Easy Moist Carrot Cake Recipe (Simple!)

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A simple carrot cake recipe that’s super moist and topped with the fluffiest 3 ingredient maple syrup frosting. This single layer isn’t too sweet, has the best texture, and is perfect for serving year-round! It’s one of my favorite cakes!

Easy carrot cake recipe with fluffy frosting.

Cakes are the perfect dessert for celebration. Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or simply the joy of a weekend afternoon, a good cake can bring smiles and warmth to any occasion. And when it comes to cakes that mix pleasure with a sense of comfort, few can beat the wholesome deliciousness of a simple carrot cake.

This is a game-changer if you adore carrot cakes as much as I do. You’ll also love my carrot cake cupcake recipe too! They differ from this recipe and are made with pineapple, pureed carrots, and coconut. 

This cake would make an excellent birthday cake or a simple carrot cake for Easter

Slices of moist carrot cake with maple syrup frosting.

Why You’ll Love This Carrot Snacking Cake

  1. Simplicity at Its Finest: This cake doesn’t call for complicated techniques or rare ingredients, making it a straightforward, enjoyable baking experience.
  2. Healthier Indulgence: With carrots as the star, this treat packs nutrition without skimping on flavor.
  3. Versatility: Perfect for a picnic, school snacks, or a coffee companion, it’s as versatile as delectable.
  4. Customizable: This recipe has several variations, from adding nuts to warm spices, so customize it with your dietary needs and flavor preferences. You can also eat this carrot cake without frosting too! It’s that good and moist.

How to Make The Best Carrot Cake Recipe

I’ll cover everything you need to know to make this homemade carrot cake. The full recipe and instructions are in the recipe card below.

Helpful Baking Tools

This easy recipe is straightforward, and you only need a few supplies; you don’t even need an electric mixer!

Carrots, flour, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla and spices in small bowls to make a cake.

Shopping List and Ingredient Notes 

All-Purpose flour: I like to use King Arthur Organic all-purpose flour when baking. The flour provides structure to the cake, and it’s essential to measure the flour correctly to ensure you’re not adding too much flour to make the cake dry.

Brown Sugar and Granulated: Brown sugar adds moisture and a rich flavor, while granulated sugar sweetens the cake.

Baking Soda: Acts as a leavening agent to help the cake rise. Always check the freshness of the baking soda. 

Spices: I use a lot of spices in this cake. Some carrot cake recipes can taste a little bland, so I like to add spices like ginger, cardamom, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg to enhance and add flavor. 

Grated Carrots: The star of the recipe! Use a box grater to grate whole carrots to get a fine texture and avoid chunky bits in the cake batter.

Eggs: Use large, organic eggs when possible. Room temperature is best as they mix more easily with the other ingredients. Eggs add moisture and bind the ingredients together.

Canola Oil: Adds moisture to the cake. You can use any neutral-flavored oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil. I have used corn oil as well, and it works well.

Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the cake and frosting. Always use pure vanilla extract. 

Carrot cake with frosting and sliced.

Recipe Variations

Gluten-Free Option: Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend instead of regular flour.

Add Nuts: Mix chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds into the cake batter before baking for a crunchy texture.

Coconut: Some carrot cake recipes have shredded coconut, which I love. Add 1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut if you like. You can also top this cake with coconut too.

Cream Cheese Frosting: If you prefer to pair the cake with a fluffy cream cheese frosting, I have an excellent recipe for decadent cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Chips: For a touch of chocolate, add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the cake batter before baking.

Recipe Tips

  • Peel the carrots before using a boxed grater to shred them.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter; it can give your cake a tough texture. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. 
  • Always use fresh, whole ingredients when baking. Check the expiration dates for freshness.
  • Set the timer for 10 minutes less to check on the cake. Every oven is different, and baking times will vary. 
  • Bake this cake in a well-greased bundt pan or a round 8×8 or 9×9 pan. You’ll need to adjust the cooking time depending on your pan.
  • Garnish with dried edible flowers, chopped nuts or a pinch of salt. 
Carrot cake recipe simple to make with whipped frosting.

Serving and Presentation

Serve this with a side of fresh berries or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This cake makes a delightful dessert or the ideal comfort snack for any time of day. You can also serve it with any of these dishes when entertaining:

Fruit Platter: The tangy, sweet cake goes beautifully with fresh fruits like berries, kiwi, and pineapple.

Fruit and Cheese Platter: In other countries, cheese is served with sweets, and this cake pairs well with cheese.

