Best grocery store carrot cake

The BEST Carrot Cake!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This truly is the best carrot cake recipe! It’s perfectly moist and delicious, made with lots of fresh carrots, and topped with the most heavenly cream cheese frosting.

Oh hey. ♡ Just thought I would casually slide this recipe right here at the top of your feed in time for Easter. Because if you happen to be looking for the world’s best carrot cake recipe to make this weekend — or any delicious day of the year — look no further. Hundreds and hundreds of our readers have agreed over the years that this homemade carrot cake recipe is a hands-down winner!

I mean, I should admit right off that I will forever-and-always be on Team Carrot when it comes to my favorite kind of cake, so I will always be extra-partial to carrot cake in any form (including cupcakes). But because it’s my favorite, I hold extra high standards when it comes to exactly what constitutes the perfect slice.

First off, the perfect homemade carrot cake must always be fluffy and legit extra-moist — no dry cakes allowed. It must also be made with the coziest warming spices, but just enough so that the flavor of all of those fresh carrots can shine through. And speaking of fresh carrots, a good carrot cake recipe must include lots of them speckled in every slice. Most importantly, though, a good carrot cake recipe must be accompanied with a rich and buttery cream cheese frosting in every single bite. Because in my book, a good moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is the ultimate dessert match made in heaven.

The other good news about this recipe? It’s much easier to make than it looks. You can make the entire recipe — both cake and frosting — 100% by hand if you would like. (No mixer required.) You can also save yourself a step and purchase store-bought grated carrots or grate them in the food processor, if you don’t want to grate them by hand. And if you’ve never made a three-layer cake before, have no fear — it’s easier than it looks, and I’ve added a brand new video below to walk you through each step of the way.

Alright, let’s make some carrot cake together!

The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Homemade Carrot Cake Ingredients:

Alright, let’s make our shopping list! To make this homemade carrot cake recipe, you will need:

  • Oil: Any mild-flavored oil will do. I typically use avocado oil, but vegetable or canola oil would work too.
  • Sugars: Both granulated (white) and brown sugar.
  • Eggs and vanilla extract: Because…cake.
  • Flour: I always indulge here with classic all-purpose flour. But you’re welcome to sub in white whole wheat flour instead.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: This recipe uses both.
  • Salt: I used fine sea salt. If you only have iodized (table) salt, I would recommend using a little less.
  • Freshly-grated carrots: Either grate them by hand with a box grater, use the shredding attachment on a food processor, or save yourself a step and buy them pre-grated.
  • (Optional add-ins): Feel free to also include chopped nuts (such as pecans or walnuts), shredded coconut, and/or raisins if you would like.
  • Cream cheese frosting: Made easily with cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla and powdered sugar.

Ingredient amounts and full instructions included in the recipe box below.

How To Make Carrot Cake:

To make this homemade carrot cake recipe, simply:

  1. Prep your baking pans. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. (Or save yourself a step and just use baking spray, which already includes flour.)
  2. Make the cake batter. Mix together the oil and sugars, followed by the eggs and vanilla, then the dry ingredients, and then the shredded carrots.
  3. Fill and bake. Portion the batter evenly into your three baking pans. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool on a wire baking rack until they reach room temperature. Meanwhile…
  4. Make the frosting. See notes below.
  5. Assemble and frost the cake. Once the cakes reach room temperature,* use a cake leveler or a bread knife to slice off the rounded tops of the cakes so that they are completely flat on top. Place the first cake on your serving platter, add a large scoop of frosting on top of it, and spread the frosting so that it covers the cake evenly and extends a bit over the edges. Repeat with the second and third layers of the cake. Then use the remainder of the frosting to frost all around the side edges of the cake.
  6. Serve and enjoy. Then once you’re ready to serve the cake, slice it up and enjoy!

*I find that it’s easier to frost the cakes when they are slightly chilled. So I recommend popping them in the fridge for 15 minutes before frosting if you have the time.

