This is my favorite carrot cake because it is so simple to prepare, incredibly moist, and not too sweet. I make mine in a loaf tin which are sometimes more common in household kitchens than cake pans. Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes, and I love that this one packs in a bunch of vegetables and nuts for nutrition. I was introduced to carrot cake when I first moved to Canada. It’s very uncommon to make cakes with carrots, zucchini, or bananas in Bulgaria, and my dad initially thought this was a strange concept, but he immediately fell in love once he tasted my carrot cake.

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

If you’re looking for a low-sugar treat or don’t care for icing, this cake is also wonderful on its own, without the icing. This cake requires minimal effort: if you can mix a few ingredients together, you are capable of making a delicious carrot cake!  

Carrot cake by the modern nonna carrot cake

The Easiest Carrot Cake

This is my favorite carrot cake because it is so simple to prepare, incredibly moist, and not too sweet. Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes, and I love that this one packs in a bunch of vegetables and nuts for nutrition.
4.61 from 73 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Servings 1 loaf


  • electric mixer, if making the icing
  • cheese grater


Carrot Cake:

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (110 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (5 ml)
  • ½ cup avocado oil or any neutral oil (100ml)
  • ½ cup milk (100 ml)
  • 2 large carrots, grated (170 grams)
  • 1 + ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (180 grams)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder (make sure it's not expired*) (11 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (5 grams)
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • ½ to 1 cup whole walnuts, crushed (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened to room temp (4 oz)
  • ¼ cup butter, softened to room temp (60g)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (120g)


Carrot Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  • Add the oil and milk and whisk again. Stir in the grated carrots using a silicone or rubber spatula.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir until you have a thick pourable batter. Fold in the crushed walnuts, if using.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give it a tap or gently shake to distribute the batter evenly. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the loaf clean. Let the loaf cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter. Using a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix again. Add the powdered sugar and combine, using a silicone or rubber spatula. (I switch to a spatula here because the electric mixer will send the powdered sugar flying all over the kitchen.) Mix until silky smooth.
  • If the icing is too soft, put it in the fridge for 10 to 30 minutes to firm up, before adding it onto the cake.
  • Evenly spread the icing onto the cake, slice, and enjoy!


*When using baking powder, always check the expiration date. Expired baking powder will not help your recipe rise in the oven, and you’ll have a sad, deflated cake. You can test if your baking powder has expired by adding ½ teaspoon baking powder to ¼ cup hot water. If the water bubbles up, it’s not expired; if it does not bubble, it’s expired and should be tossed. 
I have not tried making this recipe with a gluten-free substitute, such as almond flour. If you substitute please add a little at a time and stir in between each addition until you have a thick pourable batter. Check out the comments below for some suggestions on making this a gluten-free cake. 
Cool the cake completely before you add the cream cheese icing on top. I like to also cool my icing in the fridge for 10 minutes or so if it’s too soft to spread. 
The baking time will depend on the model and age of your oven, as well as the material of the loaf pan. Some loaf pans are thicker/thinner than others and take faster to heat up, so always keep an eye on the cake as it bakes. Mine took 50 minutes in a very weak oven. 
For best results leave the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes. For a sticky and moist texture (which I love), wrap the cake in plastic wrap and leave it overnight. Add the icing the next day. 
You can use any plant milk of choice, such as almond milk, if you’re dairy-free. You can also try a dairy-free cream cheese for the icing as well. 
Adjust the sugar according to your sweet preferences. You can use coconut sugar or another type of sugar, but always note that results and cake color will vary depending on what you use. 
The cream cheese icing is optional. If you want a lighter cake you can absolutely skip that step. 
You can add as much cinnamon and nutmeg that you like, so taste and adjust the batter if needed. 
If you’re allergic to nuts, leave out the walnuts. Raisins are also a wonderful addition to this cake. 
You can also make these into muffins or cupcakes! Bake time will be 15 to 20 minutes total, so keep a close eye on them so they don’t over-bake. 
Feel free to use any neutral oil you like. You can also use coconut oil but it will give the cake a hint of coconut flavor. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
If you love one of my recipes, please leave a review. It would mean so much to me if you did. Thank you for being here and bringing me into your kitchen.

