Nothing beats a carrot cake to feed a crowd! This Easy Carrot Cake is bursting with flavor from a fresh orange, not to mention the delicious cream cheese frosting! Made in a sheet pan this is a simple cake that anyone can make!
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Easy Carrot Cake
Carrot Cake is probably my favorite cake out of all the cakes. So much so it was even the cake when I got married (don’t worry it is one of my husband’s favorites too).
So obviously if I love it that much I had to develop my own recipe for it right?!
I wanted to make sure that this recipe was super flavorful and moist! So after playing around with a recipe I landed on adding fresh orange. It works great to keep the cake nice and moist but also flavorful since you use both the zest of the orange and the juice from the orange.
And of course the cake is topped off with delicious cream cheese frosting! Can it even be a carrot cake without cream cheese frosting??
- All-Purpose Flour – A nice thing about carrot cake is that it doesn’t require cake flour, just plain old all purpose flour.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder – For lift this cake uses both baking soda and baking powder
- Salt – Of course salt is added to keep flavor to the cake
- Ground Spices – Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves – These three spices work well together to give that spiced cake flavor of the carrot cake.
- Eggs – Four large eggs
- Light Brown Sugar – In a pinch dark brown sugar can be used as well
- Granulated Sugar – And plain granulated sugar to help keep the nice consistency of the cake.
- Butter – Unsalted. You will use melted butter for the cake and you will want room temperature butter for the cream cheese frosting.
- Fresh Orange – One large navel orange, don’t grab anything too small or it won’t give off enough zest. First zest the orange and once you have collected all the zest then juice the orange.
- Carrots – Of course it wouldn’t be carrot cake without carrots. You will want to shred about 5 large carrots to make 3 cups worth of shredded carrots.
- Raisins – If you are not a fan of raisins it is okay to leave them out, if not make sure that you give the raisins a little bit of a soak to plump up slightly before adding them to the cake.
- Cream Cheese – For the frosting of course, you will want to make sure the cream cheese has come to room temperature before making the frosting.
- Powdered Sugar – And powdered sugar for the frosting!
- Vanilla Extract – And just to help flavor the frosting just a little bit!
For a complete detailed list of the ingredients continue towards the bottom of the page.
Add nuts. I am not a big fan of nuts in my carrot cake but I know many are. Add in ½ cup of chopped walnuts if this sounds good to you!
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan and dust with flour.
Add the raisins to a small bowl and cover with warm water to plump while the rest of the cake gets made.
In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl combine eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar whisk until smooth and creamy. Whisk in the melted butter, orange juice, and orange zest.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Drain the raisins and gently pat dry. Fold in the carrots and raisins to the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spread out evenly.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cake clean, and the center of the cake springs back up.
If you want to remove the cake from the pan do so after about 1 hour and then continue to cool. Once the cake is cooled, spread with the cream cheese frosting (recipe below).
for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine the cream cheese and softened butter into a large mixing bowl and beat on high for 2-3 minutes, until light in color.
With the mixer on low add the vanilla and slowly add the powdered sugar.
Beat for about 4 minutes until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.
tips, tricks and questions
Many carrot cakes are made with oil instead of butter. After retesting the recipe I decided I preferred the butter. You can use oil in place of the butter in this recipe if that works best for you.
This cake will serve 12 large pieces, if you are serving medium-small sized pieces this could easily feed around 16.
This is a great make a head cake for sharing so I like to use this pan/lid combo, it makes it easy peasy:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- juice from 1 orange (1/4 cup)
- zest from 1 orange (1 tablespoon)
- 3 cups shredded carrots (about 5 carrots)
- 3/4 cup raisins
for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a 13" x 9" baking pan and dust with flour. Fill a bowl with warm water and add the raisins to soak while the rest of the cake is being prepped.
- In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir to combine.
- In a large bowl combine eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar whisk until smooth and creamy. whisk in melted butter, orange juice, and orange zest.
- Add the the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula mix until just combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Drain the raisins and gently pat dry. Fold in the carrots and raisins to the carrot cake batter.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spread out evenly.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until toothpick comes out of the center of the cake clean, and the center of the cake springs back up.
- If you want to remove the cake from the pan do so after about 1 hour and then continue to cool. Once the cake is cooled, spread with the cream cheese frosting (recipe below).
for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Combine cream cheese and butter into a large mixing bowl and beat on high for 2-3 minutes, until light in color.
- With the mixer on low add the vanilla and slowly add the powdered sugar.
- Beat on high 3 to 4 minutes until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary.
Vegetable oil or coconut oil can work as a subsistute to the melted butter in the cake.
recipe inspired by 'Carrot Cake' Good Housekeeping Cookbook
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 613Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 610mgCarbohydrates: 79gFiber: 3gSugar: 53gProtein: 7g
Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.
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Carrot Cake holds a special place in my heart, it was Matt and I’s wedding cake. Not only was it our wedding cake but its my favorite cake. It is always so moist and full of flavor. So I thought it was about time to share a fun little twist on this classic, Orange Spiced Carrot Cake! A subtle twist on the classic and topped with silky cream cheese frosting this is a flavorful cake no one can resist.
So I mentioned how carrot cake was the cutting cake Matt and I had at our wedding, but we didn’t really get a chance to eat it, why? Take a look at this picture…
We had more fun smearing it in each others faces rather then eating it, ironically this picture probably is my favorite from that whole day! It was also super memorable because shortly after when it was time to clean our faces we stepped out of the hall and helped get the frosting off each other and these were the only 2 minutes the whole wedding day we had to ourselves! No joke isn’t it funny how the day is all about you as a couple and you don’t even get two minutes to yourselves?! So even though it has been a few years it is such a stand out memory in my mind, so if you happen to be reading this and planning a wedding, first do the cake face smashing, it is a blast. Second take two minutes out of your wedding day to be alone with your partner and tell them how much you love them!
Okay back to this Orange Spiced Carrot Cake. Fresh orange zest and juice give this cake that extra flavorful kick along with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Then filled with carrots and raisins and topped off with a silky cream cheese frosting… are you drooling yet? This cake in made in a 9 x 13 inch pan so it is perfect for crowd. I personally think Orange Spiced Carrot Cake is the most perfect cake for Easter but please feel free to make it whenever 😉