Best Carrot Cake

I first made this carrot cake for my dad’s 45th birthday (almost 30 years ago, now!). My dad loves cake and I wanted to make him something he would remember. As they say, “Be careful what you wish for!” Now it’s understood that I will make this cake for him every year on his birthday. He still loves it!

Despite its fancy appearance, this carrot cake is fairly simple to make. Grating carrots in the hardest part. You can do it by hand with a box or hand grater (and enlist your kids to help!). Better yet, if you have a food processor, try using the grating blade for quick and effortless grated carrots!

I’m a carrot cake purist — you won’t find any raisins, currents, pineapple or coconut in this recipe. I do like chopped walnuts around the outside though, pressed gently into the luscious cream cheese icing.

Speaking of icing, if you like a really thick layer of icing between the layers or plan to decorate the cake with piped icing, double the icing recipe to be sure you have enough.

For a full video tutorial, check out my Carrot Cake Tutorial on YouTube. There, you can see how really easy it is to make a three-tiered Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing! I can’t wait for you to try it!

You can also make this cake as a sheet cake (use a 9×13″ pan and bake for 40-45 minutes). Looking for another sheet cake to try? Check out my Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. It’s even easier than the carrot cake and equally delicious! As always, please reach out if you have any questions.

Best Carrot Cake



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup light-tasting olive oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
  • 4 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg



  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


For decoration: chopped walnuts, carrot peelings


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with soft butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs for 2 minutes. Add oil and carrots; beat to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to carrot mixture and mix just to combine. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  3. For icing, in a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating after you add each cup. Beat until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and creamy.
  4. When you are ready to ice the cake, gently remove one layer from its pan and place it on a serving platter or cake stand. Gently spread icing across the top until you have a fairly thin, even layer. Repeat with the second and third layer. Spread remaining icing around the sides and neatly over the top.
  5. If desired, garnish with chopped walnuts by pressing them gently into the icing along the sides of the cake. Place circles of carrot peelings on top of the cake to form a rose shape. Carrot cake can be made ahead and kept, under a cake dome, at cool room temperature for 2-3 days.

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Hi! I’m Marie. Mama, wife, homebody. I’m a self-taught chef and cookbook author. 

I love sharing fast, fresh, family-friendly recipes that will, hopefully, make your life a little easier.

Above all, I love spending time in the kitchen with family and friends. Come join us!


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4 Responses

    1. Hi Lilly! Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here 😊 The carrot cake is a great one to start with — truly a family favorite and has been for years. Let me know how you like it. Very best, Marie

    1. Hi Peggy! Great question! In 9×13 pan cook for 40-45 mins at 350F or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Hope you enjoy it! Hugs, Marie

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Marie Saba

From My Kitchen To Yours