How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting:

This dreamy cream cheese frosting recipe can either be made by hand in a mixing bowl or in a stand mixer — you choose! Just be sure that both the cream cheese and butter are both room temperature. (And if you want your frosting to be super-smooth, I also recommend sifting the powdered sugar in advance.)

To make cream cheese frosting, simply stir the cream cheese and butter together with the vanilla until completely smooth. Then add in however much powdered sugar you need to reach your desired consistency — about six cups, more or less.

Carrot Cake Variations:

If you would like to customize your carrot cake, feel free to:

  • Add nuts: Feel free to stir 1/2 cup chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, pepitas or hazelnuts) into the batter, and/or sprinkle extras on top of the frosting.
  • Add raisins: You could also stir in up to 1/4 cup of raisins.
  • Add coconut: Or up to 1/4 cup of toasted shredded coconut.
  • Spice the frosting: If you would like a bit of extra flavor in the frosting itself, I recommend stirring 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger into the frosting.
  • Make the recipe gluten-free and vegan: Use this recipe!

More Carrot Recipes:

Looking for more delicious sweet carrot recipes? Here are a few of my faves! ♡

  • Carrot Cake Cupcakes
  • Wholesome Carrot Muffins
  • Carrot Patch “Dirt” Cups
  • Carrot Cake Smoothie


This classic carrot cake recipe is moist, perfectly-spiced and made with lots of fresh carrots and a cream cheese frosting.

Scale 1x2x3x


Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or vegetable oil, or any mild-flavored oil)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pound finely-grated* fresh carrots
  • optional: 1 cup chopped nuts or 1/2 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 (8-ounce) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (or more, if needed to thicken)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. (Or to save a step, you can coat them with baking spray, which already contains flour.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture into the egg mixture, and stir until smooth. Fold in the grated carrots and stir until combined. If you would like to add nuts and/or raisins, stir them in at this time as well.
  4. Portion the batter evenly into the prepared baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the baking pans to a wire cooling rack and let the cakes cool until they reach room temperature.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and stir until combined and smooth. (You can either do this with a spatula, or with a hand or stand mixer.) Gradually stir in the powdered sugar and mix until it is completely combined. Feel free to add more/less powdered sugar to achieve your desired consistency.
  6. Once the cakes reach room temperature,* use a cake leveler or a bread knife to slice off the rounded tops of the cakes so that they are completely flat on top. Place the first cake on your serving platter, add a large scoop of frosting on top of it, and spread the frosting so that it covers the cake evenly and extends a bit over the edges. Repeat with the second and third layers of the cake. Then use the remainder of the frosting to frost all around the side edges of the cake.
  7. Once you’re ready to serve the cake, slice it up and enjoy! Or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.


*You can either grate fresh carrots by hand with a box grater, or grate them with a food processor by using the shredding disk.

*I find that it’s easier to frost the cakes when they are slightly chilled. So I recommend popping them in the fridge for 15 minutes before frosting if you have the time.

Recipe instructions updated (with no ingredient changes) in April 2019.

This post contains affiliate links.

posted on April 18, 2019 in Cakes, Desserts, Easter

A wonderfully moist, perfectly spiced carrot cake recipe. This cake is surprisingly simple to make and includes a step-by-step video for no-fail results every time. Top everything off with my simple cream cheese frosting for what truly might be the perfect carrot cake.

If I had to choose a favorite cake recipe on my blog, I think this carrot cake recipe would be it.

Maybe I’m biased (and the cream cheese frosting definitely does have something to do with that), but even though I’m wildly in love with my white cake, vanilla cake (a reader favorite!) and chocolate cake, this carrot cake is hands-down the one I will reach for first every time.

There’s something about its deliriously moist crumb, the perfect amount of spices, and yes, that all-time favorite cream cheese frosting of mine. It’s sweet without being too sweet, carefully crafted with both butter and oil and just the right amount of carrots –the flavor is so good that even Zach reached for a second piece.

I think you guys are going to love this one just as much, so let’s dig in.

