Super Moist Carrot Cake.

Make scrumptious carrot cake at home with this easy recipe. Super moist and super flavorful!

Super Moist Carrot Cake by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good cake.  Some like theirs light and airy, others like it dense and heavy.  Some like chocolate cake, vanilla cake, bundt cake, or funfetti cake. Others don’t care about the cake and it’s all about the frosting. 🙂

My dad’s favorite cake is carrot cake and it has been my mission to make the BEST carrot cake in the entire world for him. And well, for me too.

Confession: I like carrot cake more than I like funfetti!

My personal preference is to have a cake that is as moist as possible.  A carrot cake that is full of flavor and will melt in your mouth, without being mushy.  And PS: the word “moist” should not send you running for the hills.  It’s just a word!

The only carrot cake recipe you will ever need!

So how can you achieve a moist cake? Baking science ahead. #nerdalert

There are four main ingredients in cake recipes:  sugar, flour, eggs, and fat (in the form of oil, shortening, or butter). These four  ingredients have different purposes and effects on how your cake will bake, its texture, and how it will taste.

The structure of your cake is held together with the eggs and flour.  The flavor of your cake comes from the sugar and the fat.  The more sugar and fat you have in your cake, the more moist the cake will be.  However, do not go assuming that simply adding more sugar and more fat to your batter will produce a moist cake.  You have to maintain an equal amount of structure to hold up to the extra moisture you’re adding in.  Adding too much moisture and too little structure and you’ll end up with a cake that won’t set.

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

Baking a cake surely is a science – and also a mathematical equation of sorts.  Thankfully, I’ve found the perfectly balanced ratio of moisture and structure to produce one HECK of a moist carrot cake.

Be warned: you’re going to fall in love with this cake.

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

 You’re going to start with 1 cup of light brown sugar (or dark) and 3/4 cup of vegetable oil.  This carrot cake, my friends, is not a health food. Although, sometimes I like to convince myself otherwise since I am eating my veggies.

I tried this carrot cake once before a few weeks ago using white sugar.  There was nothing wrong using white sugar, but in my cookie baking experiences, I have learned that brown sugar yields a much softer and more moist product than white sugar does.  It provides the baked good with more body of flavor as well.  Plus, I love the taste of brown sugar/molasses.  Brown sugar is a winner today – light brown or dark brown will do. I used light brown because that is what I had on hand.

The fat used in this recipe is oil, not butter.  I have learned that oil produces a much softer, more moist cake crumb than butter would.  However, I adore the taste of butter so I still like to use it in my cake/cupcake recipes (depending on the other ingredients in said recipe).  With so much flavor from the spices, frosting, brown sugar, and sweet carrots – I knew I wouldn’t miss the taste of butter.

Along with the oil, I added some greek yogurt. Yogurt is a fantastic addition to cakes or cupcakes because it adds even MORE moisture to your finished baked product. You may use regular or greek yogurt here – vanilla or plain – nonfat or lowfat. Whichever is most convenient for you.

So we have 3 moisture-inducing ingredients so far (1) brown sugar, (2) oil, and (3) yogurt. Beat these all together with 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. This cake uses as many eggs as my ultra-fudgy brownies. You can imagine how dense and perfect this cake is!

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

 What’s next? The dry ingredients: 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon (LOVE the stuff), 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  The first time I made this cake, I used more flour.  I decided to try the cake again using as little flour as possible that I could get away with and still have the cake’s structure set in the oven. 2 cups is the magic number.  You may use a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, but the cake’s texture may not be as soft as mine. I suggest using strictly all-purpose.

The cinnamon and nutmeg are crucial to the cake’s taste.  Without an overpowering flavor like chocolate or pumpkin, for example, you really need those spices to give the cake that trademark “spice” taste that carrot cake has.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with a whisk or spatula, trying hard not to overmix the batter.  Let’s see, what’s next? Ahhh the carrots. Let’s not forget those babies. Literally.  I used baby carrots here.  I grated my own baby carrots – I used a little less than one 14 oz package to get the 2 cups of shredded baby carrots.  I used baby carrots only because they are more wet than regular carrots.  Feel free to use regular carrots since grating such small baby carrots may not be tolerated  by many! It wasn’t so bad though, I promise. 🙂

While grating, make sure the carrot shreds/pieces are extra fine. You don’t want huge chunks of carrots in your soft piece of cake. The finely shredded carrots soften inside the batter as the cake bakes, making the cake even more soft and moist.  So that is 4 moistening agents so far in this recipe! Have I convinced you yet?

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

 A good thing to know about my recipe:  the cake does not taste like carrots.  Carrots, a sweeter vegetable, act more as a sweetener in this recipe than a flavoring agent.  The brown sugar and spices mask the flavor of an actual carrot.

Fold the carrot shreds into the batter with a large spatula – no electric mixer is needed for this addition.  I added pecans to the cake batter because I cannot imagine carrot cake without them!  I used 3/4 cup of pecan pieces.  You could even add raisins as well, another traditional addition to carrot cake.  I was all out of raisins, so I only used pecans. The pecans do not stay crunchy inside the baked cake – they soften up, but still provide a nice texture against the cake’s crumb.

