Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting — My favorite recipe for carrot cake!! It’s ridiculously moist, soft, tender, and full of cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, including an abundance of carrots and sweet, juicy raisins! 

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

The Easiest Carrot Cake (From Scratch!)

When it’s done right, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite indulgences. And this is my new favorite recipe for carrot cake.

I’m really picky about carrot cake. Just like when I dissected Lemon Bars and pointed out many things that could go awry from dog biscuit-like crust to lackluster lemon oomph, carrot cake is also ripe for caketastrophes, with the number one issue being dryness.

I would rather eat a dry rice cake than ingest all those calories on cake that tastes like a dry rice cake. Problem solved because this is the moistest carrot cake I’ve ever had!

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Another issue that plagues carrot cakes is blandness. When it comes to cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, I use a heavier hand than most recipes call for.

Carrots, eggs, sugar, buttermilk, flour; they’re all ingredients that can stand up to bolder spices.

In no way is this carrot cake overly-spiced; it’s not a spice cake, but it’s flavorful. It’s not to be confused with those grocery store carrot cakes that are generally so bland they’re just one step above jarred baby food carrots.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

This recipe is a keeper. The carrot loaf cake is tender, springy, dense but not heavy, falling-apart soft and moist without being greasy.

It’s full of texture from the carrots and raisins. And it’s warmly spiced with cinnamon and the spices classic carrot cake is known for. The cream cheese frosting is the literal icing on the cake; tangy, creamy, luscious.

I have not been able to keep away from this cake. It’s a good thing the recipe makes two loaves.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Carrot Cake Loaf Ingredients

To make carrot cake in a loaf pan, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Oil
  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk
  • Brown & granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg) 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda & baking powder
  • Grated carrots
  • Raisins 
  • Nuts (optional) 
  • Cream cheese
  • Confectioners’ sugar
Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

How to Make a Carrot Cake Loaf 

This simple carrot loaf cake recipe has a quick, whisk-tougher batter. There is nothing fussy about it and it goes from cupboard to oven in less than 5 minutes with very few dirty dishes!

Here’s an overview of how to make a spiced carrot loaf cake:

  1. Make the carrot cake loaf: Simply melt the butter, add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugars, vanilla, all the spices, and whisk. That’s the first 11 ingredients.
  2. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, optional salt, fold in the carrots, raisins, and optional nuts. 
  3. Pour the batter into your pan, making sure not to fill any pan more than halfway full because the batter rises considerably.
  4. Bake at 350F until top is set in the middle, and it will likely have domed up a little. A toothpick will come out clean, and even when the cake is done, the pan will feel heavy for it’s size. This is one moist cake, I’m telling you!
  5. Make the frosting: Beat together butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, a splash of vanilla, and whip until it’s soft and fluffy.

Frosting Tip

For the photos, I wanted you to see the moistness and texture on the surface of the slices and didn’t cover them frosting. But in reality, I eat a thick, ridiculous layer of frosting, smeared all over.

I lay the slice flat and butter it. With frosting. That little skimpy one-inch stripe on top is just for photos!

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

A Note on Baking Times

Baking times will vary greatly by pan sizes used.

  • For standard-sized loaf pans, 40 to 50 minutes, is recommended. I baked the 8-by-4-inch loaf for 42 minutes and the 9-by-5-inch for 50 minutes.
  • For mini loaves or muffins, I’d start checking them by 20 minutes, and go from there.
  • For one big Bundt cake, it’ll likely take 55 to 65 minutes.

Because of oven variances, various pans used, moisture content in the carrots, and personal preference, baking times will vary.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Loaf Pan Should I Use? 

This batter makes enough for two loaves. I used one 9-by-5-inch pan and one 8-by-4-inch pan. The photos are of the 9-by-5-inch. I like symmetry and wanted to do two 8-by-4-inch loaves, but there was just a bit too much batter. I could have them made 4 to 6 muffins, but kept it easy in two loaf pans.

Choose any combination of loaf pans, muffin pans, tube or Bundt cake pans.

It would make a great 10- to 12-cup Bundt, two mini Bundts, or about 4 mini loaves.
Whatever odd assortment of pans you have, go with it, adjusting baking times accordingly.

Do I have to add the raisins and / or nuts?

Nope! I know some people don’t like raisins, but I’m a raisin lover. Here they’re used plentifully, adding flavor, texture, and help keep an already soft and moist cake even more so. As for nuts, they’re a total deal-breaker for me in baked goods and this carrot cake is nut-free. With both raisins and nuts, you can add or omit based on your ideal definition of carrot cake.

Can the buttermilk be omitted?

No! The buttermilk tenderizes the batter and helps an otherwise dense batter rise nicely while baking. If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute using regular milk and either lemon juice or vinegar (Google it! There are lots of tutorials online about how to make DIY buttermilk).

Do I Have to use both Granulated and brown sugar?

