This sweet and flavorful CARROT CAKE isn’t your average carrot cake. Packed with flavors from applesauce, ginger, and vanilla, this is sure to be your new favorite carrot cake recipe.
If I could only eat one cake for the rest of my life, this carrot cake recipe is no doubt *THE* cake. There is something about this cake that makes it so satisfying and just spot on delicious! It’s light and moist without being too oily and the flavor combination is just beyond average.
Do you remember yesterday’s homemade vanilla extract? I honestly think it bumped it up to make it as delicious as it is. So if you’re looking for an absolute cake that will knock everybody’s socks off, you’re staring at it right now!
(I’m sorry Red Velvet Cake, this one has to be the OG of cakes.)❤️
Carrot Cake Ingredients
This cake recipe is super easy to make even if you’re not a baker. And most of its ingredients are baking staple and some can easily be found in grocery stores. But let me touch base on the ingredients that made this homemade cake a stand-out. For a complete list of the ingredients, please refer to the recipe box below.
Applesauce is used to prevent the cake from being too moist since I use both oil and butter as for this batter. But instead of using the usual applesauce with its balanced sweet and tart flavors, I opted to go with cinnamon applesauce for a nice added flavor. I’d have to say this came as a surprise to me as well. But feel free to use the plain applesauce if that’s what you have.
Most carrot cake recipes online would use granulated sugar to sweeten things up. With brown sugar, you not only have a nice sweet baked treat, but it also adds flavor and moisture to a cake.
Oil and Butter
For this cake that has other flavors going on, you will hardly notice that buttery taste. Adding butter here is more like adding moisture in this cake along with oil. Use vegetable or canola oil for this cake recipe.
Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Ground Ginger
I mean, c’mon. How can you not love those flavor combinations alone? You get that nutty, warm and slightly sweet flavor profile from nutmeg and cinnamon and a refreshing zing from ground ginger. I could already imagine that smell wafting in the air.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Feel free to use whatever you have on hand. But I must share that for a pure vanilla flavor that smells and taste 100x better, you should give my Homemade Vanilla Extract a go. Although it takes monthsss before you can use it, you’d be glad that you made it ahead just in time for the holiday baking and also as holiday giveaways. This is the only gift that keeps on giving. You’ll know why once you check it out. 😉
Cream Cheese Frosting
As for the cream cheese frosting, I use the same simple frosting for my Red Velvet Cake to cut through the sweetness of this easy carrot cake recipe. I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese, in case you’re wondering.
Can You Make Carrot Cake Ahead of Time?
One of the best things about this cake is that it tastes even better the next day. It allows the flavors to mingle together and settle down and also the frosting in between layers to set well. So yes, you can make and frost the cake a day ahead, cover it and store in the fridge. Once you’re ready to serve, you can eat it straight off the fridge or bring it to room temperature.
More Cake Recipes To Explore
Don’t worry if you can’t go out and celebrate Easter outside. You can always make a wonderful Easter celebration at home starting with this carrot cake recipe or any of these scrumptious cake recipes below.
- Coconut Cake
- Vanilla Cake
- Caribbean Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Pumpkin Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Hummingbird Cake
How To Make Carrot Cake
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease 2 8-inch cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, mix together applesauce, butter, oil, sour cream, both sugars, and eggs. Mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger.
Add to egg mixture gradually. Mix well. Sifting the dry ingredients makes it easier to make sure every ingredient is mixed together well. If you don’t have a sifter, a metal strainer with very small holes will work just as good. Using rubber spatula, fold in carrots and walnuts. Stir in vanilla.
Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are golden. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla using an electric mixer on medium speed. Add sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat until smooth consistency. Let cake cool completely before frosting. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Frost cake and stick walnuts to sides of the cake as a garnish.
Watch How To Make It
- ¾ cup (187.5g) cinnamon applesauce (optional)
- ½ cup (113.5g) butter , softened
- ½ cup (125ml) oil
- ½ cup (115g) sour cream
- 3/4 -1 cup (198g) brown sugar (see notes)
- 3/4 -1 cup 200g) granulated sugar (see notes )
- 3 large eggs , room temp
- 2 ¼ cups (281.25g) flour
- 1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons (6g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2.5g) salt
- 1 teaspoon (2g) nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons (5.2g) cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon (5.27g) ground ginger
- 2 ½ cups (275g) shredded carrots
- 1 cup (117g) walnuts or pecans , chopped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Walnuts for garnish
- ½ cup (113.5g) butter , softened
- 8 oz (240g) cream cheese , softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons (6.3g) vanilla
- 2 cups (400g) powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease 2 8-inch cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together applesauce, butter, oil, sour cream, both sugars and eggs. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger. Add to egg mixture gradually. Mix well. Sifting the dry ingredients makes it easier to make sure every ingredient is mixed together well. If you don’t have a sifter, a metal strainer with very small holes will work just as good.
- Using rubber spatula, fold in carrots and walnuts. Stir in vanilla.
- Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are golden.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla using an electric mixer on medium speed. Add sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat until smooth consistency.
- Let cake cool completely before frosting. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
- Frost cake and stick walnuts to sides of cake as garnish.
Tips & Notes:
- If using applesauce cut down sugar to 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Apple sauce has quite a bit of sugar- and it makes it overly sweet.
- If using a 9x13 baking dish, cook for 35-40 minutes.
- Pecans can be used in place of walnuts.
- Plain applesauce can be used, the cinnamon just adds a nice flavor.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.