Pour the cake into a round 9 or 10 inch springform pan. I found baking the cake in a springform pan, rather than a regular circle of square baking pan was much easier.  I highly recommend a spring form pan for this recipe.  Bake the cake at 350F for 32-38 minutes.

Wasn’t that easy?  Trust me, this cake is SUCH a breeze to make!

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

Now what would carrot cake be without the iconic cream cheese frosting swirled on top? I went a little heavy handed on the cream cheese frosting because I love it so much paired with the spice carrot cake.  Even though I adore frosting so much, this is the kind of cake that probably wouldn’t even need it. I can’t believe I’m saying that!  But honestly, this cake is so flavorful and moist on its own that it doesn’t even need frosting.

But let’s be serious. Frosting and I are two peas in a pod. It’s actually quite easy to make: 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup of softened butter, 2-2.5 cups of powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  I strongly urge you to use heavy cream here instead of milk or half-and-half – it will produce the thickest and creamiest frosting ever!

Frosting the cake is a… piece of cake. Just plop it onto the center of the cake and swirl it around. There is a lot of frosting, so don’t be shy about layering it on nice and thick. I opted out of frosting the sides of the cake because it is SO much easier to just frost the top.  Save yourself the time! I decorated mine with some pecans, but feel free to use coconut, raisins, or even more shredded carrots. Decorating the cake is almost as fun as eating it. *Almost.

Carrot cake, like banana bread, tastes best the next day after the flavors have settled and have gotten friendly with one another. It is also more moist on the 2nd day as well.  Sorry for saying moist so much in this post, but I truly am trying to get a point across!

So many readers call this the best carrot cake recipe ever! And it's so easy to make.

This is truly the best carrot cake that I’ve ever had. The frosting doesn’t taste fake like I’ve had in bakeries before.  The cake doesn’t necessarily taste heavy either; it is just very dense, like the best piece of banana bread you’ve ever had.  The sweet spice cake combined with the tangy cream cheese frosting is out of this world. Each bite will melt in your mouth and I was sad to see the cake end!

And again… don’t worry! You will not feel like you’re eating vegetables. Now if someone could make carrots taste like cake, life would be perfect.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

 

Super-Moist Carrot Cake

Print Recipe

Makes 8-10 slices. Carrot cake tastes best the next day after the flavors have settled and have gotten friendly with one another. It is also more moist on the 2nd day as well.

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar, packed (or dark brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil, or canola oil)
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or vanilla)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (260 grams) very finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224 grams) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2-2.5 cups (240 - 300 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream (see note for substitutions)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt, or as needed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9 or 10inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. I do not recommend a regular circle or square pan, as the cake may rise above. Set aside.

Set out the cream cheese for the frosting so it may soften as you make the cake batter.

Make the carrot cake: In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed, combine the brown sugar and oil. Beat in the yogurt until fully combined - about 60 seconds. Mixture will be gritty and thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. With a spatula, manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all flour pockets are gone - do not overmix. Fold in the finely shredded carrots and pecan pieces. Pour or spoon batter into prepared springform pan.

Bake cake for 32-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, which will dry out cake. Check the cake at 30 minutes, then again at 32. My cake took exactly 34 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: beat the softened cream cheese and butter together on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until soft, creamy, and combined thoroughly. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until thick and combined. Add 2 Tablespoons heavy cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes. Add more powdered sugar until desired thickness is reached. Add salt to taste. I used 1/8 teaspoon to cut the sweetness.

Store cake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.

Additional Notes:

*I strongly suggest using heavy cream in the cream cheese frosting recipe. Using milk or half-and-half will produce a less creamy and thinner frosting.

*If you'd like to add raisins to the batter, I suggest using 2/3 cup of raisins and 2/3 cup of chopped pecans. If you'd like to only use raisins, I suggest 3/4 cup of raisins.

*This recipe also can be made into 12 cupcakes. Bake time is 17-18 minutes.

*Interested in making a layer cake? Try my Favorite (Layer!) Carrot Cake recipe.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

 

Dry or hard baked goods have no place in my kitchen.

Here are some recipes known for how soft, moist, and tender they are:

 

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

100% from scratch and 100% soft, moist, & tender.

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

  

Homemade Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies

Soft, tender, creamy, nostalgic oatmeal creme pie sandwiches.

Oatmeal Creme Pies by sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls

So incredibly soft and each raspberry-filled doughy bite will melt in your mouth.

Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls

 

Caramel Apple-Upside Down Cake

Besides today’s cake recipe, this is the most moist cake in the entire world. So buttery, so flavorful, loaded with caramel, and decorated with juicy apples.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

 

 

   

621 Responses to “Super Moist Carrot Cake.”

  1. #
    361
    Janiceposted December 5, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Amazing!  Completely moist!  I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and it was perfect. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe. 

