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

516 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Carole Henry says:

    How long should I leave the cake in the springform pan after it comes out of the oven?

    1. I let it cool completely in the pan before removing the sides and frosting/serving.

  2. Hi Sally, does this cake taste good without the frosting on top of it?

    1. Amateur baker says:

      I made 4 surplus cupcakes on top of the cake as I had extra mixture which didn’t fit into my tin. I tried a couple and yes they do taste great just like that. I’m making the frosting tomorrow for the cake, so no idea what the cake would taste like completed. I can only imagine it would taste even more beautiful than it does without. Have to say, this is the 3rd recipe I’ve tried from this website and the recipes taste amazing! I’m giving 4* as the cake isn’t fully completed. Once fully made I can assume I would give it 5* as I love the recipes I’ve tried on here so far.

      1. Amateur baker says:

        Hi, adding to my previous comment. I made the frosting, the cake tasted amazing fully done. However, the frosting was a bit too runny and I didn’t need all of it, so I froze some for next time. I used the ingredients listed for the frosting. I also added some mixed dried fruit to the sponge. This is the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten, much better than shop bought. The sponge was flavoursome with the spices and very delicate. Everyone who ate it, complimented on how good it tasted. Thank you sally! This cake and the triple chocolate cake are my 2 favourite recipes and I’ll be using both for future occasions.

  3. Hi Sally,

    Thank you for this simple and delicious recipe and step by step guidance and tips n tricks at the end. I tried adding a little orange juice to the wet mix to add a little twist to the already awesome recipe.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! Best carrot cake I’ve made. I really like that your ingredients list was organized by order of ingredients to add to mixing bowl. As opposed to a list organized by weight. This made the recipe a lot easier to follow!

  5. Hi Sally,

    Planning to make this for my daughter’s birthday. Will flax eggs work instead of eggs?

    Thanks!

    1. did you end up using the flax eggs? I was hoping to try this recipe with flax eggs this week!

  6. Hi Sally!

    This recipe rocks and so do you!

  7. Hi sally,
    Can I use this recipe to make a carrot Cake loaf shape. In a 9×5 inch loaf pan?

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

  8. I must say this is an easy straight forward recipe. I’ve just taken it out of the oven and my wife loves the smell. I’m not going to bother with frosting as we are having it with custard tomorrow

  9. Alison Scheuermann says:

    I made this for my dad’s birthday. It was a huge hit!! I substituded sour cream for the yogurt. I also found I had way too much icing. I mean, that’s never a huge problem. But I would have halfed the recipe. Also I used 1.5 cups of icing sugar and I thought that was sweet enough.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  10. I tend not to use websites aimed moreso at American audiences, as I find some recipes do not come out the same, here in the UK. However, this recipe is divine. The only change I made was using rapeseed oil instead of olive oil. I cannot fault the recipe. I will be making this a lot! I can’t wait to make more recipes from your blog! Thank you.

  11. Hi Sally. For the first time in my life I am baking and so far I have made 2 of your recipes – love them! Today I want to make your carrot cake as I have an abundance of carrots. The only problem is I do not have powered sugar. Have been to the shops twice and always out of stock. Can I use caster sugar instead?

    1. Hi Shanni, so glad you are loving my recipes! For cream cheese frosting, you really need the ultra fine texture from powdered/confectioners’ sugar. Castor sugar isn’t an ideal replacement. You might enjoy my Swiss Meringue Buttercream instead!

  12. Do you know if I can substitute brown cane sugar for regular brown sugar in this recipe?

    1. I used normal brown sugar and came out lovely

  13. Suzanne Donaghue says:

    Have made this for my daughters birthday cake. Haven’t tried it yet bit worried it will be too dry. Cooked it in two tins as planning to layer it. For 20 minutes. Do the people who comment really do it in the early hours or middle of the night? I’m up then but I work shifts in a hospital so that’s my excuse

  14. I was looking for a nice easy and tasty carrot cake recipe and I found it
    Thank you

  15. Hi I was wondering can I use a bag of shredded carrots that sold at the store or does this have to be grated? This will be my first time baking this and I do not want to disappoint.
    Thank you for any feedback i appreciate it.

