This homemade Carrot Spice Cake is full of warm, sweet spices, coconut and plenty of carrots! This super moist carrot cake recipe is made with a secret ingredient (spoiler alert: carrot puree!), and it’s topped with the best homemade cream cheese frosting.
If you L-O-V-E carrot cake, then you’re going to go wild over this carrot spice cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s heavenly.
If you count shopping for myself, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were wildly successful.
It’s a recurring problem I have so you’d think I’d be more prepared to say no to those amazing deals, but…
Here we are.
I blame it on the pressure. Between the limited time offers and the competition, I’m a goner.
As much as I’d love to say marketing doesn’t work on me, let’s face it. I’m the exact person they’re
preying marketing on.
Well, at least I can blame my uptick in indulging in holiday desserts on my credit card statement (i.e., eating my feelings) rather than on my apparent lack of willpower (in both impulse shopping and eating).
In all truth, when Christmas desserts include things like pumpkin spice toffee, the best sugar cookies ever, and maple snickerdoodles, can you blame me for a lack of willpower? I mean, I know you won’t be able to blame me when it comes to this amazing Carrot Spice cake complete with homemade cream cheese frosting (I may or may not have spooned into my mouth at one point).
I’m a big fan of carrot cake–like, maybe carrot cake’s biggest fan.
I think it’s genetic, since both my parents and my sister served carrot cake at their weddings. There’s just something about a spicy, moist carrot cake slathered in a tangy cream cheese frosting.
This particular recipe came straight from my sister, and it’s one of the best carrot cake recipes I have ever had.
Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add a few things to the recipe, but that’s one of the things I do love about this recipe–it’s versatile. I’ll give you some tips below on what substitutions you can make if need be.
Let’s talk homemade carrot cake ingredients:
- all purpose flour
- cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves
- baking soda and salt
- granulated sugar and brown sugar
- canola oil
- carrot puree (guys, THIS is what makes this such a moist carrot cake recipe)
- eggs and vanilla extract
- shredded carrots and shredded coconut
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- pecans and coconut (topping)
What makes this carrot cake recipe moist?
For this particular recipe, both the canola oil and the carrot puree keep this cake super moist and tender, and the carrot puree also adds a lot of concentrated flavor to the cake.
Both the shredded carrots and shredded coconut also add to the overall moistness of the cake.
Why are my carrots green?
Often times in carrot cakes, you might notice that the tips or portions of your carrots have turned green. This is a chemical reaction between the baking soda and the carrots (i.e., the baking soda isn’t evenly distributed in the batter), which can cause some of the carrots to turn green.
While there is a more scientific explanation, just know that if you notice green carrots, it’s perfectly safe to eat.
The Best Carrot Spice Cake Tips & Tricks:
- First things first, this is a carrot cake without raisins and without pineapple. If you want to add either to the recipe, you can. You can add 1 cup raisins (golden or dark) tossed in 1 Tbsp of flour to the batter (add it in when you add in the coconut). However, if you want to add in pineapple, you will need to cut down on some of the liquid in the cake.
- If you don’t like coconut, feel free to leave it out of the cake. Similarly, if you don’t like carrot cake with pecans, omit them (they’re only on the top of the cake).
- Can I make this into 3 layers? Absolutely! Divide the batter evenly between 3 cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Do I really need to sift the dry cake ingredients? Yes, you do. It makes for a really light and fluffy carrot cake texture, which is important because carrot cakes can often be dense.
Ready to spice up your life?
This homemade Carrot Spice Cake is full of warm, sweet spices, coconut and plenty of carrots! This super moist carrot cake recipe is made with a secret ingredient (spoiler alert: carrot puree!), and it's topped with the best homemade cream cheese frosting.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground all spice
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- 8 oz carrot puree (baby food--trust me!)
- 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
- 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- salt to taste
- Toasted Coconut
- Crushed Pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9" cake pans with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, all spice, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add in grated carrots, carrot puree, and coconut. Mix until just combined.
Split batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. (Alternately, you can split between three cake pans.)
In a 300 degree oven, toast 2 cups of coconut and 1 cup crushed pecans on a baking sheet, spread out in an even layer, about 8-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool while working on the frosting.
- Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in powdered sugar, beginning with 4 cups. Add in vanilla extract and salt to taste. If the frosting is runny, add in 1/2 cup more powdered sugar.
- Place one cake on a plate and spread 1/2 cup of frosting over the cake. Add the second layer on top, and spread the rest of the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
- Press coconut to the sides of the cake and sprinkle crushed pecans on the top.
Adapted from The Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook
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Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
I didn’t go shopping on Black Friday but I did do some over the weekend. I’ve gotten a small amount done, so that’s success for me! 🙂 This carrot cake looks delicious! So pretty!
Renee - Kudos Kitchen says
What a beautiful cake. It’s nice to see someone posting something other than cookies at this point. I’ve pinned your recipe and hope to make it one day soon.
Amy Stafford says
This has to be one of the prettiest carrot cakes. I want to dive right through the screen and enjoy a slice.
Medha @ Whisk & Shout says
This cake sounds like it’s packed with stunningly delicious flavors and the decorating is beautiful! 🙂
It’s hard to say no to good deals, especially when it’s something you really want! This cake looks so perfectly moist and delicious. I love carrot cake any time of year!
[email protected] Complete Savorist says
What a great cake. I love the spice blend you’ve used. Looks so luscious.
Amanda | The Chunky Chef says
Carrot cake is my absolute favorite cake! I love the idea of using baby food, I bet it adds to the moisture of the cake 🙂
Joanie @ Zagleft says
Carrot cake is my favorite cake of all. Yours looks so pretty, I’d love a slice this morning with my coffee.
Your pictures are beautiful! This cake looks lovely, thanks for sharing!
Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector) says
That is one gorgeous cake!!
Finally a decent carrot cake!! The carrot puree does it. I pretty much mashed a handful of shredded carrot with water in my Magic Bullet blender and made a puree. Added tons of spices and this cake actually held up and was moist enough. This is my go to now!
I am so glad you liked this recipe, Kate! I agree–it’s the carrot puree! It totally adds so much. ❤️
II am going to make this recipe for my son’s Birthday Saturday. Yummmm.