Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Moist, delicious carrot cake with velvety cream cheese frosting speckled with walnuts is an heirloom recipe that is always a crowd favorite.

carrot cakeCarrot cake is my #1 favorite cake ever! I love it so much that I request it for my birthday cake each year, even for my kid’s birthday cake, too! Since I do 99% of the cooking and baking, I can do that, right?!

If I am to be completely transparent, I don’t reserve carrot cake for only birthdays.

Without fail, this cake graces our Easter and Thanksgiving table each year. It is my go-to dessert for baby showers, brunches, and my church’s bake sale. 

Along with all the above legit reasons to bake carrot cake, sometimes I make it just because I have a hankering for it!

Yep, I’m that person who could eat it every weekend!

carrot cake in pans

This recipe is very simple to make, uses ingredients you likely have on-hand, and is still requested by everyone! Check out some of my tips below:

Oil: Quite a bit of oil is used in this recipe, but it’s essential. Did you know that cakes need fat to make them soft and tender?

Although butter is often the fat source I turn to when making cakes such as vanilla and the like, I prefer to use a non-flavored fat in carrot and chocolate cakes, which lets their other flavors shine through.

Carrots: Don’t use any shortcuts here. That’s right — do not use pre shredded carrots. Let me repeat: do not use pre shredded carrots!! They are just so hard and dry, and should only be used in green salads and green jello salad. You will not regret peeling and shredding whole carrots. This, my friends, is prime moisture for your cake!

(Personally, I’ll stick with green, leafy salads.)

If you use a box grater, you might end up with a few scrapes along the way. Because of that, the only shortcut I recommend in this recipe is the use of a food processor to shred the carrots.

Butter: (See my comment on butter for the cake⬆) Butter is used in the frosting, and ensuring it is softened at room temperature will help the frosting have a velvety consistency.

Cream Cheese: Just like the butter, you’ll want the cream cheese to be softened to avoid chunky frosting. Throw in some walnuts for added depth and dimension to your frosting!

slice of carrot cake

This carrot cake recipe is definitely 5 stars! Passed down from generation to generation in my family, it still stands as the best carrot cake recipe.

What To Serve With Carrot Cake:

Looking for some other recipes to serve with this carrot cake? Check out my five-star Quiche Lorraine. Or add some flair by pairing with Filet Mignon!

If you are looking for an Easter Menu try this carrot cake with the following ideas. I promise your guests won’t be disappointed. 

Easter Honey Mustard Orange Glazed Ham

Classic Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

Summer Berry Salad

Roasted Carrots With Shallot Cream Sauce

Famous Pretzel Dinner Roll Recipe

How To Make Carrot Cake:

1
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2
Peel the carrots.
3
Grate the carrots on a box grater.
4
Add 3 cups carrots and 4 eggs to the mixing bowl.
5
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and 2 teaspoons salt.
6
Add 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
7
Add 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil and 2 cups sugar and stir to combine.
8
Add 2 cups flour and stir to combine.
9
Spray 2 (8 in) cake pans with cooking spray. Cut parchment to size and place in cake pans. Evenly distribute batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool.
10
Run the knife along the outside of the cake and invert it to a sheet tray.
11
To make the frosting mix together 1 cup softened butter and 1 pound cream cheese with a hand mixer.
12
Add 6 cups powdered sugar slowly in batches and add 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste. (You won’t see all the powdered sugar being added).
13
Add 1 1/2 cups walnuts and stir to combine.
14
To assemble: Remove parchment from the cake place on serving plate. Add a single layer of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake.
15
Frost the outside of the cake with an offset spatula or butter knife.
What you'll need
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offset spatula
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slice of carrot cake

The Best Ever Carrot Cake with Walnut Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Serves 12
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This family recipe is the best carrot cake you will ever taste!

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 3 Cups Shredded Carrot
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 3 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ Cups Canola Oil
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

For the Frosting:

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened at Room Temperature
  • 2 (8 ounce) Blocks Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1 ½ Cups Chopped Walnuts

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Peel the carrots.
    3. Grate the carrots on a box grater.
    4. Add the carrots and 4 eggs to a mixing bowl.
    5. Add vanilla bean paste, baking soda and salt.
    6. Add the ground cinnamon.
    7. Add vegetable oil and sugar and stir to combine.
    8. Add the flour and stir to combine.
    9. Spray 2 (8 inch) pans with cooking spray. Cut parchment paper to size and place in the cake pans. Evenly distribute the batter to both pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool.
    10. Run the knife along the outside of the cake and invert it to a sheet tray to cool even further.
    11. While cakes are cooling, make frosting by creaming softened butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
    12. Add powdered sugar and vanilla then mix together. 
    13. Add the walnuts and stir to combine.
    14. To assemble, remove the parchment from the cake and place on a cake pedestal or serving platter. Top with an even layer of frosting. Place second cake on top and remove parchment.
    15. Frost the outside of the cake with an offset spatula or butter knife.

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