I recommend doing so, yes. I used both granulated and brown sugar since a bit of brown sugar adds flavor and moisture. However, you may use just granulated sugar if that’s all you have.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Tips for Making Carrot Cake in a Loaf Pan

Spices: The spices include a mix of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. If you don’t happen to keep them all on hand, I suggest using more cinnamon. Cinnamon cures everything.

For a twist, if you love pumpkin like I do, pumpkin pie spice would be lovely, too. As written, the cake is nicely spiced and before you double the cinnamon or other spices like I usually do with most recipes, taste the batter and go from there.

Mix-ins: If you’re using both raisins and nuts, reduce each to about 3/4-cup rather than one full cup each so you don’t overwhelm the batter with add-ins, tasty as it sounds.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting — My favorite recipe for carrot cake!! It's ridiculously moist, soft, tender, and full of cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, including an abundance of carrots and sweet, juicy raisins! 

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Yield: 18

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

A soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster and easier than baking an entire cake! Packed with carrots, raisins, & nuts!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt, optional (buttermilk is already a salted milk and I omitted adding salt)
  • 2 1/4 cups coarsely grated carrots, packed loosely
  • 1 cup raisins, optional but recommended
  • 1 cup diced nuts (such as walnuts, pecans), optional

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe's Whipped Light)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of one stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups+ confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F; spray loaf pans with floured cooking spray; set aside. I used one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and one 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Choose any combination of loaf pan sizes, tube or Bundt cake pans, or muffin pans.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Add the oil, eggs, buttermilk, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and whisk vigorously until combined.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, optional salt, and stir to incorporate; don't overmix.
  5. Stir in the carrots.
  6. Stir in the raisins and optional nuts.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pans, making sure not to fill any pan more than halfway full because this batter rises considerably.
  8. Bake the two loaves (9x5 and 8x4) for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is set in the center, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Allow cake to cool in pans for about 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. While cakes cool, make the frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, butter, and beat to soften and combine, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Add additional sugar as desired for thicker frosting.
  3. Spread frosting over the tops of the cooled loaves. Slice into 3/4-inch wide slices and serve. I yield 9 to 10 slices from a 9x5 loaf.

Notes

Add-ins: If using both raisins and nuts, use about 3/4 cup of each rather than 1 cup each, or the batter may become overwhelmed with add-ins.

Baking times: Baking times will vary greatly by pan sizes used. I baked the 8-by-4-inch loaf for 42 minutes and the 9-by-5-inch loaf for 50 minutes. Muffins or mini loaves could bake in as short as 20 minutes, a big Bundt cake may need 55 to 65 minutes.

Frosting: Some people prefer to refrigerate cream cheese frosting and if you're one of them, I suggest frosting the slices individually immediately prior to serving, rather than frost the whole loaf and then refrigerating it, which will dry it out.

Storage: Store unfrosted loaf wrapped in plastic wrap and placed inside a large ziptop plastic bag for up to 1 week at room temperature, or freeze for up to 3 months. Freezing second loaf after it's cooled is recommended if you're not going to eat it within a week.

Adapted from Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

18

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 5g

More Carrot Cake Recipes: 

ALL OF MY CARROT CAKE-INSPIRED RECIPES! 

Layered Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting!

Layered Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting! For anyone who loves carrot cake, this cake looks and tastes so impressive but is EASY to make! Perfect for Easter, springtime, or any carrot cake cravings you have!

Carrot Cake Bars — Dense, chewy, super moist bars that taste like carrot cake with a cream cheese topping that’s baked right in so you don’t need to worry about frosting them!! 

Salted Caramel Carrot Cake — Soft, tender, EASY carrot cake infused with salted caramel sauce and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting is the ULTIMATE in decadence!!

Salted Caramel Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, tender carrot cake infused with salted caramel sauce and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting is the ULTIMATE in decadence!! Calling all carrot cake fans, you will LOVE this version!!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting — These soft, moist, tender cupcakes are the BEST carrot cake cupcakes I’ve ever had!! They’re fast and easy to make, and come together in minutes! 

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies — All the flavors of richly spiced carrot cake, but in cookie form! Soft, chewy, extremely moist, and not at all cakey!

Carrot Banana Bread  EASY, no-mixer, super soft banana carrot bread that reminds me of carrot cake but healthier!! Great Easter brunch idea or spring baked good!

Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake!! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!!

Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze — Super soft carrot cake bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good and a must-make!



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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Comments

  1. I have looked at this several times and cannot find the recipe that has apples and carrots?  Where is it in all this madness.  I realize you need the ad’s but they are so unbelievable annoying .  I would love to try the apple/carrot recipe two of my favorite things to eat.  Thank you, Karen Sponsel
    karensponsel@icloud.com

  2. Hi Averie,

    I’ve made this recipe in loaf pans and it’s awesome. I wanted to make it into an actual cake for a birthday. Do you know if the recipe yield would work for two nine inch Cake rounds?

