This Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a recipe of mine that has received countless positive reviews; it’s one of the many cakes that I choose to bring with me to a get-together with friends or even just a simple family dinner because it’s reliably ALWAYS a hit and people rave about it!
Let me tell you why this carrot cake is seriously one of my favourite cakes in the whole world:
It is SO moist, fluffy, and flavourful!
It has an incredible variety of texture from the coconut, pineapple, and carrots!
This cake has ZERO raisins in it. It’s #RaisinFree. I’ve been on a Raisin-Free diet since I was very young, and this cake is the answer to all of my Raisin-Free struggles! With this recipe, you do not have to worry about any “surprise raisins” in your carrot cake! (I should be fair to ALL of my readers and disclaim that if you do happen to be a raisin-lover for whatever reason, you can swap out the nuts for raisins. There, I said it.)
It contains both fruits AND vegetables so no worries, it’s totally healthy…right? 😉
It’s topped with a velvety Cream Cheese Frosting. Need I say more?!
The Best Carrot Cake You’ll Ever Make
Go ahead and toss out all the Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipes you have along with every preconceived notion you own about carrot cake–because this cake is going to change your world!
Aside from the carrot cake I baked and decorated back in culinary school, this is the only carrot cake recipe I’ve ever made. It’s the only one that I’ll ever need to make because it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a carrot cake; it’s moist, crunchy, cinnamon-y, and it’s got that BUTTERY CREAM CHEESE frosting!
(I’ve had carrot cake that wasn’t topped with cream cheese frosting and had a buttercream frosting instead and it just wasn’t right. I could tell it was missing that cream cheese magic, ya know?!)
It’s easily baked in a 9 x 13 baking dish!
I don’t know about you, but any dessert that involves a 9×13 baking dish immediately perks my ears right up, like my Strawberry Shortcake Bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! Ahh the ease of it all…
A flat sheet cake that’s left in its own pan is much easier than having to deal with assembling and frosting a layer cake–not that layer cakes are difficult for me, it’s just that there’s times when my laziness gets the best of me and I’d rather go all sheet than layer! You get it, right? We’re all human.
Recipe Note: If you decide to go with a 9×13 baking dish, you could probably get away with cutting the cream cheese frosting recipe in half, unless you love to have a ton of frosting! The whole frosting recipe is better suited towards the layer cake version.
It can be baked into a layer cake too!
If you’re feelin’ adventurous this cake can totally be made into a layer cake using two 9″ round cake pans! I’ve baked this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting into a layer cake many times and it always turns out fantastically. Check out my Instagram and follow me for layer cake inspiration!
Wanna Bake Some Cupcakes?
Good news everyone! I just converted this carrot cake recipe into a carrot cake CUPCAKE recipe–click here to check out the blog post! I can’t even tell you how much I love this carrot cake as cupcakes! Plus, you can learn how to pipe those adorable little carrot garnishes out of melted white chocolate!
I totally have a thing for baked goods that don’t require a stand-mixer or an electric hand-mixer (like my Banana Oat Chocolate Chunk Muffins recipe)! I’m not sure why, because it’s not like it’s a HUGE hassle to wash the one extra paddle or the two beaters…but there’s just something magical about clutching a big bowl with one hand and stirring together gloriously delicious batter with a wooden spoon in the other. Sigh…
The recipe requires a large bowl for the wet ingredients, and a small bowl for the dry ingredients, which get added into the large bowl at the end.
BUT as for the cream cheese frosting, a stand-mixer or hand-mixer is definitely required to get it ever-so smoothly combined and fluffy!
A Longer Baking Time
This recipe is definitely easy and quick to prep and whip up (with the most strenuous activity being the peeling and grating of the carrots). Even though the prep time is short, take note that the baking time is long, so make sure you give yourself enough time to be at home to check on it!
On my most recent baking endeavor I baked my carrot cake in my favourite light blue Opalhouse ceramic baking dish so the baking time was much longer than usual! I checked it at 40 minutes and the top and sides were getting brown but it was still quite jiggly. So I made sure to cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil for the rest of the baking time until it was done.
