Warning: Everything But The Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake is NOT for purists!

The Great Carrot Cake Debate rages on… and on… an on…

At least it does here in the King Arthur Flour test kitchen, where a bunch of very well-educated college grads spend time each day discussing the relative merits of dark gray vs. light gray aluminum cookie sheets; the best way to pat out a thin-crust pizza; and which are better: cinnamon Flav-R-Bites or cinnamon chips (Flav-R-Bites, hands-down).

Sue Gray, our test kitchen director, started the carrot cake debate sometime last year. In the process of developing a new mix, she asked us kitchen denizens, “Hey, what goes in carrot cake besides carrots?”

Baker A: “NOTHING. Forget all that other junk people like to add.”

Baker B: “Golden raisins. Maybe nuts.”

Baker C: “Pineapple, coconut, nuts, raisins… YUM, what else?”

Bakers A, B, and C, in chorus: “But it has to have cream cheese icing!”

Indeed, cream cheese icing seems to be the carrot cake constant, the one ingredient – besides carrots – all carrot cakes must have. We can agree on that.

As for the rest, we can choose to disagree agreeably.

I have to confess, I’m Baker C – a total carrot cake maverick. While a relatively fine-grained, “pure” carrot cake is OK, I much prefer one with the tangy-sweet bite of pineapple, the savory crunch of nuts, and the tropical touch of coconut.

Though I neglected to add golden raisins to the cake below, I actually think I’d do so next time; I love how raisins morph into soft, moist little pillows of sweetness when they bake.

Oh, and how about diced ginger? Carrots and ginger go together like… well, like carrots and pineapple. And pecans. And cream cheese icing…

Ready? Get out your favorite carrot cake “add-ins,” and let’s begin.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan.


Put the following in a bowl:

4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Beat till smooth, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed.


See how the batter sheets off the beater blade and “ribbons” in the bowl?


Whisk together 3/4 cup melted butter and 3/4 cup vegetable oil. With the beater running, add the oil mixture in a stream, beating till smooth.


Put the following in a bowl:

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice

So, what’s with all the little indentations? That’s so I don’t forget any of the dry ingredients.

When I’m following a recipe with lots of spices, I put the flour in a bowl, and use a spoon to make a little well for each of the ingredients that’ll be whisked into the flour. If I haven’t filled all the wells when I’m ready to whisk, I know I’ve forgotten something.


Whisk to combine.


Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients…


…stirring to make a smooth batter.


Add the following:

3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) finely grated carrots
1 cup diced pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (preferred), or sweetened coconut
1/2 cup diced dried pineapple*
*Substitute one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed dry, if preferred


Stir just to combine.


Spoon the batter into the pan


…spreading it to the edges.


Be sure to use a pan that’s deep enough; the cake will rise fairly high. This 2”-deep pan has a full 1” of headroom to accommodate the baking cake.


Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes…


…until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.


Remove the cake from the oven, and quickly loosen its edges with a spatula. This will help prevent it from sinking in the center.


Cool it right in the pan.

When the cake is cool, make the cream cheese frosting.


For lump-free frosting, take the cream cheese and butter out of the fridge an hour or more ahead of time, to make sure both are at room temperature.


Get out your vanilla; my favorite is this Sonoma Vanilla Bean Crush.


Combine the following in a bowl:

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt


Beat together until smooth.


Sift 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar. Is sifting necessary? Yes, if you want perfectly smooth, lump-free frosting.

Just to make sure you’re not confused, when a recipe says “3 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted” – it means to measure out 3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) sugar, then sift it.

If a recipe says “3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar,” you’d sift the sugar first, then measure it.


Gradually beat the sugar into the cream cheese mixture.

Add 1 tablespoon of milk, beating all the while. Continue to add milk till the frosting is nicely spreadable. I’d added 1 1/2 tablespoons at this point; it’s not quite spreadable enough for my taste…


…so I added another 1/2 tablespoon of milk. Perfect!


Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again to make sure the frosting is perfectly smooth.


Dollop the frosting onto the cake.


Spread it to the edges.


I thought I’d get fancy, and use my bowl scraper to make perfectly smooth frosting. But I never could get it PERFECTLY smooth; the scraper always left a few lines.


Never mind, this is good enough!


I did feel the urge to do something to that pristine white top, however. It was an empty canvas, waiting for some color.

Ah-HA! Piped-sugar carrots.


Artfully placed.


Now, for the taste test. Nice and moist…


…tasty frosting…



See that cake in the back? That’s a slice of carrot cake from our King Arthur Bakery.  I think our homemade version here compares very favorably.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for “Kitchen Sink” Carrot Cake.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Erin in PA

    I too am a kitchen sink carrot cake fan. I cannot say enough good things about Flav-R bites and crystalized ginger chips either! I made the Chewy Granola bar recipe last weekend and both of those items made the bars outrageous!! Carrot cake always says Easter to me, may give this one a tryout before the holiday! 🙂

    It’s always good to do a test run on recipes before a special food holiday! Enjoy your practice run! Irene @ KAF

  2. Kristin A

    Any changes to convert this into a cupcake? Since it rises a lot, how much should the cupcake well be filled? 1/2? 2/3?

