Super Moist Carrot Cake

This one layer carrot cake is super moist, wonderfully spiced, and perfect for smaller gatherings and celebrations. Topped with sweet, tangy cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans, it’s love at first bite.

Super Moist Carrot Cake by sallysbakingaddiction.com

While I love yellow cake, strawberry cake, and chocolate cake, nothing compares to carrot. There’s something simply magical about it– the texture! the flavor! the cream cheese frosting! Each bite is pure bliss and it will forever be my favorite kind of cake.

On my blog we’ve made a few variations of carrot cake including pineapple carrot cake, coconut carrot cake cupcakes, cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake, classic layered carrot cake, and today’s single layer carrot cake. Let’s get started!

The only carrot cake recipe you will ever need!

Why You’ll Love this One Layer Carrot Cake

  • Ultra moist
  • Perfectly spiced and so flavorful
  • Easy to prepare, no mixer required
  • Not too big– great for smaller gatherings
  • No complicated assembly or decorating
  • Topped with cream cheese frosting

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

Overview: How to Make One Layer Carrot Cake

Today’s recipe is pretty similar to my classic carrot cake— that one is a little larger (great for sharing) and I add ginger. You can certainly add ginger to this recipe, I recommend about 1/2 teaspoon. Both are incredibly moist and flavorful, everything a carrot cake should be!

  1. Mix the wet ingredients together. This includes brown sugar for sweetness, oil for moisture, a softer crumb, and flavor, yogurt for moisture, eggs to bind everything together, and vanilla extract for flavor. In my recipe testing, I found that brown sugar yields a much softer and more moist cake than when using granulated sugar. Plus, I love the taste that the molasses from the brown sugar adds.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together. All-purpose flour serves as the cake’s structure, baking soda helps the cake rise, cinnamon and nutmeg add warm, cozy flavor, and salt offsets the sweetness.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until just combined and all flour pockets are gone– do not overmix.
  4. Fold in the carrots and pecans. Make sure the carrots are finely shredded– you don’t want huge chunks of carrot in the batter. Carrots are a sweeter vegetable and act more as a sweetener than a flavoring agent. This cake does not taste like carrots! (Just like how my chocolate zucchini cake doesn’t taste like vegetables.) Pecan pieces are optional, but I can’t imagine carrot cake without them. They don’t stay crunchy inside the baked cake– instead, they soften up but still provide a nice texture against the cake’s crumb.
  5. Bake. Pour the cake batter into a 9 or 10 inch round springform pan. We need a large pan for all of this batter. A regular 9 or 10 inch cake pan is not big enough and the cake will overflow. This cake takes about 32-38 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Make the cream cheese frosting. I usually do this while the cake cools.
  7. Frost completely cooled cake. Slice and enjoy!

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

My #1 Baking Tip for Carrot Cake

My #1 tip for carrot cakes is to shred whole carrots at home. Do not use packaged pre-shredded carrots because they are hard and dry. You need about 3-4 large carrots for this recipe. And when you grate them, you’ll notice how wet they are. That is PRIME moisture for your baked cake and you don’t want to skip it!

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

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

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

Cream Cheese Frosting

It wouldn’t be carrot cake without a swirl of cream cheese frosting on top! We use the same cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake, pumpkin cake, and banana cake. It’s so smooth, tangy, and glides on the cake seamlessly. I call it spreadable cheesecake and it tastes unbelievable with this cake’s deep spice flavor.

Ingredients: You need block-style cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, a splash of heavy cream (or milk), vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. The salt helps offset the sweetness.

Frosting this cake requires minimal time and effort. Just spoon it onto the center of the cake and swirl it around– you could frost the sides but I chose not to. There is a lot of frosting, so layer it on nice and thick. Use toasted pecans, coconut, raisins, or even more shredded carrots to decorate!

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

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Super Moist Carrot Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: serves 8-10
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil*
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Greek yogurt*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (260g) very finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 22.5 cups (240-300g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). 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.
  2. Set out the cream cheese for the frosting so it may soften as you make the cake batter.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Store cake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Oil: You can also use melted coconut oil or canola oil.
  3. Yogurt: You can also use regular yogurt– plain or vanilla.
  4. Heavy Cream: 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.
  5. Raisins: 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.
  6. Cupcakes: This recipe also can be made into 12 cupcakes. Bake time is 17-18 minutes.
  7. Layer Cake: Try my favorite layered carrot cake recipe.

Keywords: carrot cake, one layer carrot cake

521 Comments

  1. Hi sally,
    I was wondering if I could make this in loaf pan? how many cups of batter does this recipe yield? I tried to look for that info in your notes section but couldn’t find it.
    Thank you so much! Love your recipes!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tia, we have not tested this in a loaf pan but you can check out our post on Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions to figure out how much batter you would need.

  2. The moistest and tastiest carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. I baked one on Monday for my friend’s birthday and I just put another one in the oven for us at home.
    I found the frosting too runny though, but I think it’s probably my cream cheese, the ones we have in the UK has too much water in it. But the frosting tastes heavenly.

    1. Vicki Rainford says:

      I agree fabulous cake but icing to soft

    2. I left my frosting in the fridge for a while while the cake completely cooled and it was a little more manageable and it being a little colder than the cake made it quite lovely to eat, it was a wonderful mix.

    3. Add a bit more sugar or cornstarch if you don’t want to sweeten it, but make it thicker! 😀

  3. I made this cake for the first time about a month ago. I must say I was never a fan of carrot cake. After using this recipe I am now a converted carrot cake lover. My family loved it and have been begging me to make another. Needless to say baking one this weekend. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  4. Hey Sally! I made this and it was absolutely fabulous!! I wanted to let you know about a little error in the recipe notes – it says that this will make 12 cupcakes. It actually makes 24! I found this out bc I doubled the recipe trying to make 24 cupcakes, and ended up with enough batter to make 24 cupcakes plus a three layer 6 inch round cake! Oops! Lol

  5. Valerie Harmon says:

    Hi Sally,
    I love your website; it’s my go to for all baking needs! On this recipe, you mention shredded carrots then grated. I’ve spent more time trying to decide which to do (to save time) than it would have to hand grate the entire 5 lb bag of carrots (lol). But I’m curious if you use a food processor to shred or if you hand grate. Also, is there a way to search the comments? It seems likely that someone has asked this already? Anyway – I’m going for the hand grating – I figure the extra time equals “love” which makes for a better husband’s birthday cake.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Valerie, You can use either hand held box grater or a grating/shredding attachment for your food processor. Both work – the most important thing is that you are starting with whole carrots instead of the pre-shredded bags of carrots which are usually very dry.

  6. This has become my go-to recipe! Thanks Sally! 🙂

  7. Made this for my mum’s social night. Everyone there loved it!! It was fun and easy to make as well (very clear instructions).
    I made it as a two-layer cake and added sliced strawberries, between the two layers with the frosting. It looked and tasted amazing.
    Thanks for the awesome recipe, it made a lot of people happy tonight.

  8. Tried baking it in a Loaf Pan and the outcome is great! Thank You for this recipe and more power to you

  9. I made this for one of my employee’s birthdays today. I was a little nervous only because I realized I’d never made a homemade carrot cake before (and so realized all I had was bread flour and not all purpose). Another fabulous dessert! I’ve not had a failures yet when making one of your goodies (even if my ingredients are t perfect)! Thank you for providing such yummy recipes with great tips and suggestions!

  10. Hello Sally,
    Instead of whole cream cheese can I use only half? And I will reduce in half the other ingredients for the frosting, is that correct? TIA

    Anj

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