There’s a reason I’ve called this the The Ultimate Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting: it’s extra moist and tender and flavored with the perfect blend of spices. It’s then topped with a smooth and creamy whipped cream cheese frosting. The end result is, dare I say it, the BEST homemade carrot cake you’ve ever had!
If you love cake as much as I do, be sure to check out all of my homemade cake recipes.
Let me tell you why this is the BEST carrot cake you’ll ever make:
1. It has three layers.
2. It’s loaded with the good stuff.
3. The frosting is (almost) the best part 😉
Tips for making perfect carrot cake:
Use room temperature ingredients.
Run hot water over the eggs to bring them to room temperature. Stick the buttermilk in the microwave for just a few seconds. It really makes a difference!
Make it in advance.
I like to make the cake and cream cheese frosting at least one day in advance. That way, the cake is really easy to throw together.
After the cakes bake, allow them to cool completely. Then wrap them really well in plastic wrap and stick each layer in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. Or refrigerate for 2-3 days.
Frozen cakes are much easier to frost!
Frosting can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
Remove the frosting from the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to frost your cake to allow it to come to room temperature,
Consider trying these popular homemade cakes:
- German Chocolate Cake
- Pineapple Cake with coconut filling
- Almond Sheet Cake with berries
- Cinnamon Roll Cake
The Ultimate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar , firmly packed
- 1 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 4 large eggs , room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups carrots , finely grated (about 1 lb.)
- 1 cup chopped pecans , optional
- 1 cup golden raisins , optional
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 16 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare two (or three, for three skinny layers) 8 or 9-inch cake pans by lightly coating with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Beat the eggs, granulated 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 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
- Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the frosting reaches consistency you want. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
To assemble the cake:
- Place the bottom layer on a cardboard round on serving plate. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the cream cheese frosting onto the bottom cake layer.
- Spread the frosting thinly and evenly over the surface and out to the edge of the cake. repeat with remaining cake layers.
- Spread frosting around the sides of the cake, adding more as needed, until it's covered. Use the palm of your hand to cup chopped pecans around the edge of the cake, if desired.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
*Recipe adapted from The Essential Baker
Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
I first shared this recipe May 2013. Updated March 2018.