Carrot Cake

Update 4/2011: Well, I’ve successfully been making this carrot cake for the last three years and except for this sheet cake variation, which is delicious in it’s own right, I haven’t met a carrot cake I love more than this one. Moist (oh so moist!), flavorful and just absolutely classic and fantastic, this carrot cake graces our Easter dinner table every year – and several times throughout the year when I get the itch to make carrot cake…again.

It is stunning and elegant, in it’s double layer form, and the frosting – well, I could wax poetic about the dreamy stuff. Whipped and creamy with just the slightest enhanced flavor from the dollop of sour cream, this frosting is the best straight-up cream cheese frosting in my repertoire.

Even though over and over again I claim chocolate to be my dessert (dinner??) of choice, there is something about the combination of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting that just gets me every time.

Carrot Cake

Unbelievable Carrot Cake

Unbelievable Carrot Cake

I always make this cake in two 9-inch round pans. I double the frosting recipe to accommodate the extra layers. If making in a 9X13-inch pan, you can leave the frosting amounts the same to cover the top of the cake.


  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 lb. medium carrots (6 to 7 large carrots), peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • Frosting (I double the recipe below to frost a 9-inch layered cake):
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream, light or regular
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (4 1/2 ounces)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Grease and flour a 9X13-inch baking pan or 2 9-inch round pans.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside. In a food processor fitted with large or fine shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. You can also shred by hand on a box grater if you don't have a food processor.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
  4. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 32 minutes for 9-inch round pans and 40 minutes for a 9X13-inch pan. Let cakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely (the 9X13-inch cake can be cooled completely in the pan if you don't plan to invert and ice all the sides). At this point, once the cakes are cooled, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and put in a ziploc bag and placed in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature prior to frosting.
  5. When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute. Frost and eat!

Recipe Source: Cooks Illustrated (with my notes included)

164 Responses to Unbelievable Carrot Cake

  1. George Zeller says:

    Good Morning,
    Your recipe sounds very good, I was wondering if I could cook and mash the carrots in stead of shredding them; would that be ok as it would be much easier for me, an older senior? Please advise. Thank you

  2. Mel says:

    I made this cake this week, and it was very good! But I have one question…I had left a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom rack from when I seasoned some cast iron skillets earlier in the week when I cooked the cake. I cooked it for the required time, and when I tested in the center with a toothpick, it came out clean. I let it cool in the 9” x 11” pan for about 15 minutes. The middle of the cake sunk a little, but I wasn’t too worried. When I flipped it onto the cooling rack, sadly it kind of fell apart because the middle was pretty much completely raw, while the sides were quite well done. I ended up cutting off the cooked edges and frosting them as cake bars, and put the rest back in the oven and made “carrot cake crumble” with all the pieces. Do you think maybe the aluminum foil someone affected the heat conduction in the oven or something like that? I’ve never had such a problem before! The cake was delicious! It just didn’t come out very pretty.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Mel – that’s a great question and honestly, I don’t know, but it seems as though the cake probably just needed more time in the oven. Every oven can differ on exact oven temperature and I’m guessing a few extra minutes would help the cake regardless if there is aluminum foil in the oven.

  3. Sara says:

    Hi mel! I tried to do this carrot cake by Reading all’ positive comments you Have. I don t know if i Have the wrong Cup mesure but i think there is too much sugar in this cake: with my Cup mesure is more than 400gr of sugar and when i tasted the cake it was too much. Could you traslate the recipe in grams?maybe i have the wrong Cup mesure but this is the only One i found in Italy(where i live);-) thank you very much Sara

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sara – there are several online calculators that can help you translate the cake into grams. Sorry I can’t do that for you (I’m not familiar with the conversions and don’t want to mess you up!).

  4. Debby says:

    I made this cake today for dinner/dessert with my family and the grandparents. It was absolutely THE best carrot cake I have ever had. Everyone loved it! And I am so glad that there is a little left that I can eat tomorrow!!! Once again, you have shared an absolutely awesome recipe! Thank you for all you do.

  5. Courtney says:

    This was the best carrot cake I’ve ever had or made, and I sorta consider myself a carrot cake connoisseur. I made the recipe exactly as written, but I added a tsp of ground ginger for a little kick. I made it in two 9″ pans and although they fell in the center (I live at 6100 feet so I’m used to this!) it was nothing an extra dollop of the yummy frosting couldn’t cover. This was our Easter dessert and I just finished the last piece today – still as good as ever! Although now I’m sad we’re out of carrot cake :(!! Thanks for the awesome recipe, Mel!

  6. Jennifer G says:

    In case anyone wants to make this into a bunt cake, it works fine. I baked it at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

  7. Grace says:

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you for this recipe. It worked beautifully. I made it in a 9″ square tin and 6 muffins. Gifts for my neighbours for Easter. Delicious!

