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Easy and Simple Carrot Cake Recipe

My Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe

This Best Homemade Carrot Cake is guaranteed to please your guests at any get-together.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10


For the cake:

  • 2 cups chopped pecans (1 cup for cake batter, 1 cup for garnish)
  • 1 & ½ cups packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 & ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 4 large)

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 16 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 4 & ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream or milk
  • 1 & ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped pecans evenly and bake for 7-8 minutes. Set aside to cool
  • Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees and grease 3 9-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside
  • In a medium bowl whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, apple sauce, and vanilla together until combined. Keep whisking until no clumps of brown sugar are left
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold together. There should still be a bit of flour visible
  • Gently fold in 1 cup of the toasted pecans and shredded carrots until combined
  • Pour the batter evenly into each of the prepared cake pans and bake in a preheated oven for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center
  • Remove cake pans from oven carefully and place pans directly on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting
  • Begin making the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl using a hand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until smooth
  • Slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar, cream or milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat for another 30 seconds on low speed, then for 3 minutes on high speed until completely smooth (if the frosting is too thick, add a bit more milk, if it is too thin add a bit more sugar)
  • To begin assembling the cake place one layer on a plate or cake stand and evenly cover the top of the layer with frosting
  • Continue with the next 2 layers adding frosting in between
  • Cover the entire outside with frosting. Decorate with the remaining toasted pecans and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes prior to serving
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