Best Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake

Our Favorite Best Carrot Cake Recipe! Moist, sharply spiced, and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting, it’s easy to make and perfect for celebrations.

It’s carrot cake season! I don’t know about you, but when the weather warms up, my sweet cravings shift from chocolate to light, fruity treats. This variation is good for me, because carrot cake is Jack’s all-time favorite dessert, and we make it every year for his April birthday.

You’ll find our go-to Best carrot cake recipe below. It’s based on my mom, and it uses her secret ingredient: apples. It makes the cake super moist and tender, and it steps in for some of the oil and sugar you’d typically find in carrot cake recipes. 


As a result, this recipe is on the lighter side, so you can have your cake and eat it too. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla infuse it with warm flavor, and a sour cream cheese frosting tops it.

If you’re looking for an easy, delicious dessert for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any celebration, I hope you try this carrot cake recipe. We’ve made it and liked it repeatedly (and timed), and I think you’ll love it too.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Recipe Ingredients

To make Carrot Cake, you will need:

 carrots of course! They make the cake super moist and tender.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – A healthy alternative to the regular all-purpose.

 If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can substitute a 50/50 mix of all-purpose and common wheat.

Baking powder, baking soda, and eggs – help the cake rise.

Maple Syrup: Instead of making this cake with brown sugar or regular granulated sugar, I sweeten it naturally with pure maple syrup. I love the depth of flavour that maple adds to the cake!

Apple Sauce – for added moisture and extra (natural) sweetness.

Almond milk – or any milk you like! My homemade oat milk would work well here too.

Coconut oil – to prosperity. Free to use olive oil or vegetable oil if you prefer.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract—for a warm, spicy flavor.

And sea salt – to make all the flavors pop!

How to Make the Best Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Since marrying Jack, I have practiced a lot in making carrot cake. Here are my tips and tricks for making the best carrot cake ever:

Grate your carrot finely. Finely grated carrots melt seamlessly into the cake, while larger pieces create a less uniform texture. Grate your carrots on a fine grater for light, fluffy, and sticky cake slices!

Spoon and flatten your dough. Whenever you’re baking, how you measure flour matters. It can easily clog or freeze in a canister or bag, so if you take it straight out of your measuring cup, you could accidentally pack too much into your scoop: too much flour = dry baked goods. And nobody likes dry carrot cake! To avoid using too much flour, spoon the flour into the canister or bag and then gently pour it into your measuring cup. Remove excess flour with the back of a butter knife. This method of measuring flour is super easy, and it will help your carrot cake get moist and tender every time.

Do not overmix. This rule applies to baked goods across the board. Mix your batter until it’s just combined—and no more—or your cake will be dense.

Allow your cake to cool completely before frosting. Yes, it’s an easy recipe, but there’s a tricky part: waiting for the cake to cool! If you frost it too quickly, the frosting will melt, so wait until it is at room temperature before slathering the cake.

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe Variations

Jack is an actual carrot cake enthusiast, and if he’s taught me anything, it’s that carrot cake can be a personal thing. If you like chopped walnuts or raisins, feel free to fold –1 cup into the cake batter. If you prefer with coconut, pour in a cup of batter or sprinkle shredded coconut over the frosted cake. I like mine plain, though I like it with some chopped pecans sprinkled on top.

Carrot Cake

You can even choose the size and shape of your cake! The recipe below makes any of these:

  • One 9-inch round cake (pictured)
  • 1 square 8×8 inch cake
  • 2-layer cake using two 6-inch cake pans (also pictured)

Lastly, choose your favorite frosting. You can make the cream cheese frosting 

Carrot Cake

recipe below with regular or dairy-free cream cheese (I used Kite Hill here), though if you’re making a layer cake, it may be worth slathering between the layers of the cake. The regular version will be stricter and better. A lighter frosting option would be the Cashew Maple Frosting from this recipe, which is a glaze. You can also leave the cake plain or serve it with powdered sugar.

More Favorite Baking Recipes

If this carrot cake recipe earns great reviews, try one of these treats:

  • flattery cake
  • Chocolate Zucchini Bread
  • healthy banana bread
  • vegan chocolate cake
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar
  • Best Brownie
  • Homemade Cinnamon


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