This is my Number One. The item that I bring to gatherings with lots of people I don’t know. The cake that my husband and friends request for their birthdays. I have bartered pottery from an artist with this cake. It was the reason I almost started a cake business.

For two years, I have been blogging and baking this cake regularly on the side. A little part of me felt it was the one recipe I shouldn’t share. After all, a “chef” doesn’t want to tell all her secrets. So, why post it now? A few reasons… For one, I didn’t realize I was going to keep blogging this long and I have grown great affection for all of you kind people who stop by Whipped to pay visits. I want to share this cake with you.

Secondly, I have decided that instincts to keep a recipe secret are prideful and weird and I will no longer listen to them! So, I not only want to share the recipe but all the little tips that I have honed over the years to make it just the way I like. For additional general baking tips, click here.

Luscious, Moist Carrot Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups canola oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups pureed cooked carrots
1 small 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
1/2 cup walnuts for the top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. Peel and cook carrots until a fork easily can be poked in to them. One small bag of full sized carrots should yield about the right amount of pureed, cooked carrots. Drain the carrots and purree while still warm in a blender or food processor until they are smooth. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the carrot puree and set aside.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir dry ingredients together with a whisk to combine well. Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat well for about 2 minutes. Fold in walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple. Pour equal amounts of batter into each pan. Set in the middle of the oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until edges have pulled away from sides and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let sit in pans 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and cool completely. When cool, level cakes to take humps off the center with a serrated knife. Spread cream cheese frosting between the layers and on top. I leave the sides out in the open because they are a beautiful brown and nice and crunchy. Sprinkle chopped nuts on the top if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes enough for middle and top of cake. Double if you want to frost sides)
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
6 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted


Cream together cheese and butter. Slowly stir in sifted confectioners sugar and continue beating until incorporated and light and fluffy.

Related Posts with Thumbnails PRINT RECIPE

78 Responses to “My #1 Recipe: Luscious, Moist Carrot Cake”

  1. Foodie Friend Says:

    Wow, I just started an online food journal/blog. And, I have one recipe in particular that I was thinking of holding back. How is it that we get so possessive? Thank you for being brave and inspiring me to do the same. I can’t wait to try this!

  2. ashley Says:

    i have a secret recipe i haven’t ever shared either… its a fabulous chocolate cake. i’m going to try and blog about it this year though :-) i love my readers too!

    this cake looks sooo fabulous! the color is just wonderful!

  3. carlene Says:

    Wow, thanks! You forgot to add “makes one large serving, so back off.”

  4. Jen Says:

    thanks for this inspiring recipe! I would like to make it for a bunch (40) teens at my church for tomorrow night. I like to bake them treats that have some redeeming quality (carrots, coconuts,
    pineapples, you know what i mean?). Anyway, I was wondering if you have any advise for me to make this recipe into cupcakes? Also, how many cupcakes do you think this recipe would turn out? Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for all you do!

  5. Amanda Says:

    This recipe look awesome. How nice of you to share your secret recipe! I get kind of weird about mine too, but then I remember that I should share my good stuff :) In carrot cake, I prefer oil instead of butter because it makes it moist without grease.

  6. Sandie Says:

    I’m enamored with this carrot cake, but I understand how hard it can be to share some recipes, especially family ones. A co-worker’s grandmother was an EXCELLENT southern cook. People requested her recipes all the time. She gave them out as asked, but always left out 1 key ingredient so it would never turn out or taste exactly like hers. Quirky & strange but true (and this woman’s grandson, who is also an excellent cook, does the exact same thing, that is, if you can get him to share a recipe at all!)

  7. Kath Says:

    Hi Caroline! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Just think of how many people will enjoy it and sing your praises. It will live on and on and hopefully your granddaughter will tell everyone it was her grandma’s recipe and she will share it with future generations of cooks–assuming future generations actually cook. Could you just put your layers bottom to bottom so the middle “joint” is flat? Does the top have to be flat as well?

  8. Cakespy Says:

    Yum, one of my favorites. I’m delighted that it’s almost vegan too (aside from the cc frosting)–so easy to tailor when I have vegan visitors. :-)

  9. Alex Says:

    Carrot cake is my favorite and I’ve tried a million different versions. I’m always excited when I find one I just know I’ll love. I’m glad you shared the recipe. It always seems that the recipe everyone wants is the one you want to keep to yourself. I’m thinking of blogging a top secret recipe myself. Hopefully, I’ll be able to part with it when the time comes.