    1. I haven’t done it that way but you probably could. Not sure if by doubling the recipe it will be the proper amount of batter for two 9-inch rounds but close, I am guessing.

  3. This recipe beats my old one. It came out so moist and I can’t stop eating it! Thank you for sharing your recipe. Im excited to try your other recipes.

  4. Hi, could you sub the butter and use all canola oil? would I just double up the quantity of oil or use less for the melted butter part of the recipe!

    Thanks

    1. You probably could sub out the butter and use all oil, but I haven’t tried it so can’t speak to the results and if it will for sure work.

  5. Hi Averie,

    I’m from Argentina and love cooking specially cakes, cupcakes & cookies. I just discovered your blog thru Pinterest. Your carrot cake looks terrific! I’m also a specialist in “carrot cakes” my recipe doesn’t have cloves. I will try yours soon and will let you know about my comments.

    Thank you for sharing your recipes. I will soon send to you my version.

    1. Glad you found me and hope you like the cloves. I love cloves but if you’re sensitive to the flavor, you want to use a bit less than I called for… because like cinnamon, I love cloves and all the warming spices. Enjoy!

  6. I LOVE this recipe and have baked it many times. Lately I’ve been baking mini muffins as they are an easy snack to keep in the freezer for my children and I decided to try these as minis! Wonderful! I was able to make 24 mini muffins and 1 regular loaf. The mini muffins took 12 minutes to bake. :-) Thank you for your fabulous recipes!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it comes out great for you! I love the idea of one loaf and then 24 mini muffins!

  7. Hi Averie- Have you ever tried using coconut oil instead of butter in this recipe? I made your carrot apple bread before which uses coconut oil, but this already has multiple oils in it so not sure how it would turn out with the sub.

    1. Meh, not really interchangeable.

      Google how to make buttermilk in a pinch, i.e about a tablespoon or two of vinegar to regular milk, wait 10 mins to let it sour, and in a pinch that normally does the trick. Enjoy!

  8. Averie , also to add on …my sister is nuts about the Starbucks Banana nut bread…she just delivered a baby two weeks back …I want to surprise her with that ..any of your banana loafs similar to that one???? though I am planning to bake your banana bread with Browned butter recipe of yours which has vanilla is different forms which I am sure is way better …. Droooollling !

    1. I honestly don’t eat their banana bread because, truthfully, I know I will not like it as well as my own recipes just because I am very picky about banana bread :)

      https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/07/cream-cheese-filled-banana-bread.html

      That recipe is excellent and what I’d recommend. If you dont want to do the cream cheese, you could probably just double the bread part of the recipe so you have enough volume to fill the pan, omitting the cream cheese part. Otherwise the 6-banana loaf is super good! Check the related recipes section of the post for the links to some faves!

      1. Dear Averie,

        As per above I had written to you about your inputs on a lovely banana bread for my sister who loves them but very picky about the taste ….I baked  your banana bread which had vanilla incorporated in different ways.
        I did not have the pudding mix so followed your suggestions on the substitution and I used vanilla banana yogurt from Trader Joe’s…. Ohhhh this is something else –  she loved the bread a lot… I loved it a lot…My entire family gobbled it up in no time. Infact before she could eat the last bite I have been asked to bake two more loafs for tomorrow.
        I am glad that my sister who kept asking me to bake the banana bread like the coffee shop,said it was way better than that too.
        Thanks a lot averie! You are amazing and so are all your recipes.

      2. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And that it’s better than the coffee shop’s bread! So glad your whole family gobbled it up!

  9. I love love loovve your blog.  I am from India and this is my to go blog for most bakes. This  recipe of yours was lying in my to do list of baking since long…. I baked it last night at 2am for my BIL’s birthday and we had it for  brunch this morning…. OMG is the word… This recipe of yours is mindblowing…this truly is one of the best things I have ever baked..what lovely burst of flavours in a single bite…yyuummmmm…and letting the cake sit all night was the best decision ever(although very difficult)
    .While grating carrots I realised I was short of them by 1/4cup so used some grated beetroot ..it still tasted beautiful.
    Thanks for this recipe and ilove your blog and recipes…you do not know how much I love you. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And that it’s one of the best things you’ve ever baked!

      Thanks for all the compliments and for being such a loyal reader and glad you love my recipes so much!

  10. My go to recipe is my banana bread which I have perfected over the years but I have Ben craving carrot cake and this looks amazing. Would it be too bland to make this without the frosting ? I want someting less decadent we can pack and eat in the car on long work commutes !

    1. It’s fine without the frosting. You don’t need it if you’re trying to keep things lighter. Of course I think frosting makes everything better, but this isn’t a bland cake at all and doesn’t truly ‘need’ frosting for flavor or moisture. Enjoy!

