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taking a bite of a slice of carrot cake

My favorite Recipe for Carrot Cake

  • Author: Patty McGuire
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Enjoy baking a rich carrot cake topped with creamy cream cheese frosting. This recipe is designed for two 6″ cake pans so less spending at the grocery store and less food waste.


Units Scale

Ingredients for the Carrot Cake

  • 180g light brown sugar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 144ml grapeseed oil (or any non flavored vegetable oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80g unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 190g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 160g finely shredded carrots
  • 156g chopped pecans

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz full fat block of cream cheese, soften to room temperature
  • One stick of room temperature butter
  • 420g sifted powdered sugar
  • 12 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt



To make the Cakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare two 6″ cake pans by greasing and flouring the bottom and sides of the pans and adding a sized parchment round to the bottom for added insurance. That is, you want your cakes to release easily once they have baked.
  2. Prepare the wet ingredients: thoroughly mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl. I mix mine on medium high using my stand mixer and a paddle attachment. Mix for about 3 minutes until everything is thoroughly combined. A hand mixer of even a whisk also works, but you might have to mix a little while longer.
  3. Prepare the dry ingredients: Combine the next 9 ingredients in a separate bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. With a light hand, mix gently using a big whisk or a large wooden spoon, just until the batter comes together. Do not over mix.
  5. Fold in the shredded carrots and pecans.
  6. Split batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. If not, continue to bake until the toothpick comes out clean. Bake in 3 minute intervals until done. Do not over-bake. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.

To make the frosting:

  1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. A stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment is the best choice but a hand mixer also works. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium high for about 3 minutes. You want it to be light colored and fluffy.
  2. Add the sifted powdered sugar in two additions. Mix thoroughly after the first addition before adding the second addition. Add the vanilla in with the second addition of sugar.
  3. Add the cream or milk as needed to to thin frosting to the desired consistency.
  4. Assemble and decorate cooled cakes as desired.


A white frosted cake decorated with colorful sprinkles on a cake plate that looks like a bunny

Serve your cake on an adorable bunny rabbit cake plate! (affiliate link)

You can toast the nuts before using in the cake if you like. Simply spread them out in one layer on a sheet pan and bake at 300 for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before putting into the cake batter.

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite bakers, Sally’s Baking Addiction.