  10. Hélène Says:

    It’s a good thing you shared this recipe because it made me discover your blog. I like it a lot. I’ll be watching your updates.

  11. Meg Says:

    I absolutely LOVE carrot cakes, but I found out a few months ago I’m too allergic to carrots to even have a bite.

  12. The Tasty Morsel Says:

    This cake might be the only way I can get my kids to eat carrots. Thanks for sharing your special recipe.

  13. Lindsey P. Says:

    I have a birthday in a month, so if you feel the need to practice making one I will gladly accept it as a birthday gift. Carrot cake is my favorite kind!

  14. kickpleat Says:

    I LOVE carrot cake! But am waiting for an idea recipe to make one myself. This looks like it.

  15. sponge cake bob Says:

    who doesn’t love carrot cake? it’s like the best of the best.. and an excuse to eat something seemingly healthy:)
    hey, isn’t your nickname carrot cake? sweet and spicy!

  16. katie Says:

    I think food is meant to be shared and that extends to recipes. That said, it is hard to defeat the urge to covet a particularly awesome recipe as your own secret awesomeness.

  17. Alisa - Frugal Foodie Says:

    I loooove carrot cake, but I have never seen a recipe that used mashed carrots. That sounds a ton easier than shredding them (since I don’t have a food processor). Thank you for sharing :)

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  19. Lindsey Says:

    Wow! Just made this into cupcakes for my husband and office. By 10 am, I had three requests for the recipe. I used an immersion blender to blend the carrots – very easy. Thanks for sharing! This is a new favorite at our house now too.

  20. DD Says:

    I’m going to have to write this one down. I’ve been waiting for a good carrot cake recipe to try for ages. Although the one sold in Costco’s Bakery is magical for a store-bought…

  21. Vivien Says:

    thanks for sharing, i made these and it taste homely good. I omitted out the coconut and pineapple.

  22. Anticiplate Says:

    I never say no to a carrot cake! And this one looks delish! I love all of the interesting ingredients like the coconut, pineapple, and COOKED carrots. Whole Foods makes a carrot cake similar to this with pineapple and walnuts.

  23. clarissa Says:

    this is truly the most delicous carrot cake EVER!
    i made it for my husbands birthday and he totally loved it and so did i.
    i varied your recipe:
    only 2 cups of brown sugar
    and i used macademia nut oil, with its subtle, nutty almost buttery flavor it matched really well with the other ingredients.
    also, i used crushed mango instead of pineapple because i did happen to have them. as a frosting i used lilikoi (passionfruit) butter on top of the cake and sprinkled a layer of toasted finely shredded coconut. i guess you can call it a hawaiian version of your fabulous cake. thank you for sharing your secret recipe! you made two more ‘tummies” very happY : )

  24. Sarah Says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I too have been on a long search for the perfect carrot cake. A friend with American connections gave me her recipe years ago and everyone who tried it asked for the recipe too. Unfortunately, after many copies were made, I gave my only copy away by mistake and never managed to track it down…. until now. Can’t wait to make it again – I’m sure this is the one!

  25. maura Says:

    I have had this bookmarked for so long and finally made it for my 1/2 birthday this year (!) – it is delicious! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  26. Amy Says:

    Thank you VERY much for sharing! I was looking for the perfect carrot cake and you supplied it! You truly have made many people happy by sharing your secret!

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  28. Sehr Says:


    I just happened to stumble upon this recipe, and I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting it. I am addicted to the whole food carrot cake, but this recipe tops that one. Being new to cooking, I really appreciate people putting up recipes that are sure to please everyone!


    Sehr from Pennsylvania

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  31. HC Says:

    Hi there! Thanks for posting. I am making this tonight for our Easter dinner tomorrow. I just added the liquids and the batter seems very pasty. Other recipes call for 1 1/2 cups of liquid when only using 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar. Is the amount of liquid in this recipe correct? I know you probably won’t get this before I am done making the cake, so I will just have to use my best judgment, but I would like to know for future reference. Thanks!

  32. Cassie Says:

    HC – It won’t be pasty after you add the pureed carrots :)

  33. Debbie Says:

    I made your wonderful carrot cake for Easter at my sister’s today. My husband is very upset that my sister kept the leftover cake! Have you thought about adding orange zest to the batter? Thank you so much for sharing.

