classic carrot cake


This is classic carrot cake at its finest: fluffy and tender carrot cake, perfectly spiced, topped with plush piles of cream cheese frosting. As a carrot cake purist, you won’t find nuts or raisins here, just plenty of sweet spring carrots, warming spices, and buttermilk for a lovely tender crumb.

Classic Carrot Cake

Swirls of cream cheese frosting make the perfect adornment to this cake. Mini chocolate eggs and a shower of pastel sprinkles add a lovely spring feel, or top with toasted pecans or coconut for an Easter showstopper (and if you adore lemon, a touch of lemon zest in the frosting is divine!).

Classic Carrot Cake

Classic Carrot Cake

Classic Carrot Cake


Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl; make a well in the center. Combine melted coconut oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, then add to flour mixture and fold in until almost incorporated. Fold in grated carrots.
  2. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are pulling slightly away from the pan. Cool cakes completely in pans on a wire rack.
  3. For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla on medium speed until soft and creamy. Reduce speed to low; add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat well, scraping down bowl as needed.
  4. To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting over cake. Top with second layer, and spread remaining frosting over cake. If desired, decorate with mini chocolate eggs and sprinkles. Chill cake for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before slicing and serving. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.


For lemon cream cheese frosting, omit vanilla and beat in two teaspoons of fresh lemon zest.

Classic Carrot Cake

More layer cake recipes you’ll love:

Classic Hummingbird Cake
Meyer Lemon Layer Cake
Rum Tangerine Layer Cake

  1. Your blog looks fabulous, Laura! As does this carrot cake. I need to make your version for my nut averse daughter—she and I both love carrot cake!

  2. Looks fabulous! But where is the carrot cake recipe? I keep clicking different spots, but the recipe doesn’t appear!

    1. Hi Cynthia, so sorry for the delay – we just relaunched the site after a redesign and some things went missing in the process, including this recipe! I’ve just updated the post. 🙂

  3. Oh Laura, if this tastes half as good as it looks it will be heavenly. I like the addition of coconut oil. I used to make a carrot cake but this looks so good, I will try it again. The icing is an important part of the total cake.
    Thanks for including it. I know it will make my husband and friends very happy. Carrot cake was very popular years ago and I am glad it’s making a comeback.

  4. I’ve made this cake quite a few times both as one 9inch and 2-9inch and have loved it, I made a few Changes though, added flakes of coconut, raisins and just add one cup of sugar. This is now my go to carrot cake recipe…five stars!!!!

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