  8. Nikki says:

    You said to use medium sized carrots, could I use baby carrots instead? Thanks!

  9. Whitney says:

    Should I refrigerate this cake if I plan to make it ahead of time?

  10. Senta says:

    As any one made this with out a standing mixer? Did it still turn out well? Thanks! Ps Mel I love all your receipes!!!

  11. Kasey says:

    Can you make this recipe into cupcakes?

  12. Stacy says:

    Hi Mel! LOVE this carrot cake. I made it for my Bible study and everyone said it was the best carrot cake they had ever had. I wanted to do it in cupcake form soon- have you done this? I’m guessing I only need to change the amount of time it is in the oven.

    • Mel says:

      It’s been a while so I don’t remember how they turned out or how many they made but I know several people up in the comment thread have made this recipe as cupcakes with good results. πŸ™‚

  13. Brittainy says:

    Hi Mel! I don’t normally comment on the recipes that I try online but I had to tell you how much I loved this cake! It was so delicious – made it for my husbands birthday and he couldn’t have been happier either! The frosting was amazing as well – so much more fluffy than traditional cream cheese frostings (at least that I have found)! Actually left me wanting more instead of regretting dessert like I usually do. Amazing recipe!

    I just had one question – I didn’t use walnuts in it this time as the hubs isn’t a fan, but I love nuts in my cakes and cookies. Have you ever tried making this with nuts (walnuts or pecans) in it? How much would you suggest using?

    Thanks again for an great recipe! Going in the keeper file for sure!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Brittainy – I haven’t used nuts in the actual cake batter (since I’m in the camp of never put nuts in my desserts πŸ™‚ but I think you could certainly try it. Maybe start with 1 cup chopped and see how that goes. Good luck!

  14. Ann says:

    I made this carrot cake for the first time and brought it to work and it was such a success I will definitely use this for my go to recipe from now on. I used my kitchen aid grater attachment and what a bonus.

  15. Stacie says:

    Hi Mel,

    I need to make a wine bottle/crate cake for a friend next weekend, and she’s requested carrot cake (which I’ve never made before). The cake ‘crate’ is going to be 2 9×13’s stacked, and was wondering if this cake is sturdy enough to stack without crumbling apart. I’ve always made a heavier cake (like madeira) or mud cakes when I need to stack, so this ‘light, but not rich carrot cake’ that she wants has me a little worried.

    Thanks so much!!

    • Mel says:

      I stack several 9-inch layers and it works fine so I think the two 9X13-inch layers should be ok although I haven’t tried it that way myself.

      • Stacie says:

        Thanks so much Mel. If the weight of several 9″ layers hasn’t crushed the bottom cakes on yours, then I think (fingers crossed) this would actually work.

        Going to make this later today so I can try it first (any excuse to eat cake right LOL). Now I just need the grocery store to open so I can get carrots.

      • Stacie says:

        Mel, I just had to tell you how amazing this cake is! Everyone who’s tried it, LOVED it! Usually it takes me a few tries of a new cake flavor before I find one I really like, but this one is winner – I don’t have to try any others!

        Thanks again for sharing!!

  16. Ruth says:

    Hi Mel…I have been following your website for about 4 years and tell everybody about it! Your recipes comprise about 80% of my weekly menu πŸ™‚ my son turns 3 next week and is surprisingly requesting a “carrot applesauce cake”. Do you know if I could sub the oil in here with applesauce?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ruth – that’s a pretty cute request from your 3-year old! I haven’t tried subbing all the oil out for applesauce but I’m guessing it stands a pretty good chance of working (and I think others in the comments have done it).

  17. Sadie says:

    It helps to know that you use the dip and level method when measuring by volume for your recipes. I’m an obsessive recipe tester (almost 2,000!) and find that the norm is to spoon and level flour when measuring by volume. Many recipes caution NOT to dip and level. Cook’s Illustrated is one of the exceptions. I think it’s great when both measurements are given in a recipe, but it’s also helpful to know which method is used or the end result may not be what’s pictured. Those extra, or fewer, tablespoons of flour can make quite a difference! Thanks!!

  18. Sadie says:

    I quickly scrolled through all the comments and couldn’t see that anyone has asked this question. Do you measure the flour by volume or weight when making this cake? CI has a heavy hand when it comes to flour. Their 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs 5 oz. However, most volume/weight charts vary from 4.25 to 4.5 oz. for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, measured by lightly spooning the flour into a measuring cup and levelling with a knife. My weight for 1 cup of all-purpose flour is 4.5 oz. Therefore, if I were to make this cake using a volume measure I would only have 11.25 oz. of flour, which is considerably less than 12.5 oz. It would be helpful to know which measurement you use. Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sadie, I use the weight measures for the recipe – I actually just did a post about measuring vs. weighing flour. I use the dip and level method and my cups of flour always weigh right around 5 ounces. It’s really difficult to use the dip and level method and get a cup of flour that weighs in the 4-ounce range and since that’s how I measure my flour (if a recipe doesn’t have weight measures), I go with the 5 ounce/per cup rule of thumb. If a recipe includes both weight and volume, I always encourage readers to use the weight if they have a kitchen scale since it will be more accurate (good case in point that when you measure your flour by volume, it weighs less than mine). Hope that helps!

  19. Sasha says:

    How would I alter this recipe for high altitude? This is my favorite carrot cake recipe ever.

  20. Tiana says:

    Thanks for the recipe!
    Since I have only one round baking pan (9inch x 2.5inch), I’ll have to bake and cool the first cake, then bake the remaining half of the batter. So for how much time would I have to bake half of the batter?

    • Mel says:

      The baking time shouldn’t change if you are still using the same size pan as indicated in the recipe (even if you are just baking one pan at a time).

  21. BakerEm says:

    Made this carrot cake for Easter and it was a HUGE hit. I used your whipped cream cheese icing though instead of the one accompanying the recipe. Even non-dessert eaters wanted seconds!

  22. Dalia says:

    Hi Mel πŸ™‚ First off I just wanted to say that I recently found your site (I’m mad I’ve been wasting my time with all those other ones all this time) I LOOOOVE your recipes and tips!! Your site quickly became my go-to!! Everything I’ve tried so far has gotten nothing but praise! So thanks for that!! And I love knowing that I’m not the only measuring junky out there πŸ˜‰

    Ok, now the reason I’m posting on this particular recipe isn’t actually because of the carrot cake, which by the way I’m soooo going to try it soon! My question actually has to do with the cream cheese frosting. I have been searching for what seems like forever for the perfect cream cheese frosting recipe. Every one I’ve tried in the past comes out too runny. So when I saw this one, I thought I couldn’t go wrong, but come to find out the problem can’t be the recipe, it has to be me. When trying to make this frosting, and all the others for that matter, I stuck to the recipe. Or at least I thought I did. When it came out runny again, I tried adding more sugar and butter, but that didn’t help. I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. :'( Do you have any idea what it could be or have any suggestions? I would really appreciate it!!!!! Thanks for making my kitchen life easier with all of your hard work!!! πŸ™‚

    • Mel says:

      Hi Dalia! Thanks for your kind words! About the frosting, what kind of cream cheese are you using? Full fat or light (neufchΓ’tel)? Light cream cheese will definitely make the frosting much softer/runnier.

  23. Chari S. says:

    I JUST made this cake for Easter after all these years of this being on your website.
    So sad.
    For those who have yet to make this cake, it lives up to the hype for sure.
    I baked it in a bundt pan and it took almost 10 minutes longer. Just fyi.
    Very pretty, very good.

  24. Lisa says:

    Such a delicious cake!! just the right level of sweetness, very moist and balanced flavours. Went down a treat! Thank you Mel

  25. Molly says:

    Hi Mel! I’m super excited to make this for Easter this year, I love all the recipes I’ve made from your site! I was wondering, I saw people posting about putting it in the fridge, but I thought that would make it more dry. Do you store this in the fridge, since it has cream cheese frosting? I am hoping to make it the day before Easter, so I just wanted to find out how to store it overnight! Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Molly – if I’m storing this for longer than 4 hours, I cover it with a cake dome and put it in the refrigerator. It doesn’t dry the cake out, especially if the cake is well sealed with frosting. I try and take the cake out of the refrigerator a couple hours before serving to soften up a little.

  26. Sarah says:

    This is the best carrot cake I have ever tasted! Incredibly moist, but not too moist, and so much flavor!! I’ve made cream cheese icing in the past, but who knew adding sour cream would perfect it. I made 3 thin 9-inch pans with this recipe, doubled the icing, and still had some icing left over so the kids did some awesome decorating! Thank you for your amazing recipes, you made me famous in my family, lol!

  27. Elizabeth says:

    I was wondering if you could sub coconut oil (melted obviously lol) instead of canola or vegetable oil?

  28. Kathy says:

    Am I missing something,, where are the nuts for the frosting? Are they walnuts or pecan?

  29. Misty S says:

    Hi Mel! I had (emphasis on had) a go to carrot cake recipe until I made this one last night. I am a cupcake kind of gal so I did cupcakes using my large cookie scoop to fill and they turned out perfect, yielded 28 – baked up so nice & even & didn’t sink in the middle. They were sooooo delicious & tender! I have tried several of your recipes & haven’t been let down yet. Keep up the awesomeness!

