The Ultimate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Today my beautiful twin sister and I are celebrating our 25th Birthday! We are officially a quartercentury old! It’s going to be a great day, I’m just sad we’re not able to be together today. It’s pretty special and fun to share a birthday with someone, especially my sister who I care so much about! Happy Birthday Liz! Love you! 

Our Mom always made birthdays special for us individually growing up, including making us each our very own favorite cakes.  Every year Liz requests my Mom’s famous German Chocolate Cake, while I always request a Carrot Cake!  I think my siblings always loved our birthday because they got a little slice of both types of delicious cake! Today I’m happy to share The Ultimate, Best EVER, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! Throw every other carrot cake recipe away because this one is the best, and I’ll tell you why….

Jeff makes fun of me because I always eat my slice of cake starting at the back. My reasoning is completely logical. The back is where the most frosting is! That leads me to the first reason that this cake is The Ultimate Carrot Cake; it has THREE layers….which means frosting between not two, but THREE layers of cake! Extra frosting on my cake is key to a very happy birthday for me! 
(*As a side note, this cake can be made with just two layers, but c’mon, who wants two layers when you can have three?)

Another reason this is the Ultimate Carrot Cake is the ingredients. This cake is chockfull of all the things that make the perfect carrot cake including buttermilk, crushed pineapple, raisins, and pecans. You can also choose to leave out the raisins and/or pecans and put pecans on the outside of the cake instead, like I did!  Sometimes carrot cake can be dense and thick but this makes the most moist, light and delicious cake ever! 

Another reason this is the best Carrot Cake ever is that the recipe was originally adapted from The Essential Baker, so you know it‘s a classic!

If for nothing else, make this cake just so you can smother this delicious cream cheese frosting all over it 
*Makes a 2 or 3 layer cake (Two thick layers or three thin layers)

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar 
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk

4 large eggs, at room temperature 
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb. finely grated carrots (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 cup golden raisins (optional)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Prepare two (or three, for three skinny layers) 9-inch cake pans by lightly coating with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper. 
Beat the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and pineapple together in a large bowl. 
In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.  Fold in the carrots, pecans and raisins just until evenly distributed throughout the batter. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake on the center oven rack until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean:
About 30-40 minutes for two 9” cake pans or 25-30 minutes for three 9” cake pans

Cool cakes in their pans for at least 15 minutes before removing them.  Then, remove them from the pans and peel off the parchment paper. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled before frosting and assembling them. 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add vanilla and beat. Beat in sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting has the consistency you desire.  You may not need to add all of the sugar.

To assemble the cake:
Place the bottom layer on a cardboard round, cake platter or other serving service. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the cream cheese frosting onto the bottom cake layer.  Spread the frosting thinly and evenly over the surface.  Carefully place the second layer on top.  Scoop another 1/2 cup of the frosting on the top of the second cake layer and spread evenly over the surface. Carefully place the final layer on top.  Scoop the rest of the frosting onto the top of the cake. Carefully spread evenly, easing the frosting down the sides of the cake. Spread around the sides of the cake, adding more as needed.  Place chopped pecans along sides of cake if desired. 
Once completely frosted, chill the cake to help it firm up before slicing.


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  1. says

    HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY Liz & Lauren!!
    Wishing you one heck of a great day ladies!! 🙂
    Carrot cake is about one of the best cakes around. You can never go wrong with it.
    I believe I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner….. for snacks too!!
    This is one recipe I don’t have but I will be adding it to my keeper file.
    I just need a couple of ingredients and then I baking. Good thing I have a group of hunger friends to share it with….then again….why share??!! LOL!!

  2. says

    Oh geez!
    Forgot to mention to you that I did make your recipe for Banana Bread Bars with the glaze….totally yummy! They didn’t last long…will be making another batch for the weekend cook-out.
    Thanks for the sweet recipe!

    • says

      Dalia, thanks so much for your sweet comments! I’m so glad you like the Banana Bread Bars and I know you’ll love this carrot cake recipe, especially if your a carrot cake fan already!!

  3. says

    This looks so amazing! I have never made a carrot cake before… and I don’t really know why! I need to! I have done carrot cake type muffins that my mom taught me to do when I was growing up but never a carrot cake! Anyway I am rambling… I am visiting from Craftastic Monday and would like to invite you to party at my linky; Party In Polka Dots going on right now…

    I hope to see y’all there!


  4. says

    Oh my! Your Carrot Cake looks amazing!
    Its one of my favorite desserts!

    Stopping by from “Memories by the Mile”!
    Your post is so cute!
    Im a new follower. =)

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful cake on Tuesday Trivia @ Memories by the Mile. I pinned it and it is featured as David’s Pick of the Week on today’s post.
    Can’t wait to see what you share next week.
    Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

  6. Sylvia says

    Hi Ladies,
    This is the best carrot cake I have ever eaten or made. I made it yesterday as mini cupcakes for my son’s preschool party. Didn’t add the raisins or nuts, but followed everything else without changes. I should have only made half the recipe, because I ended up with three batches of cupcakes and a small cake, then ended up eating too many of them myself. Thanks for posting!

  7. says

    Happy Birthday to you!!
    It’s a gorgeous cake, and I was actually looking for a good recipe for carrot cake with pineapples
    I’ve just found one 🙂

  8. Anonymous says

    I hope your birthday was awesome!
    I was just talking to my boyfriend and found out he liked carrot cake. I did a random search for recipes and yours caught my attention. I am soooo going to try it! I cannot wait to make it for him. Thank you so much for sharing your special recipe! *hugs*

  9. says

    i love carrot cake i have never made one but my sister has a baking business but i am trying to make a cake for my husband from me so i look forward to using this recipe and i also am a carrot cake fan.

  10. says

    i love carrot cake and my sister has a baking business to and i love her carrot cake but i want to make cake for my husband its his birthday and i want to make it on my own so i look forward to using this recipe it looks good already so thank you for the recipe thanks im also a carrot cake lover

  11. LIsa Swinton says

    I recently made this cake for my father-in-law’s birthday. It was honestly, THE BEST CARROT CAKE we have ever had!!! You couldn’t ask for a more perfect cake. I was traveling with mine so I baked it in a disposable cake pan and it turned out beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with the masses.

  12. says

    I absolutely loved your recipe! I made it for Our Christmas party. It was so delicious. I don’t even
    Iike carrot cake but, I ate 3 pieces myself that day, lol. It was great! Everyone told me it was the best carrot cake they have ever had. I will be make this cake in the future. Thank you so much. I still can’t get over how good it was….

  13. says

    I have a friend who Love chcoclate cake. Well chocolate any thing ha. I well make that chocolate mousse filling she well love it. Take her out to dinner so she can enjoy and not have to clean up. Love your sit.


  1. […] I LOVE making my own birthday cake! That will never fail to be FUN for me! I usually always make The Ultimate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, since it’s my all time favorite, and I (of course) let Jeff take care of any other surprises […]

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