This family carrot cake recipe is without a doubt the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. It’s moist, slightly spiced, loaded with carrots, and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. Basically, it’s the best thing you’ll ever eat.
If I could put money on a cake, it would be this one. The Triple Crown of cakes. Many claim that their carrot cake recipe is the best, but I guarantee that with one bite of this one you’ll never look at another carrot cake the same way again.
My mom has been making this cake for years. I’ve quite literally grown up on this cake. It NOURISHED me. My sister requests it every year for her birthday, and we make it about once every season because we just can’t get enough.
What makes this carrot cake so special?
It’s no ordinary carrot cake by anyone’s standards. It is loaded with shredded carrots, pineapple, raisins, coconut, and cinnamon; an orchestra of flavors that explode in your mouth. It’s light and fluffy, but dense at the same time. And it’s paired with the most magnificent cream cheese frosting that brings out each and every flavor even more so.
One thing that most carrot cake recipes miss out on is the balance between the warmer spice flavors like cinnamonwith more acidic flavors like pineapple. But when you mix them altogether? It’s pure bliss.
What makes this carrot cake THE BEST?
A few things make this carrot cake recipe the best of all time, and we’ll break them down right here so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you make this crazy good layer cake:
Sweetened coconut flakes: The addition of coconut flakes really helps to bring out the tropical flavors in the pineapple. It’s not overwhelming at all, and adds a wonderful layer of complexity to the flavor of this cake
Sugar: The high sugar content makes this cake supremely soft and fluffy. Because let’s face it: if you’re going to eat a cake, this isn’t the time to skimp on sugar. It’s worth it to have a little more when it means it creates the most tender crumb ever
Vegetable oil: Using vegetable oil instead of butter keeps the carrot cake EXTRA moist. So moist that it keeps for 5 days in the fridge without getting dry. Amazing, right?
Keeping the carrots, moisture and all: do NOT squeeze the moisture out of your shredded carrots. Lots of recipes call for draining excess moisture from your carrot cake, but that instantly takes away the moistness of this cake. Carrots do have a lot of moisture, but you want those in your cake to keep it the moistest it can be!
It’s easy as pie… or, erm, cake: Seriously, it’s the easiest cake I know. Mix together the wet ingredients, fold in the dry, and you’re donezo. No creaming butter, no back and forth folding of flour and milk, just mix it all together and plop it into the oven at 350°F
Tips for making this carrot cake recipe
As I’ve already established, this is the best carrot cake recipe because it’s, 1) super easy to make and, 2) mega delicious. However, there are a few things you have to do to ensure that your cake is the best ever.
Make sure you’re using crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice: Not chunks, rings, or pineapples in heavy syrup. You want crushed pineapple, and you want to drain it WELL before you add it to the cake batter. I usually separate the lid from the can, then press the lid against the pineapples still inside the can. Flip it over in a sink and allow the juices to drain while you squeeze hard. Just be careful with the metal lid!
Sweetened coconut is a must. This carrot cake recipe is not the time or place to be healthy. The sweetened coconut really rounds out this cake, plus it’s usually easier to find the grocery store! That being said, if you’re watching your sugar intake, this cake is still delicious with less sugar!
Your eggs need to be at room temperature before you make this cake. This will help your carrot cake bake evenly in the oven and make it—as I’ve said before—the best ever. If you’re looking to make your eggs room temperature right away, place them in a bowl with hot water and let them sit for 5 minutes. Easy peasy!
Allow the cake layers to cool completely before adding the cream cheese frosting: If you frost the cake while it’s still warm, the frosting will run all over the place (which would be a crying shame). I know it’s hard to be patient, but you’ve GOTTA
How to store the best carrot cake ever?
This carrot cake should be refrigerated after making because of the cream cheese frosting. If you have a sealed cake dome or cake carrier use that to keep it as fresh as possible. Otherwise, just tightly wrap it in tinfoil or plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge. This cake will keep well in the fridge for up to 7 days (although I guarantee it would NEVER last that long).
Looking to prep ahead?
You can make the cake layer in advance, turn them out of the pan and allow the carrot cake to cool completely. Once the carrot cake is cooled, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Next time you want carrot cake, simply whip up the cream cheese frosting and use the frozen cakes as you would a fresh cake!
Argh I’m so excited for you all to try this ridiculously good cake too! I just KNOW you’re going to love this recipe for the best carrot cake ever just as much as I do!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the carrots, pineapple, coconut, raisins, sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring until well combined.
Evenly pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes, then allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, whip the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and powdered sugar and whip to combine, about 2 minutes more.
Place the first cake on a plate, then top with about 1/3 of the frosting. Layer the second layer on top, frosting the top and the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Be freeform with it, using a flat knife to even the top of each layer. If you’d like, decorate the top with edible flowers! Then make sure you have friends with you when you eat it, or else you’ll go nuts. 🙂
Keywords: carrot cake, the best carrot cake, carrot cake recipe
We like to gently press out any excess moisture from the freshly shredded carrots
For the frosting, make sure your cream cheese is at true room temperature to ensure it incorporates with the butter without any clumps
Leave a comment and rate this recipe!
Hey! Not a huge pineapple gal. Would I mess w the recipe too much to take it out? If so, is there something I can substitute?
Hi Natalie! You can swap it out for apple sauce!
Amazing!! Best carrot cake recipe I’ve used! Definitely my new and only go to!
YAY! So happy you enjoyed!
I am looking forward to trying this recipe! One question – do you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to best adapt this recipe to make cupcakes instead of a cake?
You can definitely make these as cupcakes! You can make the recipe as directed and then bake them off in a muffin pan. I’d bake them at 400F for 5 minutes (this will help them rise and get a nice domed top) and then lower the temperature to 350F and bake for 18 more minutes or until they spring back to the touch! Depending on how big you make them, you should get between 20 and 24 cupcakes!
If I wanted to make this as cupcakes, what would be the cooking time? Thanks, can’t wait to make it!
Hi Kimberly! Bake them at 375F for 5 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 18 more minutes!
The top part says to not drain any of the moisture from the carrots but then the bottom part says you should drain out excess moisture from the carrots? Which is best?
You keep the moisture! It’s the pineapple that you drain!