King Arthur's Carrot Cake

Recipe by Brinna Sands

Moist, dense, and flavorful — who doesn't love carrot cake? Especially when it's topped with rich cream cheese icing. This much-requested recipe is easily customized to taste. We've used all nuts, you can use any combination of add-ins you like, including raisins or coconut; just keep the total of any (or all) additions to 1 1/2 cups.

25 mins
35 to 40 mins
2 hrs
1 cake, 16 servings
King Arthur's Carrot Cake


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  1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9" round layer pans, or one 9" x 13" pan.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, salt, eggs, spices, baking powder, and baking soda.

  3. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. 

  4. Add the flour, stirring until well blended.

  5. Add the carrots and nuts, and mix until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan(s).

  6. Bake the cake(s) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Allow the cake(s) to cool completely before frosting. If you're using round layer pans, remove the layers from the pans after about 15 minutes, and place them on a rack to cool.

  7. To make the frosting: In a large bowl working with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla. Beat in the sugar. Add a teaspoon of milk or cream if the frosting is too stiff to spread; add additional sugar if it's too thin.

  8. Frost the sheet cake right in the pan. For the layers, frost the top of one layer, top with the second layer, and frost the top and sides of the cake. For helpful tips, see our blog post: How to assemble and frost a layer cake.

  9. Refrigerate the cake. An hour or so before serving, remove it from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers, well wrapped, for a day or so; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to make this recipe gluten-free? For great results, substitute King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. Be sure to bake thoroughly; gluten-free baked goods often need a bit more time in the oven.

  • To toast nuts, spread them in a single layer in an ungreased baking pan. Bake them for 6 to 8 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven, until they're a light golden brown and smell toasty.
  • Want to substitute whole wheat flour for some (or perhaps all) of the all-purpose flour in this recipe? For best results, see How to substitute whole wheat flour for white flour in baking.