How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake

My carrot cake recipe uses 3 cups of finely grated carrots. This is usually about 4 large carrots for me and I always peel my carrots before grating them. You can use a box grater to grate your carrots, but I prefer to use my food processor.

To use the food processor, I’ll first use the “shred” blade, but I’ve found that this doesn’t get my carrots as fine as I’d like them to be, so I’ll then switch to the standard blade and briefly pulse the carrots until they’re fine pieces. Don’t overdo this step or you’ll end up with carrot puree (this is also why I start by using the shred blade on my processor, I’ve found that just tossing the carrots in with my standard blade quickly breaks down the carrots too much for my liking).

One thing you definitely want to avoid is store-bought shredded carrots (or “matchstick” carrots). Those are way too thick to use in this carrot cake recipe, unless you like biting into discernible chunks of carrot (I do not).

Can I make this Carrot Cake Recipe into Cupcakes?

While you could, I personally found this carrot cake to be a bit too heavy for cupcakes. Because of that I developed a carrot cake cupcake recipe that I would recommend using instead. It’s still flavorful and delicious, but not so moist that it requires a fork for eating.

Oh, and if you’re interested in more carrot cake variations, I also have a carrot cake cookie recipe you can try out, too.

Before I let you watch this carrot cake video I need to talk to you about my cake decorating skills. I am not a cake decorator, but I can usually modestly frost a cake so that it looks at least presentable. The frosting job you’re about to see in this video is not an example of my finest work, at all!

My pride compels me to inform you that this was my sloppiest frosting job ever. I had to turn off the air conditioning in my house to shoot the video (my microphone picks up the noise and it sounds awful if we don’t) and it was a 90+ degree day outside. I pulled the cream cheese frosting out of the fridge too far in advance and between the hot lights that I use for filming, the lack of AC, and the fact that I was right in front of my 350F oven, everything was a melty disaster, so while I’m not a cake decorator things aren’t usually that bad!

Alright I feel better now getting that off my chest 😉Enjoy!

Watch How to Make the Best Carrot Cake Recipe

If you enjoy watching my cooking videos, I’d love it if you would consider subscribing to my YouTube channel <3

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe

A wonderfully moist, perfectly spiced carrot cake recipe. This cake is surprisingly simple to make and includes a step-by-step video for no-fail results every time. Top everything off with my simple cream cheese frosting for what truly might be the perfect carrot cake.
4.94 from 115 votes Pin Course: Cake Cuisine: American Keyword: carrot cake, classic carrot cake, moist cake, the best carrot cake Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes Servings: 12 slices Calories: 765kcal Author: Sam Merritt

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (315g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar* tightly packed (200g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil (235ml)
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter melted (113g)
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots** (340g)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans optional (125g)

Cream Cheese Frosting***

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened (113g)
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened (brick-style, not spreadable) (226g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (500g)
  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare two 8-inch pans**** by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly greasing and flouring the sides.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Add your canola oil and melted butter and stir well (batter will be pretty stiff and thick at this point, I usually use an electric mixer or my stand mixer to combine everything nicely).
  • Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  • Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Stir in carrots and nuts (if using) until ingredients are well-combined.
  • Evenly divide carrot cake batter into prepared baking pans and bake on 350F (175C) for 40 minutes (toothpick inserted in center should come out mostly clean with only few moist crumbs).
  • Allow carrot cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Allow cake to cool completely before covering with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until creamy, well-combined, and lump-free.
  • Add vanilla extract and sprinkle salt into the bowl and stir well to combine.
  • With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until ingredients are completely combined (be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula).
  • Once your cake has cooled completely, cover with frosting.

