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Three layers of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting on a gray cake stand

Classic Carrot Layer Cake

Three layers of moist carrot cake and the fluffiest cream cheese frosting makes up the most delicious Classic Carrot Layer Cake.  This is the perfect spring cake, loaded with shredded carrots, chopped pecans and shredded coconut.
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Course: Cakes
Cuisine: Dessert
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 538kcal


Carrot Cake Batter

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Vegetable Oil
  • ¾ Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Carrots Shredded
  • ½ Cup Pecans Chopped
  • ½ Cup Coconut Shredded

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter Room Temperature
  • 16 Ounces Cream Cheese Room Temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 8 Cups Powdered Sugar


Carrot Cake 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 3-8 inch round cake pans with pan spray and place a 8 inch round piece of parchment at the bottom of each pan
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon; set aside 
  • In another large mixing bowl or bowl of electric mixer combine the granulated sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract; whisk until smooth
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until all ingredients are fully combined and smooth 
  • Using a spatula, fold the shredded carrot, chopped pecans and shredded coconut into the carrot cake batter 
  • Divide the cake batter into the three 8 inch cake pans 
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 16-17 minutes or until the cakes spring back at the touch 
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the pans 
  • While the cakes are cooling, prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting 
  • Once the cakes are cooled, place the first layer of cake on a cake board or cake stand, and add a layer of cream cheese to the top of the cake layer
  • Repeat layering the cake and cream cheese frosting until all cakes are layered, finish with cream cheese frosting.  Leave the layers naked or ice the exterior of the cake with cream cheese frosting 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together the unsalted butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract  until smooth and creamy
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar into the cream cheese mixture 
  • Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer on medium to high speed and mix until light, fluffy and creamy
  • Ice the carrot cake layers and the exterior of the cake


Recipe Variations 
  • Remove Coconut: I love the addition of coconut but if you are not a fan it can easily be removed!   
  • Add Raisins: Add ¼ Cup of raisins to the cake batter 
  • Add Pineapple: Make carrot cake a little more tropical by adding ½ cup of crushed pineapple (make sure to drain the additional juice) 
  • Make it Gluten Free: replace the all purpose flour with a gluten free flour blend 
  • Make Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting: add ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the cream cheese frosting for an extra touch of spice 
Recipe FAQS and Expert Tips 
  • Make Carrot Cupcakes: This recipe can be made into cupcake but will need to be baked for 14-16 minutes or until they spring back at the touch 
  • Make A Bundt Cake: I love the simplicity of a bundt cake and this recipe works great.  Double the recipe and bake time will be a bit longer.  Frost the top of the bundt with cream cheese frosting 


Serving: 12g | Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 329mg | Potassium: 164mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 4124IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
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