    1. Hi Lisa! My #1 tip for carrot cakes is to grate whole carrots at home. Do not use packaged pre-shredded carrots because they are hard and dry. Happy baking 🙂

  16. Hi sally,
    I’m going to try to make my first ever carrot cake and I’m writing down the recipe as I don’t have a printer. I’m a bit confused with the amounts in cups. you say 1 cup for the brown sugar is 200g, then 2 cups of the flour is 250g, and 2 cups of the carrots is 260g. It’s always been my experience that 1 cup is usually 250g. I’m going to make the cake using the measurements that you’ve given by the grams you’ve mentioned. I’m really excited to make this, it sounds wonderful, I hope it works out!

  17. Melissa Alhambra says:

    I baked this carrot cake recipe and I loved it. However, the frosting seems to melt after a few minutes. What do I do?

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I know that blocks of full fat cream cheese are much creamier outside of the US and they typically produce a very thin frosting. Do you typically have trouble with US recipes for cream cheese frosting?

  18. A very reliable and easy recipe. The cake comes out soft and moist every single time. Tastes great!

  19. Hi Sally,

    I notice this recipe and you favorite carrot cake recipe has slight different (one used yoghurt and the other applesauce). Does it required the same amount of applesauce if i use the 1 layer recipe? Do you make your own applesauce?

    1. Hi Icha, you can replace the yogurt in this recipe with applesauce. Use 1/4 cup. I usually use store-bought, but homemade works too.

  20. Hi Sally,
    Just wondering if i can add flaked coconut in this recipe. 🙂 Im so excited to make this. Carrot cake / cupcake is one of my fave. Thank you for all the tips!

    1. Absolutely! I recommend 3/4 cup of sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut. You can skip the pecans or keep them in.

  21. Can I substitute greek yogurt with natural yogurt? Or with sour cream?

  22. Hi Sally,
    I’m really excited to make this. But quick question, do I need a springform pan? I don’t have one and I wanted to ask you just in case.

    1. Hi Tate! I do recommend a springform pan for this recipe. If you don’t have one, I would go with a 9 or 10-inch pan and then only fill halfway. Use leftover batter to make cupcakes (17-18 minutes bake time).

  23. Jill francis says:

    I followed the recipe to the letter and although the taste was lovely it was very stodgy, heavy and dense in texture. The frosting was runny even though I added heaps more icing sugar it was more like a sauce!

  24. LeeAnne Gelfand says:

    I made this cake; twice in one day. The carrot turned green in the first cake, which I learned is a sign of too much baking soda. I think I goofed and added two tsp soda to that batch as this is the first time to experience this chemical reaction in my baking. Just thought I’d share that. And the next cake turned out perfect; it was a gift for a birthday.

  25. Hi Sally,

    Just wondering why there is no baking powder used in your recipe.

  26. Tanya McNally says:

    I made this for my husband for Father’s Day since carrot cake is his favorite. It was delicious! The best homemade carrot cake recipe I have tried by far! Thank you so much!

  27. mycatsaysmawwhenhungry says:

    can this recipe be mixed with bananas so i could make a banana carrot cake?

  28. Hi Sally, I baked this cake yesterday and took it out of the oven at 30 minutes and tested it with a toothpick and it came out clean so I let it cool. We were so sad when we cut into it later and only the edges were cooked! Is there a better way to tell if it’s done for the future? Do you know why the toothpick would have come out clean even though it wasn’t cooked?

    1. Hi Amanda, the only thing I can think of is that the wet crumbs slid off the toothpick as you lifted it out of the center of the cake. This is a pretty thick cake and I find it takes closer to 38 minutes to fully cook through. (Of course all ovens vary.) Next time you can use the bounce back test– I explain it here (#8)!

  29. Hello Sally,
    Can I use a 9×13 pan like your other carrot cake recipes? If so, what changes do I need to make?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Audrey, for a 9×13 pan I recommend following this carrot cake recipe (and see the notes at the end of the recipe for directions for a 9×13 pan). Taste and texture is similar to this one, but it yields more batter.

  30. Hi Sally,
    I love your carrot cake so much and I would love to ask that if I were to use this recipe for cupcakes, will it be too dry? Or what do I have to change to get it as soft/moist??

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lilly, You can use it to make cupcakes without making any other changes: Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 20 minutes.

      1. Thank you Sally.

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