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  35. Susan Says:

    I absolutely love carrot cake. I have to say that it is definitely my all time favorite. I’ve been looking for a successful recipe and came across yours. After reading all of the comments posted by your readers I figured it must be good. I’ve got the carrots boiling as I type (had to do something with them since my fridge in the garage froze all of my roots veggies!!) I also came across your chocolate beet cake. This one also sounds amazing and is next on my trial list. Thanks for sharing your secret recipe with all of us and making it one of our new faves!!

  36. Gayle Says:

    I have been trying various recipes to find the “ultimate” carrot cake and had the idea to cook the carrots beforehand for a better flavour. I looked on the net to see if this had been done in a recipe and I discovered your site. I am so glad I did because I know by just reading through some of your recipes that you love food and are an excellent cook. This will now be a favourite site of mine, thank you. Just as a small suggestion when I make your cake I am going to roast the walnuts in the oven for a few minutes before making the cake as I do this with all nuts included in recipes as it takes the recipe to a whole new level of flavour. Thanks again

  37. Leigh Says:

    This cake is amazing! I made it a week ago and we just finished the last slice yesterday. It was moist even a week after baking. This is the third carrot cake recipe I’ve tried (other 2 were famous chef recipes from food network) and yours is by far the BEST! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  38. Be-ej Says:

    thanks so much for sharing your recipe-at last i have found an easy and very tastey version of the all important carrot cake.
    I had the bright idea of baking this in 2 loaf tins and then cutting it and filling it with a CC frosting. However as the loaf tins were quite deep (3 to 4 times deeper than the suggested tray) the cake had trouble cooking all the way through. I cooked it 20 mins longer than suggested at 170c without fan, it split through the middle and the peaks started to burn a little, so i covered with foil and continued cooking but still the middle would not cook through- the down side was i had to cut out a small section of the cake and chuck it but what was left over was amazing.
    I took the cake into work and it was gone within minutes and everyone commented on how tastey and moist the cake was.
    I used sunflower oil over Canola – only reason being I could not find Canola in Waitrose (UK) I also bought whole pieces of pinnaple and cut these roughly to bite size and added sultanas.
    this recipe is a winner and i will continue to perfect it – using the proper size cake tin.
    also one variation i aim to attempt will be replacing the carrot puree with a pumpkin puree.
    thanks again!!

  39. rinjin89 Says:

    Wait….1 TABLESPOON of baking soda? Just want to double check……MUST MAKE THIS CAKE! :D

  40. dawn vargyas Says:

    OH MY GOSH!!! This is the moistest,richest,best carrot cake I have ever had. I am a carrot cake lover and this “takes the CAKE”. I made a separate vatch into cupcakes and mini cupcakes and they rocked. thanks for sharing this recipe.

  41. rinjin89 Says:

    So I made the recipe. Can I just say…AMAZING!! I used the recipe to make cupcakes so I only baked for 20 minutes, but I have no doubt it would be just as wonderful as a cake.

    Some changes/additions: (In order of appearance on ingredients list)

    -Substituted some of the flour with cake flour because I ran out of regular flour (oops), and it turned out fine
    -<2 cups of sugar (vs. 3 cups) – came out just the right amount of sweetness
    -Only 1 tsp of baking soda (I think the 1 Tbsp baking soda was a typo)
    -1 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon(vs. of 1 Tbsp cinnamon)
    -3 eggs instead of 4; ALSO: I separated the yolks and the whites–I beat the whites to a stiff peak and folded them in after mixing the dry and the wet but before folding in the walnuts and coconut, etc.
    -1 1/2 tsp coconut extract and 1 1/2 vanilla extract (vs. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract)
    -Toasted a 6 oz. bag of shelled walnuts at 350 for 5 minutes, let them cool, and crumbled them with my hands (vs. chopping). Admittedly, I had a few bites of a whole walnut…
    -Used 8 oz. of baby carrots (about half a small 16 oz bag). Also, next time (!), I'm thinking of adding some raw slivers of carrot just for more texture.
    -I only had a 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks in its own juice, so I drained the chunks, chopped/ground them, squeezed out the juice (with my hands), and weighed them. Magically, it came out to be exactly 8 oz of crushed pineapples !
    -Added 2 Tbsp freshly minced ginger

    (For the frosting, which was SOOO amazing):
    -4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter (vs. 6 Tbsp)
    -2/3 cup confectioners sugar (vs. 3 cups)
    -Added 1 tsp coconut extract

    -Topped it all off with some walnuts, slivers of carrot, ginger, and coconut shreds.