*Either light or dark brown sugar will work fine, dark brown sugar will make your cake slightly more moist and rich, but light brown sugar works perfectly if you don’t have dark on hand. **For me, this usually requires about 4 large carrots. I always peel my carrots before grating. Make sure to use the small shred of your box grater. Another way I like to prepare my carrots is to use the “shred” setting on my food processor and then switch to the blade and briefly pulse the carrots so that you have fine pieces of carrot (don’t over-do it though, or you’ll have carrot juice!). Whatever you do, don’t use store-bought “matchstick” carrots, they’re not nearly thin enough! ***A single batch of my cream cheese frosting recipe will cover this cake, but because I like a lot of frosting and will usually pipe decoration on the top of the cake, I generally increase the recipe by 50% or even double it. ****You can use 9″ cake pans instead, but the carrot cake will need to bake for less time, likely around 30-35 minutes.


Serving: 1slice (calories calculated with frosting but without optional nuts) | Calories: 765kcal Tried this recipe?Mention @SugarSpun_Sam or tag #sugarspunrun!

When it comes to cakes, we all know homemade is best and sometimes even the most elegant option—have you seen these beautiful cakes? But when you’re feeding a crowd or just are too busy prepping all the other dishes for your party, a grocery store cake can really be a godsend. But when you’re opting for one of these tasty shortcuts, it’s important to get your hands on the best supermarket cake you can. Find out where you can get the tastiest cakes at the best price.

Sam’s Club

Facebook/Sam’s Club

If you check out any online wedding forums, you’re bound to find brides raving about Sam’s Club cakes. While the cakes themselves only come in chocolate, vanilla or marble, these brides (and so many other customers), rave about the perfectly moist and delicate cakes. The real star of the show, though, is the store’s trademark whipped frosting. Of course, it’s sweet, but it’s very light making it the perfect companion for their cakes. And since it’s Sam’s Club, you can count on getting a good price.

You can order cakes of any size (even cupcakes) from your local Sam’s Club store. If you’re really looking to make a statement, though, you might want to look into their unicorn cake!



If you’re more of a Costco fan than Sam’s Club, don’t worry—this discount retailer also has a reputation for great cakes perfect for serving a crowd. Available in chocolate and vanilla (both with mousse fillings), Costco cakes can be decorated in countless ways to suit whatever party you’re throwing. Plus, with the wholesaler’s trademark low prices, you can be sure to feed all your guests for less.

Learn more how you can save even more money at Costco with these tips.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market

For folks looking for a few more flavor options, Whole Foods’ bakery is for you. Each location offers a unique selection of cakes, but rest assured, the menu doesn’t stop at just vanilla and chocolate. Many stores offer carrot cake, coconut sponge, strawberry chiffon and vegan options—all of which can be decorated and customized to your liking. According to Phoenix’s Arizona Republic, these Whole Foods cakes have a distinctly homemade taste, and for home cooks looking for a party shortcut, this is a big win—you might be able to pass it off as your own!

And don’t let the reputation of Whole Foods fool you. You can get great cakes at surprisingly low prices here. A cake for 12 people can cost as little as $15!


Looking for even more flavors? You’ll probably want to check out Albertsons. In their bakery you can order a whole host of cakes—like tiramisu and strawberry shortcake—or mix and match flavors to build your dream cake. Just check out their list of cake flavors, fillings and frostings. You’ll find options like spice cake and lemon cake and fun icings like Snickers and truffle. If you’re looking for variety in your grocery store cake, or you just love to mix and match, Albertsons is a must.



When it comes to grocery store cakes, though Publix reigns supreme. This Southern grocery store chain offers cakes in a handful of irresistible flavors. You can order cookies and cream, raspberry cream cheese, caramel pecan praline, rocky road and toasted coconut cakes along with many other flavors. Each of these comes with its own signature decoration, but you can also feel free to customize to suit your party. Also, with this supermarket’s range of offerings, you can get a cake to serve any size crowd you might have; their mini cakes serve just a few guests, while their wedding cakes options can feed up to 100 people!

Need more reasons to love Publix? Check this out.

While you can always make your own cake for your next festive occasion, it never hurts to have a grocery store bakery or two on speed dial, just in case you get pinched for time! Whichever of these you choose, you’ll end up with a tasty confection all your guests will enjoy.

