Carrot Cake Recipe

This homemade carrot cake recipe is stuffed with pineapple, coconut, nuts and of course carrots! Make this moist carrot cake in two layers or in a 9×13 pan to feed a crowd.

What’s better after a delicious ham dinner than a slice of carrot cake? Sometimes we take a short cut and make carrot cake bars or a trifle, but this cake is the ULTIMATE in carrot cake desserts.

2 layer cream cheese frosting cake

Carrot Cake Recipe from Scratch

Today we are talking about one of my husband’s favorite cakes. He’s crazy for this homemade carrot cake recipe! For Matt, the more loaded a cake is with nuts, coconut and carrots, the better. And that is exactly what this cake is. It’s loaded, but is an ultra-moist cake with crazy amounts of flavor in every bite. And as far as homemade cakes go? This one is an easy, no-fail cake! If you are a beginning cake baker, this one is for you.

Is Carrot Cake Better for You Than Chocolate Cake?

Ummm…I’d like to say yes! This carrot cake has carrots (obviously), pineapple (hey, a fruit!), coconut and nuts. All of those can be considered healthy, right? I don’t think we can call this “health food”, but as far as cakes with sugar and flour go, this one isn’t terrible. To determine if it is “healthier” would depend on if you are counting calories, or fat…or sugar. It’s cake friends, and in general, cake is not that healthy. Sorry.

Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Coconut

We have a simple carrot snack cake with just carrots (and a few nuts), but this carrot cake is loaded with pineapple and coconut. People who like a “chunkier” texture will love this. People who want a smooth cake with nothing “chewy” won’t like it. I like both, so I’m good both ways. 🙂

How to Make Carrot Cake

  • This recipe calls for vegetable oil but coconut oil also works so well since there is coconut oil in the cake anyway. Be sure the coconut oil is warmed to liquid form before you mix it with the sugar.
  • Whisk the eggs before adding them to the sugar and oil. This will help them to be mixed better!
  • Use all-purpose flour. Some cakes call for cake flour but that is not necessary for this cake recipe. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. Never pack flour into measuring cups!
  • If you have friends and family who may not like the “chunky” texture of this cake, feel free to process the carrots, nuts, pineapple and coconut very finely. You’ll get all the flavor and not quite as much chunky texture.
  • Drain the pineapple before you add it to the cake batter.
  • We used two 9″ cake pans but you can also use 3 8″ cake pans for a tall, 3-layered pretty look. Watch the baking time closely. Start them out at about 25 minutes and add time as necessary. You can also bake this in a 9×13 pan! That makes it really easy to frost.
  • The cake is done when the center of the cake bounces back when you touch it. Peek into the oven with the light on through the oven window before opening the oven. You want to be sure you’re not opening up the oven too much when the cake is baking or it may fall. It should “look” done before you open the door. Test the cake, then add a few minutes if needed from there.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before you frost it.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake

This frosting is our standard cream cheese frosting. I say “standard”, but it is really quite amazing. Buttery, full of cream cheese and sweet vanilla flavor in every bite. It’s important to remember to soften the cream cheese and butter before blending them together…but be careful not to melt them. You’ll have the best textured frosting if you just bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature. They will blend together easily! Cream cheese frosting goes so perfectly with carrot cake!

homemade Carrot Cake on a plate

Other Layer Cake Recipes

Tools to Make This Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot Cake Recipe with Pineapple, Coconut, and Nuts {From Scratch!}
Carrot Cake Recipe with Pineapple, Coconut, and Nuts {From Scratch!}

Carrot Cake Recipe

4.58 from 14 votes
Servings 15
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs (well beaten)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained well)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 3/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and oil.
  • Add in the eggs, beating well.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon. Blend the flour in with the wet ingredients.
  • Gently fold in the carrots, drained pineapple, coconut and walnuts.
  • Grease and flour two 9" baking pans.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center of the cake bounces back when you touch it.
  • Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, the turn them out on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar, ½ a cup at a time, until it is thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the vanilla and beat the frosting on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Frost the cake:

  • Once the cake is cooled, place one layer on a cake plate. Frost the top of the cake layer.
  • Place the second layer on top, then use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
  • Decorate with additional chopped nuts if desired.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.

Nutrition

Calories: 532kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 3430IU | Vitamin C: 4.5mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Author Julie Clark
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 532

best carrot cake recipe

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Bridget
3 years ago

4 stars
I think is WAY too much oil, I made this and it was just greasy. I wonder if the 1 1/2 cups of oil should be 1 or even 3/4 of a cut. The flavor profile was good (I added 1 tsp of vanilla to mine).

Michael Kane
3 years ago

5 stars
I followed the recipe and it came out delicious! Bridget, the previous reviewer, should check other carrot cake recipes, 1 1/2 cup of oil is common. I would add to the recipe that you should refrigerate the cake after frosting it so that the frosting will set.

Karen Harris
2 years ago

If you are using coconut oil, do you use the same amount?

Doris
2 years ago

5 stars
I made this for my grandson’s fiancé for her birthday. I compared it to several recipes before deciding on this one. I only changed one thing. I used 1 cup oil and 1/2 cup buttermilk. I had never made a corrupt cake before but it was awesome. A real hit. Everyone loved it. My daughter said it was her new favorite cake.

Chris David
3 months ago

5 stars
I loved this recipe so much . It’s really awesome