    Fill the cupcake wells about 2/3 full, I’d say. This will probably make 2 dozen cupcakes. Start checking for doneness at probably 25 minutes. Let us know how they come out, Kristin- PJH

  3. Beth

    Hi PJ, if this is the same recipe as the one in the Baker’s Companion, that is a great recipe (I’m too lazy to look to compare). Before I discovered the KAF recipe, I loved a Southern Living recipe for carrot cake that mixed all those wonderful additions of nuts, coconut, and raisins in the ICING; that was/is a great cake. And I have seen melted white chocolate added to a cream cheese frosting; you can even pipe decorations with that recipe (I think it’s in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “Cake Bible.” But I’m with you: I love pineapple, raisins and coconut in the carrot cake itself, with plenty of cinnamon.

    Based on the BC recipe, MB, but tweaked a bit. And yes, I’d forgotten about the white chocolate-cream cheese icing thing… AND I just read in Fine Cooking about adding melted white chocolate to cheesecake filling. I don’t like white chocolate but THAT does sound good! Hope you’re warming up down there – PJH

  4. Rachel

    I think I’ve found the recipe I’ll use for my son’s first birthday cake! Thanks!

    Rachel – my son is now 24, but for his 1st birthday, in 1986: carrot cake. Trust me, the cake and frosting will go everywhere but in his mouth, so have your camera ready… PJH

  5. todd

    Um, I’m not quite sure I have enough information to decide whether I come down on the “purist” or “maverick” side of the carrot cake question.

    Please forward a comprehensive cross-section of representative samples to my address.

    I will make a decision after a thorough investigation.

    🙂 PJH

  6. Patsy

    Fiori di Sicilia raises cream cheese frosting to new heights – 1/4 tsp with or without vanilla.

    Good suggestion, Patsy – thanks! PJH

  7. Elana E

    My mouth is watering! I will find a way to make this soon!

    Mouths are watering, sap is flowing, and our fancies turn to carrot cake! Irene @ KAF

  8. Suzanne B.

    I just made my famous CC for a friend’s birthday last week. Wanna know my “secret”: rum-soaked raisins, hand-chopped walnuts AND sugar-coated bits of pineapple….
    He tasted the cake and purred. It was worth it just for that….
    Me? I don’t even LIKE carrot cake. I just like to bake it for appreciative people 🙂

    Suzanne, the “rum-soaked” is definitely resonating with me… I[m not a huge cc fan either, but my husband thinks it’s #2 behind pineapple upside-down cake… PJH

  9. Franke UK

    Thank you!!! I followed you’re recipe step by step et voile, whilst not looking quite as professional as yours it tastes exquisite!! Additionally, I am back in favour with my girlfriend!! Result

  10. DorianTB

    I’ll take anything in my carrot cake except booze, nuts and gluten. Which reminds me: will your upcoming gluten-free mixes include a carrot cake flavor? 🙂

    No plans for GF carrot cake mix that I know of, Dorian… But I’ll suggest it to the team for sure. PJH

    1. Shelby

      A GF carrot cake is the easiest kind of GF cake to make. All you do is use this exact recipe, subbing gf flour…and no one will know. Moist and delicious. Why ever use a mix is beyond me…

  11. sgw

    I really like carrot cake, but loathe & despise (no word too strong) cream-cheese icing. Does anyone have other icings they’ve tried that please the cream-cheese icing-lovers & -haters both?

    How about coconut frosting, or a fluffy white buttercream? Then again, you can always simply mix confectioners’ sugar, a pinch of salt, vanilla, and enough cream or milk to make a spreadable frosting… PJH

    1. luanna

      Brown-Butter icing would be (and is) wonderful on carrot cake (or pumpkin cake or zucchini cake).
      Basically, brown some of the butter called for in a basic buttercream icing recipe. I use a small, heavy no-stick skillet to brown the butter. You have to SIT RIGHT THERE while this is browning as it can burn really quickly. Remove it from the burner when it just begins to brown, as it will continue browning off the burner. Let it cool before adding it to your icing ingredients. It makes for a light-tan-colored icing, but is beautiful with the carrot cake.

  12. Kelly

    LOL, just this morning I was thinking of trying out the sourdough carrot cake on your site… It’s a sign. I need to make carrot cake. Now I must admit, I have never really been a big fan of pineapple in carrot cake and definitely not raisins. (Pineapple upside down cake is a different matter. Yum!) The interesting thing is, when I read through the recipe and saw DRIED pinapple instead, I was totally okay with that! I like to dehydrate any leftover fresh pineapple we have so I might try that if I can dice it fine enough. The stuff is like candy but no added sugar like the storebought kind. Maybe I’ll try half pineapple and half crystallized ginger…

    Sounds like a plan, Kelly – Love the addition of ginger. PJH

  13. Kimberly D

    I think I found what I am making for my churches linger longer luncheon next Sunday. Thanks! I never thought of pecans instead of walnuts, I think I will use pecans for I am not a walnut fan. And the white chocolate mixed in with the cream cheese frosting that is a great and yummy idea, thanks Beth! How much white chocolate? And do you have to let it cool some before mixing it in with the cream cheese?

