Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

August 26, 2022
10 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 1 (9x13 inch) cake
Author Notes

I love a good carrot cake, and so do my parents, who had one for their wedding. Family legend has it that during the ceremony, my two older brothers snuck off to the cake table and stole a few too many slices. They may not be able to look at carrot cake anymore, but it’s still a family favorite. I made this as one of two sheet cakes inspired by my parents—and this one is about as classic as they come. A lightly spiced carrot cake (I opt for coconut and toasted pecans as the other textural notes—but feel free to sub in your favorites) slathered in cream cheese frosting. Perfect for a party of any size—and don’t forget to try your hand at making your own flavored sprinkles to finish this off, too! —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Carrot Cake
  • 2 3/4 cups (330 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
  • pinch or two freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (230 grams) neutral oil (such as canola or vegetable)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups (320 grams) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) vanilla extract
  • 5 (285 grams) eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (300 grams) grated, peeled carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups (110 g) sweetened shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1 cup (130 grams) finely chopped toasted pecans
  • Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (470 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles or homemade cinnamon sprinkles (
  1. Make the cake: lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 350°F with the oven rack in the center.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the oil and butter together until well combined. Add the brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla and whisk until well combined, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate fully on medium speed, then scraping the bowl well before adding the next.
  5. Add about ⅓ of the flour mixture and mix with a silicone spatula to combine. Continue adding the flour mixture gradually, mixing only to evenly incorporate it, and scraping the bowl well while you work.
  6. Add the carrots, coconut, and pecans and mix until evenly incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until the cake rises, the surface is golden brown, and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, 40-45 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. While the cake cools, you can prepare the frosting.
  8. Make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the bowl well, add the sugar and salt, and whip for 3-4 minute more.
  9. With the mixer running on medium speed, gradually add the heavy cream in a slow, steady stream. Once it is all incorporated, scrape the bowl and whisk very well to make sure there are no bits of cream cheese left behind.
  10. Add the vanilla, and continue to whip the frosting on medium-high speed until it’s thick and smooth, 1-3 minutes more. It should resemble a thick whipped cream. If desired, transfer about ½ of the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with tip to decorate the outer border of the cake.
  11. Frost the surface of the cooled cake with the remaining icing in an even layer. Pipe decorative borders around the outside edge, and garnish with sprinkles.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

1 Review

Taylor S. April 11, 2023
A must-make recipe for carrot cake!! This received rave reviews at Easter. I can see myself putting the whipped cream cheese frosting on everything because it is that good.