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Last Updated on December 18, 2023 by Kiersten James

Today, I’ll show you how to make the best homemade carrot cake. Once an Easter staple, this recipe is now one of the most frequently requested celebration cakes in our family all year round.

This yields two 9″ round cakes. Each cake gets sliced in half horizontally after they’re fully cooled to produce four layers in total.

If you’re using the recipe for homemade carrot cake cupcakes, this will make approximately two dozen without altering any ratios.


  • 4 eggs
  • 3 pounds whole carrots
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8oz can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1/2 cup regular applesauce (4oz)
  • 3/4 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • Cream cheese frosting – if using store bought, 4 cans are enough
  • Wax paper


  1. Peel a 3lb bag of whole carrots and run them through the grater attachment of a food processor.
  2. Open the can of crushed pineapple and squeeze all of the juice out. I do this by simply pressing the lid into the can and flipping it upside down over the sink.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Grease cake pans with a stick of butter and spread evenly across all sides and bottom with your hands. Don’t use non-stick spray.


  1. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract.
  2. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add it slowly and take your time.
  3. Add applesauce and crushed pineapple. Do not over mix.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, fold in grated carrots until evenly distributed. I usually add 3 to 4 cups into the batter.
  5. Pour batter into greased pans filling half way.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until a fork in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove pans from oven. Let them completely cool before attempting to remove cakes from the pan.
  8. Use a knife and spatula, if necessary, to separate the edges of the cake from the pan. Flip the pan upside down onto a wax paper lined cutting board.
  9. Using a serrated knife, cut the tops off of each cake so the four layers are even and level.
  10. Assemble cake and frost.
  11. Add pecans to finished cake for garnish, if desired.

The layers can absolutely be made ahead of time. When I bake carrot cake, I put them in the fridge in the pans until I get around to actually assembling it. They also can be frozen pretty much indefinitely if wrapped well individually in plastic wrap. I personally have never doubled the recipe and choose to just quickly re-make the recipe two times.

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