    Kimberly, I’d think you’d mix room temperature cream cheese with melted chocolate that’s cooled a bit, for the smoothest result. Use 6 ounces (1 cup chopped). Beth? PJH

  14. Joy

    I am intrigued by the note that you should gently loosen the edges of the cake when you take it out of the oven to prevent the center from falling. Do you have any explanation as to why it works and does it work on other cakes as well? I do often have that problem which makes the center pieces of my carrot cakes a delight for those who love the cream cheese frosting. Hmmm, maybe I don’t want to fix that problem;-)

  15. LINDA

    This cake looks outstanding. I make carrot cake every Easter and was looking for a new recipe. The one I make uses vegetable oil as a shortening but I like this version that uses 1/2 oil and 1/2 melted butter. Mine uses only nuts and raisins but I can’t wait to try the addition of coconut ,pineapple and ginger . I ice mine with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with marzipan carrots (that I make). If I want to bake in 9″ pans any idea how long they should bake? Can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!
    Hi Linda,
    Try 30 minutes or so for your 9″ cakes. All ovens vary, so check a bit early and check often. ~ MaryJane

  16. Dana

    Great minds think alike! After supper last night my Hubster and I made a carrot cake with curants, sultanas, and walnuts. And on the bottom of the pan we layered some of the leftover Pineapple Rum mixture from Chritmas from your “Tropical Fruit Cake” recipe mixed with melted butter and brown sugar. It was to die for, especially with the cream cheese frosting spread on top!
    I knew I’d find SOMETHING to do with that dried pineapple soaked in rum! And it only took me 3 months. *wink*

  17. CindyD

    I’m dying to try this cake, but the full recipe will be too much for the two of us – I assume I can halve the recipe and bake it in a 8 inch square pan or make twelve cupcakes. Any hints? And will it freeze?

    Cindy – I think in an 8×8 pan it will be a little big once this recipe is halved. Yes, you could try making 12 cupcakes. It should freeze beautifully. Another blogger suggested after making it in the 9×13, cut into quarters. Eat one and freeze the other 3! Elisabeth @ KAF

  18. AJ

    One of the young men I used to work with was CRAZY about carrot cake.
    He used to go around to all the vending machines in the building and get every carrot snack cake there was. Every potluck just “happened” to
    include a carrot cake and someone would always bake him one for his
    birthday! His darling bride even ordered carrot cake for their wedding.
    PS: His nickname was “Bunny”!

  19. Lish

    I love both types of carrot cake for different reasons. I just love cake, period, especially with the addition of carrots. I often use crushed pineapple in my carrot cake muffins (based on the sourdough carrot cake, lots of whole wheat, less oil, etc.) but I have never thought to try the dried. That with crystallized ginger would be wonderful. Will have to make that for Easter breakfast, maybe with those cute little carrot and chick decorations!
    Oh Lish, you just gotta get the chicks and bunnies and carrots. They are soo cute! It just adds to the greatness of the cake. ~ MaryJane

  20. Cindy

    Would I change this recipe for high altitudes–about 5000 feet.
    Looks so good I really want a success. Thanks’
    HI Cindy,
    We don’t have a way to test for high altitude adjustments here in VT, but if you look here, you will find our tips on high altitude baking. ~MaryJane

  21. whole grain Mama

    Here’s my easy cream cheese frosting recipe — much more cream cheese flavor than the versions with confectioners sugar, which, IMHO dilutes the flavor.

    1 package of cream cheese, softened to room temp.
    1/3 cup honey, warmed
    1 TB vanilla extract.

    beat until smooth. Frost. It will frost the top of a sheet cake. I usually use two packages of cream cheese (same amount of honey, though) to frost a cake out of the pan, but I like thick frosting.

  22. Nel

    I’m with A, B, and C: cream cheese frosting is a Good Thing. But I second Patsy in saying that cream cheese frosting with Fiora di Sicilia is a GREAT THING. Seriously. I urge everyone to try it. (Everyone reading this board that is. Closer to home, I use it, watch the reaction [like catnip for cake-eaters], bask in the praise, and say, ‘Oh, that’s my secret ingredient… can’t tell you that’. A woman’s got to have some mystery, after all.)

    As they used to say in the ads, ‘run, don’t walk,’ to your cupboard and get out the fioria next time you are making cream cheese frosting. You’ll win prizes, praise, a following. You’ll never go back to plain, old CC frosting again.

    There’s only one downside to cream cheese frosting with Fi di Si: you’ll want to eat it off the spoon, and you may not have enough for the cake.

    I’m also curious about the same thing Joy asked about: what’s the ‘science’ behind loosening the cake immediately to avoid getting a crater?

    Oh, you are so funny and sneaky at the same time! Loosening the sides will help release the tension as the cake is cooling. Maybe this is a good thing to do when the cake is heavy with ingredients? PJ? Elisabeth @ KAF

    If you don’t loosen the sides (and they haven’t naturally pulled away from the pan during the baking process), the edges will tend to hold onto the sides, while the middle settles a bit, thus yielding taller sides, and the appearance of a sunken middle. As Elisabeth says, this is more apparent with heavier/denser type cakes. PJH

  23. Patti S

    All sounds YUMMY!
    To include Suzanne B’s suggestion of rum, I’ve also used Cinnamon Schnapps, Yukon Jack, Southern Comfort as a rehydration bath for my raisins (NOT all at once!). No quiet, timid raisins allowed in my house!
    For the nuts (like me!), I’ve been shown by my mother to use what’s on hand, including hickory nuts. I don’t find hickory nuts where I live now, but I’d go for just about other kind.
    Thanks for you do at KAF and please keep it up!

