Homemade carrot cake is a well-balanced and light dessert thanks to the spices and carrot-packed batter of the cake. While most carrot cake recipes call for cream cheese icing, adding other flavors like white chocolate, and extracts like almond, orange or lemon boosts the flavor profile and levels up the sweetness of the overall cake. Try making homemade carrot cake and don't forget to add your favorite ingredients like raisins, pineapple, nuts or finely grated apples.

Homemade Carrot Cake Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 1 carrot cake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans and set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil.

  4. Mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt into egg mixture until well-combined.

  5. Fold in finely grated carrots and pineapple.

  6. Pour the batter into the two prepared baking pans and bake for 38 to 40 minutes until cooked through.

  7. While the cake bakes, make the frosting by mixing the butter and cream cheese in a clean large mixing bowl until creamed.

  8. Beat in the vanilla and slowly add the powdered sugar.

  9. Add one tablespoon of milk at a time until the desired thickness is reached.

  10. If you choose, evenly mix in the toasted chopped pecans.

  11. When cakes are done, remove from the oven and turn out onto wire cooling racks to cool for 10 minutes.

  12. When cakes are completely cool to the touch, spread a layer of icing between the two cakes and coat the top and sides of the stacked cakes.

  13. Serve at room temperature or store in the fridge, covered, for up to one week.

To decorate the cake with carrots and other designs, reserve some of the frosting and color portions with orange and green food coloring. Pipe your designs on the cake using a small, round pastry tip.

Tip

If you prefer that the carrot and vanilla flavors shine through, use white sugar instead of brown sugar, which lessens the caramelized flavor.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Carrot Cupcakes

Total Time: 2 hours | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Frosting

  • 2 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.

  2. Grease a muffin tin and set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil.

  4. Mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt into egg mixture until well-combined.

  5. Fold in finely grated carrots, raisins and half the toasted pecans.

  6. Pour the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the oven until cooked through.

  7. While the cupcakes bake, make the frosting by melting the white chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, constantly stirring until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

  8. Mix the butter and cream cheese in a clean large mixing bowl until creamed.

  9. Beat in the melted white chocolate, vanilla and almond extracts.

  10. Slowly add the powdered sugar.

  11. Add one tablespoon of milk at a time until all is added in and combined well.

  12. Once cupcakes are baked, remove from the oven and place on wire cooling racks to cool for 30 minutes.

  13. When cakes are completely cool to the touch, pipe or spread the white chocolate cream cheese icing on top of the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining chopped toasted pecans.

  14. Serve at room temperature or store in the fridge, covered, for up to one week.

Adding golden raisins to the recipe adds a chewiness and light sweetness to the cake, while the white chocolate in the icing adds additional sweetness and more flavor to the overall cupcake. Try using multicolored carrots for a different look to the cupcakes.

About the Author

Molly Harris

Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.