Best Ever Carrot Cake


Are you looking for the perfect cake?  Literally perfect.  Without flaws.  Amazing.  Tender.  Moist.  Heavenly.  Flavorful.  Sweet.  Fluffy and dense all at once.  Healthy(ish =).  Wowing.  Decadent.  Stunning.  Pleases young and old alike.  Then here it is!  I love this cake!  And I can brag it up like that because it’s not my recipe, if it were my own then it would be a bit tacky to brag so much.  I’ve been making this cake for years and have no desire to find a new carrot cake recipe, ever.  This carrot cake turns carrot cake haters into carrot cake lovers.  Believe it or not I didn’t used to like carrot cake and now because of this cake, it is my favorite!  You have to try this cake.  Thank you for another incredible recipe!

The Best Carrot Cake | Cooking Classy

The Best Carrot Cake | Cooking ClassyThe Best Carrot Cake | Cooking Classy


Best Ever Carrot Cake

5 from 3 votes

Yield: 12 Servings


  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups (13.8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cups (12.3 oz) lightly packed finely grated carrots**
  • 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting , recipe follows
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup salted butter , softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 9" round cake pans with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two side. Grease foil and dust with flour, set aside. (This cake can also be made in a 9x13 dish just increase baking time to 40 - 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, I have even halved the recipe and baked it in and 8x8 dish).
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, combine vegetable oil, applesauce, eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Stir in grated carrots. Divide mixture evenly into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake cakes in preheat oven for 35-39 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in cake dishes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Lift cakes out of pan with foil overhang and allow to cool on wire rack completely before frosting (once cool I cut about 1/4" off the tops to even them out before frosting, you'll notice the centers don't rise as high as the rest). Flip cakes upside down when frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Store cake in airtight container.
  3. *Recipe originally 2 tsp baking soda, I made it again today (4/5/15) and reduced to 1 tsp and it came out more level.
  4. **Grate carrots on small grate of a grater. This is usually 6-7 medium carrots.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar and mix until well combine.
  2. Recipe adapted slightly from
Nutrition Facts
Best Ever Carrot Cake
Amount Per Serving (12 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Lisa: I’m always on the lookout for another good carrot cake recipe. I like that this one has applesauce instead of more oil. Pinning it. Hope you’ll come by and link up some treats to Sweets for a Saturday. January 1, 2012 at 7:23pm Reply

  • Made in Sonoma: I bet that is SO tasty! It looks delicious! January 4, 2012 at 10:24pm Reply

  • Ari: This is definitely jumping to the top of my “have-to-make” list. Looks delicious!!! Your frosting job is lovely March 27, 2012 at 2:26pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Ari – thanks so much! I hope you make it soon =), I just had it again last week. I pretty much have it once a month. Its my favorite! March 27, 2012 at 4:40pm Reply

  • Galexi Cupcakes: I was looking all over the blogosphere for an amazing carrot cake and then I saw your recipe and you sold me. I’m making this weekend for Easter Sunday. Can’t wait to try it.
    Thank you for sharing, Jackie April 2, 2012 at 7:39am Reply

  • Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel: I’m not a baker, but I may need to make a carrot cake just so I can frost it like this… ADORABLE!! Such a great idea! July 10, 2012 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Kathryn: Very nice looking cake going to try it for New Years. I hope it tastes as good as it looks : ) December 24, 2012 at 6:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It does indeed taste just as good =), I hope you enjoy! December 24, 2012 at 7:32pm Reply

  • Easter Desserts | Today's Every Mom: […] you like carrot cake then its kind of a must have at Easter!! Click HERE for the […] March 24, 2013 at 8:56pm Reply

  • Megan: Any idea how many standard cupcakes this recipe will make? March 25, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: My sister made these as cupcakes once and she said they sank in the middle and didnt turn out so I’ve never attempted to bake it as cupcakes. The cakes sink just slightly in the center but I guess the cupcakes sink more. I’d maybe recommend checking the link on the recipe to see if anyone on allrecipes has made them into cupcakes with success and if so how many. March 26, 2013 at 8:29pm Reply

