Cakes/ Dessert/ easy/ Holiday/ Layer Cakes

Carrot Layer Cake

July 17, 2015

This is the ultimate layered carrot cake. It’s incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. |

My big 30 is right around the corner, and not surprisingly I’m celebrating with a piece of cake. Or 10. Not that I don’t do it any other day of the year, but at least on my birthday it’s considered acceptable and there’s no need destroy the evidence before anyone gets home. The celebrations officially start now with this all-star carrot cake!

If you just want a simple cake to serve with coffee or for breakfast, then try this carrot cake loaf that is sure to please you and your guests. But if you’re aiming for a little celebration or something a bit fancier, then this cake is the perfect choice.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. |

This cake tastes incredible. While it doesn’t taste like vegetables, you can pick up a slight carrot flavor—but in a totally good way. Those carrots are really what make this cake superb and moist. The cake is sweet with just the right touch of spice. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid and my mom would lie to me about what ‘those orange things’ were.

There are quite a lot of carrots in this cake, but that’s a good thing! Plenty of carrots makes this cake moist and flavorful.

What you’ll love most about this cake is that it’s super simple to make—no mixer involved! It just requires 2 bowls and some mixing, and you’re done. I used to think that layer cakes were extremely complicated, but as long as you have 2 9-inch cake pans that are 2-inches high (I recommend these ones), then it’s easy as pie. Or, easy as carrot cake.

For more simplicity, I usually don’t frost the sides of the cake but you can if you prefer. The recipe yields enough for that. On the other hand, if you only want to add frosting between the layers like I’ve done, then cut the recipe for it in half.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. |

Shredded or grated carrots? Now there’s a good question! When I made my first carrot cake, I processed the heck out of the carrots until they were almost juice. I didn’t even realize I was doing something wrong until after I tasted the cake. Yuck!

There are 2 different options for grating the carrots, and it’s just a matter of preference. I know that some prefer long shreds, while others prefer smaller or more finely grated pieces.

1) The quickest method would be using the shredding disc of your food processor. It yields large shreds of carrots, but they are cooked and softened during baking. If using this method, you’ll need about 3 cups of shredded carrots.

2) Use the grater box or a microplane grater for smaller pieces or more finely grated carrots. If using this method, you’ll need about 2.5 cups of grated carrots.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. |

Last tips:

  • If you don’t have brown sugar on hand, you can use just granulated sugar, 2 cups total. The brown sugar adds moisture and flavor, though, so it’s highly recommended.
  • You can replace ½ cup of the oil with ½ cup unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple.
  • Spices add a lot of flavor to carrot cake, but if you’re really not a fan of them, then I suggest at least not skipping the cinnamon.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Layered Carrot Cake
Yields: 2-layer 9-inch cake
This is the ultimate layered carrot cake. It’s incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting.
  • 2¼ cups (315 g/11 oz) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1⅛ cup (270 ml) canola oil (or vegetable, safflower)
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 350 g/12.5 oz grated fresh carrots* (about 6 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup raisins, currants, or shredded coconut, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting (enough to frost the sides of the cake*):
  • 450 g/16 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (230 g) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Generously butter 2 9-inch cake pans. You can line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper for easy removal later on.
  2. To make the cake: In a large bowl, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until combined and smooth. Don’t overmix. Fold in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the pan for easy release. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely. [The cake layers can be wrapped tight with plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before using.]
  5. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar in 2 additions, beating well after each addition until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat for about another 2 minutes on high speed until completely smooth. If the frosting is too runny, add more sugar as necessary until you reach the desired consistency. You can add a pinch of salt or lemon juice to cut the sweetness (although I don’t find it necessary for this cake since it isn’t too sweet). [Frosting can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It doesn’t freeze well. Before using, bring to room temperature and whisk by hand for a few seconds until smooth.]
  6. Assembling the cake: Set one layer on a plate with the flat side facing up (or, optionally, if your cake rose too much, cut its rounded top with a knife to make it flat). Evenly spread about ⅓ of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
  7. Store cake in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
* If using large shreds of carrot, you’ll need about 3 cups, and if using small pieces or finely grated carrots, you’ll need about 2.5 cups.

* You can half the recipe of the cream cheese frosting if you only want to use it between the layers and not the sides of the cake (like you see in the photos).


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  • Reply
    Joan Hayes
    July 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I love carrot cake, and yours is so beautiful! And happy early birthday! 🙂

    • Reply
      July 18, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Thank you so much Joan! That’s so sweet of you! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 17, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Carrot cake is one of the biggest surprised I experienced in the culinary world – it totally blew my mind with its taste the first time that I made it. And yours looks incredible!

    • Reply
      July 18, 2015 at 6:58 am

      I know, it’s so good! Thank you so much Oana! 🙂

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    July 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Cut me a slice right now please.. this carrot cake looks too delicious.

