This easy Carrot Cake recipe is moist, full of great spices and flavors, and topped with the best cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans, making it an irresistible homemade cake. If you are looking for the perfect carrot cake recipe from scratch, this is it!
If baking a cake from scratch feels like a daunting task to you, I would love for you to give this easy carrot cake recipe a try. It is a simple recipe to follow, and you end up with incredibly moist carrot cake. Finally, we top it with a homemade cream cheese frosting that will have you licking the bowl.
How to Make Carrot Cake from Scratch
- Shred Carrots: The only time intensive part of this recipe is shredding the carrots. You want them very fine, so use the smaller side on a box grater. And enlist one of your kids to do it.
- Whisk Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.
- Combine Wet Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, vegetable oil, apple sauce, and carrots.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix. You want to stir it until they are just combined.
Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake
Once the cake has cooled, we whip up some of my amazing cream cheese frosting to go on top. It is the perfect accompaniment to this homemade carrot cake.
When making the frosting, make sure to start with butter and cream cheese that are room temperature. You should be able to easily dent them with your finger without pushing all the way through. I do not recommend softening them in the microwave.
Tips and Tricks for this Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
- Measure the flour correctly. When measuring the flour, spoon it into the measuring cup and then level it off. Resist the temptation to dip that one cup measuring cup into your container of flour. You will end up with too much flour and a denser cake.
- Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh. You want new ones every six months. To test them, drop your baking soda in vinegar and your baking powder in water. They should bubble and react immediately.
- Your eggs should be room temperature. Fill a bowl with luke warm water and put them in there for a few minutes to speed this along.
- Make sure your butter and cream cheese are room temperature before making the frosting.
Because of the cream cheese frosting, this cake shouldn’t be left out for more than an hour, and you should cover and refrigerate leftovers. This cake can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, but always use your best judgement when it comes to leftovers.
Should I refrigerate carrot cake?
Because of the cream cheese frosting, this cake should be covered and stored in the refrigerator.
Can I substitute all of the oil in this recipe for apple sauce?
Generally speaking, you can substitute apple sauce for oil in baking recipes. However, based on my own experience, oil keeps a cake more moist. That is why I used a combination of the two in this recipe. It leads to a perfectly delicious and moist carrot cake.
Is carrot cake healthier than regular cake?
No. Putting carrots in a cake doesn’t make it healthy, as much as I wish it did. While not health food, this carrot cake is delicious. Just eat it in moderation.
Can I make this a layer cake?
Yes! You can bake these in 3 cake rounds instead of a sheet pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. You will need to double the frosting recipe to have enough for a layer cake.
Homemade Carrot Cake Sheet Cake
For the Homemade Carrot Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1 pound carrots grated fine
Best Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar (not packed)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, oil, apple sauce, and carrots until smooth.
- Stir the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the edges of the cake are golden and starting to pull away from the baking dish. Be careful not to overbake.
- While the cake is cooling, cream together the cream cheese and the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Then add in the vanilla extract.
- Once the cake is cool to the touch, spread the frosting over the top. If you desire, sprinkles chopped pecans around the edge. Cut, serve, and enjoy. Cover the left overs with aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.