I think I was a junior in college when I made the best carrot cake I’d ever had. I was a carrot cake FIEND, I tell ya. But I was insane and never wrote that recipe down. So after years of talking about that beautiful carrot cake and reminiscing about that carrot cake, I decided it’s about time to shut up, stop being weird about it, and recreate it already.

And after slaving away in the kitchen and making one too many misses in trying to master this cake, I finally think I got it. No. I got it, for sure.

You don’t even know how much I’ve been obsessing over this cake.

I’m spent.

This post was supposed to go up yesterday but because I fought tooth and nail with this cake until it was just the way I wanted it to be, I ended up really exhausted and just needed a breather. Plus, I have school/work which likes to get in the way because it’s rude like that.

But here it is.

And it takes me right back to that night (or morning, rather) in college when I decided it was absolutely imperative to bake a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting at 2 AM.

I was a little more than delirious. I had a really tough bout of “the finals” that had just ended that evening. And I hadn’t slept in about a week—pretty certain that was more than obvious from taking half a glance at me. I wore the same men’s flannel shirt, jeans, and flip-flops everyday that week. And after coming home from my last exam, I didn’t really know what to do with myself, so naturally I thought, “Well, I should build a cake!”

I drove over to Albertson’s grocery store, bought a pound of carrots and whatever else, drove back home, put on a Dave Matthews CD, and started making my carrot cake.

Then my dad walked into the kitchen and I thought, “Oh crap, I woke everyone up now!”

He asked what I was doing. I said, “Making a carrot cake.” And so he just took the grater from me and started grating the carrots right there. We made the cake while listening to Dave Matthews (and to my total surprise my SUPER Persian baba admitted that he enjoyed that music—it was Dave’s Some Devil album just in case), and when it was ready we ate a slice or 2 of the cake each. 3 AM.

See, carrot cake memories are awesome.

For my first birthday away in grad school, my sister and nieces actually sent a whole carrot cake that they had baked. It was still hot when they rushed it to the post office right before closing. And it arrived fresh, right on my birthday!

This carrot cake recipe makes the most flavorful and softest cake. It’s quite a simple recipe. The ingredients, you probably already have at home. It’s got walnuts and raisins. And personally, there’s no way I’d exclude them. I mean, you’re eating a cake of carrots. What’s so crazy about the walnuts and raisins again? So yeah, let’s just put them in, OK? Unless you hate them, you hate me, or obviously, if you’re allergic (to the nuts… or to me. same difference).

Oh and before I let you go, this is the BEST cream cheese frosting you’ll ever have. It’s perfectly textured, tangy but not too tangy, sweet, fluffy, and dreamy.

And there’s still some cake left waiting in the kitchen so… OK, I go now.

The Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Course Dessert Prep Time 40 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes Servings 8 -10 Author Honest and Tasty

For the Cake:

  • 1 ⅓ cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar tightly packed when measuring it out
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour + a little extra for the pans
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups grated fresh carrots 1 lb—use the 2nd largest grate setting
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins

For the Frosting:

  • 1 ⅔ blocks of cream cheese 13 oz total, room temperature
  • 2 sticks 8 oz. or 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (~176ºC).
  • Generously grease two 9-inch baking pans.
  • Add about ¼ cup of flour to each pan and move the pan around, tapping, to get the pan coated with flour. Tap out the excess.
  • In a large bowl, add regular sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Mix with electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  • Add flour to the bowl and right on top of the flour add in the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a spoon/fork, simply try to mix just the dry ingredients together with a spoon/fork to disperse the ingredients. Then use the electric mixer to incorporate all the ingredients together until just combined. Don’t overbeat.
  • Use a spatula/large spoon to stir in carrots, walnuts, and raisins.
  • Pour this batter evenly between both cake pans and put the pans in the oven for 30 minutes or until a fork poked through the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow cakes to cool completely cool before frosting them so that the frosting doesn’t melt.
  • In a medium-large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer.
  • Mix in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat well.

Frost the first cake layer with about ⅓ of the frosting. Top with the other cake layer and frost the rest of the cake with the remaining frosting. Enjoy!!