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Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Our Easy Carrot Cake Recipe bakes up beautifully in a 13 X 9 pan. A lightly spiced and moist cake, smothered in yummy cream cheese frosting and is a great recipe for beginner bakers.

Want some?

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is right up there on the sweetness scale, so we really only need a small piece.  

closeup view slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting sprinkled with toasted pecans on top of frosting

WHAT SIZE OF PAN SHOULD I USE TO BAKE MY CAKE?

Many bakers make a two tier cake, but we want EASY right? And besides, that 13 x 9 pan hasn’t had much use lately has it?

And the 13 x 9 pan means there is lots of cake to share. 

So let’s get baking!

leftover carrot cake in a cake pan

Now I will admit that baking a carrot cake takes a little extra prep time to clean and grate carrots, but if you use a small food processor, hardly any time at all?

And that same food processor can be used to chop up your toasted pecans as well. 

Not sure what kind of food processor to buy? We can help with our post on how to buy a small food processor!

Baking FAQs

How do you make the best cake from scratch?

Bake with me! Follow the recipe exactly. I recommend getting all of the ingredients out first, and measuring them, just like I do in the video. It really helps.

Is the recipe better with oil or butter?

I think you could use either, but my preference is oil. Use a good quality vegetable oil, one that’s fresh. I think it helps to keep your delicious carrot cake moist.

What’s the best way to shred carrots?

We use a small food processor they are so versatile! But if you don’t have one a box grater works fine too, just a little messier. See our Fast Tip below.

VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CARROT CAKE.

two pieces of carrot cake stacked one on top of the other on a white plate with text how to make the best carrot cake the easy way

Time Saver Tip: Buy your carrots already shredded and then just rinse them off and chop them a bit finer.

  • Lightly toast the pecans for a rich, nutty flavour in your cake. Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Use cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to spice it up! Some recipes call for cloves too, but I find it’s just too strong, but that’s just me.
  • Spoon your flour into a measuring cup, and use the exact measurements. This makes sure that air stays in the flour which makes a nice light cake.
  • Whisk it all together by hand. You don’t need a mixer for this recipe. Yay! 
  • Let your butter and cream get really soft before you make the frosting.
  • Make your yummy cream cheese frosting while the cake is baking.

INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED

For the Carrot Cake :

  • eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • ground cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger 
  • Carrots (link to food processor post) 
  • pecans

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • Powdered (Icing) sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • chopped pecans (link to food processor post) 
carrot cake recipe with cream cheese and toasted pecans on top

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe

This is the best carrot cake recipe and I know it will become your favorite too! Just the smell of it baking will make you want to eat it right away! But let it cool, so that you can layer on that amazing cream cheese frosting ok?

If you love it as much as I think you will please give it a 5 star rating and leave a comment below! 

carrot cake recipe with cream cheese and toasted pecans on top
Yield: 24

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes 40 seconds
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes 40 seconds

This simple carrot cake recipe will serve a crowd or makes amazing muffins too! A great recipe for carrot cake that is perfect for beginner bakers.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1  cups vegetable oil
  • 1cups white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ½ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)

Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans = toasted to sprinkle on top - some people like to mix them in we prefer them added at the very end.

Instructions

Making the cake batter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. I use butter to grease my cake pans.

greasing and flouring a 13 x9 baking pan for the best carrot cake recipe

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, brown & white sugar and the vanilla

simple carrot cake mixing eggs and sugars with whisk in a glass bowl

Mix in all the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon,nutmeg & ginger

carrot cake recipe mixing wet and dry ingredients in a glass bowl with wooden spoon

Using a wooden spoon mix in carrots. The final step is to add the pecans.

easy carrot cake recipe mixing in carrots and pecans

Pour the batter  into your greased and floured 13 x 9 pan.

pouring carrot cake batter into the prepared cake pan

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let your cake cool in the pan for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Making the frosting

In a medium sized glass bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered (icing) sugar and vanilla. Using a mixer (stand mixers are great for this step!) beat everything until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

 mixing cream cheese and butter for cream cheese frosting

Spoon it all over your delicious carrot cake.Sprinkle with the toasted pecans

easy carrot cake spreading cream cheese frosting

easy carrot cake sprinkled pecans on top

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 403Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure to tag me @pieladybakes or use our hashtag! #pieladybakes xo

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Hi there, I'm Judy, it's awesome to meet you! I'm a writer, master pie baker and I've been helping people reach their personal and career goals for over 30 years.   I believe everyone should experience the joy of creating old fashioned recipes, just like Mom or Grandma used to make. And I also help you to create those memories for you and your family with Simple, Delicious, Wholesome recipes that you can learn to make. We also help you discover that Simple Living isn't just a concept.  It's a state of mind. Comforting food and Simple Living. It's all here. You can read more on my About page!

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