Forward facing shot of a carrot cake on a marble and wooden cake stand with a slice being taken out of the cake

My Favorite Simple Carrot Cake

My Favorite Simple Carrot Cake is just that - a super flavorful, simple carrot cake that turns out perfectly every time. It's filled with lots of freshly grated carrots, walnuts, crushed pineapple, raisins, and coconut! It's perfectly spiced, just sweet enough, and the cream cheese frosting is the absolute best!

Course Cake, Dessert
Keyword carrot cake layer cake, cream cheese frosting, easy carrot cake, moist carrot cake recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10 -12
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA


For the cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Butter and flour two 9'' cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add the vegetable oil and milk and whisk again until smooth. Fold in the grated carrots, pineapple, and coconut until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined. Lastly, fold in the raisins and walnuts until just combined.

  3. Pour batter evenly into each pan, and smooth out the tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until set in the middle and light golden on the edges. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in the pans, then gently invert onto a cooking rack to cool the rest of the way.

  4. To assemble the cake, place one layer on a plate or the cooling rack (just so you don't mess up the plate you are serving on, or the cake stand!), and spread the top with a thick layer of the frosting. Top with another layer and spread top with another thick layer of frosting, leaving a little bit left for the sides of the cake. Use the leftover frosting to "half" frost the sides, to create a "semi-naked" effect. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smooth out the sides and top of the cake. Slice and serve!

For the cream cheese frosting

  1. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar until combined. Add the heavy cream and increase speed to medium-high and whip for 1-2 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and whip for another 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy.