Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Today is my birthday and my husband, who has never baked a cake on his own, baked me a carrot cake completely from scratch!

When we were in Madera for Thanksgiving, I rummaged through my aunt’s recipe cards and found a few more of my mom’s recipes that I didn’t have.  One of the recipes was for a carrot cake that I remember eating when I was young.  I love carrot cake so I was thrilled to have a new (old) recipe to try!

When Justin surprised me by asking what kind of cake I wanted today, I first requested a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, a classic combination that I’ve always loved.  But at the last minute, I remembered my newly acquired carrot cake recipe and asked if he would be willing to give that a try instead.

I have to say that I’m pretty impressed.  Not only did he find all the ingredients on his own, he did absolutely everything without my help.  My only assigned tasks were carrot grating and pan greasing.  My husband normally does nothing in the kitchen besides making the occasional sandwich, so this new baking development is a rather nice surprise!

I have had a great birthday!  We went out to lunch and then I spent the afternoon shopping with birthday money and gift certificates.  I’ve been receiving birthday cards, phone calls, e-mails, text messages, as well as facebook and twitter greetings all day long.  Birthdays are so much fun in this digital age!  Thanks, everyone!

In addition to my birthday, today is the last day of November and therefore this is my last post for NaBloPoMo.  I shared a recipe with you every day this month (with the exception of Thanksgiving) and I’m finishing it off by sharing my mom’s carrot cake recipe, complete with cream cheese frosting!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Carrot Cake

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrot (about 4 medium/large carrots)
1 1/2 cups canola oil
3/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift together first six ingredients.  Stir in oil then stir in eggs, one a time.  Add carrots and stir until well blended then add nuts.  Divide batter between two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake pans and bake in preheated oven, 30-35 minutes for the 8-inch pans or 35-45 minutes for the 9-inch pans.  Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted the center comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for ten minutes, then remove cakes from pans and let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Edit 12/01/08: We decided that the cream cheese frosting from my mom’s recipe was way too sweet so I’ve removed it and am sharing another cream cheese frosting recipe that allows more of the cream cheese flavor to come through.  Hope you enjoy it!

2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

With an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and blend until well combined.  Blend in vanilla extract.  Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.  If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting is at room temp, beat with mixer til smooth).

  1. Emon

    Very cool!

    Well, two things. Hope you had a happy birthday. And…congratulations on completion of NaBloPoMo! You must feel a big relief! A recipe a day is some serious business…but you did it!!


    10:12 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  2. Corinne

    Wow, I am very impressed by Justin’s baking! That has to be a wonderful birthday present, a husband baking a cake for his wife! (now have Justin talk to Jason — my birthday is in a week!) haha.

    10:13 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  3. Corinne

    oh, one more thing…where are the pictures of Justin actually baking the cake? ;o)

    10:14 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  4. Nikki Jean

    Happy Birthday! That’s very cool that he went into the kitchen & made you something!

    10:17 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  5. Kim

    What a beautiful thing he did for you, and the cake is scrumptious! I’m so jealous cause I want a piece!!!!!

    10:26 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  6. Gretchen Noelle

    Happy Birthday! Glad to hear you had a nice day and that you had a wonderful cake. That is terrific!

    10:36 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  7. Alice Q. Foodie

    Congrats on making it all the way through Nablopomo, and Happy Birthday! The cake looks wonderful!

    10:39 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  8. Andrea

    Happy Birthday! Your husband did a lovely job on the cake, all by himself even. 🙂

    11:25 pm  Nov 30th, 2008
  9. Leslie

    Happy Birthday!
    I’ve been craving this! It’s like you read my mind 🙂
    I was trying to find a recipe that had pineapple in it, too. But…I’m gonna give this one a try 🙂

    12:09 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  10. Kathy

    Happy Birthday! I have to tell you that I looked forward to what you would post each and every day! Thanks for all the recipes!

    1:32 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  11. ttfn300

    wow, gorgeous cake! hope you had a splendid birthday!! 🙂

    6:45 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  12. Debbie

    Carrot cake is my favorite.. My grandma always made it when I was very young, and she had a glaze she drizzled on top.. I will have to ask my mom if she has the recipe for the glaze.. Happy Birthday and thanks for all the wonderful recipes all month.

    7:07 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  13. Laurie

    Happy Birthday, Nicole! Your husband did a wonderful job on your cake. It’s beautiful and I’m sure it was yummy. Congratulations on the Nano event. I did the novel one a few years ago and it was quite something to write every day. I’m still revising that novel…LOL.

    8:09 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  14. Christy

    Happy birthday! =) Hope you had a great day!

    What a lovely surprise from your husband. The cake looks delicious! He did a great job at it. And yay for finishing NaBloPoMo!!

    9:43 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  15. Micha

    Congrats on completing your NaBloPoMo goal! And, of course, Happy belated birthday!

    10:57 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  16. Genie

    I adore carrot cake, and so will definitely give this recipe a try — thanks for posting it. And bravo to Justin for pulling this off on your behalf!

    Oh, and of course, congrats on completing NaBloPoMo! I’ve enjoyed reading your daily recipes.

    11:00 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  17. Amadeo Plaza

    Happy belated birthday!!! And thanks for sharing all the recipes with us 🙂

    11:46 am  Dec 1st, 2008
  18. Karen

    Happy Birthday! What a great hubby to make a cake for you!

    1:36 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  19. Elizabeth

    Happy Birthday Nicole! And congrats on succeeding at NaBloPoMo!!

    2:25 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  20. pam

    Happy Birthday! I’m showing this post to my husband! When my birthday rolls around, he better step up to the plate!

    2:29 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  21. Haley

    Love your blog! Happy belated birthday! Your husband did a fabulous job on this cake!!

    2:34 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  22. Anna

    Happy Birthday. The cake looks so awesome. What a great hubby 🙂

    4:35 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  23. Roger

    Whoa! Nice job there, Justin! Happy belated, Nicole 😀

    4:39 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  24. Gera

    Have a Happy Birthday Nicole! With one day of difference….;)
    Scrumptious cake to try.. hey Nicole you’re making drool with every cake you do!

    4:54 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  25. Karina

    That carrot birthday cake looks amazing. And it is even sweeter knowing your husband baked it just for you. Happy Birthday, Nicole! May your year be filled with love and all good things.

    7:16 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  26. Greg

    Happy Birthday!

    I really should try to make carrot cake one day.

    8:40 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  27. Laura

    Happy belated birthday! What a lovely cake – and even better that he made it for you!

    9:05 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  28. Leaca

    I absolutely love carrot cake.

    10:30 pm  Dec 1st, 2008
  29. kickpleat

    oooh, i love carrot cake but haven’t made one in ages! i guess it’s time i remedy that. congrats on having a husband who would make you such a lovely cake and happy birthday!!

    10:54 am  Dec 2nd, 2008
  30. Ruby

    I’m so impressed! Beautiful job Justin!

    12:05 pm  Dec 2nd, 2008
  31. DD

    Hope you had a great birthday! That cake looks amazing. Awesome job.

    12:07 pm  Dec 2nd, 2008
  32. Kasey

    Happy belated birthday! The carrot cake looks amazing. I just recently made a new carrot cake recipe with cardamom and mascarpone frosting, but definitely could use a new recipe for my next go.

    12:58 pm  Dec 2nd, 2008
  33. Alan Carr

    I ran this through my Biggly diet software and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

    As a house-hubby and designated calorie-watcher for the whole family I’m always on the lookout for tasty treats that won’t bust the cal bank and preferably with some actual nutrition in them. Keep the portions small enough (and go lightly with the cream cheese) and it’s not too bad at all. OK I’m out of excuses and will try it this weekend 🙂

    It certainly looks tasty – and well done on your pics by the way. The recipes are great (though most beyond my calorie limits) but you really bring them to life with some quality photography too. Do you do your own pics?


    6:50 pm  Dec 2nd, 2008
  34. FamilyFirst

    A very beautiful tall cake! It looks divine!

    10:52 pm  Dec 2nd, 2008
  35. Eunice

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And that looks amazing!! Truly truly that I even had to leave you a comment saying that! I’m goign to have to make it soon =D

    5:06 pm  Dec 4th, 2008
  36. Amy

    Happy Belated Birthday and KUDOS to your hubby for making you not just a cake, but a carrot cake! And everything tastes better with cream cheese frosting!

    Congrats to you also on completing NaBloPoMo! That’s amazing.

    I feel the need to bake a cake coming on….

    😉 amy

    12:05 pm  Dec 5th, 2008
  37. Alan Carr

    Well I must admit the cream cheese frosting thing is delicious but I’m glad I reduced the amount. Hey, I’m a bodybuilder, there’s limits to what I can eat 🙂

    Overall it went down very well with the family, thanks!


    3:35 am  Dec 7th, 2008
  38. Jude

    Your extreme closeups are killing me. Having a bad craving for anything cake all of a sudden.

    8:32 pm  Dec 15th, 2008
  39. David

    Nice cake. Looks like I’ll have to make one also.

    12:24 pm  Dec 16th, 2008
  40. juanita

    Making carrot cake using your food processor to grate the carrots is a snap. I use it all the time.

    10:29 am  Jan 13th, 2009
  41. Rebecca

    Yummy!!!! … really liked carrot cakes especially when it’s made from freshly grated carrots. I love cake, made of 3 layers of carrot cake and it’s filled and frosted with cream cheese.

    11:38 pm  Feb 9th, 2009
  42. Jeana

    I just made this cake and icing… and it was my first time making them both from scratch! Both are AMAZING. I should have let them cool a little bit longer before I iced them… but I was wanting to try it!! 😀 Thanks for sharing your birthday cake with us!

    4:51 pm  Feb 21st, 2009
  43. Jeana

    Ok, I’m back. I served this cake to many friends this weekend, and they all LOVED it. One friend from Southern Alabama carefully whispered to me, “This is better than my grandmother’s prized carrot cake.” I made some people very happy this weekend. Thanks again.

    6:57 am  Feb 23rd, 2009
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  46. derf

    amazing cake recipes on this site:

    luscious coconut
    to die for white layer cake

    9:07 am  May 31st, 2009
  47. Berlin

    Hello! I don’t know if you mistyped your recipe ingredients or what, but I made this cake with the given amount of sugar and it turned into a sugar mess. I even tried to add more flour, but to no avail. While in search of an explanation for this sugar mess, all of the other recipes I came across called for 1 1/4 cups of sugar tops.

    4:36 pm  Jul 3rd, 2009
  48. Nicole

    Hi Berlin, sorry you had problems with the cake. I double checked the original recipe card and the ingredient amounts are correct. It’s an old recipe and has more sugar and oil than most recipes you’ll find today. I only posted it because it’s the recipe my husband made for my birthday…it’s not a recipe I developed myself. But some of the other commenters made the cake following the recipe and said it turned out well. I’m really sorry it didn’t work out for you!!

    5:35 pm  Jul 3rd, 2009
  49. Berlin

    It’s okay! It’s just upsetting to waste all those nuts (they’re so expensive.) I still don’t know what went wrong other than there was too much sugar. I never made carrot cake before so maybe I’m just not used to the consistency. It didn’t cook all the way through though. Thanks for your speedy reply. No worries :]

    2:04 am  Jul 4th, 2009
  50. Chef Karen Santana

    This cake is amazing! I tried your recipe (just added some rum, for a ‘je ne se qua’ touch) and I loved it!

    9:25 am  Aug 28th, 2009
  51. sugarpluuum

    this is the best and the only carrot cake i will only eat!! thanks for sharing!! *HUG!*

    8:03 am  Feb 22nd, 2010
  52. Zsuzsi

    Greetings from Hungary! I just made this wonderful cake (, it’s such a hit, my family is totally amazed!

    1:38 pm  Feb 28th, 2010
  53. darcus

    i actually made it it was delicous i loved it alot thanks for the recipe

    5:58 pm  Mar 14th, 2010
  54. Kaitlin

    I’m not quite sure what the problem is with this, but I have made it twice and both times it takes well over an hour to bake at 350 degrees…

    10:08 pm  Mar 18th, 2010
  55. Kausambi

    Great recipe, great blog and great pics.. 🙂 I am so enamored by the picture of that slice of carrot cake with cream cheese on it that I am trying it out just as we speak (the cake is already baking away in my oven!) Have tweaked it just a little bit… Will let you know how it turns out soon… (

    4:57 am  Jun 26th, 2010
  56. Katrina

    Something wrong with this recipe… I’m really good at following recipes, exactly, and this one was by far the worst recipe I’ve ever made. I used it to make cupcakes, and one small cake. Neither of them rose, just sunk in the middle :/… I baked them as long as the recipe called for… Only good thing I got from this was, the tops of the cupcakes became really crunchy and turned out being a really good cookie 🙂

    4:28 pm  Sep 11th, 2010
  57. irene

    After a very long day of activities, at 8:45 pm.,my 12 yr old dtr. Kate says
    she is going to make a carrot cake from the internet….
    We watch her hand grate carrots, etc. and in a short while, we are
    eating the fluffiest, most delicious cake. The recipe is very good. thank you.

    6:23 am  Oct 1st, 2010
  58. Jill

    I just like everything u bake!

    6:30 pm  Oct 5th, 2011
  59. Pearly

    Was looking for a nice cream cheese frosting recipe and chanced upon this. Absolutely fabulous. I will try the carrot cake next! Thank you for sharing.

    2:35 am  Jan 6th, 2013
  60. Mahalia

    What kind of nuts were used in the pictures above?

    9:10 pm  Mar 12th, 2013
  61. Teresina

    Yum, yum, yum! And soooo easy!

    6:05 pm  Nov 21st, 2014
  62. Sheila

    Greetings from Malaysia! First of all, a big “Thank You”… tis is One hell of a cake !!!
    I baked it few days ago, n I must say WE ALL LUVED IT SOOOO VERY MCH!
    Carrot cake is one of my fav cake n I just luv tis recipe.. its so really easy n made my 10 yr old daughter to say “im so proud of u mom”.. thnks again!

    9:07 pm  Apr 9th, 2015
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