  11. Do you think this could hold up as a “loaf” similar to banana bread? I want to slice and wrap to give away to friends during the week. I want to be sure it could hold up and be eaten by hand. Thank you! :)

    1. Yes it is a loaf, like loaf of banana bread. It’s soft and moist but will hold up fine I think being handheld.

    1. Hmm, I’d guess 15 to 18 standard, and maybe 12-14 more on the XL size, but purely guesses!

  12. Averie- Do you think you can make this as a sheet cake? I saw the cutest thing where they made a sheet cake and cut it into rounds for mini carrot cakes, but i wanted to make your cake cause it sounds super moist and tasty.
    Thanks!

    1. You probably could but I don’t know how baking time would be effected. Baking as a loaf does keep it super moist and I think an 8×8 or 9×9 pan would be fine but wouldn’t go much larger than that unless you start doubling the recipe but I haven’t tried any of this. LMK if you do.

  13. this is one of the best carrot cakes that I’ve have ever made. Delicious!! I made 4 loaves of it from one recipe (mini loaf pans that someone gave me as a gift) . The cream cheese frosting is also fabulous. Using Trader Joe’s light whipped cream cheese was an excellent suggestion!

    1. Thanks for saying it’s one of the best CC’s you’ve ever made! I agree :) I have always wanted to try it baking in a 4-some of mini pans. I have some and love them! Haven’t tried it with this particular recipe but glad to know it works!

      And I love TJ’s light whipped cream cheese for things like frosting when saving a few calories is nice :)

    1. I really honestly just recommend baking a bit longer. Climates and ovens vary and I live in dry San Diego and just watch your cake, not the clock, and you will be fine; bake until done. Tent with foil if top is getting browned before middle cooks through.

      You could reduce the amt of buttermilk or the oil or both; but you will sacrifice fluffiness and softness, and I haven’t tested the recipe that way. LMK what your trials bring.

  14. I was so excited to bake this and give as gifts for Christmas. Unfortunately the middle collapsed on all of them. I have never had this happen before so I am not sure what happened.

    1. Collapsing in the middle means, generally, it was not baked fully through or reached a hot enough internal temp. I would say another 10 mins or so in the oven was all you needed. Just bake longer next time.

  15. Hi Averie! Can you substitute gluten free flour for the all purpose flour? I usually use Better Batter or Cup4Cup. Thanks!!

    1. Probably – but since I haven’t tried it, I don’t know for sure. If it’s the type of GF flour that says it’s a 1:1 swap with regular all-purpose, then go for it!

  16. Wonderful recipe. Baked in a fancy bundt pan, 55 minutes. Let cool completely then heavy on the frosting. I added pecans, normally add crushed pineapple but not this time. Thinking would go heavier on the spices as it comes across as mild. Love the addition of melted butter, adds a richness along with the little bit of brown sugar. Again, this is a keeper! Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the glowing report and for LMK exactly what you did – that is so helpful for me and others to hear, i.e. big Bundt for 55 mins.

      Glad you like the butter, too. Between the butter, oil, and buttermilk – it’s one moist cake, right!

      And yes on the spices and going heavier. For my personal cakes and how I make them, I go heavier than what I write here. In the past when I write things as heavy as I go on cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. I get people writing in to me and complaining that it’s too much and all they can taste is cinnamon. I personally believe you can almost never have too much vanilla, cinnamon, or cream cheese frosting :)

      Thanks again for trying this recipe~!

  17. Thank you bunches for this recipe! I just made this cake last night, and it is absolutely fabulous! The best carrot cake I’ve made at home in ages! Saving this page so I can make it over and over again.

    1. So glad that you loved the cake and that it’s the best you’ve made at home! Love hearing things like that and thanks for LMK!

  18. I made the recipe into cupcakes for Easter! Delicious! Everyone LOVED them. Thank you so much!!!!! I have been searching for a great carrot cake recipe!

    1. I am so happy to hear they worked out as cupcakes and were a big hit! Thanks for coming back to LMK!

  19. I made this Saturday for Easter on Sunday. It was great! Very good flavor and so moist. I made it into a bundt cake and it cooked in 50 minutes. The frosting is divine. So light and airy. We added raw walnuts to the top of those that wanted nuts. I kept the frosting in the fridge and frosted individual pieces. And I left out the raisins b/c my mom doesn’t like them. ???? I know but she doesn’t.

    My daughter asked to take some to school today in her lunch. That’s impressive.

    1. Thanks for LMK that you made it and that it even passed the lunchbox test with your daughter :) Good to know you made it as a Budnt and it took 50 mins to bake for you. I love making it as a Bundt as well!

  20. One of my good friends brought me an amazing curry for lunch the other day…Just because. To return the favor, I am baking these right now. Carrot cake is her absolute favorite. They are still in the oven, but I can’t stop dipping into the batter mix!! I am making a cinnamon maple cream cheese frosting. I cannot wait to dig in to the finished product!!

    1. The carrot cake is my fave ever carrot cake! I bet with your cinn-maple-cream cheese icing it’s going to be to-die for crazy good! WOW! Please report back and LMK how things pan out (literally) & if your friend approves!

