The Ultimate Carrot Cake Recipe

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Looking for the Ultimate Carrot Cake? This be it! Soft and tender cake is topped with light and fluffy cream cheese and sprinkled with chopped nuts for a super delicious treat.

Ultimate Carrot Cake | Life as Mom

I must admit that when I find a recipe I like, well, it’s a keeper. It eventually finds a place in our family traditions, and I’m hard pressed to move it or try something new.

For instance, every Thanksgiving and Christmas I make Pretzel Berry Dessert. Every year. And only at the holidays. We don’t usually eat it any other time. But, when we do? We scarf down the pan in no time at all.

That’s one of the wonderful things about recipe traditions. If a certain dish belongs to a specific holiday, it’s okay to go whole hog on it because, after all, it’s only once a year.

It’s the same for us at Easter. My Easter dessert is one that I rarely make any other time of the year. Not because we don’t like it. Au contraire! We love it. But, it just has a place of honor on Easter Sunday. It is The Best Carrot Cake Ever.

Over the years, how I decorate the Ultimate Carrot Cake ever has evolved. We turn the cake into an Empty Tomb, complete with Playmobil action figures to celebrate the Resurrection.

The Carrot Cake itself is moist and luscious. The original inspiration comes from this Fine Cooking version, but I’ve tweaked it over the years, changing the oils, eliminating currants, and omitting nuts from the cake itself. We now use almonds instead of walnuts on top of the cake, to accommodate a walnut allergy.

While I initially loved the low-sweet factor of the original cream cheese frosting, my peeps and I currently favor one with a little more powdered sugar and a lot of whipping to make it light and fluffy.

This is the version that fits our family now, almost 15 years after I first stumbled on the mother recipe, and so we’ve made it our own. I hope you’ll love it so much that you’ll make it yours as well.

Ultimate Carrot Cake | Life as Mom

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Once you make this cake, I’d love for you to come back and give the recipe a starred rating in the comments. Thanks so much!

0 from 0 votes
Ultimate Carrot Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
Looking for the Ultimate Carrot Cake? This be it! Soft and tender cake is topped with light and fluffy cream cheese and sprinkled with chopped nuts for a super delicious treat.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake
Servings: 16
Calories: 226 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 pound carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces or 1 pound baby carrots
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • one batch of Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the carrots very finely. Transfer to a small bowl and rinse the food processor bowl. You’ll use it again.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. In the food processor, mix the eggs and sugars until blended. With the machine running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream until well combined. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir gently to combine. Fold in the carrots; stir to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a rack before frosting.
  6. Once the cake is completely cool, frost the top with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle the nuts on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

You can make this cake ahead of time, and store at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Once frosted, it needs to be stored, covered in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting.

Nutrition Facts
Ultimate Carrot Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 226 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 320mg14%
Potassium 150mg4%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 4795IU96%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ultimate Carrot Cake | Life as Mom

Originally published April 9, 2009.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Lynn says

    This cake sounds yummy. The only special Easter dessert I’ve made is a cake baked in my cute little lamb cake pan. After you unmold it, you frost it with white frosting and coconut so it looks all sheep-like. I don’t make this every year, though I do leave my cute little cake pan out on display all year . . . but heck, maybe I should make it this year 🙂

  2. Brianna @ Heart(h) Management says

    Yum. I bet my MIL would love that recipe!

  3. Sherry says

    Carrot cake is one of my husband’s favorite cakes!! 😀

  4. Katie @ goodLife {eats} says

    I haven’t posted or photographed either of these because that was before the time of goodLife {eats}, but my two favorites are strawberry rhubarb pie or lemon curd trifle with fresh berries.

    Here is the original link for the trifle recipe:

  5. Hoosier Homemade says

    That cake looks awesome! Thanks for hosting!

  6. Gloria says

    would this cake and frosting do well if I stacked it for a 2 or 3 layer ? thanks.

  7. kay says

    5 stars
    This cake is delicious. I’ve made it several times as the base for the classic Easter bunny with bowtie shaped cake made of two nine inch round cake pans. The delicious cream cheese frosting associated with this recipe is just enough to frost the bunny cake.

    I would like to know though if anyone has tried to bake this recipe as regular sized cupcakes. What would be the temperature and time? My daughter has requested a “Roots and Wings” theme for her graduation party so I’d like to bake carrot cupcakes.

    • Sorry for the delay in reply. Did you end up making the cupcakes? I’d guess 18 to 20 minutes.

      • kay says

        Yes! I checked at 15 minutes, but they did end up at 18 minutes. Everyone loved them. I topped them with your Fluffy Cream Cheese frosting and store bought confectioner’s decoration carrots that I bought during the after Easter sales.

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