For many years, carrot cake has been a family favorite dessert. Both of my younger sisters, Bookworm Beth and Artistic Alex, have enjoyed carrot cake for their first birthdays. For this blog post, I’ve adapted our family’s favorite recipe given to us by my grandmother many years ago. Hopefully this recipe will become a go to recipe in your family, too!
The most memorable carrot cake experience for our family was when Mom made little bundt cakes and decorated them to look like ladybugs for Bookworm Beth’s first birthday party. We videoed her smashing up the cake and stuffing a huge piece in her mouth and posted the video on YouTube. A cake blogger discovered the video and asked for the recipe so she could share it with her readers, but we respectfully declined. Who would have thought that a carrot cake video would be so popular?
This recipe is so moist and flavorful that it definitely deserves the title world’s greatest carrot cake recipe. Give it a try, and you’ll agree.
Looking for more mouthwatering spring desserts? These ones need to have a home on your Pinterest recipe board.
Easy Coconut Cream Pie: a creamy, dreamy combo of coconut pudding and sweetened whipped cream.
Easy Glazed Lemon Scones: a delightful lemony treat perfect for afternoon tea.
Easy Lemon Bars: these shortbread-based bars will be hit with the lemon fans in your life.Print
This easy homemade carrot cake is so moist and delicious, you’ll never need another carrot cake recipe! It’s an old fashioned spring dessert with pineapple, raisins, and cream cheese icing. Whether you’re baking it for your kid’s birthday party or for Easter, it could easily become a family favorite.
For the Carrot Cake
- 2 1/2 cups + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (322g)
- 2 cups caster sugar (396g)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups finely grated carrot (240g)
- 1 1/2 cups light olive oil (354 ml)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice (optional) (566g)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional) (80g)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional) (68g)
For the Cream Cheese Icing
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (170g)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (57g)
- 4 cups icing sugar (454g)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
- Finely grated carrot
- 8 walnut halves
Making the Cake (1 hour + 30 minutes baking + cooling)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter the base and sides of two 9-inch springform pans, then line the bases with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 1/2 cups (300g) of all-purpose flour with the caster sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Drain the pineapple thoroughly in a sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible with the back of a spoon. Measure out 8 ounces (226g) of the drained pineapple to use in the cake, reserving any extra for another use.
- Toss the drained pineapple and raisins with 3 tablespoons (22g) of all-purpose flour to help prevent the fruit from sinking in the cake batter.
- Grate the carrot and chop the walnuts.
- Add the grated carrot, olive oil, eggs, vanilla, pineapple, raisins, and chopped walnuts to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared pans.
- Bake the cakes at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a couple moist crumbs attached. The middle of the cake should just barely spring back when gently pressed with a fingertip.
- Remove the sides of the springform pans and let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Take the cakes off the bases with a large round cake spatula and let them cool completely on the racks before icing.
Making the Icing (10 minutes)
- Beat the softened cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy, then gradually sift in 3 cups of icing sugar and beat until well combined.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and enough milk to make the icing a spreadable consistency. Add the additional cup of icing sugar if needed for flavor and texture.
Decorating the Cake (15 minutes)
- Place one of the cakes on the serving plate and spread some icing on top. Carefully place the other cake on top to make a sandwich.
- Crumb coat the sides of the cake by smoothing on a thin layer of icing with a spatula, then spread on the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake to create a swirled effect.
- Decorate the top with extra grated carrot and walnut halves.
- If you’re not using the cream cheese icing right away, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the icing to prevent a skin from forming.
- Leftover carrot cake keeps very well in the fridge for a few days if it’s stored in a plastic cake carrier. For long term storage, keep the cake in the freezer.