Carrot Cake! With a hint of cinnamon, soft crunch from nuts, ultra moist crumb and piled high with the fluffiest ever cream cheese frosting, this has the perfect texture and flavour. Easy and foolproof, absolutely to-die for!
This Carrot Cake is from a reader, the lovely Dorothy of Tennessee in the States, a long-time reader of RecipeTin Eats. She promised it was dead easy, foolproof, ultra moist with a heavenly flavour.
One bite was all it took for me to ditch the recipe I’d been using all my life up until that moment. This was The One. Hands down the best Carrot Cake I have ever had in my life!
Why you’ll love this Carrot Cake recipe
- The cake itself is not too sweet, with less sugar than most recipes;
- The cake is moist, but not doughy or “mud-cake” like;
- The subtle crunch from pecans and coconut in the cake. The textural contrast with the crumb is really terrific; and
- There is plenty of frosting!!
What you need for Carrot Cake
Here’s what you need for this Carrot Cake. The “secret ingredients” in this are:
- Crushed pineapple (canned) – this adds to the moistness of the crumb, as well as sweetness and flavour. We’re going to use all of the pineapple and some of the juice; and
- Coconut and walnuts (or pecans) – they add a subtle soft crunch which provides great textural contrast in this otherwise very moist cake.
No butter! Did you know – oil makes cakes moist and butter adds flavour. In this recipe, we don’t need butter because there’s all sorts of flavour from the other ingredients so we just use oil.
How to make Carrot Cake
Just use a standard box grater to grate the carrot. Then it’s as simple as mixing the Dry ingredients, mixing the Wet, then mixing them together.
I’ve made a 2 layer cake here but you could also make one rectangle single layer cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake
There’s just no question – fluffy cream cheese frosting is the BEST frosting for Carrot Cake! Here’s what you need:
- Cream cheese – use BLOCK, not the spreadable cream cheese in tubs (too soft);
- Softened butter – softened but not super soft / borderline melting;
- Icing sugar aka powdered sugar – use soft icing sugar, NOT pure icing sugar (which is used for things like royal icing ie sets hard); and
How to make cream cheese frosting
There’s no secret trick to making fluffy cream cheese frosting. Just beat, beat, beat until fluffy! It will take a good 3 to 5 minutes to make the frosting super fluffy.
TIP for even layers (without trimming)
No cake comes out of the oven with a perfectly level surface.
But rather than bothering to cut the top to make it level, just flip the cake upside down before frosting.
You’ll still get a slight dome in the middle with this cake but it’s less pronounced than if you frosted it without turning it upside down.
And so I present to you, Dorothy’s Carrot Cake, with 2 layers, though it’s marvellous as a single layer sheet pan rectangle cake – goes further and there’s a thicker layer of frosting on the surface.
Thank you Dorothy, for sharing your wonderful recipe with us!!! I’m so honoured! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Carrot Cake (Easy and ultra moist!)
Recipe video above. A fabulously easy, moist Carrot Cake with lots of fluffy cream cheese frosting! Perfect flavour and texture, with a hint of cinnamon, subtle soft crunch from walnuts and coconut, extra flavour and moisture from crushed pinapple. A reader recipe that has become my go-to Carrot Cake recipe!
- 3/4 cup (185 ml) milk (, at room temperature (full or low fat) )
- 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar ((or other clear vinegar, (Note 1))
- 440g / 20 oz can crushed pineapple (, drained but RESERVE juice (Note 2))
- 1/4 cup (65 ml) reserved canned pineapple juice ((from canned pineapple above))
- 3 eggs ((55g/2oz each))
- 1 1/2 cups (265g) brown sugar ((loosely packed))
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil ((or canola))
- 2 cups (300g) flour (, plain / all purpose)
- 2 tsp baking soda ((aka bi carb soda, Note 3) (NOT BAKING POWDER))
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 cups grated carrot (, about 2 carrots (Note 4))
- 1/4 cup coconut (, shredded or desiccated (plain / unsweetened))
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (, roughly chopped)
- 180g / 6oz cream cheese (, at room temperature (Note 5))
- 225g / 1 cup unsalted butter (, softened)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups (480g) icing sugar / powdered sugar (, sifted if clumpy (Note 6))
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types). Grease and line two 20-22.5 cm/8 – 9″ round pans OR a 9 x 13″ / 22 x 33cm pan with baking/parchment paper. (Note 7)
Drain pineapple well, reserving the juice. Measure out 1/4 cup of pineapple juice.
Whisk Dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, milk and vinegar.
Stir in carrot, crushed pineapple, coconut and pecans into the Wet ingredients bowl.
Pour Wet into Dry ingredients, stir until flour mostly incorporated.
Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake round cakes for 35 minutes, rectangle cake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake is golden on top.
Rest for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack. Frost once completely cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Then beat in the icing sugar in 2 batches until it is well incorporated and the frosting is fluffy – about 3 minutes on speed 7 stand mixer.
Flip one cake upside down on serving platter (for flat surface). Spread with 1/3 frosting. Place 2nd cake upside down on frosting. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting.
If cooler than 25°C/77°C and not humid, ok to keep cake in airtight container not in fridge. If very humid OR warmer than 25°C/77°C, store in fridge (Note 8).
1. Vinegar – this gives baking soda/bi-carb a rapid activation boost to give this cake rise. Required in this recipe because it’s such a moist cake.
Cooking measures differ from country to country. All baking recipes I share have been tested to ensure they work using both the metric (Australia, UK, Europe) and US measures.
2. Crushed pineapple – 20oz = 565g, not 440g. However, in Australia, crushed pineapple comes in 440g so I just use 1 x 440g can. The first time I made it, I measured 565g out accurately, but the 2nd time I just used 1 x 440g can and did not notice a difference.
3. Baking soda / bi carb – this is about 3x stonier than baking powder. Can sub 6 tsp baking powder but cake will have slightly less rise.
4. Carrot – grate then measure using cubes (packed in firmly). Avoid long strands of carrot in cake by holding the carrot perpendicular i.e. 90 degrees against the grater, rather than on an angle.
5. Cream Cheese – use block, not the soft spreadable cream cheese in tubs.
6. Icing sugar – called powdered sugar in the States. Use soft icing sugar, not pure icing sugar.
7. Cake pan: DO NOT try this in one round cake pan, the depth of the batter is too great, the cake comes out too dense. Must be split between two pans.
Plenty of frosting for a single or 2 layer cake. Cake is so moist, it’s terrific as a single level cake without extra frosting sandwiched in between – and goes further too.
8. Storage – cake is so moist, the crumb actually gets semi “wet” if not stored in fridge when it’s super hot and humid (ie Sydney summer!). Also frosting gets too soft. Slice fridge cold (cuts more neatly too), then let it come to room temp before serving (~5 min).
9. Nutrition per serving, including all frosting.
Originally published April 2016. Updated with new photos, and new recipe video added!
Life of Dozer
Project Manager Dozer on duty for the video shoot! Quality Assurance is his speciality
And here he is from when I originally published this Carrot Cake – no surprises, Dozer lurking under the shoot table! I’m not going to lie to you. He scored a big hunk of carrot cake. His bottom can afford it. Mine can’t.