This easy, from-scratch carrot cake recipe uses simple ingredients to make the best moist and perfectly spiced homemade carrot cake. Paired with fluffy cream cheese frosting, this is the only carrot cake recipe you need!
Prep Time:25 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:2 hours
Yield:10-12 servings 1x
1 1/2 cups (330 g) butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups (320 g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
orange zest from 1 medium orange
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk
2 large carrots, about 5 oz (150 g) carrots, peeled and grated
Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz (340 g) cream cheese, room temperature
6 oz (170 g) butter, room temperature
6 cup (750 g) confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans by greasing with butter or nonstick spray and then lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all of the eggs are blended and the mixture is light and fluffy, add the vanilla extract and orange zest.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Add the sifted dry ingredients alternating with the milk until completely blended and smooth. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
Add the grated carrots to the batter and mix on low speed until combined.
Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans and bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You will know that the cake layers are done baking when the tops spring back when lightly pressed in and a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
When the cake layers have finished baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pans before removing them. Transfer the cake layers to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, until creamy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. Beat on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy.
To assemble the cake, place 1 layer on a cake stand and spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Use an offset spatula to even out the frosting. Repeat with the remaining two cake layers and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If you’d like, decorate your cake with caramel sauce and chopped walnuts.
Make ahead: If you are preparing the cake in advance, keep it in the refrigerator. Before you are ready to serve the cake, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Store carrot cake: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator. When storing frosted cakes in the refrigerator, I always chill them for about 15 minutes to harden the frosting. Then, I loosely cover the cake in plastic wrap or place it in a cake keeper. This Carrot Layer Cake can be stored for up to 1 week covered in the refrigerator.