ellie! Nice job, so glad your family loved it 🙂 Thanks for coming over and letting us know! Hope you’ll continue finding recipes you enjoy here at COL 🙂

        • Licia m

        I don’t remember carrot cake having pineapple but it’s been awhile..

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