Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake

Topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting, this Old Fashioned Carrot Cake is incredibly moist, deliciously spiced, and melt-in-your-mouth fluffy!

Slice of carrot cake on a plate



Springtime is here and that makes me think of carrot cake. I'm not sure why, exactly. I mean, carrot cake is an incredible dessert all year long, but it does get extra attention at this time of year.

If you've ever been hesitant to make a carrot cake from scratch, let me tell you: It's easy. No, really. A beginner cook can do this. It requires no special skills, and once you realize how easy it is to make this cake from scratch, you'll want to make it again and again. 

And once you taste it? Boom! New favorite.

This cake is perfect for serving at parties and celebrations, too. I can almost guarantee you won't be bringing any leftovers home. It will be the hit of the event!

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Remember to pin this recipe for later!

two-layer cake on a cake stand

Everyone loves this carrot cake.

Not everyone in my family loves carrot cake. In fact, carrot cake has always been a take-it-or-leave-it dessert for me. Most of the time I find carrot cakes dense and, if they have mix-ins I don't care for, too sweet.

My daughter, Lorelai, was convinced she didn't like carrot cake. When I made this cake, I was sure she, and one of my sons-in-law (he's a confirmed carrot-cake-hater), would not eat it. I left the cake to cool, and went off to run an errand. When I returned, I saw that Lorelai had frosted it, and everyone was in the kitchen singing the praises of this cake as they went back for seconds.

Even Lorelai. Even the carrot-cake-hating son-in-law.

Top view of cake

Carrots are the key to a moist carrot cake.

Maybe you've tried to make a carrot cake before, but it turned out too dry. One cause for that is prepackaged carrots. Buying a bag of carrot sticks will not serve you well when it comes to making a carrot cake. The moisture content of the carrots is what gives the cake moisture. Once carrots have been sliced and bagged, the moisture evaporates. Use freshly grated carrots.

If you do that, this is a fail-proof recipe.


Cake on cake stand and a slice of cake on plate

How to Make Old Fashioned Carrot Cake - Step by Step

First you'll whisk together your dry ingredients which are the flour and spices. This is also where you add in the optional ingredients - nuts, raisins, coconut, pineapple or whatever. Then you'll set those aside.

Next, you mix beat sugar and oil on with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at time, beating until mixed well into batter. 

On low-speed, gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in grated carrots.

Pour into two 9-inch round cake pans that are greased and floured. Gently tap the filled cake pans on the counter to release air bubbles.

Bake for 40 minutes. 

Place pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and continue to cool completely on racks before icing.

See how easy that is? Dry ingredients>wet ingredients>mix ingredients.

How to Store Carrot Cake

While most cakes can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature, this is not the case with carrot cake. Due to it's vegetable content, carrot cake is prone to mold if it's stored at room temperature. As well, the cream cheese frosting, being a dairy product, obviously cannot be left on the counter top. 

Storing an unfrosted cake

Once the cake as cooled, wrap the sides and bottom with plastic wrap. Alternately, you could place the layers in large zip storage bags to prevent the cake from absorbing any odors from the refrigerator. Store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to frost it. Bring to room temperature before frosting.

Storing a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

The safest way to store your frosted cake is in the refrigerator. Stored in the refrigerator, and uncut cake will stay fresh for up to one week. Once the cake is cut, use plastic wrap, an over-turned plate, a cake keeper, or fresh frosting to cover the exposed sides of the cake to prevent drying.

Freezing a carrot cake

Freezing your carrot cake allows you to store it up to two months. This is perfect if you're making it ahead of time for a special event or occasion. Whether frosted or unfrosted, wrap the layers in plastic wrap or tin foil to prevent freezer burn. Write the date and cake type on the wrapper. When it's time to thaw the cake, loosen the wrapping and place in the refrigerator one day before frosting.
Note: Thawing at room temperature will change the texture from frozen to mushy. Don't do this.