  30. Laurel says:

    Hi Mel~ I’m a long time reader and recipe tryer (??)!! I’m such a fan! πŸ™‚ This carrot cake is making an appearance (again!!) for Easter and I was wondering if I can make it a day ahead? Do I need to refrigerate it or just let it sit at room temp? Should I refrigerate the cakes and wait to frost it? Help! Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laurel – yes, you can definitely make this a day ahead of time. Make it and frost it (the frosting helps keep it moist overnight) – then cover it as best you can (in a cake carrier or lightly covered in plastic wrap) and refrigerate. I like to take it out 1-2 hours before serving to let the frosting soften just a bit. Good luck!

  31. […] adapted from my fellow food bloggers: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (cake) and Sally’s Baking Addiction […]

  32. Heidi Doxey says:

    Could you bake this in a bundt pan?

  33. Melissa says:

    Mel, just wanted to check back. I just made the cake, successfully subbing half applesauce for half the oil, and adding approximately a cup of toasted pecans and a cup of raisins. It was delicious and much loved by the birthday boy. Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe base.

  34. leslie t says:

    Hi Mel,
    Just wanted to thank you for providing an amazing carrot cake recipe. I am not usually a fan of carrot cake (or cream cheese) but this turned out perfectly! I sprinkled chopped pecans on top like in the photo, so it’s easier for people to remove if they don’t like nuts (rather than baking the nuts in the cake). Icing was perfect too. I’m so glad someone sent me the link to your blog, because I made the freezable burritos awhile back, as well as the tikka masala chicken, and both of those turned out very well, so I figured your carrot cake would be too πŸ™‚ Thanks for providing this site to all of us.

  35. Rebecca says:

    Thanks, Mel! I’ll let you know how it turns out — I prefer my cake without, but the husband really wants them in there! I read another recipe similar in size and it looks like it was a cup of each!

  36. Rebecca says:

    I would love to make this with the addition of nuts and raisins! How much of each would you suggest? I’m thinking pecans!

    • Mel says:

      Rebecca – I haven’t added either of these before, so you will have to experiment. Maybe a cup of each? And if you toss them with the flour they won’t have a tendency to sink to the bottom while baking. Good luck.

  37. Melissa says:

    Hi, Quick question. I know that I can add nuts to this without issue, but do you think that I can add raisins without any issues? I cannot wait to make this! Thanks in advance.

  38. Anne says:

    Hi Mel , we absolutely love this carrot cake !! I was wondering if you have ever baked this cake ahead of time and frozen it? I was hoping to make them into cupcakes and freeze them for Easter morning..

    • Mel says:

      Anne – Yes, this cake freezes great.

      • Andrea says:

        Hi Mel, If I’m going to make ahead (i’m totally a cooking novice) and want to freeze, do I freeze when it is still warm or after it has cooled completely? is there a trick to freezing so the cake doesn’t dry out?

        • Mel says:

          I always bake it and let it cool before I freeze it. I turn it out of the pans onto a cooling rack and let cool completely and then wrap each layer separately in plastic wrap and slide it into a gallon freezer ziploc bag and pop in the freezer.

  39. Brinestone says:

    This was a PERFECT carrot cake. I tried a different recipe last year for my son’s birthday (carrot is his favorite kind of cake), and while it was fine, it was disappointing. There is nothing disappointing about this one. I’m having trouble restraining myself from eating the entire cake.

  40. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel! I am wondering since you perfected your yellow cake, would you think this cake would taste better with cake flour? If so…how much would I use in this recipe? I also wondered with doubling the cream cheese icing…how much I set aside to pipe happy birthday? Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Melissa – Yellow cake so far is the only cake that has needed (as in, no subs) cake flour. Funny enough chocolate cake and others, like carrot cake, do just fine without it because of the other ingredients that help tenderize and make it light and moist. So for this carrot cake, I’ll keep making it with all-purpose flour. You could certainly try cake flour but might have to adjust the amounts so there is enough structure to the cake. I’d probably set aside a cup or so to pipe happy birthday.

  41. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel,

    Would this cake work if I used two nine inch heart shaped Wilton pans instead of 2 rounds? I also wondered with this icing…I know I couldn’t pipe with the cream cheese icing – but can I still write happy birthday on it and have it not mush into the cream cheese icing? Any cake decorating tips to make it more birthdayish (new word) would be appreciated…I may just make your new cupcake recipe instead but thought I’d ask if you had any thoughts. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Melissa – The frosting is pretty sturdy so I think you could definitely pipe happy birthday on top of it. I haven’t used the Wilton heart-shaped pans but it should work fine, just keep an eye on baking time. I’m actually making this for my son’s birthday in two weeks (his request) – I’m probably going to make the icing as smooth as possible (instead of swirly) and then pipe large dots around the bottom in a border. Good luck!