Coffee: The warmth of the spices in this carrot snacking cake is a match made in heaven for coffee.

Carrot Drinks: I recommend serving it with a fancy carrot mimosa or carrot margarita for a celebration!

Serve this cake for any of these sweet occasions:

How to Store

  • Room Temperature: This cake will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days. You can leave this cake out at room temperature, but if you’re in a warm or humid climate, it’s best to refrigerate it. Just let the cake come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.
  • Freezer: You can make this cake ahead of time and freeze it for 3 months when wrapped properly in plastic wrap. If you do this, freeze without the frosting. Let the cake defrost in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to serve, top it with freshly made frosting. 

How to Tell When A Cake Is Done

To check if the cake is baking, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. You want a toothpick to have a moist, crumb texture, not completely clean. You can also gently press down on the surface of the cake; if it springs back and doesn’t leave an indentation, then it’s done.

It’s always better to slightly underbake than over-bake a cake, as it can quickly dry out if left in the oven for too long. 

For best results, I always set my timer for 10 minutes less than what the bake time says; that way, I can control how much time it needs in the oven. Every oven is different, so keep an eye on your cake as it bakes and adjust the time if required.

Carrot cake recipe with frosting and chopped nuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a carrot cake so moist and rich?

There are several reasons this cake is moist and delicious. The oil and eggs add moisture to the cake, while the grated carrots release their natural juices as they bake. The brown sugar also adds a rich flavor and moistness to the cake.

Should carrot cake have raisins?

That’s up to you! Raisins can add a nice texture and natural sweetness. I do not like raisins and nuts in my cakes, so I left them out of the recipe. However, add 1 cup of each if you want!

Why do people love carrot cake so much?

The unique combination of sweet, spiced flavors and the inherent moistness of the batter wins over hearts. It’s a great cake to serve year-round and is filled with flavor. 

Can I use pre-grated carrots? 

You can use pre-grated carrots, but I recommend grating them for the best flavor and texture. Pre-grated carrots are often drier and release less moisture than freshly grated ones. If you use these, you’ll want to chop them quickly for a finer texture.

Can I use olive oil? 

I do not recommend olive oil for this cake recipe as it has a strong taste that can overpower the other flavors in the cake. However, I have a wonderful skillet olive oil cake recipe you will love.

Simple carrot cake slice with frosting.

More Cake Recipes You’ll Love

If you love this delicious carrot cake, try more of my favorite recipes:

Let me know if you make this cake by leaving a comment and review below. I’d love to know what you think!

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious recipes, cocktails, desserts, and parties!

Carrot cake recipe with frosting and chopped nuts.

Carrot Cake Recipe Simple

This is an easy, one-bowl carrot cake recipe that makes the perfect snacking cake. It's simple to make and has a super moist texture.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 9 people
Calories: 667kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil , you can use corn oil or vegetable oil too
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease an 9×9 inch baking pan with oil or butter, then line it with parchment paper.
  • Mix the all-purpose flour, sugars, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl.
    Flour and spices in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl and give them a whisk.
    Adding liquid ingredients together.
  • Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
    Dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Fold in the grated carrots and gently mix just until combined.
    Folding grated carrots into the batter.
  • Pour the carrot cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, remove it from the pan, and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
    Baked carrot cake in a 9x9 square pan.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare my favorite frosting recipes.
    Maple syrup frosting on a whisk.
  • The cake has to be completely cooled before adding this frosting, or it will melt off. If you need, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool. I do this sometimes, and it always works out. Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting on top and decorate with chopped walnuts, if desired.
    Carrot cake with whipped frosting.
  • Slice and serve the cake at room temperature for best flavor and texture.
    Slices of carrot cakes with frosting.

Notes

Tips
Don’t over-mix the batter; it can give your cake a tough texture. Instead, gently fold the ingredients together until combined. 
Check the expiration dates for freshness; this is especially important for baking soda, baking powder, and eggs.
Set the timer for 10 minutes less to check on the cake. Every oven is different, and baking times will vary.
Choose whatever you like to bake this cake in, but remember, baking times will vary. I chose a 9×9 square baking pan. You can do a round pan, bundt pan, or sheet pan. This recipe makes enough for a single-layer cake.
How to Store
This cake will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days. 
You can make this cake ahead of time and freeze it. If you do this, freeze without the frosting. Let the cake defrost in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to serve, top it with freshly made frosting. 

Nutrition

Calories: 667kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 700mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 7250IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg
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Carrot cake that is simple to make.

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