  • Lauren: Wow, made this cake yesterday. It was amazing! Very moist and I loved the addition of applesauce to cut out some of the oil. I added close to 4 cups of shredded carrots and it was the perfect amount. Used the browned butter frosting recipe from your carrot bars and increased it a bit to make enough for a layer cake. It was the perfect Easter dessert for our family. Thanks so much for the great recipe! April 1, 2013 at 8:51am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’ve very welcome Lauren, so glad you enjoyed! April 2, 2013 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Sarah: You weren’t lying! I made this cake for Easter this weekend and everyone LOVED it. I’ve been hoarding the leftovers to bring with me to work over the past few days. I honestly think it might be the best carrot cake I’ve ever tried (including those I’ve gotten at bakeries). Another winning recipe! April 2, 2013 at 12:28pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sarah I’m so excited to hear you loved it!! Thanks so much for leaving a comment! I have the hoarding problem with this cake too =). April 2, 2013 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Carla: Hi. About how tall does this cake come out to? I was thinking of adding a cheesecake layer in the middle and I’m hoping it won’t come out to be too towering on the table. April 26, 2013 at 10:58am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s actually not that tall as it doesn’t rise a whole lot and it’s a fairly thick cake. I think you’d be okay to add in one more layer. I hope you enjoy! April 26, 2013 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Milli: Hey Jacyln, I really LOVE your blog and I could waste hundreds of hours with drooling over your awesome pictures! :)
    But I have a question: How does your carrot cake turn out so nice and dark? I have tried several recipes and I am really happy with the taste but they are way to light in appearance. What am I doing wrong? April 27, 2013 at 7:43am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi Milli! I used to wish mine would be lighter because the outside is always dark :). I don’t think your doing anything wrong it’s just the recipes your trying I’d think. This is a random guess but I think the amount of baking soda in this recipe may help with its darker color (it’s way over leavened but it turns out fine as a cake – as cupcakes the centers sink a bit. Normally the rule is you only need 1/4 tsp of baking soda per cup of flour). I’d highly recommend this recipe though it’s my favorite carrot cake :). Thanks so much for your nice compliment! May 3, 2013 at 11:49pm Reply

  • Rosemary: Possibly the cake is a dark colour because of the Baking soda with I suspect is known as Carb Soda in some countries June 23, 2013 at 5:48pm Reply

  • Chocolate Lover ^.^: This looks awesome and delicious!!! :D

    But, I think 4 cups is way too much sugar, any way to replace 3/4+ of the amount? July 25, 2013 at 10:04am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d imagine the next best thing would be to use a sugar alternative (ie stevia) but I’m not too familiar with baking with those ingredients so I don’t know what and how much to recommend. Sugar makes the cake very tender and soft so while you can reduce some I wouldn’t reduce too much of it. July 25, 2013 at 4:26pm Reply

      • Kelli Price: They were asking about the frosting recipe. I agree; it’s way too much sugar. March 11, 2017 at 3:35pm Reply

  • Jo: I am about to try this cake but not sure why you line with aluminium foil instead of usual baking paper August 7, 2013 at 6:32am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You can use either one. August 7, 2013 at 7:41am Reply

      • jo: thanks! i am about to start the cake and the cookies and cream cupcakes. tried some other recipes of yours and they are delish, need to leave some feedback!
        one last thing, is there enough frosting to do the basket weave on the sides? and an i add some walnuts into the batter or will it spoil it? August 7, 2013 at 9:59am Reply

        • Jaclyn: I think adding walnuts would be fine and as far as enough frosting for a basket weave goes, I’d recommend that you add at least half of the frosting recipe more. I barely get the edges frosted with the amount there is and that’s without any design along the sides. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the other recipes :)! August 7, 2013 at 10:19am Reply

