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Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting

5.0 from 34 votes

Carrot cake with buttercream frosting is a classic dessert that has been enjoyed for generations. It is a type of cake that is beloved for its moist texture and delicious flavor. My carrot cake recipe uses fresh carrots, spices, and a creamy buttercream frosting to create a dessert that is both sweet and satisfying.

If you are looking for a delicious and easy-to-make Easter dessert, carrot cake with buttercream frosting is the perfect idea. Whether you are making it for a special occasion or just to satisfy your sweet tooth, this classic dessert is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. With its moist texture, rich flavor, and creamy frosting, carrot cake is a type of cake that is sure to become a favorite in your household.

If you like carrot cake, you should definitely try these chewy Carrot Cake Cookies (Sandwich Cookies made with cake mix!

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 cups shredded carrots

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 sticks 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 10 cups powdered sugar
  • Chopped pecans (decorating)

How to Make Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

To make the cake batter, I start by whisking together in a large bowl the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, I use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs, sugars, milk, oil until the mixture is smooth Then, I add in the vanilla extract and shredded carrots and mix until everything is well combined.

Next, I add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing on low speed until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter, as this can result in a tough cake.

I preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two 8-inch cake pans by greasing them with butter and lining the bottoms with parchment paper. Then, I divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans and smooth out the tops with a spatula.

I bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with only a few moist crumbs attached. Once the cakes are done, I let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are baking I start making the buttercream frosting. 

To create the perfect buttercream frosting for your carrot cake, you will need to use room temperature cream cheese and butter. This will help ensure that the frosting is smooth and creamy. I recommend using high-quality cream cheese brands, such as Philadelphia, for the best results.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar,3 cups at the time, mixing well after each addition. For a richer flavor, you can also add a tablespoon of sour cream to the mixture.

Once the cakes are cool, I use a serrated knife to level off the tops of the cakes and make sure I have even layer. Then, I place one cake layer on a cake plate or stand and spread a layer of buttercream frosting on top. I place the second cake layer on top of the frosting and repeat the process, spreading a layer of frosting on top of the second cake layer.

Finally, I decorate the cake layers with additional frosting and add chopped pecans around the sides of the cake. 

Tips to Get the Moist Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is a classic dessert that I make at least 6 times a year. It’s a moist and flavorful cake that’s perfect for any occasion, and it’s easy to make. However, getting the perfect texture and moisture level can be a bit tricky. Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in making a moist carrot cake:

1. Use Freshly Grated Carrots

One of the key ingredients in carrot cake is, of course, carrots. It’s important to use freshly grated carrots rather than pre-shredded ones. Freshly grated carrots will also have more moisture, which will help keep the cake moist.

2. Use Oil Instead of Butter

While butter can add a rich flavor to cakes, it can also make them dry. Using oil instead of butter can help keep the cake moist. Coconut oil is a great option for carrot cake because it adds a subtle coconut flavor that complements the other flavors in the cake.

3. Don’t Overmix the Batter

Overmixing the batter can cause the gluten in the flour to develop, which can make the cake tough and dry. Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined, and then stop. It’s okay if there are a few lumps in the batter.

4. Use a Buttercream Frosting

Finally, when it comes to frosting, using a buttercream frosting can help keep the cake moist. Buttercream frosting is made with butter and powdered sugar, which can help seal in the moisture of the cake. Plus, it’s delicious!

Allow the carrot cake to cool completely before applying the buttercream frosting. If you frost a warm cake, the frosting may melt and become too soft.

​Storage

  1. Refrigerate if Necessary: If you’ve already frosted the cake and won’t be serving it for an extended period, or if your kitchen is particularly warm, it’s safer to refrigerate the cake. Just be sure to bring it to room temperature for about an hour before serving to enhance its flavor and texture.
  2. Layered Storage:If you need to stack multiple layers of cake, place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper between each layer to prevent them from sticking together.
  3. Freezing:If you want to store the carrot cake for an extended period, you can freeze it. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator when you’re ready to enjoy it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some alternative frostings to pair with carrot cake if I don’t want to use buttercream?

If you’re not a fan of buttercream frosting, there are a few other options you can try. Cream cheese frosting is a popular choice and pairs well with the flavors of carrot cake. Whipped cream frosting is also a good option, as it’s light and fluffy. If you want something a little different, you could try a caramel frosting or even a maple frosting.

Can I use both butter and cream cheese in buttercream frosting for carrot cake?

Yes, you can use both butter and cream cheese in your buttercream frosting. This will give it a richer flavor and a slightly tangy taste. Just make sure to use a good quality cream cheese that is at room temperature, and beat it well with the butter until it’s smooth and creamy.

What is the traditional icing used on carrot cake?

The traditional icing used on carrot cake is cream cheese frosting. This frosting is made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. It has a tangy, slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the spiciness of the cake.

Is it necessary to refrigerate a carrot cake with buttercream frosting?

Yes, it is necessary to refrigerate a carrot cake with buttercream frosting. This is because the frosting contains cream cheese and butter, which can spoil if left at room temperature for too long. Make sure to cover the cake with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

What are the differences between frosting and buttercream when used on cakes?

Frosting and buttercream are two different types of icing that can be used on cakes. Frosting is usually made with powdered sugar, butter, and milk or cream. It has a thick, spreadable consistency and can be used to frost cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Buttercream, on the other hand, is made with butter, powdered sugar, and milk or cream. It has a lighter, fluffier texture and is often used to fill and frost cakes.

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Recipe by Adore Foods
5.0 from 34 votes

Classic carrot cake recipe made from scratch with fresh shredded carrots and buttercream frosting and chopped pecan. Perfect easy Easter dessert recipe.

Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • Carrot Cake Batter
  • 2 1/2 cups 2 1/2 all purpose flour

  • 1 cup 1 white granulated sugar

  • 1 cup 1 brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 baking soda

  • 1 tsp 1 baking powder

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 2 tsp 2 cinnamon

  • 1 tsp 1 nutmeg

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 vegetable oil

  • 4 large 4 eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 tsp 2 vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 milk

  • 3 cups 3 shredded carrots

  • Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 sticks 2 cream cheese, softened (8 ounce)

  • 10 cups 10 powdered sugar

  • Chopped pecans

Directions

  • In a mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients of flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk together until combined.
  • Then add in all the wet ingredients of vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Whisk until the batter is smooth.
  • Fold in the shredded carrots until thoroughly combined.
  • Spray the baking pans with baking spray and evenly split the batter between the two.
  • Bake in the oven at 375F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the softened butter and cream cheese. Use a hand mixer to blend together the two until smooth.
  • Then add the powdered sugar about 3 cups at a time, blending in between each addition.
  • Once the cake is done, let it cool completely before frosting.
  • Place the first layer of the cake down and add frosting in the center. Spread evenly.
  • Then add the second layer of carrot cake and add more frosting. Spread evenly and around the edges of the cake.
  • Add the chopped pecans around the sides of the cake for garnish.

Notes

  • It’s important to use freshly grated carrots rather than pre-shredded ones.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined, and then stop.
  • Allow the carrot cake to cool completely before applying the buttercream frosting. If you frost a warm cake, the frosting may melt and become too soft.