    :D THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!! Everyone loved them!!

  42. Gail Says:

    I had a large bowl of cooked carrots to use, Went online and found your recipe. I made the cake and it’s now on my favorite list to make. The second time I cooked it, I added raisins and chopped pecans. I took it to work – it was devoured before lunch! (I’ve also made your coconut cake. The local store didn’t have coconut milk, so I used pina colada mix. Was good, but am making it today with the coconut milk.)

  43. emily Says:

    this cake looks really wonderful. one question: how many would you say this cake serves? i have been hired to bake a carrot cake for a birthday party of 30-40 and i’m not quite sure how many cakes to prepare. any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, and thank you for sharing. :)

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    thanks for sharing, i made these and it taste homely good. I omitted out the coconut and pineapple.

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  46. parkeren schiphol Says:

    Baked it yesterday, and my family loved it. It was more than luscious!

  47. Jany Says:

    I made this cake today and it was awesome i added a bit of coconut extract which made it taste more coconuty than carroty i think but it was still the best dessert item i’ve ever made =]

  48. Karla Says:

    Hi There,
    What if you don’t what to make such a large portion? Can I half the ingredients without affecting the recipes taste or otherwise?

  49. wholesaleclothing4u Says:

    delicious picture! love it :)

  50. Andrea Says:

    Wow! Made this cake for Thanksgiving everyone LOVED IT!!! I don’t have a food processor or a blender so the pureed carrots was kinda difficult. Cooked them anyway, tried to mash with potato masher, still too chunky. Then I thought that baby food! Pureed carrots no added sugar or salt perfect! Worked great and was much easier. Will be making this cake again for sure. Thanks so much I LOVE THIS WEB SITE!!!!!

  51. Lilith Says:

    Can this be done without cooking the carrots? I like the shreds of carrot in my cake. :o(

  52. Emmeline Says:

    This is the exact same recipe I used to win a blue ribbon at the VA state fair in 1986. We sold it in our shop. Over the years we found it works especially well for entertaining because it improves with a couple days in the refrigerator, allowing dessert to be done ahead – we plan for that. It has become the default birthday cake of our friends. (Don’t tell them the calorie count.)

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  56. Bellawell Says:

    I can only find sweetened shredded coconut at my local store. The unsweetened only comes in a very fine shred. Which would you recommend using? I was thinking to use the sweetened for the shredded texture and reduce the sugar in the recipe.

  57. Doris Says:

    I have made this version of carrot cake for years—one thing , though, the amount of sugar is a bit much. Also, I toast my walnuts for about eight minutes —you can taste the difference. About your photo—it distinctly looks as if raisins are in the cake. Is this so?

  58. Emmeline Says:

    Great hint about toasting the walnuts, Doris. I’ve also started using fresh pineapple rather than canned because canned seems to have no taste anymore. It used to be better. i believe this recipe originates from “The Silver Palate Cookbook”.

  59. Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog Says:

    It’s my boyfriend’s birthday tomorrow, and he loves carrot cake – but only if it’s super duper moist. I googled “moist carrot cake recipe” and found your recipe. I’m super excited to try it.

  60. Angie Says:

    OK this cake is simply DANGEROUS!! I have never made a carrot cake but it is my mother-in-laws favorite and she was visiting for her 85th birthday. Why not, yes? We devoured the thing in a few days – and my husband says we must burn the recipe so we are never again tempted to have that incredible moist cake calling our name every time we pass through the kitchen.

    I will save this for special occasions when I want people to think I am just a whiz bang baker – but it is all in the secret recipe.

    Never mind what it does to your hips!

    THANK YOU!!!

  61. cenessia Says:

    How long do you bake this if you want to turn into cupcakes.

  62. Kathryn Says:

    My first try at a carrot cake for my family on Thanksgiving. Its definately a keeper!! I received rave reviews!! I took suggestions from other ratings like adding raw shredded carrots (bout 1/2 cup) loosely measured. I toasted my walnuts and added coconut sweetned which allowed me to subtract a cup of sugar that the recipe calls for. Turned out perfect!!! Thank you for sharing. I plan to try other recipes u have on ur site.

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  64. Lisa Says:

    Making this today for my sons birthday. Hope it doesn’t disappoint! In the oven right this second. I think it’s annoying when people tweak a recipe without even trying the original first!

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