          • Jo: first time i did this cake it turned out perfect, taste, look everything. i did it again today for a pot luck meal tomorrow but the frosting is not right :( it sort of curdled a little and now it is just runny, the more time passes the worst it gets. taste is good. dont know what i did wrong as i did exactly the same thing as last time :( August 17, 2013 at 2:28pm

          • Jaclyn: Sorry to hear that Jo! I’d recommend checking out this link and hope that helps:
   August 18, 2013 at 2:04pm

  • Kirsten: Looks wonderful! Have you ever used this as a tiered cake? I’m looking for a carrot cake recipe to use for a fall wedding cake that will be covered in fondant. I need a recipe that is somewhat dense to get the look the bride is looking for. August 23, 2013 at 7:56am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’ve never done this with more than 2 layers. It is a dense cake though – the middle does sink in a bit but I’ve always just cut that off to level. September 1, 2013 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Cassie: You NAILED it with this recipe! Literally is the BEST carrot cake ever! I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great. I have people request this from me now. Thank you!!! August 24, 2013 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you like it Cassie! Thanks for leaving a comment! August 24, 2013 at 7:19pm Reply

  • nina: Hello, I’m excited to make this cake. Only I’m halfing it to use the 8×8 pan. I was wondering if you knew the cal. Count and the fat count and all that good stuff. Trying to get it healthier :) October 15, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry, I don’t have the nutrition info but you can find it on sites like October 17, 2013 at 8:47am Reply

  • rich markel: My wife told me that I have to make the worlds best carot cake for her birthday this coming September. Here’s hoping that I can do it and it turns out like your recipe shows. Maybe I should try a cake before her birthday just to see???? January 15, 2014 at 5:44am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Oh for sure – that means you’ll get two cakes :)! I hope you both love it! January 15, 2014 at 11:37pm Reply

  • NazH: Looks so yummy….cant wait to try this out.
    Is there a link with pictures to show how its done. March 12, 2014 at 2:25pm Reply

  • Channy: Made this recipe and it turn out great the icing came out too soft but still have a good flavor so I fix that with placing it in the fridge before adding on the cake. Now im going to try make cupcakes from this recipe :) March 19, 2014 at 11:53am Reply

  • Tiffany: Im looking forward to making this for easter!! Would you please elaborate on the piping (which tips you used), and if you dyed the cream cheese frosting green & orange, or did you use something else? Also I was considering adding raisins to the cake, do you think it would alter the cake’s presentation? March 24, 2014 at 8:48pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I use a Wilton 230 for the orange portion and a Wilton 2D for the green portion. And yes I did just die the frosting with orange and green. I think the raisins should be okay as long as you don’t add too many. Hope you love it Tiffany! April 10, 2014 at 8:48pm Reply

    • richard markel: I like the idea of adding some raisins also which to me would make the cake a litte like a Hummingbird cake recipe also…. Only a carrot cake base…. Awesome.. April 11, 2014 at 3:22am Reply

  • richard markel: Yep I think I am going to try to make this for Easter…. April 14, 2014 at 10:38am Reply

  • richard markel: Also take the pecans and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil, some butter and brown the pecans in the over before putting them onto the sides of the cake.. Gives the pecans a totally different taste…. April 14, 2014 at 10:44am Reply

  • mafotchuk: Your cake looks beautiful. You decorated it perfectly.

    Gonna try them tomorrow but bake them as cupcakes. August 22, 2014 at 7:55pm Reply

  • Ronnie: I made this over the weekend and it was amazing! My family loved it, so I will be making it more often! March 16, 2015 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Chrystin @ A Mate & a Rottweiler: Whenever a special birthday rolls around, I go straight to your blog to look for cake recipes…Last year for my husband’s bday I made the Copy-Cat Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes and this year for my bday my mom made me your delicious Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. My husband has requested carrot cake this year, so here I am! I just have one question, we don’t have apple sauce here in Argentina…could you tell me what I could substitute it with or how I could make my own? Thanks so much! :-D March 29, 2015 at 8:27am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry for the late response but you can just use equal parts vegetable oil for the applesauce. April 20, 2015 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Chrystin @ A Mate & a Rottweiler: Your cake recipes are the best! What would you suggest to replace the applesauce with?? It’s not something I can find at the supermarkets here….