    • Reply
      July 18, 2015 at 6:55 am

      Thank you Thalia! 🙂

  • Reply
    Aimee / Wallflower Girl
    July 19, 2015 at 7:47 am

    What a perfect cake! Hope you enjoyed your birthday 🙂

    • Reply
      July 20, 2015 at 3:50 am

      I did 🙂 Thank you so much Aimee!!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    עוגה נהדרת, ואצלי כולם (כולל כל האחיינים – ויש הרבה) אוהבים עוגת גזר כזאת.
    משום מה הם מעדיפים ללא הקרם, אבל אני אוהבת את הקרם הזה 🙂

  • Reply
    Beeta @ Mon Petit Four
    July 20, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    What a stunning cake! It looks so incredibly moist, and how wonderful that it’s a 2-bowl affair. And that cream cheese frosting looks absolutely luscious and perfect!!

    • Reply
      July 21, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Thank you so much, Beeta!

  • Reply
    Sarah | Drool-Worthy
    July 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Carrot cake makes the best birthday cake! This looks so fluffy and wonderful 🙂

    • Reply
      July 22, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Thank you, Sarah! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jess @ whatjessicabakednext
    July 24, 2015 at 10:15 am

    This carrot layer cake is stunning, Shiran! Your recipes always look so beautiful! Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes and this looks like the perfect bake to celebrate your birthday with! 😀 Pinning to try soon!

    • Reply
      July 25, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Thank you so much, Jess! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Could you scale down the recipe for 6″ cake pan size? I am thrilled with your white cake recipe. My carrot cake recipe makes three 9″ layers which in turn makes 4 6″ cakes. As a twosome we can’t eat that much. I love carrot cake but once a year is fine. Thanks

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Hi! For a 6-inch cake I think you can make half of this recipe, but if you want, I suggest you to bake it in a loaf pan and use this recipe which makes a smaller cake (that can be frozen without the frosting).

  • Reply
    January 4, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Hi Shiran!! I love carrot layer cakes especially with cream cheese frosting!! I was planning to try out this recipe for my mom’s 35th b’ day. Is it possible to omit the addition of chopped nuts and cloves in the cake sponge??

    • Reply
      January 4, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Hi Angela! Yes, you can omit the nuts and cloves. I hope you like it and happy birthday! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 5, 2016 at 1:25 am

    Thanks a bunch, Shiran!! ?

  • Reply
    Diane Swanson
    January 8, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Hi Shiran, Could you tell me how to scale this recipe down for two 8-inch round pans. Thank you for your help.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Diane! You’ll need to decrease the recipe by 25% (meaning 3/4 of each ingredient, for example 3 eggs instead of 4). If it’s easier for you, you can also use the recipe as is and use the leftover batter for muffins.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Excellent recipe, tried it my self and everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      February 4, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Made this today – and as promised it was fluffy and moist!! Yum!!!! I’d had a bad recipe before so was really anxious about this one but so glad I followed it – amazing!!
    I love that you give weights – so important when you want serious accuracy. Made half the recipe and baked it in a glass loaf dish – perfect! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Reply
      March 27, 2016 at 4:29 am

      So glad it turned out great! Thank you so much for your comment, Claudia! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 12, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Simply amazing!! And m sure this will taste as yumm as your carrot loaf!!!
    If I want to make 1 9″ then shud I just half the recipe??

    • Reply
      April 14, 2016 at 3:59 am

      Thank you Tanisha 🙂 If you want a tall cake, use the recipe as is, and bake it in a 9-inch pan that’s 3-inch deep, or use a 10-inch pan. Baking time will be longer (an hour, or even more, but start checking after 45 minutes just to be sure). Or, you can decrease the recipe by 25% (meaning 3/4 of each ingredient, for example 3 eggs instead of 4).

  • Reply
    October 25, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Can i double the ingredients to make a bigger cake. My son is getting married and they want a carrot cake for a wedding cake. It must be for 60 people

    • Reply
      October 30, 2016 at 5:14 am

      Hi Gwen, congratulations to you and your son! What size of pan do you want to use to make the cake?

  • Reply
    October 30, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I think a 20″ and a 27″
    Will that be enough for 60 people

    • Reply
      October 30, 2016 at 10:38 am

      I don’t make large wedding cakes, so I can’t say for sure what is enough for 60 people or how to multiply the ingredients, but you can easily find this information online.

      • Reply
        November 1, 2016 at 8:36 am

        Thanks so much Shiran. I will have a look online

  • Reply
    Lara Monique
    June 27, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Hi Shiran,
    I want to make this recipe in a rectangle pan, so I can cut out shapes to make individual carrot cakes. As I don’t want them tall, is it ok if I make half of the recipe for one single medium rectangle pan?
    thank you,Lara

    • Reply
      June 28, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Hi Lara, I use the same amount of ingredients for a 9×13-inch pan, and it’s quite tall. I hope it helps!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Amazing cake – made it as a two-layer 9″ “semi-naked” cake (frosting on the sides to fill the layers to the edge and then scraped down almost to bare) and needed about 3/4 of the frosting. Perfect for a special occasion.

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