  42. Becky says:

    This carrot cake was absolutely delicious! This is the third recipe of yours that I have tried (sweet & sour chicken and cheesecake) and each one has been complete perfection. After each one, my husband comments on what a good cook/baker I am…and I tell him it’s all you! Your recipes are so clear and easy to follow that even I can’t screw them up. Thank you for creating such amazing recipes. You are now my official go-to blog when I’m looking for a recipe that is guaranteed to turn out perfect.

  43. Ashley says:

    I made this cake on Saturday and it was fabulous! The cake itself was super moist and flavorful and then the addition of the cream cheese frosting was so good! I also did mine in two 9 inch pans and then added chopped pecans to the top. I plan on making this recipe as cupcakes next time around and also maybe substituting applesauce for the oil and adding less sugar just to see if I can make a lower fat version πŸ™‚ Carrot Cake is one of my husband’s favorite desserts so he was more than thrilled when I told him I was making it. Thanks for another great recipe!

  44. Viktoriya says:

    I made this amazing cake for New Years and it was incredible! What a great way to start a new year!:))

  45. Viktoriya says:

    Umm I only have 8 1/2 oz of cream cheese and have the rest of the ingredients. Would I have to decrease the powdered sugar a bit for a 9-inch cake?

  46. pau says:

    Hello, I want to try these, but I have to ask, what do you mean by ground cloves? Is this fresh garlic that is pounded and minced? Or can I use the garlic powder in the small McCormick bottles? Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Pau – ground cloves is more of a fragrant spice (not like garlic at all). Please don’t substitute garlic! It’s more like a nutmeg or cinnamon type spice.

  47. pau says:

    Hello, I want to try these, but I have to ask, what do you mean by ground cloves? Is thia fresh garlic that is pounded and minced? Or can I use the garlic powder in the small McCormick bottles? Thanks!

  48. Rebecca says:

    How do you think this frosting would be on some fabulous pumpkin cupcakes?! I have a good cupcake recipe, but still looking for that perfect cream cheese frosting (although I do LOVE the one on the pumpkin bar recipe you have posted!)

  49. Carolyn says:

    Wanted to let you know that I also made this cake today and it was great. Really moist and loved the flavour; I made a mistake and used only 1 cup of oil but didn’t seem to really matter at all; still really moist.

  50. Isabella says:

    I only have baby carrots. Do you recall how many cups the carrots ended up being when shredded?

  51. Joyce says:

    Hi Mel…
    Are those chopped pecans or walnuts on the cake?

  52. Denise says:

    This carrot cake was amazing! We made it for Easter and had to give 1/2 of it away because we couldn’t stop eating it!

    Quick question: we made this in 2 circular pans and layered it with your yummy frosting. For some reason the middle of both of the cake cakes sunk in a little bit. Any ideas why? It still tasted amazing, but I was curious how I could avoid that in the future. Help!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Denise – not sure why that happens; sometimes it’s due to different altitudes or variance in oven temperature. You might try baking a few minutes longer or baking 25 degrees lower and adding a few more minutes to the time.

  53. Holly says:

    This cake is fabulous it’s so moist and delicious! We had carrot cake for dessert on Easter and I have been sneaking a leftover slice for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. (Don’t make this cake if you’re trying to cut back on sweets, it’s so good, you’ll have to have another slice.) This frosting is great too (it has that wonderful cream cheese flavor without being overly sweet. Yum!) Thanks for posting this terrific recipe. It’s a keeper!

  54. Cyndi says:

    Excited to try this!! Will let you know how delicious it turns out!!! πŸ™‚

  55. Claira says:

    Could I make this as cupcakes?

    • Mel says:

      Claira – I’ve never made the cake as cupcakes, although I’m sure it would work. You’ll have to experiment with baking time (cut down significantly from recipe) and figure out the yield. Good luck!

  56. Kaitlin B. says:

    I’ve halved this recipe twice to make a small batch of cupcakes, and with a little guesstimation on the spices (I just went ahead and used the full amount for ground cloves), it turned out fantastic! The frosting is great, too. I had a cupcake for breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks…. I think you catch my drift. Great recipe. I think next time I make it I’ll switch the brown and white sugars, because I love the taste of brown sugar. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  57. Jane says:

    I always use this recipe just as written and it’s fabulous. Last time I think the whole room went silent when dessert was served because everyone was so focused on eating it! haha

    Do you think it would be totally crazy to try layering it with cheesecake similar to your red velvet/cheesecake recipe? I may have to make that an experiment! πŸ™‚

  58. anne says:

    Hi Mel, do you think the cream cheese frosting is the right consistency to pipe roses on cupcakes like you showed in your tie n dye tutorial?

    • Mel says:

      Anne – the frosting is a bit on the soft side but if you added more powdered sugar (maybe just a cup?), I think it would be fine for piping.

  59. Cheryl says:

    Heavenly for sure! My boys were afraid of the carrots, so maybe I’ll use a food processor next time.

  60. DEE TRAHAN says:


  61. Diane McLaughlin says:

    I made this cake today for my Mom’s birthday! I must say, this is THE best carrot cake I have ever made! Thank you for sharing the recipe πŸ™‚

  62. Mel says:

    Elizabeth – generally applesauce is a good substitution for oil but I haven’t subbed all the oil in this cake so you’ll have to experiment with that. I’ve never subbed the pumpkin spice, either, but it’s probably worth a try.

  63. Elizabeth says:

    Also could you possible sub pumpkin spice for the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves?

  64. Elizabeth says:

    could you maybe sub sour cream instead of canola or veg oil in the cake???

  65. […] cake, from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. (Slightly […]

  66. Bex says:

    A good substitute for the oil would be coconut oil which, as you may or may not know, is coming into its own finally as the best kind of oil for almost everything. Canola not so much anymore. It’s more pricey but worth the extra for health reasons.

    The last time I sent my husband to the store for food, I wrote down “large bag of carrots” and I had no idea they even MADE a bag so big as the one he came home with. It takes up half of my shelf in the fridge! So I need to make a good carrot cake and soon! Will use the coconut oil instead of the other, though. This stuff works on the exterior of the body as well as the interior!

  67. […]   UNBELIEVABLE CARROT CAKE AND CREAM CHEESE FROSTING Recipe from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  68. Hilary says:

    I took this recipe and switched it up a little – substituted whole wheat flour for the all purpose, and used half applesauce, half oil. Made these into muffins for our breakfast and the kids are begging for more! Can only imagine how delicious “the real thing” is!! Thanks for another great one Mel!

  69. Angela says:

    This carrot cake lives up to its name….unbelievable! It was better than the carrot cake we had at our wedding….and that was pretty dang good! The only thing I had to change was the amount of oil. I didn’t have enough, so I used 3/4 c veg oil and 3/4 c apple sauce. It was perfectly moist, and the frosting was delish. Will definitley make again. Thanks!

  70. Shannon says:

    I just made this cake this weekend for my daughter-in-law’s birthday. I didn’t have 9″ pans so I used 3-8″ pans. It worked great and looked impressive. Thanks for another great recipe!

  71. […] UNBELIEVABLE CARROT CAKE AND CREAM CHEESE FROSTING Recipe from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  72. Mel says:

    Christine – if you read through the comments, I’m pretty sure that there are others who have subbed out some of the oil and have detailed their results. Good luck!

  73. Christine says:

    This looks amazingly good! And all the reviews have convinced me to make it as well πŸ˜€ But I’m just a little worried about the amount of oil? Would it destroy the recipe to reduce it, or perhaps sub some (if not all) with applesauce?

  74. Sharlene says:

    So I made this recipe on fiat for my father-in-law’s birthday… I have never made carryout cake… But things like that never hold me back!! I love the challenge! And this succinctly was not a challenge…super easy to prepare and so delicious! I agree that it tasted better (more moist) after sitting in the fridge. My bake time was one again different (from the altitude I suppose) and was done in about 25 minutes for 2-9 inch pans! Everyone loved it… Including my 10 month old son… Because on grandpa’s birthday t the grandson can get away with anything!

  75. Pauline says:

    I’ve never made a bad carrot cake and I always thought carrot cake recipes were just about the same. I made this in a pan that had twelve 2 1/2″x 2 1/2″ squares (kinda like square cupcakes) to send to my husband’s office. Comments back were unbelievable! I don’t know how this one was different (maybe all the oil?!!!…..I generally sub at least half oil for applesauce) but it is definitely in his office Top Three! I did add 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (I gotta have nuts!).

  76. Juliann says:

    You are RIGHT! This was the best carrot cake!
    I needed a cake recipe for my husband’s birthday with about 3 hours to bake and make an entire meal for 14. NO problem! I am so glad I found this recipe first.
    I am going to make just the cake as a cake with no frosting it was so moist and yummy. Everyone loves that there we no nuts in the cake…..we all agreed we didnt like hidden nuts in anything πŸ™‚

  77. Mel says:

    lindseylu8 – yes, the 1 1/2 cups oil is correct but that’s great if your substitution of buttermilk and oil worked out!

  78. lindseylu8 says:

    does this really call for 1.5 cups of oil and no water or milk? Seems like a lot of oil when I was making it last night so I did 3/4 cup oil & 3/4 cup buttermilk & it came out really well. Just curious about the 1.5 cups of oil. Thanks for the recipe !!!

  79. Mel says:

    Anna – you could definitely try a substitution. As for it turning out the same, I can’t tell you 100% since I’ve never tried it. If you haven’t already, read through the comments above to see if anyone else has tried it. Good luck!

  80. Anna says:

    Could you substitute something for part of the oil, say applesauce, and it turn out the same?