    Thanks! :-D April 15, 2015 at 4:12pm Reply

  • Paulene: Hi Jaclyn,

    Can I use 2-8″ round cake pan instead? will the baking time the same? thank you August 19, 2015 at 7:15am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes but you may not want to add all the batter, mine usually fill to the top of my 9-inch pans once baked. And the cooking time should be about the same. August 19, 2015 at 4:43pm Reply

  • Mary Ann: So delicious! I made this at the end of last year for a party and am going to make again for National Carrot Cake Day on Tuesday. I added toasted walnuts in the batter because, well, why not?! Thanks for another wonderful recipe. January 29, 2016 at 7:20pm Reply

  • Lisa: Hi Jaclyn,
    This cake looks delicious. I plan on making it this weekend in an 8’x8′ pan. At what oven temperature and how long should I cook it?

    Thanks! February 11, 2016 at 1:58pm Reply

  • brittany: Would this be possible to bake in a half sheet pan? I need to make petit fours out of it. March 19, 2016 at 1:57pm Reply

  • Emily: I can’t wait to make this for Easter this weekend. Can it be made the night before and frosted the next day? Or should I make it fresh? March 24, 2016 at 1:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You can definitely make the cake a day in advance and store it in the fridge in an airtight container if frosted. March 24, 2016 at 5:21pm Reply

  • Allie: I made this cake for Easter this weekend and it was perfect! I followed the recipe exactly, with the only modification being that I threw in some chopped walnuts and skipped the pecans (just because of personal preference). Everyone loved it. I will be making this again and again. Thank you! March 28, 2016 at 11:55am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you loved it Allie! April 4, 2016 at 11:45am Reply

  • Sharon Regal: I made this carrot cake for my grandson’s birthday (he requested a carrot cake!) was wonderful..this recipe is a keeper..everyone loved it! October 13, 2016 at 10:22am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad it was enjoyed Sharon! October 18, 2016 at 11:05am Reply

  • Beth: This is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had!
    I baked it in 2 8” round pans with Wilton bake even strips and it worked perfectly – the middles didn’t sink at all.
    Thanks for a great recipe! March 24, 2017 at 3:16am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Beth – Glad you loved it! March 27, 2017 at 10:59am Reply

  • Gabby: Hello there, just make this cake and I’m super excited to try it!!!
    My frosting came out pretty runny, is that hoe it’s suppose to be? April 16, 2017 at 11:53am Reply

  • Anitha: I was never fond of carrot cake before.But this recipe changed me..This is one of the yummiest cake I have ever tried..I have shared this recipe to lot of my friends..thank u for sharing such a wonderful recipe. October 7, 2017 at 5:47am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I love it too! It’s what I make myself every year for my birthday. :) Glad you loved it Anitha! October 8, 2017 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Peachy Baker: I tried this recipe today and it turned out great…. I added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and reduced the sugar to 1 2/3 cup. I’ve finally found my go to carrot cake recipe! Thanks and all the best to you and your family. December 27, 2017 at 2:41am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So happy to hear you liked this carrot cake recipe! Thanks for your review! December 27, 2017 at 10:52pm Reply

  • Suga: I tried this recipe yesterday and It turned out amazing! It was my first tome making carrot cake so I was worried 3 cups of carrots would be too much but it was perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us :) January 17, 2018 at 4:40am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s one of my favorites! :) January 23, 2018 at 1:50pm Reply

  • Jenny: This is my go-to carrot cake recipe now. My family asks for it! I changed one thing—organic coconut oil! Mmmmmm! Moist and flavorful. Some might argue better for you than vegetable oil! Trying to get this recipe closer to all “real, unrefined, unprocessed” foods.
    Would like to experiment with whole wheat, almond, or coconut flour next!
    Has anyone tried this? January 20, 2018 at 9:07am Reply

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