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The Best Carrot Cake

This is the Best Carrot Cake Recipe not because of the ingredients, but how they’re put together. If you think there’s nothing new to learn about good old carrot cake, think again! This cake is super moist with a lovely soft texture, and just look at that color!

One of my favorite things to do as a baker is to take a mediocre or even “pretty good” recipe and make it better. Often the smallest changes can make a huge difference in the outcome.

How you mix a recipe, and how you handle ingredients, can transform your baking. If you click on the Baking School tab in the main menu you’ll find a wealth of information about baking ingredients and techniques, including my favorite post about how to create the best cake recipes.

Why this is the best carrot cake

  • Most carrot cakes add thick shreds of carrot, coarsely chopped nuts and big raisins. The result is a cake with a chunky-lumpy texture.
  • In this recipe the carrots are finely grated, just shy of becoming a puree. The pulverized carrots release lots of juice so the resulting cake is extra moist, extra flavorful and is beautiful deep orange color.
  • Currants are much smaller than raisins and soaking them in warm water softens to the point that they almost blend into the cake. The pre-plumped currants won’t draw moisture from the batter.
  • Finely grated walnuts (pecans would also be good) are distributed throughout the cake so the crumb remains soft and fine rather than coarse and chunky.

Carrot Cake Ingredients

ingredients for carrot cake in bowls

Ingredient Notes

  • Carrots – Obviously integral to a carrot cake. Grinding the carrots finely releases more carrot juice than shredding for a moister cake with gorgeous orange color.
  • Currants – Are optional but add sweetness and moisture to the cake.
  • Walnuts – Also optional, but the walnuts are finely ground to keep the fine texture of this cake. Pecans can be substituted.
  • AP Flour – Medium protein flour has enough gluten to allow the moist batter to rise in the oven without collapsing, but not so much protein that the cake becomes tough.
  • Oil – Coats the flour proteins better than than butter. A cake made with oil will be more tender than one made with butter.
  • Lemon Extract – Sparks the flavor of the cake.

How to make Carrot Cake

See the recipe card for detailed instructions and measurements.

a bowl of currants
  • Plump currents in hot water before adding them to the batter.
a bowl of ground walnuts
  • Finely grind the walnuts.
ground carrots in a food processor
  • Grind the carrots in a food processor until they are almost a chunky puree.
carrot cake batter in a mixing bowl
  • Emulsify the oil, brown sugar granulated sugar and eggs for a smooth batter.
carrot cake batter in a mixing bowl
  • Add the currants, walnuts and carrots to the egg mixture.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the batter then divide the batter between two or three 8″ pans.
  • The batter can also be baked into cupcakes.
three cake pans with baked carrot cakes
  • Bake the cake until the center springs back when lightly pressed.
  • Cool completely before frosting.

an uniced 3 layer carrot cake on a plate.
  • Fill the layers with half a batch of Cream Cheese frosting.
  • Ice the cake with the remaining frosting.
a slice of carrot cake on a plate

You should also try this fabulous homemade Carrot Cake Ice Cream recipe. It’s outrageously delicious.

You might also want to try my Red Velvet Cake, Zucchini Cake and Dutch Breakfast Cake.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider giving it a 5-star review.

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4.59 from 51 reviews

Carrot Cake Recipe

If you think there’s nothing new to learn about good old carrot cake, think again! This is A Better Carrot Cake Recipe not because of the ingredients, but how they’re put together.
Prep Time1 hr
Bake Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
16 servings


Carrot Cake Batter

  • 5 oz currants (1 cup)
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 4 oz walnuts (1 cup)
  • 10 oz all purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 9 oz vegetable oil (1 ¼ cups)
  • 8 oz granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 8 oz brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract



Cake Batter

  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line three 8"x3" round cake pans with parchment paper, or butter and flour the pans. (see note 1).
  • Place 5 oz currants in a small bowl and pour enough hot water over to cover. Set aside for 20 minutes to plump. Grind 1 pound carrots in a food processor fitted with a blade until finely ground (see photo). Transfer the carrots to a medium bowl. Grind 4 oz walnuts in the food processor until finely ground (see photo). Add the walnuts to the bowl with the carrots.
  • Sift together 10 oz all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamonn, 2 teaspoons ginger, ½ teaspoon nutmeg and ½ teaspoon salt Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a mixing bowl combine 9 oz vegetable oil, 8 oz granulated sugar and 8 oz brown sugar and mix on low speed until it resembles applesauce. With the mixer running on low, add 4 large eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon lemon extract. Mix until the batter is smooth and emulsified.
  • Add the ground carrots and the walnuts. Drain the water from the currents and add them to the batter. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, scraping the bowl in between. Mix until completely combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. If you bake 2 layers they may take a little longer to bake.
  • Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack and cool completely (see note 2)


  • Set aside half the frosting to ice the cake. Place one cake layer, flat side down, on the serving platter. Spread 1/2 of the remaining frosting over the layer. Repeat with the 2nd layer. Place the third layer, flat side up, on top.
    1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Ice the cake with a very thin layer of frosting. This is called the "crumb coat". Refrigerate the cake to set the crumb coat.
  • Ice the cake with a final coating. Press ground walnuts onto the sides of the cake. Chill to set the cake. (see note 3).


My Book
Food Processor
KA Stand Mixer
Round Cake Pan, 8 x 3-Inch
Parchment Sheets

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Note 1: The cake can be baked in two pans for thicker layers. The batter can also be baked as cupcakes. 
Note 2: The cakes can be baked several days before, wrapped and refrigerated. Or bake several weeks before and freeze.
Note 3: I like to chill the assembled cake to set the layers. Leave the cake at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving to soften the frosting. Leftovers should be refrigerated or frozen because of the cream cheese in the frosting.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 238mg | Potassium: 248mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 4804IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!
Recipe Rating


Saturday 19th of March 2022

I made this as cupcakes. I needed 30 and thought 1 recipe might not be enough so I made 1.5 of the recipe. It made 46! I made the frosting as written, frosted 45 (we’d sampled one without frosting) and have some leftover. It is truly the best carrot cake we’ve ever had.


Friday 18th of March 2022

Just to let you know I’m opposite of you I enjoy a chunky Carrot Cake but thanks for showing me another option.

Grace De Silva

Friday 11th of February 2022

I have made this carrot cake a few times, all my friends loved it so much.

Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Eileen Gray

Friday 11th of February 2022

You are very welcome!


Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Hi! I've been searching for the perfect carrot cake recipe without using a lot of leavening. I've tried out a few recipes but there is this aftertaste from the leavening. The recipes I used, used both baking powder and soda. Can you explain why your recipe uses 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda? Thank you! I'm really curious.

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

The leavening in carrot cake has to do a lot of heavy lifting. This batter is quite wet and has lots of chunky ingredients that can weigh the batter down as it rises. There are also some acidic ingredients (brown sugar, currants) which is why there is some baking soda. The eggs and flour provide structure for the cake crumb and the additional leavening helps prevent it from being dense and gummy. If you object to the amount of leavening you can experiment with gradually lower amounts to get to a flavor you like without compromising the texture too much for your taste.

Nelda Moore

Thursday 29th of July 2021

I have friends with diverticulosis but I dearly love walnuts, so do you have any information on how grinding the nuts to a much smaller size might affect her digestive system? Common sense tells me it would be worse, but maybe just the opposite is true. It would be wonderful if we could all eat this without consequences. (I will soak my currants/raisins in bourbon rather than water.)

Monique Loupe

Saturday 20th of November 2021

@Nelda Moore, You might want to make cupcakes. Pour some batter in a few cups for your friend, then add the nuts.

Eileen Gray

Thursday 29th of July 2021

I honestly have no idea so I couldn't say.