So yes, be aware that the baking time for a 9×13 cake could take over 60 minutes! (I imagine a thin aluminum baking dish would bake much quicker!) But make sure you continually check it.
Have leftovers? Freeze ’em!
This carrot cake with cream cheese frosting freezes so well, even after it’s been frosted.
- You can always freeze cake layers! I like to freeze my cake layers because I find it’s much easier to frost and assemble a layer cake when the layers are cold. After the layers cool down to room temp, just double wrap each layer in plastic wrap and place on a flat surface in the freezer (for up to 3 months).
- After your layer cake has been frosted, slice your cake into desired portion sizes and lay each slice flat on on baking sheet. Stick in freezer for an hour or two. Then individually wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place into freezer bags or sealed tupperware containers, and place in freezer. Whenever you want a slice, just grab one, remove its’ plastic wrap and let it thaw to room temp, and enjoy!
- Slice carrot cake with cream cheese frosting into desired portion sizes. Place each slice onto baking sheet, stick in freezer for an hour or two. Remove and individually wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place into freezer bag or sealed tupperware container. When ready to enjoy, just take a portion out of the freezer, remove its plastic wrap and then let it thaw to room temp and enjoy!
Recipe for Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:
I highly encourage you guys to give this cake a try! It’s moist, fluffy, flavourful, crunchy, smothered in cream cheese frosting and finished off with a sprinkling of toasted coconut. It’s such a delicious cake!
Now, let me know in the comments below: do you prefer to live raisin-free (like me!) OR do you love to have “surprise raisins” in your baked goods? Either way, we can still be friends.
Thanks guys, and happy baking!
Shop The Products I Used to Make This Recipe Happen:
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups Cane Sugar or white sugar
- 3/4 cup Vegetable Oil I used avocado oil
- 3 Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract or vanilla bean paste
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk
- 2 cups Carrots peeled and grated
- 1 cup Coconut Flakes sweetened or unsweetened (it's your preference)
- 1 (15 oz) can Crushed Pineapple drained
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans or Raisins
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3/4 cup Unsalted Butter softened to room temperature
- 1 (8 oz) pkg Full-Fat Cream Cheese softened to room temperature
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 5-6 cups Powdered Sugar (also known as Confectioners Sugar)
- 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)
- 1/2 cup Coconut Flakes toasted
- 1/2 cup Walnuts or Pecans
Making the Cake Batter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your 9"x13" baking dish or grease two 9" round cake pans and line with parchment rounds.
Using a large bowl and a wooden spoon/whisk, mix together sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Then stir in carrots, coconut, and pineapple.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold the dry mix into the wet mix.
Stir in chopped nuts (or raisins). Pour mixture into your prepared 9"x13" pan or two 9" round cake pans.
Bake for 40 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the centre, if it's still jiggly and/or toothpick doesn't come out clean, cover pan(s) with a sheet of aluminum foil and continue baking until toothpick comes out clean. Depending on the type of pan used, baking can take over 60 minutes.
Once finished baking, remove from oven and let cake cool completely before topping it with the cream cheese frosting.
Toasted Coconut Topping (Optional)
Sprinkle coconut flakes evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees F. Watch it continuously as it bakes quickly and can burn easily. When most of the flakes are golden brown, remove from the oven and place baking sheet on rack to cool.
Whipping up the Cream Cheese Frosting
Using the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer or using a handheld mixer, combine butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy (at least 2 minutes).
Add vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and salt. Blend on medium speed until combined and creamy.
Pipe or smooth frosting onto completely cooled cake, sprinkle with optional toasted coconut and enjoy!
If you're just planning on baking a 9"x13" cake and only frosting the top, you could get away with cutting the frosting recipe in half. (Unless you love alot of frosting!) A full frosting recipe is great for a two layer 9" round cake.
Store frosted carrot cake covered in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, and then freeze any leftovers.
This cake freezes really well, even while frosted! Slice cake into desired portions and place in sealed tupperware container in the freezer. When wanting to eat, just remove one, and let it thaw to room temp for about an hour.