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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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4.61 from 56 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 hour
Bake Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
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


Friday 18th of August 2023

Hi Eileen, I love carrot cake, and yours looks both absolutely delicious and pretty straightforward to make, even for a novice like me.

I really want to give your recipe a try, but I don't have any round cake pans or muffin pans.

Can I bake this is in a loaf pan or a sheet pan? If so, how should I adjust the temperature and or baking time?

Thanks for your help - and for all the hours you spend perfecting your recipes and setting them down clearly and simply so that all of us can enjoy them too!

Eileen Gray

Friday 18th of August 2023

Yes, you could bake it either way. If you use a half sheet pan it will certainly bake much more quickly. I would think maybe 15-20 minutes. You could slice the sheet into rectangles to make a layered rectangular cake. You could also bake it in a 9x13 pan if you have one for a single layer cake. The loaf pan would bake up more like a banana bread and would probably take longer, maybe 45-55 minutes. In any case just keep an eye on the oven and watch the progress. Whichever pan you use, if the cake springs back in the middle, it's done. You could also use the "toothpick" test. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean the cake is baked.


Friday 7th of April 2023

Absolutely delicious! Very moist and flavorful . . . but who is surprised with a recipe from Eileen Grey? Very easy to follow instructions, unique approach with grinding the carrots and nuts. Substitution of Currants for Raisins was a great idea! I simply am addicted to Baking Sense for my Dessert and Sourdough recipes. Have never had a failure and I'm not a pro! Thank you so much Eileen, for all the work you've gone thru to share your knowledge so graciously.

Eileen Gray

Friday 7th of April 2023

Awww, thanks. That's so nice to hear.


Wednesday 5th of April 2023

Hi Eileen,

I love carrot juice, and find juicing my carrots reveals a very intense carrot flavor that I don’t necessarily always taste while eating the same whole carrot. I have a professional grade juicer and have carrots pulp leftover that is dry as sand. If I juice 1 pound of carrots and then mix the juice with the pulp to rehydrate, do you think it will be ok? It would in essence be the same pound of carrots your recipe calls for but am wondering if the dough would be more liquid and change the structure of the cake?

I also plan to finely chop the walnuts, and mix with coarse sugar, cinnamon and a hint of orange blossom water (it reminds me the filling of a middle eastern pastry “maamoul” that my aunt used to make) and do a very lightly sweetened labne frosting.

Thanks for your comments, love your concept of understanding the science behind baking.

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 5th of April 2023

I'm intrigued by your idea of juicing the carrots and mixing them with the pulp. I can't say for sure, but I think it would probably work out ok.

Mireille Maheu

Saturday 1st of April 2023

Okay, this cake is divine.

I am pregnant and craving carrot cake constantly, so I used half unsweetened apple sauce to replace half the oil to try and make it a tad healthier. Texture wise the results are great. I am wondering how it would turn out if I replaced all of the oil next time…?

Taste wise I find the cake very very sweet, it might be sweater than you’d make it because of the applesauce and the raisins - I didn’t have currants so I used raisins, soaking was brilliant. What would happen if I was to half the white sugar, the brown sugar, or both? Would it only impact the color and sweetness or would it mess up the texture as well?

I thought I liked the chunky texture but I learned that smaller carrot bits makes the cake taste more like carrot. I did half thin and half coarse grated carrots. No regrets. I used pecans and I haven’t made frosting yet, planning on topping it with roasted pecan and toasted coconut.

I am literally eating a 3rd piece without frosting as I am typing this. I need to find a way to make this cake healthier for my baby…. Because I don’t care about eating less of it.

Thank you!!

Eileen Gray

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

I couldn't say the exact outcome when you alter the ingredients without testing. I would gradually reduce the sugar to the point that you like the flavor and the texture is still acceptable.


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.