40 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was super easy to make. I tried to make it gluten free and this is what I did, for anyone who is interested: I used robin hood all purpose gluten free flour, coconut sugar, almond milk and coconut oil. All other ingredients were just as stated in the recipe. The cake came out nice but I think I’ll add a bit more sugar next time for a sweeter taste as it felt a bit bland probably because coconut sugar is not as sweet as regular sugar.

  2. Thank you for always being so amazing.
    Thank you for adding possible substitutes to this fantastic looking carrot cake.
    I will definitely be making this recipe soon ❤️

  3. 5 stars
    Wow incredibly easy! I used spelt flour and the flour ratio and cooking time qas on point with your instructions!! Delicious

  4. 5 stars
    So simple yet so delicious – flavourful, moist and light (I did not ice it). I will definitely be making this on a regular basis for my family. It took 15 minutes to make and 10 minutes to clean up. Win/win for me ! Thanks for the great recipe!

  5. 4 stars
    Super easy and good to make BUT there was no salt in it and after baking, I feel like it made the flavors bland. I would add a pinch of salt in the future

  6. This recipe was absolutely amazing to make. My family enjoyed it and it was so much fun to make. It was also easy to make and it was delicious. I made two loaves. One with Five Roses AP flour and one with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour. Both were sooo moist.

  7. Just made your carrot cake! Incredible! My 4yo is celiac so made it gluten free by following your recipe exactly- but omitting regular flour for 100g buckwheat flour and 80g almond flour with a half tsp of xantham gum. We cooked at the same temperature but it only needed 30mins. We did half the amount of sugar in the icing for our young kids sake, but honestly it was perfect, so moist and delicious no one knew the difference! Thank you so much!

  8. 5 stars
    Just made this and I’m so excited to try it!! I’m currently waiting impatiently for it to be ready. The apartment smells amazing

  9. 5 stars
    Made this with Gluten Free Caputo flour and dairy free milk. SO EASY and incredibly delicious. My children devoured the cake even knowing there were carrots in it (they won’t touch carrots otherwise). Thank you!!! This will be on repeat. I think I’ll try making muffins out of it too.

  10. I made this cake! With a 6 MO baby at home I wanted to dip my toes back into baking with a simply cake recipe. This makes a lovely, moist carrot cake. Can’t wait to make it again – it turned out delicious especially with the icing too! Thank you ☺️

  11. 5 stars
    We LOVE this cake. It is so moist, tender and light. I will be making another one but this time gluten free because my daughter has gluten issues. My husband and I give it 5 stars. The next one I will make is your Orange Cake. Thank you for your delicious recipes.

  12. I made this over the weekend and my guests and kids loooved it. One of my kids has egg allergies and hope to make it for him with some kind of substitute. Thanks for this amazing recipe

  13. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I doubeld it and baked it in a pan for 35 min. I also reduced the suger in the batter a bit from 110 to 90 gr but thats what I always do because I like it less sweet. It stayed fresh in the fridge for at least 4-5 days without becoming dry or losing taste. Will bake it again!

  14. Amazing, simple, and so fast.
    I have made a batch of muffins for three weeks, as my son is absolutely in love. I substituted the sugar for maple syrup and the avocado oil for butter. So moist, and the smell, WOW!

    Thank you. I needed this!!!!

  15. Cannot wait to try these as gifts for Easter! Thank you! Love any simple and quick recipe! Sounds and looks delicious!

    What bake time would you recommend for mini loaf pans?

  16. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it’s perfect. I think next time I’ll try adding a few raisins, just for a little something sweet in the batter. However, it’s perfect just the way it is and so is the icing. Thank you for such an easy and delicious recipe.

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