    Patti, love it – raisins are so amenable to being soaked – in anything, aren’t they? I love Capt. Morgan vanilla spiced rum. For those eschewing alcohol, any kind of fruit juice is fine. “Timid raisins,” indeed! 🙂 PJH

  24. RobynB

    I’m with SJC on the cream cheese frosting so I always frost my carrot cake with whipped cream. Inside mine will be toasted walnuts or pecans and pineapple or apple. Yum!

  25. LF

    I must admit that I am between Baker A and Baker B – carrots and coconut is okay (maybe raisins). But this cake looks delicious! I must ask – can you explain the “science” involved with loosening the edges immediately after baking? I didn’t realize that would help prevent collapse in the middle. Should this be done for all types of cakes? Thanks in advance.

    Loosening the sides will help release the tension as the cake is cooling. Maybe this is a good thing to do when the cake is heavy with ingredients? PJ? Elisabeth @ KAF

    If you don’t loosen the sides (and they haven’t naturally pulled away from the pan during the baking process), the edges will tend to hold onto the sides, while the middle settles a bit, thus yielding taller sides, and the appearance of a sunken middle. As Elisabeth says, this is more apparent with heavier/denser type cakes. PJH

  26. FRAN S


    Yes, I agree with you on the age thing! Whatever works for you – wells, little bowls… This cake would freeze beautifully. Elisabeth @ KAF

  27. Louise Persson

    I compared this recipe with the recipe in BC. How do the two cakesdiffer when baked? I’ve never baked either of these.
    This recipe is more assertive than the BC one and has all those great add-ins! Molly @ KAF

  28. Buzz

    I have been making my carrot cake like this for years. I use the crushed pineapple squeezed dry. I have had favorable comments everytime I made it, saying it was the best carrot cake they every ate.

  29. Louise Persson

    I compared this recipe with the one in BC and noted several differences. I’ve never made either recipe before. What is the difference in the finished cakes?

    Louise, the one in the book is all vegetable oil, and this one has less oil/more butter; the new version adds brown sugar to the white sugar, for a slightly darker cake; and the new version has more spices, and more carrots, making it more assertive both in taste, and texture. Hope this helps – PJH

  30. Louise

    Thanks for a great answer. I’m going for the new “more assertive” version!

    Glad we could help! Enjoy – PJH

  31. LF

    Thanks so much for answering my question above (loosening sides of cake). Completely explains why I had a sunken middle on a cinnamon cake I made a few weeks ago. I learn so much from you guys! Another question – I see that you think the cake will freeze great – does that also include the cream cheese frosting as well? I am tempted to bake this, but would like to freeze portions for later indulgences! Looking forward to meeting some of you in San Diego this weekend!
    HI LF,
    I’m not a big fan of freezing cream cheese, but others here like it just fine. Just remember that the texture of the icing will be a little wet after the freezing. Me, I’d make and freeze the cake and make the icing fresh when serving the cake. ~ MaryJane

  32. sherry

    How long do you soak the raisins in rum? and what kind of raisins do you use?

    I like golden raisins, Sherry. Add a couple of tablespoons of rum, cover with plastic, and microwave for about 1 minute. Remove from the microwave, and cool with the plastic on. When they’re cool, add to cake. PJH

  33. Maggie

    This message is for Cindy who asked about changes for high altitude. I’m at ~4500ft which is pretty close to your 5000 and there are several changes that help when baking at our altitude. Reduce the sugar by 2Tbs/1cup, increase flour by 1-2Tbs/recipe, decrease leavening a little. If the recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda I tend to reduce the soda first since it is a much stronger leavening agent. I routinely make these changes for cookies and cakes. For cakes I’ll often also add 1-2 extra egg yolks. This helps lighter cakes keep their shape. On the first try of a cake recipe for my son’s birthday I made cupcakes that tasted delicious but essentially fell apart. Fortunately I did a test run so they came out great the day of the party. This carrot cake recipe probably wouldn’t have that problem, but I would reduce the sugar by 3-4Tbs and decrease soda to ~1/2tsp, maybe? That will reduce the chance of a very sunken middle.
    Baking at altitude can be a challenge, if you experiment a little, though, you’ll find a few tricks that can turn crumbs into cake. Good luck!

  34. Marguerite

    I have made a similar recipe for many years, but didn’t like the idea of the 1 1/2 cups of butter and oil. To replace it, I added 1/2 cup of oil, 1/2 cup buttermilk and an 8 oz tin of crushed pineapple (there is 1/2 cup of juice with the pineapple). This turned out with the same texture and moistness, but with a lot less fat. I also made it in a bundt cake pan as it looks a bit more festive, to rave results.

