World’s Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Learn how to make the world’s best carrot cake! This recipe is so simple but has the absolute best flavor and perfectly moist texture, piled high with the most heavenly, fluffy and rich cream cheese frosting. 

World's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting |
This is IT. Remember how I told you I’d be sharing a full-on totally from scratch yet super simple carrot cake to end your quest for carrot cake perfection? Yeah this is that cake.

World's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting |

This cake is absolute perfection. Three moist layers of the best carrot cake you’ve ever tasted and the best part is that this cake is pretty much foolproof. Very forgiving with no crazy ingredients or tricks, just straightforward easy-to-follow steps and basic ingredients in the perfect balance.

World's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting |

I took this cake to my parents house for a big pre-Easter get together last weekend and it was devoured except for two little slices I snuck away at the beginning of the party to save for my in laws. On the way home we dropped off the cake for my husband’s parents and before I even got the kids in bed, I had a text from my mother in law – the connoisseur of carrot cakes –  thanking us for the cake and swearing it was the best she’d ever had (even better than her trusty old recipe she’s been making for years!). I’m pretty obsessed with this cake myself and I am positive you will be too!

World's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting |
5.0 from 4 reviews
World's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Learn how to make the world's best carrot cake! This recipe is so simple but has the absolute best flavor and perfectly moist texture, piled high with the most heavenly, fluffy and rich cream cheese frosting.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1¼ cups vegetable or canola oil
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • optional: ½ cup raisins and/or ½ cup chopped pecans
cream cheese frosting
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (2 8-ounce bricks), softened
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract OR 1 teaspoons vanilla + 2 teaspoons maple extract
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups powdered sugar, or as needed
  • chopped pecans for topping, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl cream together oil, applesauce, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then stir in carrots. (If adding raisins and/or nuts stir in now).
  3. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until there are no more streaks of flour in the batter. Divide between prepared cake pans.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick into the center comes out clean.
  5. Turn cakes out onto cooling racks and allow to cool.
  6. Prepare the frosting while your cakes cool. In a sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once completely melted, continue to cook 2-4 minutes longer until the color goes from pale yellow to a dark amber color. Remove from heat.
  7. In a large bowl cream together cream cheese and butter. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time mixing after each, until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  8. Assemble cake by spreading frosting on top of all three layers, then spreading around the sides of the cake. Top with chopped pecans if desired and store in airtight container until ready to serve.


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Perfect for Easter! Check out our post on tomorrow for our take on cake plates…you have a beauty here!-Laurel Bledsoe

I love carrot cake, but am allergic to citrus so most times it has pineapple and I can’t have any. So excited to see an easy, non pineapple carrot cake!! Yes, I am happy dancing in my chair. Have a happy Easter!!

These cakes are gorgeous! Looks like a piece of art 🙂 Can i use honey instead of sugar in this recipe?
Thank you!

    Hi Barbara, I haven’t tried honey in place of the sugar yet so I’m not sure how it would turn out! If you do try it, please let me know the results!

Can pineapple be added to this recipe?

Thank you for this recipe. I made this for a birthday and everyone loved it! So much so, that I have been asked to bake it again and take it on our Caribbean vacation. I had reservations about traveling with it BUT I wonder if I can use loaf pans instead? I would feeze the loaves and buttercream frosting with ice packs. I can frost when I arrive 5 hours later. What do you think? Any tips?
Thanks again Tiffany!

Would you be able to sub almond flour or coconut flour?

Seriously the best carrot cake ever. I made this for Mother’s Day and everyone loved it. I did omit a lot of sugar. I used one cup of sugar and 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar. For the frosting I only used 4 cups of powdered sugar and I promise the cake was sweet but not overly sweet. Highly recommend this for all your special occasions.

Gorgeous recipe! Looks awesome. This is the best recipe for carrot cake I have ever seen.

Can you make this in gram instead 🙈 on from Denmark and we don’t use cups 🙁

Definitely world’s best carrot cake ever! This is so delicious. I can have it all day long.

Thank you for this recipe. I have been using one my sister gave me and this is so much more delicious. Will make this a ” favourite” from now on. Cheers for Australia.

Hi, I am stuffing my face with this delicious carrot cake as we speak and just had to pass by to thank you for it in between the bites. 🙂 It’s heavenly light and moist. Baked it in a 10x 15 inch dish for approx 30 mins. Thank you so much for the recipy, no return for me either! 🙂

Every year I make carrot cake for my husband’s birthday, and this is the best one so far! The frosting was excellent, and I got many compliments on how moist the cake was. I would recommend using baking paper on the tins instead of the listed method of greasing the pan then coating it in flour, as my cakes still had issues sticking. If using nuts, make sure to chop them coarsely, as the smaller pieces in the cake turned black (though I tasted no burnt flavor).I also would have left it in the oven for 5-10 more minutes than suggested–2 of the 3 layers started falling apart when I tried to take them out of the tin (even though the toothpick came out clean) and it turned out part of the bottom was still raw. I was able to recover one of the layers by baking it for 10-15 more minutes (after it had cooled down). My oven is a bit finnicky and inconsistent on temperature–I assume if we had a better oven the recommended time would leave the cake just barely baked.