This Easy Carrot Cake Recipe is a soft and tender cake with the most incredible Cream Cheese Frosting. This sheet cake is fool proof and so easy to whip up you won't believe it. A perfect dessert for holidays, parties and pot lucks.
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This cake is one of my most favorite desserts and it is so incredibly easy it'll blow your mind. There's no shredding or pureeing carrots for this recipe. I use a secret ingredient that my mom used when I was a kid, baby food! It's the secret that makes this a soft, fluffy and moist cake. Creating the best carrot cake recipe ever.
Carrot Cake Ingredients
- Carrot Baby Food
- Canola Oil
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- White Sugar
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Ground Cinnamon
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
- Carrot Baby Food: Pick a baby food that has only one ingredient, carrots. I prefer the tubs or jars so I can get it all out easily. Alternatively you can use a 15 ounce can of sliced carrots, drained and then pureed.
- Canola Oil: Vegetable oil can be subbed for the canola oil.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Pure extracts are best, the imitations are just that: fake and off putting. Plus, they leave a funky after taste.
- Cinnamon: I prefer only cinnamon in my carrot cake, but if you like a little bit more spice you can add some all spice or ground nutmeg.
- Flour: I prefer to use a blend of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. It gives the best texture and taste in my opinion. If you don't keep whole wheat flour on hand you can sub it for all purpose flour.
How to Make Easy Carrot Cake
- Either with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, hand beaters or a whisk and large bowl, combine the carrot baby food, eggs, canola oil and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Mix until fully combined and smooth scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Pour the cake batter into a greased 15x10 rimmed jelly roll sheet pan and spread it out evenly.
- Bake the cake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
How to Make Carrot Cake Frosting (aka Cream Cheese Frosting)
- In a stand mixer or with a hand beater, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
- Add in vanilla extract and 1 cup of the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
- Add in the remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk until everything is combined.
- Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat the frosting for 1-2 minutes until airy and fluffy.
- Dollop the tangy cream cheese frosting in the center of the cooled cake and spread it out evenly.
- Garnish with toasted chopped pecans if desired.
- Slice the cake into 24 pieces, serve and enjoy!
Storing Carrot Sheet Cake
Since the frosting has cream cheese and can spoil, the cake should be stored covered in the refrigerator. With that, nobody wants to eat a hard, dried out piece of carrot cake with stiff frosting which happens when stored in the fridge. I usually store my leftover slices of cake in the freezer and take them out 2-3 hours before I need them. The freezer will preserve the freshness of the cake and not dry it out.
Place the individual slices of cake on a sheet pan and freeze them. Once they are frozen you can layer them between pieces of wax paper in a freezer safe air tight container or individually wrap them in plastic wrap and then add them to the container.
Tips for Simple Carrot Cake Recipe
- Use room temperature ingredients for the cake and frosting. It helps with even baking along with creating a smooth batter and a non lumpy frosting.
- Always fluff your flour, then spoon and level to measure. Do this when baking anything. It will help eliminate any extra flour from being added to the recipe. Too much flour in this cake will make it dry and unpleasant.
- This recipe is for a jelly roll size sheet pan (15x10 inches). If you use a half sheet pan the cake will be very thin and bake a lot faster. You could use a 9x13 inch pan and add 5-10 minutes to the baking time. The cake will be taller, but still super yummy.
- This is a great recipe for making a layer cake too. Bake the cake in two greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper. Baking time will be about the same 20-30 minutes. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Then cool and frost.
- If you love cupcakes you can also make carrot cake cupcakes with this recipe. Line the cupcake pan with paper or silicone liners and fill ¾ full and bake for 18-20 minutes. It will make around 24 cupcakes.
More Delicious Cake Recipes:
- German Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Chocolate Peppermint Sheet Cake
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Pumpkin Pie Bundt Cake
- Banana Cake
- Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- Almond Cake
Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
- 16 ounces carrot baby food
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup salted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk or water
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 15x10 rimmed jelly roll sheet pan.
- In a stand mixer, with hand beaters or with a bowl and whisk, combine the carrot baby food, eggs, canola oil and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
- Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Mix until everything is fully incorporated.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared sheet pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cake completely cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a stand mixer or with hand beaters, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time alternating with the milk until it is all fully combined.
- Bump up the speed and beat until airy and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Dollop the frosting down the center of the cake and spread it out evenly.
- Garnish with toasted chopped pecans if desired. Slice into 24 pieces and serve.
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