This tender, moist carrot cake is spicy and delicious. Rich, whipped cream cheese frosting with a hint of lemon brings it all together. Both the cake and frosting are easy baking projects for all experience levels.
Oh carrot cake, how I love you! Moist, tender, and full of cinnamon and other yummy spices. I would say carrot cake is my favorite but then that would discount chocolate cake and pound cake and fresh strawberry cake! Yeah…I could never play favorites with cake.
However, I can safely say that carrot cake is one of the simplest cakes to make! Follow a good recipe and you always have a moist, tender cake that rises well and never sinks. The flavor is excellent and most people absolutely love it!
Nuts and raisins are a personal choice. Sometimes I put them in, sometimes I don’t. But the cream cheese frosting is a requirement! I put just a little bit of fresh lemon juice in mine and it perfectly balances the sweetness of the frosting. The combo is pure magic.
Easter is creeping up on us quick like a bunny. Carrot cake is always a wonderful addition to your Easter spread. Happy baking!
Tools In This Post: I don’t like to grate cheese or carrots by hand. It takes too long and every so often my fingers get in the way… I’m a huge fan of this food processor for easy food prep and saving my fingers for things like tasting frosting! I’ve had mine more than a decade now and we are still best friends.
Love great cake and frosting? Give my Easy Whipped Cream Frosting try. It is absolutely amazing on pretty much any cake but I love it on my pound cake!
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (about 5 medium carrots)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
- 1 cup raisins or dried currants, if desired
- 1 pound cream cheese (2 boxes, 8oz each)
- 1 cup salted butter
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 8 cups powdered sugar (a 32oz bag)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3-5 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste (don’t use bottled juice)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of two 9” pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter. Dust sides with flour and tap out the excess. (I suggest using my towel wrapping method on the cake pans for a moister cake that rises more evenly.)
- In a large bowl, use a spoon to stir together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Add everything else except the carrots. Stir just until combined and only streaks of flour remain.
- Add carrots, walnuts and raisins. Stir until incorporated and divide batter between the two pans.
- Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Hint: The edges of the cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan just a bit when it is done.
- Let cakes rest in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn them out unto racks to cool the rest of the way.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the cream cheese, butter and salt. Whip on high for about 1 minute until thoroughly combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Stir on low speed until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the mixer and then turn on high for 3-4 minutes until the frosting is creamy and fluffy. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.
The frosting in this recipe is enough to frost the cake with a bit left over to pipe pretty boarders if you desire. If not, leftover frosting holds for weeks in the fridge or six months in the freezer. It is delicious on cookies or as a fruit dip!
This recipe is participating in Weekend Potluck!