  35. Patty

    I am just happy to see a carrot cake recipe that isn’t SATURATED with oil. When I make a carrot cake I always substitute part (OK, I admit it, sometimes all) of the oil with butter. Otherwise, all I can taste is a soggy, oily cake.

    Glad your substitution of butter for oil works. Thanks for sharing it with the other bakers out there who have the same taste/ texture preferences as you do! Irene @ KAF

  36. Janet

    This looks terrific. I’ve made the KA recipe for carrot cake out of the Whole Grain Baking, and I’ve had raves every time I made it. (looks similar to this one). It also has the additions of pineapple, nuts, & coconut. Usually I don’t even tell people it’s made with all whole wheat flour, and they never know. Using KA white whole wheat flour helps, I’m sure. It’s pretty dense, but moist and yummy. Thanks for the tip about the indentations, and loosening the sides. Usually the pieces in the middle have more icing to fill in that little dip- LOL.

  37. Oonagh

    I’ve made the carrot cake from ‘the best recipes from New England Inns’ by Yankee for over 20 years and always make it for parties at one friends house. I like to make it in a bundt pan as well, it looks prettier and prevents any sogginess in the middle. And yes, everything but the kitchen sink except for coconut – husband doesn’t like coconut. I love the idea of soaking raisins in rum which is naturally gluten free. For lady asking for gluten free carrot cake, I just make 1/2 the recipe from New England Inns book in bundt pan, 1 tsp xanthan gum to 1 cup of my gf flour mix, and just increase baking powder, vanilla and cinnamon by about a third. Yummy and no one realizes it’s gluten free.

  38. Anne in AZ

    I HAVE to make this cake! I love carrot cake, but I don’t like nuts or coconut. I also have kids with nut allergies. This cake looks so moist, I just am dying to eat it! Do I need to make any adjustments if I am not adding the nutty stuff? Also, how do you get your carrots finely grated? Do you use a food processor or just the fine side of a box grater?

    Cream cheese frosting is one of my downfalls. I love adding cinnamon to it for a kick once in a while, and I think it will work very well for this cake!

    Thanks again PJ! My waistline is expanding (not only due to my pregnancy, but to all of your wonderful blog posings!).

    You can leave out the coconut and nuts without altering the rest of the recipe. I believe PJ used the food processor to grate those carrots. Cinnamon in cream cheese frosting sounds delicious! Molly @ KAF

  39. Logan

    This cake looks wonderful and I like the idea of using a bundt pan. I’m wondering if I substitute apple for carrot and delete the coconut and pineapple will it effect the mositure content of the cake. Because I live in Maui I’d have to use Macadamia nuts.

    Give it a try, Logan – I think it’ll be just fine. And too bad, living in Maui and having to substitute macadamia nuts! 🙂 PJH

  40. Diane

    This recipe will not disappoint! It is so moist and delicious, I have to talk myself out of not to have another piece. LOVE IT, thanks for a great recipe. I did substitute 1/3 amount of regular flour with wheat flour. I think I will take the less butter route and use the oil, buttermilk and the pineapple trick, then I won’t feel guilty having another piece of it 🙂

  41. LaVerle

    Carrot Cake!! My absolute favorite. My recipe is similar and is also the kitchen sink kind but has a buttermilk mixture glaze that is poured on while the layers are still hot. Also use fiore di sicilia in the frosting AND Orange Curacao instead of milk.
    Oh Boy! Logan’s substitution of macadamia nuts sounds divine.
    Gonna have to try that.
    Really like the pictures you include in your blogs. They make the directions so much easier to follow and gives me a feeling of confidence when trying the unknown. Thanks for all the blogs.

  42. Suzanne Mitchell

    Love your step by step recipes BUT I don’t like to hunt thru the steps to find the recipe. Is this recipe printed someplace? or am I the only malcontent?

    PS:I’m going to try this recipe today. So far I have thrown out 4 carrot cakes searching for one that is a keeper. I wonder if 3 1/2 C of carrots isn’t too much carrot.

    You will find most recipes in our regular recipe section. Quite often there will be link back and forth so you can look at the blog and go to the recipe and then back to the blog. 3 1/2 cups of carrots will give you a nice moist cake. Joan @KAF

  43. Rob Howard

    I haven’t tried the recipe yet but I must comment on the quality of this How-To presentation. This is the way online demonstrations should be done.

    Congrats to the production team involved in putting this together.

  44. Margaret

    Thank you Oonagh for showing me how to make the carrot cake gluten free. i was just going to send a message asking if it could be done.

    To the person who wondered about getting too old to bake, I bake all my gluten free breads, cakes, cookies etc, and I am 83.

  45. Sitina Watts

    My husbands favorite cake is carrot cake. We like the addition of coconut, pineapple and raisins with walnuts. To cut some of the oily taste that you get with carrot cake I’ve started substituting half of the oil called for with applesauce, I think it taste alot better and everyone raves about my carrot cake.

  46. Lyn from PA

    This looks fantastic. All those flavors. Rum raisin. Yum. I especially like the substitution of buttermilk and pineapple juice for some of the oil/butter. What would happen if I used all whole wheat flour? With all the carrots, pineapple, and raisins, that would make this a cake I would bake more often, not just for special occasions. While I enjoy going all out with the eggs sugar and fat once in a while, something that is good for you is what I prefer to eat more often.

