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Carrot Cake Recipe (Homemade)

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Super-moist carrot cake with a slightly tangy cream cheese frosting. Decorated with buttercream carrots.

The best carrot cake recipe you will taste, trust me! Soft carrot cake layers with crushed pecans, filled with cream cheese frosting. Decorated is this cake with buttercream carrots "growing" out of the cake.

Cream cheese or buttercream?!

Traditionally carrot cake goes with cream cheese frosting. The slightly tangy flavor of the cream cheese pairs well with the light and spicy carrot cake layers. This combination makes this cake a light dessert. Buttercream is a heavier, sweeter frosting, which I love to use for decorated cakes but in this case I am team "Cream cheese frosting". If you do not like cream cheese frosting, feel free to use buttercream. I'll link my favorite buttercream recipe in the recipe description!

The cake design was inspired by John Kanell from preppy kitchen. I liked it because of its funny touch, but you can keep it classy without the carrot decoration, too!

These are the cake pans and my KitchenAid hand mixer that I always use in my recipe videos

A 8 inch cake pan is the traditional choice to make most cake recipes. It creates tall cake layers without making a huge cake! This 6 speed KitchenAid hand mixer is the only one with flex edge beaters for a 2 times faster mixing and to protect your mixing bowl from scratches!

Carrot cake recipe

Ingredients: for an 8 inch cake

1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar

2 1/2 cups (300 g) flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp pumpkin spice

3 eggs

1 cup (240 g) sour cream

3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil

1/2 cup (120 g) apple sauce

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup (125 g) pecans, toasted

1 lb (450 g) carrots, shredded

For the cream cheese frosting

16 oz (450 g) cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups (450 g) butter, at room temperature

3 cups (390 g) powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla


Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Start off with a large bowl. Combine the sugar, eggs, sour cream, oil, apple sauce and vanilla. Mix it until fluffy. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin spiceand mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Mix in carrots and pecans.

Step 2:

Divide the batter evenly among 2 8-inch cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut each layer one time horizontally.

Step 3:

For the cream cheese frosting mix cream cheese and butter until cream. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk it continually until it forms soft peaks for 8 minutes.

Step 4:

To decorate the cake, place the bottom layer on a plate and spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on it. Top it with the second layer and repeat the step. Then apply the last layer and cover the cake with frosting on the top and its sides.

Step 5:

Refrigerate the cake for about 40 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply a final layer of frosting, as well as any decoration.



  • The carrot cake is very soft and moist because of sour cream and carrots.

  • The cream cheese frosting is easier to smooth through the added butter. Cream the butter long enough to get rid of the butter taste.

  • The carrot decoration is made with buttercream. I like Swiss meringue buttercream instead of American buttercream, but both is possible. Check my German chocolate cake recipe for the buttercream recipe.


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