      1. I forgot carrot cake isn’t the best “cupcake” type cake. They fell in the middle, but I just filled it with frosting and it was still so super delicious! She loved them!! Thanks, I’m excited to make this again, this time as a loaf.

      2. Ok I forgot about that too – that it’s a dense batter and not a light and airy batter like cupcake batter, but good recovery on just filling them with frosting and nobody was probably any the wiser anyway!

  21. I’m definitely a carrot cake lover, and I like it spicy too. This one’s for me! Your photographs are just beautiful. The warm, rich color of the table just makes that carrot cake pop!

    1. Thanks for coming back to tell me you made it and glad it was a success! My daughter’s bday was yesterday too (she got a pink cake though)!! Happy Bday to your dad!

  22. A good carrot cake is hard to come by, they can often be bland or dry but this one looks perfect in every way!

  23. I agree, a carrot cake without the punch of spice is not a carrot cake. I really need a 9×5 loaf pan- for some reason all I have are two 8×4’s…I think the large one wandered off with the also-missing 8×2-inch cake pan. (I’d love to know what goes on in those cluttered farmer’s cabinets at night!)

    I love the chunky texture of this cake, and that gorgeously thick cream cheese frosting! Is it wrong to “sometimes” fantasize about eating a bowl of cream cheese frosting with a bag of salty pretzels?

    1. I love your fantasies. I don’t even need the pretzels. Just a spoon :)

      And my pans are all such a varied hodgepodge. I recently just bought pans from…the grocery store of all places! That all match. 2 of each in 8×4 and 9×5. And each was like $5.99. So for under $25, I match now :)

      1. Years ago I used to work in the grocery store bakery/deli and I would always sneak a cup of the cream cheese frosting that they had in a HUGE tub and go to the back where no one could see me and just eat it with a spoon like it was candy! Crazy I know! But it was so good every now and then! Lol….

      2. I eat frosting with a spoon now! I fully admit it. It’s awesome :) Most of the time the cake is just…meh. But the frosting is where it’s at. However with this cake, it really can hold it’s own!

  24. I love this! I didn’t really love carrot cake as a kid, now it’s one of my favorites. And I agree that it needs raisins, or dried cherries, some form of dried fruit!

  25. I absolutely love carrot cake and I am so happy you like raisins in yours. I know some people hate them in baked goods, but I just love them too!!! And what a great idea to bake the cake in loaf pans!

  26. Just behind “Strawberries with Whipped Cream and Meringues” in my personal response to the question “What would you eat in Heaven?”…CARROT CAKE with the, yes OBLIGATORY cream cheese frosting!..Yours is so exquisitely presented…photographed…researched and explained with deft…that I actually bookmarked this offering before getting to the end of your text…true story.

    As for the choosing loaf pans over the layered or Bundt ones…I tend to use them not for aesthetics ( I love the grandiose quality of carrot cakes baked in those)..but because I have noticed, at least in my family, that they are MUCH more likely to “embrace the cake” as they see it as a “healthy” choice (think banana bread, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread) or as “potential breakfast fare” over the glamorous cake form.

    Thanks for the detail…particularly about frosting individual slices last minute to avoid refrigerator frosting “dry-out”…

  27. How clever to mix-and-match elements from your pumpkin Bundt cake and carrot pineapple bread recipes.

    I’m intrigued by your comments about buttermilk providing flavor and moistness.
    Your photos are tantalizing, Averie… Maybe I should stray from my standard carrot cake and try yours =)

    P.s. Appreciate the tips about baking times and not filling the baking pans too full.

  28. I LOVE carrot cake, but don’t hate me for this…I don’t like raisins in mine. Not that I’m a raisin-hater…I just like to eat raisins on their own. And cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake? Yes, please!

  29. oh averie…i love carrot cake…i didn’t even know that i wanted to make carrot cake but now i do … especially YOUR recipe.

  30. I LOVE carrot cake, and my favorite part is the cream cheese frosting. It is always gone before the cake :) This cake looks amazing!

    1. thanks, Denise! And just saw your bourbon blondies on your site…now that looks like something I could get into :)

  31. Carrot cake is my FAVORITE kind of cake. I have got to try this loaf. Thanks for sharing :).

  32. That picture with the raisin on the fork!!!! Absolute perfection. And now I just want to live off this carrot cake for the rest of my life, and pretend it’s “balanced” because there is a vegetable in the title.

  33. Mmm! I love carrot cake but I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese icing. This looks incredible and your photos are beautiful!

  34. Thank you for adding raisins to carrot cake! I am such a fan of raisins ( and white chocolate, like you ) and a lot of people don’t like them in carrot cake. Besides, you used buttermilk – love baking with buttermilk! This cake sounds amazing!

    1. I almost never use buttermilk but had it for another recipe and was like oh, this will be perfect. I actually made the cake…to use the buttermilk up :) After tons of cake research, of course! I love raisins (and white choc!)…great minds think alike :)

  35. I love carrot cake too! This looks incredible with all those raisins. I’m so glad you didn’t put pineapple in it. Classic carrot cake is awesome enough to stand on its own.