  47. Joyce Dupont

    I love the demonstration of this recipe. I also love CC! It reminds me of working days. When a b/day would come up the people would ask me to pick up CC from a local bakery as Don’s Bakery made the best. Whenever I would call to order Don would say, call me to remind me to buy fresh carrots! lol… I’m planning to make this recipe soon.

  48. Lee

    kitchen sink…add some mashed banana and suddenly you have Hummingbird Cake!

    Pondering a way to make an orange juice glaze a la rum cake instead of cream cheese frosting. (although I love c.c. frosting I’m always looking for new ideas)

    There are a couple Orange Glaze recipes on our website. At the recipe page, type orange glaze into the search box and you will see a couple options. We hope one of them fits your needs. Irene @ KAF

  49. cassmac84

    So my mom thinks that Cheesecake Factory’s carrot cake is to die for. I have never tasted it but told her I would try to make her one just as good with a KAF recipe. However, this recipe looks extremely moist. would this recipe do well as a layered cake? I compared this and the king arthur carrot cake. Which do you think would stand up better for the task? Also, if i decide to add pineapple to the KA carrot cake what should be changed in the recipe? Thanks! I heart KAF!!!!
    Howdy! As you probably know, PJ’s been out of town at the Housewares Show, but I’ll have her take a look at your questions when she gets back and advise on the layering. Thanks! ~ MaryJane

    Hi – Haven’t tried this as a layer cake, but go ahead and try either in two 9″ round pans; I’m thinking the KA might be slightly less moist and slightly easier to handle. To add pineapple, use a small (8-ounce) can pineapple, drained and squeezed dry; and reduce the amount of carrots by 1/2 cup. Enjoy – PJH

  50. Yolanda Medina

    Can this recipe be made in a bundt pan?

    Never tried it, Yolanda, but I don’t see why not. Fil the pan about 2/3 full; bake at 350°F for probably 60 to 70 minutes? You’ll have to play it by ear (er, eye). Let us know how it turns out – PJH

  51. Pat Bryce

    This is my first time reading the comments page and I’ve already learned so much! “Wow” was my comment when I saw the tip for loosening the edges, etc. 70 yrs. old, have loved to bake for years and didn’t know that one! To think, if the carrot cake hadn’t caught my eye I’d still be wondering “what did I do wrong”! I love everything about your site and the KAF magazine. Faithfully it comes to me in FL and in NY and I love the contents! I used your dog biscuit mix for my friend’s dog that comes to visit almost everyday and she loves them! Anything for my cat? Keep up your wonderful work! I’ll print out the carrot cake recipe now!
    HI Pat,
    I don’t know of any cat treat recipes, but it’s definitely something we should put on our list. Susan Reid has a cat and Andrea too, I’ll have to ask them. Happy Baking! ~ MaryJane

    I discovered last week that our cat Bogart really likes mashed potatoes, when I let him lick the spoon. Go figure! Susan

  52. Iscah

    I just made this to the recipe (rare, I usually change something!) and it was very tasty – although I agree with the author that the raisins would have improved it – and, I would argue, some ground cloves. I made a layer cake, as some people were asking about, and it behaved very well. My pans were about 9.5″, and had the batter been perfectly even, I think they would both have cooked in about 36 minutes; as it was, one was done at 35 and one at 38. Both were moist, even, and very tasty. No sinking in the middle! I did use the can of pineapple instead of dried, as I love the softness of pineapple in a carrot cake. I was amazed at the quantity of fruit and nuts I was adding (3 and a half cups of carrot is a LOT!) but it all mixed in without me feeling like I was short of batter. Next time I’m doing half walnuts and half pecans, also, but this is definitely my new carrot cake recipe. Thanks!

  53. Lyn from PA

    I made this sort of the standard way, and it was very, very good. But I wondered about whole wheat flour, and less fat. So I tweaked. A total of 1 1/4 C sugar with 3 T molasses for the brown sugar. 1/2 C melted butter, 1/2 C water with 3 T buttermilk powder, an 8 oz. can undrained crushed pineapple, the regular brown whole wheat flour instead of white flour. DH won’t have cocoanut or nuts, and after 40 years I know when to pick my fights. Instead about 3/4 C raisins, no rum to soak them in, sorry, maybe next time. Then I tweaked the frosting. Eliminate the butter, 10 oz confectioner’s sugar, and the other ingredients the same, but no liquid needed. I just had a piece and it is gooood. And a bit better for you. I’m more likely to make my tweaked version for family, and the ‘official’ version for company/church.
    ‘tweaked’ version for every day.

    Wow, thanks so much for taking the time to share your tweaks with us, Lyn; it’s always great to have a “better for you” version of a favorite recipe. – PJH

  54. gypsybaker

    I made this for Easter dinner and it was a fabulous hit…made it just as the recipe was written; but, added Fiori di Sicilia to the frosting. My additions were: pecans (toasted), 8 oz crushed pineapple squeezed dry and some Cpt. Morgan’s spiced rum-soaked raisins…I had always failed at cc as it always turned out too “wet”; but, this one was a home run!! Thank you sooo much. Next, I will try the other readers’ suggestions; but, honestly, this was fantastic!

