Moist homemade single layer carrot cake recipe with cream cheese frosting! A classic spring dessert, perfect for holiday gatherings or just because!

We’re more than halfway through week 4 of online learning in our school district. I think we’re finally in a nice groove, especially since I’m betting we’re in this for the long haul now…at least through this school year. No recommendations have been made yet for May-June, but I’m sure they’re coming soon. I like to tease the kids that they’re tardy, if they’re down here later than I’d like them to start work. It’s nice to have flexibility with our days, moving around what assignments are done when and especially how much lunch and recess time they get. Monday and Tuesday were gorgeous weather days here in our area, so school ended early. At least our gym teacher will be happy with their activity logs for this week! Hours upon hours of outdoor activity. There’s bound to be rain again sooner or later, so we’re trying to enjoy the nice weather as long as it sticks around!

Last week I did my grocery shopping to hopefully get us through the next few weeks. BJ’s is a lifesaver for that, especially since I’m feeding a family of five. I planned it all out and sure enough, didn’t know I was out of or nearly out of some pretty important things. Not wanting to run into a store again for a while, I decided to do a pickup grocery order. I couldn’t have been happier with how it went! If you have the option to do that from any of your local grocery or big box stores, definitely try it out. I’d never done it at any store before but it was a breeze! Call it lazy or call it smart and convenient – it was great. I do miss wandering the stores, while also shopping for essentials though.

One of my all time favorite spring desserts is carrot cake. So, I couldn’t let this season pass by without making a new carrot cake recipe! I’ve shared everything from carrot cake ice cream, to cinnamon rolls, cheesecake and so much more. There’s always room for more carrot cake!

And make room, in your baking plans, you absolutely should!

This carrot cake is queen of all carrot cakes. It’s a thick and dreamy – feeding anywhere from 8 very generous portions to 16! Perfectly moist single layer applesauce carrot cake topped off with classic silky cream cheese frosting! The only dessert you’ll need for Easter weekend, or any spring occasion. It’s a must make and a guaranteed family favorite! My family is brutally honest with my food and gave this a huge thumbs up. I’m sure yours will too!

Be sure to add this carrot cake to your baking plans asap!

Tips tricks and questions answered…

What is the best way to shred the carrots?
On a standard hand grater, use the fine shredding side, followed by chopping a bit by hand. Alternatively, you can toss carrots into a small food processor prepared with a chopping blade. Measure enough shredded carrots for the recipe.

Can I make this recipe into cupcakes instead?
This recipe was written specifically for and tested only as a single layer cake. If you prefer individual cupcakes, use my carrot cake cupcake recipe instead.

What if I don’t like cream cheese frosting?
Cream cheese frosting is a classic addition to carrot cake, but if you prefer something lighter, try one of the following:

Can I use a different flour?
If you don’t have access to all purpose flour, you can typically substitute whole wheat white flour 1:1 with all purpose. The same applies with certain gluten free flours which state substitutions of a 1:1. Any other variety may need some adjustments with the flour amount used. Keep in mind, this recipe was only tested using all purpose flour.

I don’t have applesauce. What can I use?
If you don’t have access to applesauce right now. You can use vegetable oil in it’s place.

Can I make substitutions to the ingredients?
Yes and no. Baking is a science. This recipe works with the exact measurements listed. Altering one or several of those can cause the recipe to fail. If you’re familiar with baking substitutions, go for it! Outside of any alterations I’ve already mentioned, for specific substitution questions, ask in the comments below.

How many will this serve?
This is a thick cake, so it will generously serve 8 or up to 16, with smaller slices.

How should this be stored?
Store at room temperature for up to several days in an airtight container. It may also be stored in the refrigerator and eaten chilled or brought to room temperature prior to serving.

What size pan should I use?
For this recipe, use an 8×2-inch round pan. A square pan will also work. If you only have 9-inch pans, that will work too!

Do you have tips for clean slices?
Use a clean knife. Between every slice, rinse and dry your knife.

Moist homemade single layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting recipe from @bakedbyrachel A classic spring dessert, perfect for holiday gatherings or just because!
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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 16
Moist homemade single layer carrot cake recipe with cream cheese frosting! A classic spring dessert, perfect for holiday gatherings or just because!



  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C applesauce
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 C carrots, finely shredded and chopped
  • 2 1/4 C all purpose flour


  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 C powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch round baking pan, using baking spray. Alternately you can butter the pan and coat well with flour, shaking our excess flour. Line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Finely shred carrots, using a hand grater or small food processor. Optionally, place shredded carrots on a cutting board and chop further. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together vegetable oil, applesauce and sugars. Mix in one egg at a time, followed by vanilla. Scrape bowl as needed. Add salt, baking powder, baking soda and remaining spices. Mix in carrots. Lastly, mix in flour, one cup at a time. Mix until just combined and no streaks remain.
  • Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Use a small offset spatula to level off the top.
  • Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of your cake comes out clean and the center springs back when gently touched. Cool in pan until easy to handle. Then carefully tip cake upside down onto one hand to remove the pan and parchment paper. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • If you are not frosting immediately, wrap cake in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap and store overnight at room temperature.
  • Prepare frosting. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together softened cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla, followed by 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time. Beat until fully combined and desired consistency is reached. Frost cake as desired.
  • Enjoy immediately. Store cake in an airtight container for up to several days. Cake may be stored at room temperature or chilled and brought to room temperature prior to eating.


Recipe serves 8 very generous slices or up to 16.
An original recipe from Baked by Rachel


Calories: 329kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 223mg, Potassium: 76mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 1613IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most accurate data, use your preferred nutrition calculator with the actual ingredients you used to make this recipe.
Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Snap a picture and tag @bakedbyrachel on Instagram!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: Cake

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Moist homemade single layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting recipe from @bakedbyrachel A classic spring dessert, perfect for holiday gatherings or just because!

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