Mom’s Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

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This carrot cake is incredibly moist, gently spiced, and topped with creamy cream cheese icing. The shredded carrots and crushed pineapple keep it moist, while the cinnamon and cardamom add a perfect touch of spice. After baking and cooling, the cake is finished with generous swirls of cream cheese icing. Just thinking about it makes our mouths water!

A Family Favorite Recipe

This carrot cake recipe comes straight from our mom. It’s her famous creation that we couldn’t get enough of growing up. We stick to her recipe exactly because it always turns out perfectly. Plus, it’s so easy to make, giving us even more reasons to love this delicious cake.


Can I Use Butter Instead of Oil?

We haven’t tried using melted butter instead of oil, and we recommend sticking with oil for two reasons:

  1. Cakes made with oil are generally more tender than those made with butter.
  2. Oil helps the cake stay moist longer. While butter has a great flavor, the oil makes this cake exceptionally moist and tender, so it’s our preferred choice.

Can I Make This Into Cupcakes or a Layer Cake?

Absolutely! This recipe can be made into cupcakes or a layer cake. Just reduce the baking time if you’re making cupcakes or using two 8-inch round pans. Use the toothpick test to check if they’re done.

Can I Use Pre-Shredded Carrots?

We prefer peeling and shredding the carrots ourselves with a grater or food processor. While pre-shredded carrots are convenient, they are often too thick and dry. Freshly shredded carrots blend better into the cake, making it moister.


  • Carrots: Don’t use pre-grated carrots. They are too thick and dry, which means they won’t blend well into the cake layers. Freshly shredded carrots make for a perfectly moist cake.
  • Crushed Pineapple: This might seem like an odd ingredient, but it works wonders. Use a small can, drain it slightly, and add the whole thing to the batter. The pineapple releases juice and acidity during baking, making the cake balanced and moist.
  • Cream Cheese Icing: While other icings can be used, cream cheese icing is the perfect match for carrot cake. You could even try our brown butter version for a twist.

Mom’s Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12


  • – 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • – 2 cups sugar
  • – 4 eggs
  • – 2 cups flour
  • – 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • – 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • – ½ teaspoon salt
  • – 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • – 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • – 3 cups grated carrots
  • – 1 cup chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut optional
  • – 1 small can 8 oz crushed pineapple, lightly drained

### Cream Cheese Icing

  • – 1 stick butter ½ cup
  • – 1 stick cream cheese 1 cup
  • – ¼ teaspoon salt
  • – ½ teaspoon almond extract optional
  • – 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • – 3-4 cups powdered sugar depending on how thick you want the icing


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and line a 9×13” pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.
  • Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Fold in the pineapple and grated carrots until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

### Cream Cheese Icing

  • In a mixer, beat softened butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Add salt, almond extract, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  • On low speed, gradually add powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time.
  • Once all the sugar is added, increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Spread the icing over the cooled cake in an even layer. Use as much or as little as you like.

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