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Super Easy Carrot Cake

This Super Easy Carrot Cake boasts a moist crumb, plenty of warm cinnamon spice, and a fluffy cream cheese frosting. Plus, we use an easy one-bowl method you’ll love!

Slice of easy carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
Serve this Easy Carrot Cake for birthdays, Easter, or just whenever – it never fails to impress!

Why This Recipe Stands Out

We love desserts like this Moist Zucchini Bread that satisfy our sweet tooth while sneaking in veggies. Here’s why you’ll love this Easy Carrot Cake:

  • Super Easy: The prep for this recipe takes just 15 minutes. Just measure, mix, and bake!
  • Moist and Tender: Thanks to a few key ingredients, this is one of the most tender cakes we’ve ever tasted.
  • Healthier: This carrot cake is great for dessert, but also contains healthier ingredients and qualifies as a sweet, satisfying breakfast or brunch.
  • Make-Ahead: This cake will stay moist for days making it one of our favorite meal prep desserts.

Key Recipe Ingredients

carrots for easy carrot cake.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil makes this cake super moist and tender, and eaters will not taste any olive flavor. Feel free to use canola oil or melted coconut oil, if preferred.
  • Shredded Carrots – The key to carrot cake is to use freshly grated carrots. You’ll want to very finely shred your own carrots.
  • Crushed Pineapple – A can of crushed pineapple not only creates a moist crumb, but also infuses carrot cake with amazing flavors.
  • Raisins – We mix raisins into the batter for an added burst of sweetness.
  • Walnuts – While this one’s optional, we love the added crunch and nutty flavor that walnuts bring to this cake. Not to mention, walnuts are packed with health benefits!
  • Frosting – All you need is 4 simple ingredients for the cream cheese frosting – powdered sugar, regular cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract.

Substitutions And Variations

This recipe for Easy Carrot Cake is super versatile. Check out some of our favorite mix-ins and variations:

  • Flour: If you want to make this cake even healthier, try swapping the all-purpose flour for whole wheat. It will slightly alter the texture, but will still taste amazing. You can also use white whole wheat, which is finer and less grainy than whole wheat.
  • Mix-ins: We think shredded coconut, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, or added spices like ginger, cloves, and nutmeg would be amazing in carrot cake.
  • Frosting: Cream cheese frosting and carrot cake are a classic pairing; but if you’re wanting to switch things up, try swapping in classic buttercream frosting, this Stabilized Whipped Cream, or this delicious spice glaze from our recipe for Our Favorite Pumpkin Scones.
  • Caramel Sauce: If you need to satisfy a serious sweet tooth, try drizzling this 4-Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce over the cake after it’s cooled completely.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. For the frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla with a hand-held mixer. Add sugar gradually and beat until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  1. Form a well in the center of flour mixture. Add sugar, oil, and eggs into the well and mix. Fold in carrots, pineapple, raisins, and optional walnuts until just combined.
  2. Pour batter into a greased and lined 9×13 pan and bake at 350F for 35 minutes. Wait until cake has fully cooled before frosting. Enjoy!

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

Take a look at some of our favorite prep-ahead strategies:

  • Grate Carrots: Feel free to grate the carrots several days in advance. Just store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
  • Make Frosting: Cream cheese frosting will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week. So, we like mixing it at least a day in advance. Depending on how long you chill it, it may need some time to soften at room temperature before you frost the cake.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: You can measure and mix all the dry ingredients (except the sugar) far in advance. Just store the mixture in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to bake.
  • Bake the Cake: This cake stays really moist even after a few days. So, you can actually bake the whole cake a day or two in advance. Keep it stored airtight in the fridge.
slice of easy carrot cake close up.

Commonly Asked Questions

How long does carrot cake with cream cheese frosting stay fresh?

Frosted carrot cake will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. It also freezes really well. We recommend freezing the cream cheese frosting separately from the cake for best results. Cake will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

Do I need to refrigerate carrot cake with cream cheese frosting?

Any dessert with cream cheese frosting will need to be kept airtight in the fridge and not at room temperature.

What would be a good replacement for the crushed pineapple in this cake?

If you don’t want to use pineapple in your carrot cake, you can substitute it with freshly grated apples instead.

Can I make this recipe into cupcakes?

Yes! For measurements and baking times, check out our recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Why do you use olive oil in the cake?

Olive oil does an amazing job at creating a tender, moist, fluffy cake. We love using olive oil in our baking, as it contains healthier fats and polyphenols, without imparting any olive-like flavors at all. You’re welcome to use alternatives such as canola, vegetable, or melted coconut oil.

Did you make this?

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

slice of easy carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Super Easy Carrot Cake

5 from 21 ratings
This Super Easy Carrot Cake boasts a moist crumb, plenty of warm cinnamon spice, and a fluffy cream cheese frosting. Plus, we use an easy one-bowl method you'll love.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

Carrot Cake:

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Instructions

For the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position. Press a long sheet of foil into a 9×13 pan, with extra foil hanging over edges for easy cake removal. Grease the foil.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, mixing well. Form a well in the center. Add sugar, oil, and eggs into the well and mix wet ingredients by hand. Fold into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
  • Fold in carrots, pineapple, raisins, and optional walnuts.
  • Bake in greased, foil-lined pan about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool and remove with foil sling. Frost as desired.

For the Frosting:

  • Combine butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Beat well. Add sugar gradually and beat well. If too thick, add small amount of milk. If too thin, add small amounts of sugar until desired consistency is reached. Frosting naturally thickens and firms up as it sits.

Notes

  • If your frosting feels too soft, pop it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to let it firm up.
  • Don’t forget to fully drain the crushed pineapple. The juices are delicious, but will leave cake batter too watery.
  • For even more sweetness, try drizzling some of this 4-Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce over your carrot cake!
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: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 467mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 3318IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Breakfast or Snack, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Bake

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9 comments

    • Lou Skeen

    Can other veg. oils be used instead of OO??

      • Amy Dong

      You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil. Hope you love it!!

    • cindycote

    Can I print it?

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Cindy! Yes, I just updated it so that it’s on the EasyRecipes format, and you may print it 🙂 Some of my “older” recipes (the blog is only 1.5 years old) weren’t on EasyRecipes format, but I’m working on it 🙂 Thanks so much for coming over, and hope you love this Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting as much as we do! It’s seriously awesome 🙂

      • Lou Skeen

      yes

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