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Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Not-Too-Sweet Cream Cheese Frosting

This no-fuss, easy carrot cake recipe is a long-time family favorite. The cake is just perfect and the cream cheese frosting is not too sweet.

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe | Umami Girl

Well, this is awkward. It’s my mom’s birthday today, and when I came here to my favorite food blog Umami Girl look up her favorite carrot cake recipe, I found it buried deep in my drafts box. Yeah, I thought I’d published this like two years ago. Damn.

So I just got back from the wedding of the decade (look out, William and Kate), and my sister and her HUSBAND, because she has a HUSBAND now, no big deal (!!) are coming over in a little while to celebrate mom’s birthday. Let me tell you, the wedding of the decade is a whole lot of celebrating, but it is apparently not enough celebrating for one weekend.

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe | Umami Girl

I’ve got to go grocery shopping now, and then I’m going to make this cake. And when I get to the store, I’m going to use this post as my shopping list. I think maybe you should take my lead on this one at some point soon, hint hint. One of these days I’ll post a few sneaky peeky wedding photos, because who doesn’t love that, and maybe my lady-of-honor toast. But today, it’s just a birthday, a carrot cake, and a quick fade to bliss.

Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Not-Too-Sweet Cream Cheese Frosting

Preparation 00:30 Cook Time 00:45 Total Time 1:15
Serves 12     adjust servings


For the cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

For the frosting

  • 6 tablespoons good salted butter (such as Kerrygold), at room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted to remove lumps


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add oil while mixer is running. Add vanilla, and then gradually add the sugar.

In a separate medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add these dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time, mixing everything thoroughly to make a smooth batter. 

Add the carrots and nuts, then the coconut and pineapple and mix until all the ingredients are blended into the batter.

Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.

For the frosting:

Combine the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until the icing is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes more.


Recipe Notes

You can also make this a layer cake in 2 9-inch round pans. Reduce the cooking time to 35-40 minutes. When cooling, remove cakes from pans after 15 minutes and continue cooling on a wire rack. Double the frosting. Cake and frosting recipes adapted from King Arthur Flour.

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Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.