  55. Janet M

    I baked this with my great nephew this weekend. I used the fiori di sicilia instead of vanilla. My husband said it was the best carrot cake he has ever eaten! It was very yummy and I will make this again.

  56. milkwithknives

    Ohhh, this is good. In place of the butter/oil mixture I used a cup of buttermilk and half a cup of browned butter. My goodness! Oh, my goodness, it was delicious. I had never tried to make a carrot cake before, but that’s what my dad picked for his birthday this year, so I raced over to the KA website to find out how to make one. Voila! I loved being able to control the add ins and make it the way we liked it (chopped up raisins, toasted almonds, etc.). And everyone LOVED the frosting. I used vanilla bean paste and a scant 1/4 t. of Fiori di Sicilia, and everyone went nuts over the “dreamsicle” flavor. Even my sister, a non-fan of frosting, scraped the last of it off and ate it when she was too full to finish her cake.

    Once again, KA (and its wonderful baking community with all their suggestions and experience) saved the day. Thanks so much. -Erin

  57. dogmom04

    If I’m eating it, I like good carrot cake, period. But my recipe, which I think is as good as any I’ve ever had, does include crushed pineapple. Years ago, in the interest of better health and not wasting the pineapple juice, I began using the drained juice- replacing some of the oil with it. If I’m keeping the cake at home, and therefore probably eating more than one serving, I usually replace half of the oil ( mine calls for only oil, 1-1/2 C) with canned pineapple juice. It is still incredibly moist and delicious! I had carrot cake on today’s baking agenda; what a surprise to find it’s Nat’l Carrot Cake Day!


    Perfect timing, as I’ve had a request for carrot cake for Valentine’s Day. Question>>The long silicone (or nylon?) spatulas have been my absolute favorites for years, but are no longer available locally. Can you tell me the source? Does KAF sell them? Thanks!
    We sure do sell them, you can find them right here. ~Amy

  59. barbatof

    Carrot Cake was our wedding cake (it’s the ONLY cake I lke!). I’ll try this recipe without the pineapple (which belongs in Hummingbird cake with bananas) but will add the soaked rasins, cndied ginger and finely chopped pecans. I’ll try the Fiori di Sicilia in my cream cheese icing…sounds like a great substitution over vanilla. Thanks for sharing all these ideas, bloggers!

  60. mamameg

    I don’t usually write reviews, but got the best compliments on this cake, didn’t change the cake batter at all. For the icing I uses 2 packages of cream cheese, butter, honey, vanilla and some confectionery sugar to ,my likeness of not to sweet. I was told it tasted better than our local old fashion bakery, which is a huge compliment. Definitely a keeper recipe. Will try rum soaked raisins next time for sure.
    In our house, if a dish is particularly good, we say it is “restaurant good”, meaning we’d pay money for it in a restaurant. Sounds like your cake hit “bakery good!”. ~ MaryJane

  61. Roxanne Morris

    I made this cake for yesterday’s hike. I didn’t have the pineapple or coconut, and didn’t ice it (I hate leaving daisy-based food in the car for hours). Everyone loved it, and several people wanted the recipe. Of course, I directed them to your website, with the encouraging “You cannot go wrong with a KAF recipe”. Happy campers!

    Glad it was a great success! Betsy@KAF

  62. Melanie

    Did you cook the carrots before hand or were they raw??

    Raw, Melanie – they’ll cook just enough as the cake bakes. PJH

  63. NAT

    I am dying to try this but as a 9 in round layer cake. should there be changes to this recipe? I don’t want to ‘wing’ it for my first time. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      9 X 13 cake recipes convert to two 9″ pans perfectly! Bake at 350′ for 30-35 minutes. Happy Baking – Irene@KAf

  64. Mary

    What would I have to change (if anything) if I wanted to add raisins to this recipe, I’d like to keep all the other ingredients that are already there.

    1. Amy Trage

      Mary, you can add some raisins to this recipe, but don’t soak them as you’ll run the risk of over-hydrating the batter. ~Amy

  65. Janet N.

    I made this for Easter. So delicious, great recipe. I used canned pineapple as directed, but could’ve used a bit more. All the ingredients made a very moist cake, but not one ingredient overpowers. This will be my carrot cake recipe from now on. Thanks!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      So glad you enjoyed it, Janet – thanks so much for sharing your feedback here. PJH

  66. KellyTKCK

    Ok, gonna make this for my son’s birthday. Can I use a 10″ spring form pan ? Will I have to cook longer. I know it will probably be too much batter so how far should I fill the pan. I can use the let over in a smaller pan. Also, can I use the pre grated carrots you can get at the store instead of grating myself ? Thanks for any help 🙂 Regards

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The area of a 10″ pan is 78 sq inches; the area of the 9×13 pan is 117 sq inches. You will have extra batter- it makes for great cupcakes! Fill the pan about 1/3-1/2 way at the most. Bake it for 30-35 minutes and test for doneness. The pre grated carrots are not the same because they tend to be thicker and drier than the ones you’ll grate at home. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  67. elisa

