This Easy Carrot Cake recipe makes a moist and delicious cake, layered with rich cream cheese frosting. The mix of pecans, pineapple, carrot, and coconut makes it so flavorful and yummy.
Easy Carrot Cake
Carrot cake has been around since the Middle Ages, partly because it is such a delicious dessert. It is also easy to make and embellish to your heart’s content. This easy carrot cake is made with chopped pecans, crushed pineapple, coconut flakes, and – of course – shredded carrots. This keeps the cake moist and fluffy, with some crunchy bits and lots of flavor. Layer it with smooth cream cheese frosting and your carrot cake will taste amazing.
If you want to change it up, you could also try adding different nuts (like hazelnuts or almonds), lemon, or banana, among other things. This carrot cake can be a great base for other flavors or yummy all on its own. If you enjoy cakes with fresh produce in them, you will love my berry chantilly cake and honey raspberry cake too.
Are there real carrots in it?
Yes, lots of them. Fresh carrots provide both flavor and sweetness to your carrot cake. The best way to shred them is in a food processor. Shredding makes them the perfect size to flavor the cake and adds texture, without overwhelming the other ingredients.
How to make easy carrot cake
- Sift the dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs. Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs on high until they are light and fluffy. Then, add the white and brown sugars.
- Add the butter and vanilla, then pineapple. Beat for another 4-5 minutes while adding the vanilla and melted butter. Then, slow the mixer to medium-low and add the crushed pineapple.
- Mix in the flour. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the batter.
- Add in the carrots, pecans, and coconut. Finally, pour the carrots, coconut flakes, and pecans into the batter and mix on medium until everything is well-incorporated.
- Prepare cake pans. Line 2 10-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Then, evenly divide the carrot cake batter between them.
- Bake. In a 350-degree-Fahrenheit oven, bake the cake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of the cake and come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack.
- Make the frosting. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese, condensed milk, and powdered sugar. Start on low to keep everything in the bowl, and then work up to high speed and mix until the frosting has a smooth consistency.
- Layer and frost the carrot cake. Once the cake has cooled, slice it to create a total of 4 layers. Layer the carrot cake with frosting in between each layer and spread on the sides and top.
How to tell when the cake is done?
You can tell your carrot cake is done when you slide a toothpick into the center of the cake and it comes out clean. If the batter is still not finished baking, it will stick to the toothpick and you’ll know it needs more time in the oven.
Cream cheese frosting for carrot cake
The cream cheese frosting for this easy carrot cake pairs really well with the textures and flavors of the cake. The frosting is smooth and thick, and goes great with the moist fluffiness of the cake that has some texture and crunch from the pecans, carrots, and coconut. The frosting is also sweet and rich, with a slight tang from the cream cheese.
Tips to make the frosting
- Use room temperature ingredients. The best way to incorporate the ingredients is to have them all at room temperature. They mix better, resulting in a smoother frosting.
- Use full fat cream cheese. Lowfat cream cheese can clump and it just lacks the smooth creaminess that you need to make the best frosting.
- Refrigerate it if it’s too runny. If your frosting is a little runny, place it in the refrigerator to thicken up. If you leave it in too long and it becomes too thick, just let it sit out for a few minutes and give it a stir.
Can I make the cake ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this easy carrot cake 1 day in advance. Go ahead and make the cakes, and once cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap. Then, when you’re ready to assemble the carrot cake, cut it into 4 separate pieces, layer and frost.
Can I make the cream cheese frosting in advance?
Yes, you can make the frosting 2-3 days ahead of time. Your frosting can be left in the refrigerator in an airtight container, but let it warm a little at room temperature before you frost your carrot cake. You want to make sure that it is smooth and easy to spread before you use it, or it will tear the cake.
More cake recipes to try!
Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
For the cake
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz crushed pineapple
- 4 cups shredded carrots (about 1 lb)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes
Make the carrot cake base
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the eggs on high speed until light and fluffy (about 4 mins). Then add the white and brown sugar.
- Continue beating on high speed for an additional 4-5 minutes as you add melted butter and vanilla.
- Slow the speed down to medium-low and add the crushed pineapple.
- Then slowly add the flour and spice mixture.
Bake in 2 (10-inch) pans
- Line 2 (10 inch) round baking pans with parchment paper and spray them with nonstick spray. Then evenly divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Once they’re done, remove them from the oven and transfer them to cooling racks.
Make the cream cheese frosting
- To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, butter, sweetened condensed milk, and powdered sugar using the whisk attachment. Start off on low speed so the powdered sugar doesn’t go flying everywhere. Then bring the speed to high and beat until the frosting becomes a smooth consistency.
Slice the cake and assemble
- Once the cake has cooled, slice each layer into halves so you will end up with 4 separate layers. Assemble the carrot cake by distributing the frosting amongst the 4 layers. Make sure to leave some for the outside of the cake.