5 from 14 votes
The absolute best carrot cake around, with all of the good stuff to make it extra flavorful and moist. This is the Ultimate Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting
The Ultimate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

The Ultimate Carrot Cake is extra moist, light and tender, flavored with the perfect blend of spices and topped with a smooth and light whipped cream cheese frosting. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Unit: cup, large, ounce, teaspoon
Servings: 15
Calories: 864 kcal
Author: Lauren Allen
  • 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
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

  2. 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.

  3. Beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and pineapple together in a large bowl. 

  4. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. 

  6. Fold in the carrots, pecans and raisins just until evenly distributed throughout the batter. 

  7. 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

  8. 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:
  1. 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:
  1. 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.

  2. Spread the frosting thinly and evenly over the surface and out to the edge of the cake. repeat with remaining cake layers.

  3. 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.

  4. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Tips for making the perfect carrot cake and tips for making it ahead of time are listed in the post above!

If you enjoy baking, try this Coconut Cake with Pineapple Filling.


Nutrition Facts
The Ultimate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 864 Calories from Fat 333
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 57%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 466mg 19%
Potassium 561mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 126g 42%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 97g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 172.1%
Vitamin C 7.2%
Calcium 15.7%
Iron 15.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.