This is my sweet and perfectly spiced Easy Carrot Cake Recipe topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans. It will make a delicious addition to your special occasion desserts whether you serve it for brunch, tea parties, birthdays, graduations or holiday gatherings.
Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
Carrot cakes seems to show up on dessert menus in the South for special gatherings particularly around holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving. I love this tasty carrot cake way too much to limit it to just those special days. This carrot cake recipe is a scratch made cake that’s baked in a 9 x 13 inch sheet pan. Making it in a single layer makes it easier to store than a layer cake and easy to transport to other locations.
How to Make the Best Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
Y’all know I love to bake. I do have some recipes here in the recipe index that utilize a cake mix, but this is one of those cakes I love to make completely from scratch. The perfect spice seasoning blend has been honed by me after experimenting for years to get it just right. The moist and tender crumb never disappoints.
- Ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe for homemade Carrot Cake: To make this cake you’ll need all purpose flour, ground cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, eggs, toasted pecans, freshly grated carrots, crushed pineapple and sweetened flaked coconut.
- Ingredients you’ll need to make the best homemade Cream Cheese Frosting: Plain softened cream cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar and reserved pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple. You could use vanilla extract, too. It’s imperative that you use room temperature butter and cream cheese as they’re much easier to cream together with the powdered sugar.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: A stand mixer or a hand mixer, large bowl, medium bowl, measuring cups and spoons, 13 x 9 inch cake pan, sheet pan for toasting the nuts, grater, sheet pan and offset spatula or knife for frosting the cake.
- Should I sift the powdered sugar? If there are lumps in the powdered sugar, it’s helpful to sift it using a fine mesh sieve before adding it to the remaining ingredients. This will ensure a smooth and fluffy frosting.
- Please note, the carrots are peeled prior to grating for the cake batter. You can shred them by hand using a box grater or using a food processor. Measure them by filling the measuring cup loosely, there’s no need to pack them in.
- You can substitute using walnuts in place of pecans for this carrot cake using the same amount called for in the recipe. I would also recommend toasting them the same way before adding them to the cake batter and garnishing the top.
- Can I make this cake as a layer cake or a Bundt cake? Yes, the moist scratch made batter is scrumptious in any shape. When doing so, the baking time will need adjusting. Begin by baking at the same temperature, then check the center with a toothpick or cake tester to be certain it’s done. Add more baking time as needed, from there.
- If you like lots of frosting, the cream cheese frosting recipe easily doubles.
- You can store this carrot cake covered and chilled in the refrigerator for up to one week.
More Easy Southern Sheet Cake Recipes to Make
I’m a skilled baker and love to make cakes in all shapes and forms. More cake recipes you may like to try from the recipe index:
- My dreamy Coconut Cream Cake recipe is always a winning choice for dessert.
- Scratch made Double Fudge Mississippi Mud Cake is topped with gooey marshmallows and chocolate frosting to seal the deal.
- My recipe for easy Hummingbird Cake Poke Cake starts with a cake mix and no one will ever know!
- My Double Chocolate Cake recipe can be frosted with any icing flavor that you enjoy.
- For the holidays, you’ll love my Eggnog Poke Cake recipe with a citrus infused filling.
- Dr Pepper Cake recipe from She Wears Many Hats.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
- 1 cup toasted chopped pecans or walnuts divided use
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice or ground clove
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
- 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple well drained, reserve juice
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 8 oz plain cream cheese
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar additional as needed
- reserved pineapple juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9-inch non stick baking pan or spray with baking spray; set aside.
- Spread pecans in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium-size bowl, use a whisk to sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice, ginger and nutmeg.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl periodically, until creamy.
- Lower speed of mixer and gradually add dry ingredients. Beat just until fully combined. Mix in carrots, pineapple, coconut and 1/2 cup toasted nuts by hand until evenly distributed.
- Pour batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
- To make the frosting: In a medium-size mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together cream cheese and butter. Add 4 cups powdered sugar and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until fluffy and smooth adding additional powdered sugar in rounded tablespoons if needed, until spreading consistency is reached. (This amount may vary depending on the amount of juice)
- Frost top of carrot cake and sprinkle with reserved toasted pecans.
- Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Cut into squares and serve.
- Store leftovers chilled in an airtight container for up to one week.