  81. […] Carrot Cake (2nd place) (I added raisins and walnuts) […]

  82. Reyna says:

    For Father’s Day my husband requested carrot cake. I’ve never made a carrot cake–but I knew you’d help me out, and sure enough you didn’t fail me! This was a delicious and moist cake and was a huge hit. I’m so glad to have a great recipe to add to the arsenal! Thanks as always.

  83. Edna says:

    Did anyone experience the cake go flat? Not totally flat just the middle. We stuck a fork in the middle and it came out clean. It looked perfect when it came out but after a few minutes the middle went down. I did the 9×13 size. Haven’t tried it yet tho but I’m sure its DELICIOUS! The things I’ve tried here has become a staple in my family….and we are VERY picky…well I am πŸ˜‰ hehe I’ll let ya know how it turns out!! Thanks MEL YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mel says:

      Edna – I hope this tasted ok despite the flattened middle. I’ve never had that happen, but I’ve always baked it in 2 9-inch round pans.

  84. […] Old huh? He loves him some good carrot cake and so that’s just what he got. And after finding this, I will never go searching again for another carrot cake recipe. It was di-vine and perfect for the […]

  85. Alicia says:

    Oh… forgot to add that we made it in a bundt pan. It was so easy. I know you said the carrot sheet cake recipe also on your site is easier than this one; honestly this was pretty dang easy. No need for me to try the other recipe… this is a keeper!

  86. Alicia says:

    I, too, made this for Easter (OK… my 11 year old daughter did most of the work!). It…was…AWESOME!! Even my husband and youngest daughter, both carrot-cake haters, went back for more after the required “polite bite”. My husband kept sneaking slices yesterday.

    I have to say, this cake is best straight from the fridge; it somehow becomes moister (although it was moist at room temperature as well). PERFECTION!! Thanks, Melanie!

  87. Lori says:

    The cupcakes turned out amazing! I ended up cooking them for about 15 minutes, and it made about 30 cupcakes. I usually don’t like carrot cake either, but I think it’s because of the usual addition of raisins, which I hate. I didn’t get to bring this to Easter dinner because my sister-in-law brought a carrot sheet cake, but I had to snicker at the fact that these were so much better! πŸ™‚

  88. Michelle says:

    I thought I would tell you that I made your carrot cake this weekend (actually, our entire Easter dinner was recipes from your site – crockpot ham, baked garlic mashed potatoes, 5 cup fruit salad) and it was a HUGE hit. I am a lifelong hater of carrot cake, but I knew my whole family would love it so I tried it out. I am a convert. From the first bite, I was sold. If only all carrot cakes tasted like this one!! Thanks to your wonderful recipes my first Easter dinner was a success! Can’t wait to try out some of your others… πŸ™‚

  89. Christy says:

    I made this for Easter and everyone said exactly what I was thinking – this was the best carrot cake we’ve ever had! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe…I am so happy to have a keeper carrot cake!!! I love your blog so much and trust your recipes 100%. I have made so many and not one has been a failure!

  90. Callie says:

    made this today for tomorrow and every time i open the fridge it taunts me! funny story-i saw this recipe and thought “well i need to check americas test kitchen baking book cause they have the best cakes”. surprise! they are the same! your cooking time was way more accurate, about 35 minutes compared to the 25 in the book.

  91. Lori says:

    Hi Mel! Do you have any tips/suggestions for making this batter into cupcakes?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lori – I’ve never made it as cupcakes but I don’t know why it wouldn’t work. It is a fairly high rising cake, so I would only fill the muffin liners 1/2 to 2/3 full. You’ll probably get more than 24 cupcakes out of the batch, but that is just a guess. You’ll have to see as you go. And then I would probably bake them for 12-15 minutes – checking to ensure they aren’t over baking. Hope that helps a little!

  92. […] Carrot Cake- I love making a carrot cake from scratch every year. Last year, I missed my tradition due to sick […]

  93. Joyce says:

    I haven’t tried making this carrot cake…yet. Because I’m slightly obsessed with your carrot sheet cake (and, of course, the frosting :)) Just curious, which is your favorite?

    • Mel says:

      Joyce – if you really nailed me down (because I love them both!), I’d go with the layered carrot cake. It is my first carrot cake love and is so beyond delicious, I want to run upstairs and make it immediately – just typing this!

  94. JaNae says:

    I made this last weekend and we gobbled it all up! I have tried a few carrot cake recipes, and this one was by far the best! Thanks again!!!

  95. Danielle says:

    This has been my choice for my birthday dessert for two years running. It is nothing less than heavenly. I like to think the carrots balance out everything else in the cake to make it healthy. Hey, it’s my birthday, so I can think what I want:)

  96. mia says:

    *coffee (two e’s) oops!

  97. mia says:

    ummm, *blush* i may not have mentioned a time or two in between that i’ve made it. seriously addicted. my son and i had some for breakfast. carrot cake + coffe = breakfast of champs!! πŸ˜€

  98. mia says:

    mmmmmmmm, i made this AGAIN for company last night. such a great yummy easy fabulous cake πŸ™‚ i know i already told you this but it seems to me it needed to be said again. i *adore* this cake. mmm!!! the first time i had carrots to use up cuz i accidentally bought a big bag and realized when i got home i already had a bag in the fridge…now i buy carrots like crazy so i *have* to use them up!!! πŸ˜‰ this cake is greatness. it’s my heroin on a fork!!!

  99. Mel says:

    Jacquie – I agree that this carrot cake is one in a million. I’m so glad you liked it!

  100. Jacquie says:

    Hi! I made this carrot cake for Easter dessert and it was fabulous! I think the cream cheese frosting was the best I’ve ever had – definitely the best I’ve ever made. I did not expect such a small amount of sour cream could make such a difference, but it really does. Melanie, I think you should put this carrot cake in your Best Recipe section. Thanks!

  101. Mel says:

    mia – so glad you like this…it is one of my favorite cakes of all time!

  102. mia says:

    i’ve made this twice now and it’s been a huge hit both times!!!! thank you for the awesome recipe! (recipes since i have many new faves off your site!!)

  103. The Mendoza Family says:

    I made your carrot cake and I LOVED it!! Of course, it was a custom order so I added the pinapple, golden raisins, and added crushed walnuts to the icing (divine), and I LOVED your recipe! Thank you! Now let’s talk about stealing Mel’s recipes to make money. πŸ™‚

  104. Sarah says:

    That sounds amazing…I am bookmarking this recipe to try soon!

  105. eatme_delicious says:

    Okay you’ve definitely convinced me I too need to try out this carrot cake! I’ve made carrot cake before and was happy with it but I’ll always try a new one. Looks delicious!

  106. Katie says:

    Awww, I’m so flattered 1) you like my blog and 2) you tried a recipe from it. Oh my gosh, I KNOW this cake is so amazing. After we made it for my brother’s party we made it THREE more times! So good.Your pictures really do it justice, unlike mine, so thank you!Yum!

  107. Cakespy says:

    Oh my, oh my, oh my. Now THIS is a cake. A cake to ruin all other carrot cakes for you, I think!

  108. Darrin and Britta says:

    I am visiting my parents for the holidays, and I made this for my dad’s birthday tonight. It was so moist and the texture was perfect! I made it in a bundt pan and it was very beautiful with the nuts on top. Thanks so much again for a wonderful recipe!

  109. chelley325 says:

    This looks like it should be in a magazine – beautiful!!

  110. PheMom says:

    This looks so perfect! Much like all the other recipes on your blog, I’m sure I’m going to have to try this one too!

  111. Erin says:

    I made this finally! I was sold just by the gorgeous picture of it. And sure enough, when I made it the presentation was pretty! Especially with the chopped pecans sprinkled on top. What’s even better was that it tasted fantastic too! πŸ™‚ It was very moist – to be on the safe side I set the timer for only 30 minutes since I did it in the 2 round pans too. I’m glad I did, because when I checked it, it was done! The frosting wasn’t as sweet as I expected, but when I tasted it with the cake I thought it complimented it well – it went with the cake just right. We all enjoyed this. Thanks Mel! πŸ™‚

  112. RecipeGirl says:

    This will definitely have to become my go-to carrot cake recipe too. CI just gets it right every time. I love that you disintegrated the carrots so they aren’t big chunks, and I HATE nuts and raisins in carrot cake. I recently tried CI’s Spice Cake recipe and LOVED that one too.

    • Sonya says:

      I just made the Cook’s Illustrated Spice Cake today, along with the recipe from Cook’s Country, and loved them both too! The CI is a little more spicy with more of a normal cream (and I love the idea of using some spices in the cream cheese frosting!). The CC is more fluffy-buttery with a little less spice. Both are great and both will be making appearances again in my house πŸ™‚

  113. grace says:

    boy, i’m glad you doubled that frosting recipe–there’s nothing worse than skimpy frosting! i probably would’ve tripled it and saved a batch to nosh on, much to the chagrin of my hips and thighs… πŸ™‚

  114. Melanie says:

    Britta – oh, I LOVE this cake and have kind of forgotten about it until your comment. So thank you for the reminder! I’m glad to know it worked out in a bundt pan – I bet it was lovely. Thanks for letting me know!

  115. Deborah says:

    I thought that I had found the perfect carrot cake recipe, but now I want to try this one!!

  116. Kevin says:

    That carrot cake looks so good! The sour cream in the icing sounds interesting. I will have to try it.

  117. Steph says:

    I’ve been searching for the a good carrot recipe, I have to look no further! Thanks!

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