This is the BEST carrot cake recipe, and so simple to make for a delicious spring time (or anytime!) dessert. It's moist and rich with the warming spiced flavor you love in carrot cake.
For the Cake:
- 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened preferred)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (about 1 pound)
- 1/2 cup raisins, optional
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, and spray the paper and the sides of the pans well with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the oil and eggs and whisk together well.
- Add the sugar, applesauce, and vanilla, and stir well until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top of the egg mixture. Sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt over the top of the flour. Stir to combine.
- Fold in the carrots and the raisins and/or nuts, if using.
- Pour the batter into the two prepared pans, and smooth the tops with a spatula.
- Bake in the hot oven until the cake is cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and place on wire racks to cool. Allow to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, and then run a knife around the outside and invert onto the wire rack. Remove the cake from the pan and then peel the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Repeat with remaining cake.
- Let the cake cool fully, about an hour, before frosting.
- When you are ready to make the frosting, add the cream cheese and the butter to the bowl of your stand mixer or to a large mixing bowl. Beat well with the whisk attachment or with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and roughly half of the powdered sugar.
- Beat until well combined. Add the remaining powdered sugar, and beat to combine.
- Keep beating an extra 2 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- To assemble the cake, place one of the cakes, top side down, on a serving platter. Spread 1/3 cup-or-so of the frosting on top of the cake, spreading it evenly to cover the whole top of the cake.
- Place the second cake on top of the first with the flat bottom facing up.
- Spread the rest of the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
- Serve the day you make it or store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- I LOVE this cake. The original recipe called for all oil instead of a combo of oil and applesauce like I have made it. I like the applesauce so much; it's just not quite as oily and still has the same moist and rich texture you are looking for.
- If adding raisins, I like to soak them in 2 cups of hot water for 10 minutes before draining well and adding to the cake. It makes their texture a lot better in my opinion.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Cake
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: carrot cake, traditional carrot cake, carrot cake recipe, best carrot cake recipe, easy carrot cake recipe