Introducing the best carrot cake recipe, a moist spice cake loaded with carrots, pineapple, coconut and chopped nuts. Top this homemade cake with cream cheese frosting. Bake in a layer cake or 9×13 pan.
Best Carrot Cake Recipe
Nothing says spring like carrot cake! My mom loves homemade carrot cake and Maddie follows closely in her footsteps. Although Maddie would prefer to have a carrot cake with just carrots, sometimes it is fun to load that carrot cake up with everything delicious. And that’s exactly what this best carrot cake recipe is all about. It’s deliciously overloaded.
Carrot Cake with Pineapple
I wouldn’t usually think to pair pineapple with carrots, but in cake? It totally works. Crushed pineapple adds not only flavor but a moistness to the cake. Can you leave out the pineapple? No…not for this recipe. You want the extra texture and moisture that the pineapple gives. Can you use fresh pineapple instead of canned in this cake? Yes! Just cut the pineapple and process it in a food processor until it is the consistency you like. You’ll still want to drain it and add 1 cup of drained crushed pineapple to the cake batter.
How to Make Carrot Cake
- This recipe calls for vegetable oil but coconut oil also works so well since there is coconut oil in the cake anyway. Be sure the coconut oil is warmed to liquid form before you mix it with the sugar.
- Whisk the eggs before adding them to the sugar and oil. This will help them to be mixed better!
- Use all-purpose flour. Some cakes call for cake flour but that is not necessary for this cake recipe. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. Never pack flour into measuring cups!
- If you have friends and family who may not like the “chunky” texture of this cake, feel free to process the carrots, nuts, pineapple and coconut very finely. You’ll get all the flavor and not quite as much chunky texture.
- Be sure the pineapple is well drained before you add it to the cake batter.
- We used two 9″ cake pans but you can also use 3 8″ cake pans for a pretty look. Watch the baking time closely. Start them out at about 25 minutes and add time as necessary.
- The cake is done when the center of the cake bounces back when you touch it. Peek into the oven with the light on through the oven window before opening the oven. You want to be sure you’re not opening up the oven too much when the cake is baking or it may fall. It should “look” done before you open the door. Test the cake, then add a few minutes if needed from there.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before you frost it.
9×13 Carrot Cake
You can make this cake in a 9×13 cake pan instead of a layer cake. Be sure to grease and flour the cake pan. Bake it at the same temperature, but you’ll have to bake it for longer. Start with 40-45 minutes and add time from there as needed.
Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake
Cream cheese frosting is the best frosting for the best carrot cake recipe. It pairs so well! You’ll find our favorite recipe here.
Other Carrot Cake Recipes
Tools to Make Best Carrot Cake Recipe
- Saigon Cinnamon: This is our favorite cinnamon. You can’t beat its flavor!
- Grated Coconut: One of my favorite brands.
- Flour Sifter: Because you should always take the extra step to sift flour for excellent results.
- Hand mixer: I don’t pull out my stand mixer for this recipe. It makes a small amount so a hand mixer works perfectly.
- Ninja Express Chop: Mini food processor…this is one of my most-used kitchen tools!
- 9” Round Cake Pan: These are my favorite pans!
- Straight Icing Spatula: The long straight spatula makes it easy to smooth frosting.
- Wilton 1M Tip: For piping pretty swirls on cupcakes.
Best Carrot Cake
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs (well beaten)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups finely shredded carrots
- 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained well)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
- 3/4 cup butter (softened)
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and oil.
- Add in the eggs, beating well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon. Blend the flour in with the wet ingredients.
- Gently fold in the carrots, drained pineapple, coconut and walnuts.
- Grease and flour two 9" baking pans.
- Divide the batter between the two pans.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center of the cake bounces back when you touch it.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, the turn them out on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
- Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, until it is thoroughly mixed.
- Add the vanilla and beat the frosting on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Frost the cake:
- Once the cake is cooled, place one layer on a cake plate. Frost the top of the cake layer.
- Place the second layer on top, then use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
- Decorate with additional chopped nuts if desired.
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.