    1. I have that other recipe I linked to which is a combo of banana-pineapple-carrot and it’s an amazing!! bread. Tropical tasting almost but it’s not classic carrot cake; and for this one left pineapple out for that classic vibe.

  36. Carrot cake was the first cake I ever made. And it was the first time I ever had it. And it was in a Home Economics class. I believe I received an A. I still love carrot cake!

  37. Okay, I need this! I love, love, love the idea of baking a cake in loaf pans instead of in cake pans! OMG the possibilities. My husband would LOVE this loaf!

  38. Averie do you know how much I freaking LOVE carrot cake? It’s my favorite cake. Truthfully, i like it much more than sprinkle anything or peanut butter anything. I don’t know why it’s not more popular. Carrot cake was always my dad’s #1 and we always had it for special occassions. There is NOTHING else like it. And exactly what you said… “when it’s done right.” So true. MUST be dense, MUST be moist, MUST be spiced. Just like my very favorite oatmeal raisin cookies or apple pie, I like my carrot cake heavily spiced. :) I am obsessed with this. Loving the oil AND melted butter. It really is a huge question for me at times for my muffins or quick loaves or cupcakes. which fat do I use? LOVE that you used both here. You really hit home with this recipe girl and I can’t wait to make it for my dad!! PS: love the pics. love love love.

    1. Just like oatmeal raisin cookies, pumpkin anything, or apple anything, it HAS to be well spiced or why bother! And you know what’s crazy is in this post alone have had like 10 people say they had carrot cake at their wedding – or want to one day. I never knew that was even really ‘popular’ and of course the bride gets to do whatever she wants whether it’s ‘popular’ or not, but I thought of you :)

      Butter vs. oil. Said what the heck and used both :) And I hate creaming things unless it’s cookies so whisking was the ticket. And I almost never use buttermilk but had it for another recipe so was like oh, this will be perfect. I actually made the cake…to use the buttermilk up :) And then it turned out beyond all expectations. That said, I have been researching them for about…12 months.

      Pics – what a nightmare. Shocking white plate against bright orange background. It was over-expose city and I had to clamp wayyyyyy down on that in editing and lost alot of clarity. I had no idea til i got the pics on my screen just how blown out they were. I hate my camera screen b/c I can never fully tell! So thank you!

  39. Carrot cake is so under-appreciated. I don’t know why because I adore it. I’m always looking for bigger ‘n better carrot cake recipes and this one looks like a winner – it’s so moist and dense, exactly how I like my carrot cake to be. And I completely agree – the spicier the better. If I’m going to be ingesting a crapload of calories, every mouthful better be damn delicious! ;)

    1. My thoughts exactly! :) And I would not say this is the Best if I didn’t think so. I mean, sure there are probably layer cakes that take 8 hrs to make and frost and are super complicated that could possibly top this but in terms of everything I’ve ever tried, this one gets the top nod. And as a bonus, it’s EASY! And I am SO picky, too! :)

  40. Oh yum! You must have known I was dreaming about carrot cake today! I Think it is become spring is in the air and I always make it for Easter!

    1. These photos weren’t my faves…the white was so bright and the orange was so orange and I didn’t realize that til…the set was taken apart and the cake was…mostly eaten :) So thank you!

  41. We share the same pet peeve. I hate when carrot cake does not have enough “real” ingredients! These look exactly what I look and hope for in an amazing carrot cake!

  42. There is NOTHING worse than bland carrot cake. Carrots are hearty and they can (and should!) be paired with a heavy dose of cinnamon and ginger! I think a carrot cake/spice cake hybrid would be fantastic!

    I’m sure I’ve told you this, but carrot cake is my favorite cake of all time. That’s what I’d request for my birthday cake. That, or ice cream cake from DQ. Sigh, those were the days. :D

  43. Yeah, I really like carrot cake! I prefer cakes with a little “spice” to them, instead of overly sweet.

  44. I LOVE carrot cake. I think it’s the contrast of the spiced cake and the creamy, tangy frosting. Looks delicious Averie!

  45. Eek, so normally I’m not a carrot cake kinda girl. Maybe it’s because I’ve been tortured with the awful grocery store versions that make me run screaming. But you have a way with making the most decadent and ultra-beautiful desserts, Averie, so I know this will be good! I just may have to take a leap of faith and try it out for my carrot-cake-wary family and I!

    1. Grocery store versions and this are like homemade PB and commercial – light years apart. I hope you try this one b/c knowing you, I can see you actually loving it!

  46. I.LOVE.CARROT.CAKE I want it as my wedding cake…or at least one tier. Mainly because I love cream cheese frosting, but only when it’s actually tart and not overly sweet. This cake looks perfect!

  47. This is my kind of carrot cake! Raisins, cream cheese frosting, and no nuts! It’s like you read my mind!

    The only thing I do sometimes is to switch up the raisins for golden raisins. I have a recipe that I like already, but you convinced me to try yours next time, it looks and sounds so delicious!