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two layer cake with frosting and pecans

Top Tips for Making Carrot Cake 

- If you want added moisture, you can split the 2 cups of white sugar - 1 cup of white and 1 cup of brown sugar.
- Make sure you use freshly grated carrots.
- I recommend 9-inch spring form or silicone pans, but any pans will do.

close up of a slice of cake

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Old Fashioned Carrot Cake

Yield: 12 slices
Author:
prep time: 30 Mcook time: 40 Mtotal time: 70 M
Topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting, this Old Fashioned Carrot Cake is incredibly moist, deliciously spiced, and melt-in-your-mouth fluffy!

ingredients:

Carrot Cake
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups pecan, chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups grated carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

instructions:

Carrot Cake
  1. Whisk together flour and cinnamon. Add pecans and raisins and stir until well coated. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat sugar and oil on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at time, beating until mixed well into batter.
  3. On low-speed, gradually beat in flour mixture.
  4. Stir in grated carrots.
  5. Pour into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans that are well-greased and floured. Gently tap the filled cake pans on the counter to release air bubbles.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Remove pans and place on a cooling rack for 1o minutes. Remove cakes from pans and continue to cool completely on racks before icing.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar, beating until smooth and creamy. Add one tablespoon vanilla extra and beat.

NOTES:

- If you want added moisture, you can split the 2 cups of white sugar - 1 cup of white and 1 cup of brown sugar.
- Make sure you use freshly grated carrots to ensure a moist cake.

26 comments

  1. Oh yes, this looks like my kind of cake!! Thanks for sharing the recipe xx Maria

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  2. i have to try this. the boyfriend hates carrot cake, but maybe he'll like this one? because i LOVE it!

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    Replies
    1. I had two haters in the house. They have been converted. ;-)

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  3. Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing! Such a classic, and for good reason. Yours looks perfect, and I love the addition of pecans.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! The pecans are definitely a must-have for me.

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  4. I love how you haven't overwhelmed this cake with frosting. Sometimes when I get carrot cake, it is so full of frosting that it really detracts from the taste of the cake. This looks perfect!

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    Replies
    1. That's exactly the thought here! Just a little on the top of each layer is perfect.

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  5. Carrot cake is by far my favorite cake of all times. I even had it at my wedding. Can't wait to try this one.

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    Replies
    1. OH! Carrot cake for a wedding - I never would have thought to do that. Yum!

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  6. Your old fashioned carrot cake is so pretty! I'm adding this to our Easter menu and I'm sure everyone is sure to enjoy this classic cake.

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  7. Such a wonderful cake for springtime! I love that cream cheese frosting. I'm sure it would be a hit with my family.

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    Replies
    1. Carrot cake is perfect for springtime. It just seems so fitting, doesn't it?

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  8. This cake looks delicious, and SO moist! I have never made carrot cake at home but your recipe looks AMAZING so I might need to change that! Love the tip about fresh grated carrots as well.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, grated carrots are the KEY to getting the moisture into the cake.

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  9. I love that they frosted the cake while you where away and they loved it! I love carrot cake, and this recipe looks incredible!

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    Replies
    1. I was surprised, that's for sure. I thought I was coming back to finish, and there all the kids were eating it!

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  10. you have tempted me soo much, now i need a big fat slice of carrot cake!!! Totally loving it!! A warm slice of good carrot cake does so much magic!!! Wonderful share!!! :)

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    Replies
    1. It's great with a cup of coffee, too. ;-)

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  11. Love carrot cake & this one looks so yummy! Love the tips for increasig moisture!

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  12. Carrot Cake is one of my favourite cakes hands down, in fact I request it every year for my Spring birthday!! I love that you used pecans in your recipe, different from the traditional walnut and certainly more delicious!!

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    Replies
    1. I agree! I do like walnuts, but I think pecans are just perfect for this (maybe that's the southerner in me?).

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  13. It has been so long since I've had carrot cake and looking at your recipe makes me completely crave it. I think this will have to make an appearance at our next birthday!

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    Replies
    1. Trust me... once you make this recipe, you'll crave that cake far more often!

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