An Uncomplicated Life Blog: The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe


Monday, May 21, 2018

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

I made this carrot cake recipe in cupcake form for Henry's birthday. The cake plus the cream cheese frosting is the perfect combination and my favorite carrot cake recipe to date!

Carrot cake is one of those funny things that a person either loooooooves or hates. Very few people are like, "meh" about it. I'm in the love category, as long as it's made correctly! People who load it up like a fruitcake with pineapple, large chunks of carrots and walnuts and raisins? Get out of here, that's nasty! That's just my opinion though, so if that's your jam, you can totally add it to this recipe. I won't judge you. I'm giving you the "base model" as it were, and you can add your fave additions or leave it as-is. This, my friends, is the BEST carrot cake recipe I've had in my 33 years on earth.

I made these for Henry's birthday, because he's crazy about cupcakes. Even if it's cake, he calls it a cupcake. If you watched my Instagram Stories from early April, you saw that I attempted a recipe using carrots from our garden and hand grated the dang carrots. Well that recipe didn't come out as moist (I know, that word is kinda gross) as I wanted, and also wasn't "spice cakey" enough, so this is the recipe I changed after a few attempts at it. The cream cheese frosting I NAILED right away, and kept it the same.

Oh, and I used everyone's advice, and pulled out my food processor to grate the carrots instead of doing it by hand. That was a lifesaver! Thanks guys.

Hands down, the coolest part about this recipe is that we used carrots we grew from our garden. The day before I made them, Henry and Otto helped me harvest all the carrots. They loved pulling them from the dirt and seeing what color the carrot would be, how big it was, and how funny it looked (if it was oddly shaped or covered in more roots than the last one, etc.) I even got them to eat some of the carrots cooked, albeit covered in butter and a tad of brown sugar. I think their connection to growing them and then harvesting them gave the boys enough interest in trying them, because I haven't been able to get them to eat carrots before!

Even if you don't have your own veggie garden, this recipe will be delicious with carrots you buy at the store. Don't use the pre-peeled, ready to eat carrots - they soak those in sugar to make them sweeter to eat, and it will make this recipe too sweet. Instead, buy regular carrots and peel them yourself, then pop them in the food processor. No food processor? You're crazy and should get one ASAP, but barring that, get the pre-shredded bag at the grocery store and run a knife over them to make them a tad smaller. The large chunks of preshredded carrot won't cook enough in the time it takes to bake the cupcakes, and you'll have raw carrots in your cake. Gross. 

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe
- 1.5 cups flour (not self rising flour!)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup raw sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely shredded carrots
- 2/3 cup melted salted butter
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup each of raisins, walnuts, pecans or other additions you care for in your carrot cake

For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 4oz package cream cheese
- 2 sticks salted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, spices, sugar and salt. Stir in the eggs, milk, vanilla, butter and carrots, mixing well. Add any optional ingredients. Grease cupcake pan (I'm not into wasteful liners - they're so unnecessary! Why put something on a cupcake that will only get immediately removed and thrown away?) and fill each cup slightly more than half full. 

Bake for about 17 minutes (depending on location, humidity level and elevation) or until golden brown on the edges. Place a cooling rack over the cupcake pan, and invert the cupcakes on the cooling rack to they can cool and you can use the pan for the remaining batter. Makes about 20-24 cupcakes.

For the frosting, let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature completely. In a medium sized bowl, add the room temp cream cheese, butter, vanilla and half the sugar. Mix until incorporated, then add remaining sugar. Mix well again. The frosting should be semi-sweet, and slightly tart from the cream cheese to balance the sweetness of the cupcake.

Frost the completely cooled cupcakes simply with a butter knife, or use the trick I did: Place the frosting in a Ziploc freezer bag. Cut a small corner off the end of the bag and push the frosting down and out of that corner. This makes it easy to frost the cupcakes and make fancy swirls or other designs!
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Enjoy! The cake part is sweet and balanced by the semi sweet, slightly tart frosting. I watched my husband put away three of these in one day, they're that good! Yes, this truly is the BEST carrot cake recipe.


  1. Oh my gosh, this looks amazing- I love carrot cake, and it’s even more cool and special that you used your own carrots!


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  2. I loveee carrot cake and so does my dad! We agree that it raisins and other fruits have no place in carrot cake. I'm going to use this recipe when I make his cupcakes for his birthday this year!

  3. I'm one of those people who love carrot cake! In fact, I've been wanting to make it for a while now, so this is great timing. Your homegrown carrots look beautiful! I love the colors!

  4. Homemade carrot cake is to die for! Thanks for the awesome recipe! Your pictures are beautiful, too!

  5. This looks so good! I actually think I've only had carrot cake once in my life but now I'm totally craving it!

  6. omg I love carrot cake, I've only done it by box mix though, would love to try it from scratch!

  7. I absolutely love making and eating carrot cake! Your images and recipe look delicious!

  8. My mom absolutely loves Carrot Cake. It's one of her absolute favorites. I'm holding onto this for her birthday!


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  10. I LOVE carrot cake! Kellen used to hate it, until he tried some that a friend made (who owns a fancy bakery), and now he loves it. This recipe looks so good and like traditional carrot cake should be.

  11. You did a great job icing these! They're beautiful. These look and sound so GOOD (and EASY!).

  12. I love carrot cake and these right here are my kind of desserts.

  13. Carrot cake is one of my absolute favorites - can't wait to try this!

  14. This sounds so good! I bet adding fresh carrots enhances the flavor! I'll have to try this out!

  15. My fiance LOVES carrot cake! His birthday is coming up and I would love to make him this!

  16. This looks SO good! It's all about the frosting, in my opinion!


  17. Carrot cake is one of my favorite things! I love how you made these into cupcakes -- so fun, especially for a celebration!


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  21. I have no words to say, I just love Carrot cake.
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