    I’m planning on making a carrot cake with additions of coconut and walnuts for a birthday party this weekend….however i cant put them in the cake due to allergies. Any way I can omit both without changing the rest of the recipe, or ruining the end result?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Elisa, you can leave both of those out. The cake will be a thinner layer in the pan, due to leaving those out, but it’ll still taste fine and bake up OK. Good luck – PJH

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Diana. This may take a couple of tries, and whatever you do the cookie isn’t going to be crisp (too much liquid from the carrots for that), but here’s what I’d try: Cream the 3/4 cup butter with the two sugars. Take out the oil entirely. Cut the eggs to 1, which you beat into the sugar with the spices. Delete the baking soda entirely. Next mix in 2 cups carrots (they need to be really finely ground, or they’re going to stay raw and crunchy). Add the flour next (I’m thinking 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups). Next, nuts, coconut, and dried pineapple (NO WAY fresh will work). Scoop and bake for 11 minutes (target time) at 350°F. And for heaven’s sake, tell us what happened!!! Susan

  68. Crys

    So, I’ve spent countless hours looking for a carrot cake recipe. The first time I madeit it was a hit (recipe from another site). The second time I made it (it was a baking soda/hard brick; recipe from another site). This is my third time making it and I’m so excited. It’s in the oven now. I omitted the nuts and ginger, but I did add a half a cup of rum infused raisins (they’ve been soaking for 3 months). As for the icing, I’ll be trying the recipe with the honey that another poster advised. I’m so excited. 😀

  69. Marge

    Could whole wheat or whole-wheat pastry flour be substituted instead of (or partly for) the all-purpose flour? Has anyone tried it? I do like the variation someone mentioned of using honey instead of sugar for the cream cheese frosting.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You might consider using 25% white whole wheat flour in this recipe and see what the taste and texture results are. If they are pleasing, consider 50% white whole wheat. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  70. JoJo

    I made this carrot cake and cream cheese frosting exactly as written for a potluck dinner with my friends tonight, and it was SO DELICIOUS!

    It was just perfect. It didn’t fall in the middle, it wasa high and fluffy cake and lots of texture from the pineapple, coconut, and pecans, while not dry at all.

    Thanks so much for my new go-to recipe for carrot cake!

  71. Julie

    I actually have a question. Can this carrot cake be made as a layer cake if I am able to thicken the frosting so it doesn’t ooze out between the layers? If so, would anyone know if the batter amount would work for 2-eight, or 2-nine inch pans? I would really appreciate the advice. I’m making this for a shower and think it would look prettier as a layer cake.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Julie, this recipe can certainly be made as a layer cake. For best results, we recommend baking this recipe in two 8″ pans (for thicker layers) or 9″ pans (for standard layers) rather than baking it all in one pan and trying to split it. You don’t need to make any adjustments to the recipe other than reducing the baking time to about 30-35 minutes; simply divide the batter evenly between the two greased, parchment-lined pans, which is approximately 5 cups of batter. If you have a scale, you can weigh how much batter you add to each pan to ensure that both contain the same amount of batter. Don’t fret if you don’t though–if the two pans look equal to the eye, they will look just fine when covered in delicious cream cheese frosting! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  72. Laurie

    I made this cake for my birthday last week (yes, I made a cake for my own birthday). We had game night with friends and I just felt like making it.
    It turned out awesome. The only adjustments I made were eliminating the coconut and adding golden raisins. I used canned crushed pineapple because I already had that in the cupboard. I used walnuts for the nut choice.
    The only other change I might make would be to have less sugar and more cream cheese in the frosting, but that is a personal preference.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      We are so glad to hear that you had a lovely birthday with family and friends, Laurie! Many happy returns of the day. ~ MJ

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Susie, while our blog posts are not currently available in a printable version, the recipe page is printable. Click on the link to the recipe that is found right beneath the title picture, highlighted in orange. Once on the recipe page, click on the words “print recipe,” which appears towards the top right of the page. This will take you to a printable version of the recipe. Barb@KAF

  73. Jes

    Thank you for the detailed instructions. I couldn’t figure out why my carrot cake was too heavy and dense … i mixed it too much. Using this process, turning my all purpose flour into cake flour (substituting 2 TB flour for 2 TB cornstarch and sifting together) has produced even a better cake. One of my tricks is to grate the carrots, mix 1/2 cup sugar into them and let sit at room temperature 1-2 hours, pour off most the juice made before adding to cake. YUM!

  74. Joan J

    I’ve never taken a moment to stop and thank you for this recipe, despite the fact I’ve been making it for several years now! So… thank you, thank you, thank you. Although slightly more “labor intensive” than I normally do, it is worth the effort. I use half in a 9 x 9 pan, and half as a dozen “muffins”. (The muffins get no frosting, the cake gets LOTS!) It is definitely my “We deserve something special” cake!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We love hearing from enthusiastic bakers like yourself, Joan! We’re thrilled to hear you’ve been putting this recipe to good use to celebrate all the happy moments in life. The highest compliment you can pay a recipe is including it in your regular rotation of desserts. Thanks for baking with us! Kye@KAF

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