    Reply

  2. #
    362
    mrs. dejongposted December 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Hi
    do you also have a facebook? I love all your recipes but am not on instagram or twitter,..or pinterest.lol

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 14th, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      All of my socials– including Facebook— are at the top of my site!

      Reply

  3. #
    363
    Lakshmi Nairposted December 23, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Hey,
    I tried your super moist carrot cake recipe today…It came out really soft and yummy…Thank you very much.
    I have tried many recipes before.My carrot cake has never been so soft like this. I think the yogurt did the magic this time. Also adding brown sugar to the recipe makes it really tasty..Sometimes before I tried a recipe for banana muffins with yogurt. The result was awesome..Thanks once again for the awesome recipe..Keep motivating us.Happy Christmas in Advance.

    Reply

  4. #
    364
    Betsyposted December 24, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Hi Sally,

    I’m excited to try your recipe–it looks amazing! Can you help me with how to adapt it to high altitude?? I live in Denver 🙂

    Thanks so much!
    Betsy

    Reply

  5. #
    365
    elaine henryposted January 4, 2016 at 2:54 am

    Thank you ms. Sally for sharing your very delicious recipe..my family loved it! 

    Reply

  6. #
    366
    Annposted January 23, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Hi Sally, can I use this recipe and make it to layer cake instead? I’ve seen your separate recipe for the layer cake but just wanted to know if it’s possible. Thanks! =)

    Reply

  7. #
    367
    Dina Vinsonposted February 2, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Umm, this ish is crazy good! I made both the carrot cake and icing for my husband’s birthday tomorrow and I cannot wait to eat a huge piece with a glass of cold milk! The icing is life y’all! So stinkin’ good! 

    Thank you for this quick, easy recipe! 

    Dina Vinson

    Reply

  8. #
    368
    Majidaposted February 5, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Hi sally ,
    I used to bake a carrot cake recipe that I had, it’s a recipe from a friend. It was good, but today I tried yours, it turned out moist and very delicious. Especially the cheese frosting, even though I used less sugar according to my taste.
    I have one question, if I want to double the ingreident, do I have to double every thing?
    Thank you so much for this easy delicious recipe.

    Reply

  9. #
    369
    PamSposted February 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Hi! Just want to thank you for sharing this recipe. This is the first birthday cake i have ever made from scratch and it turned out really great! I had to skip the pecans though, since i can’t fine any in our local grocery in the Philippines 😉 still turned out awesome.❤️

    Reply

  10. #
    370
    Astridposted March 7, 2016 at 6:58 am

    I made a carrot cake using your recipe ….and it was SO YUMMY!!!!  My family nearly devoured the entire cake!  (they left me a few crumbs. LOL] Thank you!  I’ll certainly be making this recipe in the future.

    Reply

  11. #
    371
    Safiaposted April 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I never thought I’d love a cake like this one. It was amazing!
    My mother loves carrot cake with orange juice. Any tips on how to add that to the recipe?
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 12th, 2016 at 8:39 am

      You can add a tbsp or two to the batter. And as much fresh orange zest as you want! (Maybe 1 tbsp?) I love orange zest in carrot cake.

      Reply

  12. #
    372
    Colihaposted April 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    This recipe was very good! I had to add a little extra flour for high altitude baking but it worked out beautifully. However it seems to be missing a bit of “substance” that I cant seem to put my finger on…

    Reply

  13. #
    373
    Danposted May 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Hi Sally! I’m planning to bake this carrot cake for my mother tomorrow.
    I only have medium eggs, should I add 1 more medium egg to have 3 large eggs?
    Thank you!

    Reply

  14. #
    374
    Daniposted May 10, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Sally

    I was just wondering, is it possible for me to use agave/honey instead of the brown sugar? And if so, should it be a 1:1 substitution?
    Thanks 🙂

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 11th, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      You can try it, but I’m unsure of the result. I would use a little less, maybe 1/2 cup.

      Reply

  15. #
    375
    Petraposted May 16, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Hi,

    How much yoghurt do I use ?

    Thankyou

    Reply

  16. #
    376
    Micheleposted May 25, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Good Day. I needed to find an extra income so decided to pickle and bake from home. After beginning slowly I now have a small customer base. One day a young man, crazy about Carrot Cake asked me to bake him one, no matter the cost. Terrified having never baked one I said I would try and send him a sample first. Trawling through long complicated and contradicting recipes i found YOURS. Easy. Delicious. Best topping ever. I now am well known for ‘my’ carrot cake -and the young man orders one a month for HIMSELF. Thsnk you Sally 

    Reply

  17. #
    377
    Anaposted May 28, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I made your carrot cake today and it was delicious!
    I found that mine took a little longer to cook through the centre, is this due to the height of my cake pan? (standard 9 inch diameter). I didn’t ice the cake, so it was slightly less sweet than I normally like. Would you suggest adding 50g more sugar if un-iced? 

    Thank you!

    Reply

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