    1. Thanks, Diane! I had golden raisins but sometimes they are so big that I didn’t want them to fall to the bottom of the pans and didn’t feel like chopping them so I went with darker ones but I do love the goldens, too. LMK if you try this!

      1. Diane, I’m thrilled you made it and enjoyed it. Loved your post about it and commented there too. Oh forgot to mention to you when you swapped out buttermilk/yogurt…yes, I rarely keep buttermilk on hand and actually had like 4 recipes that all used it, and that was my 1 jug for awhile. And other times, I use yogurt but I’m tempted to get back on the buttermilk train b/c for 1.69 from TJs, you can’t beat the stuff. Anyway thanks so much for making them and blogging about it!

  48. Oh how I LOVE carrot cake and cream cheese frosting!! Yum! I have some carrots in my fridge needing to be used…I think I’ll be making this soon!

  49. You pictures are amazing, and the recipes look so delicious, I almost took a bite out of my computer screen!

  50. I’m also SUPER picky about carrot cake, but when I find one I love, I am obsessed with it. Growing up, my friend’s mom used to make hers for me for my birthday every year because I pretty much ONLY liked hers. I love the way you describe it: “tender, springy, dense but not heavy, falling-apart soft and moist without being greasy.” Ummm, pretty much sounds perfect. Going to have to try this out.

    Oh, and I would eat that frosting off pretty much anything. Or on it’s own. Either way. :)

    1. I love this recipe and like I said, I am SUPER picky and wouldn’t say that unless it met all my criteria :)

  51. This looks amazing, Averie! Agreed, most carrot cakes don’t have enough spices and flavor in them. And I love the idea of baking it in a loaf pan – I can tell myself it’s okay to have it for breakfast (:

  52. Love this! I think if I ever get married I’m partial to having carrot cake at my wedding. It really is the best ever. Also, I love how the difference between melted vs creamed butter in cakes — great tip!

    1. I find that to be true when I make cakes (and also cookies) with the melted/creamed. Like not whipping all that air into the butter will cause more density. Sometimes good, sometimes not – depending on the goal. And so many people have said they want carrot cake at their wedding. I think that would be great!

    2. One of the “tiers” in my wedding cake was carrot cake (almost 27 years ago!)…I worked with fabulous Portland Oregon bakery to concoct a cake that everyone would love…and broke “tradition” by having it decorated with a stabilized whipped cream/cream cheese mélange) and fresh fruit (fraises/kiwi..etc)..it was really gorgeous and unique..at the time!..By the way…the carrot cake was the first “to go”…everyone at the reception loved it!…Sorry for the ramble!

      1. OOPS…Despite previous “ramble”…I wanted to mention that, keeping with an old tradition, we “saved” two pieces of the wedding cake (froze of course!)to have on our first anniversary…GUESS which of the five tiers we chose?…The Carrot Cake ‘natch!

      2. You’re like the 10th person in this post alone who’s said she had carrot cake at her wedding – or wants to! I had no idea it was a wedding cake ‘option’ per se; of course anything goes at one’s wedding, it’s your wedding! But I thought the choices were white..and…white:) And your other comment about Bundts vs. loaves and perception of healthy or not. I think that’s what happens with my readers, too. They see a ‘cake’ and dismiss it as unhealthy; whereas a loaf pan means bread so it’s safer, healthier; and also people are scared of cake-making, even quickcakes, which is what I call a cake that’s like a quickbread that doesn’t need a mixer, etc. It’s really all the same batter, just how it’s baked. And the fridge/frosting situation – to each her own but my grandmother left her cream cheese frosting at room temp for days and days and everyone was just fine :)

  53. Oh averie how badly do I want a slice of this?
    I have almost all the ingredients–no buttermilk.
    I need to make this and soon!

    1. Regular milk with a squeeze of lemon juice in it to let it sour for 10 mins…or 1/2 cup yogurt with 1/4 cup milk….or a dollop of sour cream + milk …. just anything that’s cultured will do the trick!

  54. I am not a cake fan and not really a fan of frosting either. With that said, I do love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! I would leave out the raisins though, I like raisins, but not in baked goods/breads. I would add nuts!!

    I would love to have a slice of this, but eat only plant-based foods, seems that the recipe has too many ingredients to attempt to make this vegan.

    1. Hmmm to make vegan, you’d have to swap out eggs, butter, buttermilk and then for the frosting, cream cheese, butter…I am sure there are killer vegan carrot cake recipes that exist and although you could swap out here; the results you get would not be like what my cake tastes like. It would still probably be good but yes, lots of changes so the finished products would be different.

  55. I agree with you – I love carrot cake but sometimes it can just be so bad and a total waste of calories : ) This looks delicious. I just got a new loaf pan …. this may be a good way to break it in!

