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Classic Carrot Cake | lifemadesimplebakes.com
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4.72 from 28 votes

Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

This classic carrot cake is moist, fluffy and spiced to perfection. It's topped with a thick cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans. Perfect for spring!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 32 slices
Calories: 324kcal


For the Cake

  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce OR crushed pineapple
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cup grated carrots*
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 2/3 cup sweetened coconut optional
  • 2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans optional
  • 1/2 cup baking raisins optional

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher sea salt
  • 6 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 (8 oz) blocks original cream cheese room temperature


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper, then spray or butter/flour the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugars, oil, applesauce, vanilla and carrots, mix to combine. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • With mixing speed on low, carefully add dry ingredients along with the coconut, pecans and raisins (if desired). Mix until a few dry streaks remain.
  • In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Using a spatula, fold into batter until no streaks remain. Pour into the prepared pans, dividing evenly between the two.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted into center of cake comes out with just a few little moist crumbs on it. Make sure not to over-bake the cake or you'll end up with a dry crumb. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile to prepare the cream cheese frosting, using the paddle attachment cream the butter, vanilla and salt for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. With mixing speed on low gradually add the powdered sugar, beat until it forms a thick paste. Add cream cheese and mix on the lowest speed possible for 1-2 minutes,  then STOP! Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Frost cooled cake layers and garnish with additional toasted pecans, if desired. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.



*I grated the carrots using the regular size holes on the grater.


Serving: 32serving | Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 2212IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg