Ready to serve up a Carrot Cake that'll make the crowd swoon? Well, this recipe will definitely do the trick. It's crazy moist, with all the warm spices, and a fluffy cream cheese icing that can't be beaten. As for the carrots? Don't worry about grating... we're going to boil them!
This thing comes together quickly and with minimal effort, making it perfect for the busy hostess. Whip it up for Easter or any other Spring time entertaining and sit back as the rave reviews roll in. For more Spring-y dessert inspiration, check out our Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes and Easter Cake Pops.
CARROT CAKE INGREDIENT OVERVIEW
Carrots | We certainly can't have Carrot Cake without carrots! For this recipe, you'll either need 4 large carrots or 5 to 6 medium to small carrots. To prep the carrots for the cake, remove the stem end of the carrots, peel them (if desired), and cut them into large one-inch chunks. Rather than using grated carrots, this Carrot Cake takes the carrots straight to a pot of boiling water! After the carrots are fork tender, they go into a food processor and are puréed until smooth. The consistency of the carrot purée is one of the main reasons this cake is so insanely moist and addictively delicious!
Flour | No need to grab any specialty flour for this Carrot Cake recipe. We kept it simple with all-purpose flour!
Leaveners | You will need a mix of both baking powder and baking soda for this Carrot Cake recipe. Both leaveners are of equal importance, and you should take care not to swap one for the other. Similar to eggs, chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder are responsible for the structure of the cake. Measure carefully!
Spices | Cinnamon and nutmeg make a delicious contribution to this Easy Carrot Cake recipe! They add warmth and flavor complexity to the dessert without overpowering the carrot-ness of the cake.
Eggs | Eggs are another one of those key ingredients when it comes to cakes. It is fairly important that all of your ingredients are at room temperature when baking cakes. Be sure that you set your eggs out so that they have plenty of time to come to room temperature before the mixing begins. If it's all come down to the last minute, here's a little hack for you: place your eggs in a bowl and allow warm water to run over them until the bowl is full. Then, set the eggs aside for about 10 to 15 minutes to sit in the warm water, and voilà! Your eggs are now at room temperature and prime for baking!
Brown Sugar | Sugar adds more than just sweetness to cakes; it's also a key ingredient when it comes to moisture! We opted for brown sugar in this Carrot Cake recipe, as it adds a boost of flavor, thanks to those warm, irresistible molasses notes. Note, if you choose to reduce the sugar called for in this recipe, your cake won't turn out quite as moist as intended!
Butter | Oil is known for helping cakes to retain moisture, but not for adding flavor. So, rather than using vegetable oil, this recipe calls for melted, unsalted butter. Thanks to the carrot puree and the sugar content in this cake, you are still guaranteed a crazy moist cake even though we are not calling for oil. One thing you want to note about the butter is that it is best to allow it to cool to room temperature before adding it to your cake batter!
Milk | This recipe calls for whole milk, which is recommended because of its fat content. However, if you don't have whole milk, you can sub in 2% milk in its place. As with all baking ingredients, it is best if your milk is as close to room temperature as possible before you incorporated it into your batter!
Vanilla Extract | Similar to cinnamon and nutmeg, vanilla extract adds delicious flavor to cakes. Although it is highly recommended, if you do not have vanilla extract on hand, this cake can still hold its own without it.
Nuts and Dried Fruit | We like our Carrot Cake about as kid-friendly and carrot-forward as possible, so we left out the pecans and the raisins entirely. However, if it's not Carrot Cake without nuts and dried fruit in your world, feel free to add them! Add up to ¾ cup of chopped walnuts or pecans and about ½ a cup of either dried raisins or currants to the batter before baking, if desired.
HOW TO MAKE EASY CARROT CAKE
The first thing you do is get your oven preheating to 350°F. You'll also want to prepare an 8 x 8" baking pan with parchment paper. To do this, grease the pan with room temperature butter, and line it with sheets of parchment paper cut to fit your baking pan, with excess paper on the sides to easily be able to lift the cake out of the pan after it is baked.
Next, you'll move on to the carrots. Prep your carrots as directed above, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and gently drop the carrots into the water using a slotted spoon. Allow the carrots to boil for about 10 minutes. As soon as they are fork-tender, drain them and set them aside to cool.
Transfer the cooled carrots to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process until puréed. Next, you'll measure out ¾ cup of the carrot purée. You can either save any remaining carrot purée for another use or discard it.
Next, it's on to the dry ingredients. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sifting dry ingredients helps to mix and aerate your ingredients. This is especially helpful when it comes to using all-purpose flour in cake recipes.
Mixing up the wet ingredients couldn't be easier! You'll combine your eggs, brown sugar, milk, and butter in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Then, add in the measured carrot purée and whisk until smooth.
Now, in go the dry ingredients, and you'll mix that together until well combined.
Transfer the Carrot Cake batter to the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it! Set your cake aside to cool on a wire rack, and in the meantime whip up your cream cheese frosting!
HOW TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Cream cheese frosting is easy to make, but one thing you must be sure of is that your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature before you begin!
You'll kick off the frosting by combining room-temperature butter and room-temperature cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Use a handheld mixer on medium-high speed to mix the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
Then, add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt. At this point, you'll want to begin mixing on low. Nobody wants to end up covered in powdered sugar! You can begin mixing on medium-high as soon as your powdered sugar looks mostly incorporated into the cream cheese and butter.
Mix for about two minutes, and your cream cheese frosting is done!
REMOVING THE CAKE FROM THE PAN
Once your Carrot Cake has cooled completely, you can remove it from the pan. To easily remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake, use the parchment paper sides to lift the cake out of the pan, set the cake on either your serving dish or a cake stand, and place the cooling rack over the top of the cake.
Gently turn the cake onto the cooling rack, remove the parchment paper, and then take the serving dish or cake stand, position it over the bottom of your cake (right about where you want the cake to sit), and turn it over onto the serving platter.
HOW TO ICE CARROT CAKE
This Carrot Cake could not be easier to ice! Once you have your cake in position on your cake stand or platter, dump all the icing over on the top and spread it to the edges. Decorate with little carrot decals, chopped nuts, or Easter sprinkles if desired! All that's left, is to serve and enjoy.
6 MORE CAKE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Strawberry Cupcakes
- Banana Pudding Cheesecake
- German Chocolate Cupcakes
- Key Lime Cake
- Praline Cake
- Texas Sheet Cake
You can finally kiss the overly-complicated recipes goodbye! This Carrot Cake is crazy-easy to make and you won't miss a thing!
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 ½ packages (12-ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F and have ready an 8x8" baking pan greased and lined with parchment paper.
Fill a large saucepan about ¾s of the way full of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to gently drop in carrots and boil for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain the carrots and set aside to cool slightly.
Transfer the carrots to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process until smooth. Measure out ¾ cup of the purée and set aside until ready to use. Discard the remaining purée or save it for another use.
Over a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside until ready to use.
To a large bowl, add brown sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and butter. Whisk to combine. Add in the measured carrot purée and whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
Add the batter to the prepared pan and smooth over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
Combine cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl and use a handheld mixer on medium-high speed to combine until smooth and creamy.
Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix on low until most of the sugar has been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix for 2 minutes more.
Transfer the cake to a cake stand or serving dish, add the icing on top, and spread to the edges. Serve and enjoy!