  56. The top tier of our wedding cake was carrot…with lots of cream cheese frosting! I have had some dry pieces with paltry amounts of carrot and figured it could have been a boxed mix. Yours is a beauty–I can see all of the good stuff in there and it definitely looks moist! I’ve never been a fan of angel food cakes or cakes with that type of texture…I like a little density in baked goods.

    1. So many people have said they want carrot cake at their wedding or had carrot cake as their wedding cake. I never knew it was even an option? I mean anything goes at one’s wedding; it’s the person’s call of course but I am surprised to hear the popularity of it as wedding cake. And I think that would be great! I’d love to be at a wedding where carrot cake was served!

  57. Yum! I love carrot cake season! Putting vegetables into my desserts makes me feel okay eating way more of them than I should :)

  58. Thank you for making this nut-free. Desserts with nuts are also deal-breakers for me (I don’t eat nuts). I love the idea of a carrot cake loaf – it’s so much easier to store and slice than a full-blown cake.

    1. So much easier to store, so much easier to tackle, and many people don’t own 2 or 3 cake pans but a loaf pan is more common. And glad my nut-less cake works for you :)

  59. I love love love carrot cake! And the fact that you get to put cream cheese frosting on it is what really does it for me. I would NEVER think of making a carrot cake (or eating one for that matter) that didn’t have cream cheese frosting…until about a year and a half ago. I was introduced to a carrot cake bundt without frosting. I know! Instead of frosting is has a Grand Marnier glaze. Yes! It doesn’t even need the frosting, it is the most moist, delicious carrot cake I have ever had. Now, it doesn’t have raisins but they can easily be added. I just posted my recipe for this carrot cake last week, check it out! And don’t be afraid of the lack of frosting.
    http://gingerbearkitchen.com/2013/01/carrot-cake

  60. Oh girl! You’re just like me. I love my raisins as well (I actually just threw a few on my cereal) and dislike nuts in my baked goods. There’s just something about taking a bite into something sweet and then tasting the bitterness of a nut. I like my nuts as an afternoon snack or in certain pastas or oatmeal, but not a baked good. I love the fact that this carrot cake can be made in various sized pans. I actually think bundt cakes are super simple to throw together, the only problem I have with them is frosting them. Whenever I try and dribble the frosting on, it looks LAME! They should offer a course in cake dribbling. I have to tell you that one of John’s favorite desserts is coconut cake and carrot cake. I think I will have to treat him to this cake soon! Have a great day girl and I hope you’re having some warmer and sunnier weather. We’re having spring fever up here and I LOVE it. xoxo, Jackie

    1. It’s such an easy, easy batter Jackie. In some many ways it reminds me of the pumpkin bundt that we both love, but with carrots. And I do agree than Bundts are super easy; they’re my fave kind of cake to make and if I was making this just for us, I would have made it like that. But for my blog, people love their loaf pans :) Drizzling – just take your time and the beauty is that it doesn’t have to be perfect :)

  61. Yes! Carrot cake + cream cheese frosting is another one of those magical dessert/baking combos.
    We also had it for 2 tiers of our wedding cake ;)

    1. I just told this to another person – you’re like the 5th person in the comments alone who’s mentioned this!

      “So many people have said they want carrot cake at their wedding or had carrot cake as their wedding cake. I never knew it was even an option? I mean anything goes at one’s wedding; it’s the person’s call of course but I am surprised to hear the popularity of it as wedding cake. And I think that would be great! I’d love to be at a wedding where carrot cake was served!”

  62. Averie, how did you know I’ve been craving carrot cake?! Also, I totally agree with some many of your points here: the importance of mega moisture, adding plenty of spice, and yes yes yes to raisins! Winner!

  63. i cannot describe how excited i am about this recipe!! carrot cake WITH cream cheese frosting is my FAVORITE cake. seriously YUM. might have to make this today! i’m thinking one loaf and a few cup cakes will do…with a generous layer of frosting might i add. :)

  64. Again – amazing. Even if I didn’t like it I’d want that. Your photos are just stellar. And I had to go back and pin those carrot cake balls!

      1. What the what? That was rude. I LOVE all the goodies. Veggies, too (those veggies looked amazing the other day, btw.) Another thing I love: Carrot cake. And I’m in the raisin club with you- They. Are. So. So. Great.

  65. Carrot cake is my favorite!!! We actually had it for our wedding cake! I’ve never made one myself, but one of my friends makes a gluten-free carrot cake every year around her birthday–it’s to die for! Yum.

    1. You’re like the 6th person in these comments alone who said they had it as their wedding cake or want to. I think that would be awesome. I had no idea it was such a popular choice as wedding cake!

      1. Yes, my husband even joked with me, “of course . . . only you would find a way to get vegetables into your wedding cake”. :)

        Also, I made the coconut/lemon/rosemary roasted veggies and posted about them yesterday. Delicious!!

    1. Mindreader. Actually…I could tell you some stories. But I hope you try this cake. Seriously, best I’ve ever had!