This easy carrot cake recipe is made in a sheet pan. We love sheet pan cakes, especially this moist and delicious carrot cake recipe with a cream cheese frosting!
Every year, I ask each of my family members what kind of cake they want for their birthday. Typically, Ben wants carrot cake and so I've made him a layered cake in round cake pans over the years. Last year, I decided to try carrot cake in a sheet pan. It turns out we love this easy recipe even more! My oldest son now requests this same carrot cake recipe for his birthday.
Why We Love This Carrot Cake Recipe
Our family has always loved carrot cake, but these are the reasons why we specifically prefer this recipe:
- It's super easy! Forget laboring over cake layers when you can have the same great taste in one simple pan.
- Sheet cakes are more simple to serve. Almost no one knows how to adequately slice a layered cake, but cutting squares of cake out of a pan is pretty straight forward.
- The cream cheese frosting is the perfect amount for every bite.
- It makes a ton, so we can eat half of it and then freeze the other half for later.
If you like this carrot sheet cake, try our pumpkin sheet cake recipe!
Ingredients and Instructions
(full printable recipe at end of post)
This carrot cake recipe calls for simple pantry ingredients. It's possible you already have everything on hand, and if not, they are staples in a grocery store.
Here's What You Need:
- All-purpose flour: Provides the main structure and texture to the carrot cake.
- Ground cinnamon: Adds warm and spicy flavor to enhance the taste of the cake.
- Baking powder: Acts as a leavening agent, helping the cake rise.
- Baking soda: Another leavening agent that interacts with acidic ingredients for a rise and light texture.
- Salt: Enhances overall flavor and balances sweetness.
- Ground nutmeg: Adds a hint of nutty and slightly sweet flavor.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cake and contributes to its texture.
- Light brown sugar: Adds a subtle molasses flavor and moisture to the cake.
- Vegetable oil: Provides moisture and helps keep the cake tender.
- Unsalted butter: Contributes to richness and flavor.
- Eggs: Bind the ingredients together and provide structure.
- Vanilla extract: Enhances the overall flavor of the cake.
- Carrots: The star ingredient, adding sweetness, moisture, and texture.
- Cream cheese: Used in frosting for a creamy and tangy topping.
- Powdered sugar: Sweetens and thickens the cream cheese frosting.
You won't see walnuts, pecans and raisins in this cake recipe, but feel free to mix them in!
How To Make The Cake:
- Preheat the oven and and prepare your 18 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper or baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, spices, baking powder and soda.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugars, oil and butter. Add eggs and vanilla.
- Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan with a rubber spatula.
- Bake 22 to 28 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
That's it! It's even easier to whip up the cream cheese frosting!
How to Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
To make this easy cream cheese frosting, simply beat the ingredients in a large bowl on high speed. Start at low speed until the sugar is mixed in, and then turn up the mixer to high until the icing is smooth.
Occasionally, when making a recipe, you might discover the need to prepare certain elements ahead of time. It's important to always read a recipe first. For this carrot cake, take note of the following preparation tips:
- This recipe calls for room temperature eggs and cream cheese. Plan ahead and set out these items ahead of time.
- To quickly warm eggs straight from the refrigerator, place in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes.
- Melt the butter ahead of time and let cool to room temperature.
- It is important to measure the flour accurately. Either spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level with a knife, or fluff the flour before scooping and measuring. When scooping with a measuring cup, make sure you do it lightly to avoid packing in the flour!
- Do not use an electric or stand mixer for this cake. If the cake is over mixed, it will bake into a gummy-like texture instead of being soft and moist.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting it. If you do not let the cake cool completely in the pan, it will break and fall apart when trying to frost it.
- Use block style cream cheese for the frosting, not the spreadable kind in the tub.
Storage and Leftovers
Because of the cream cheese frosting, this cake needs to be stored in the fridge. Seal the cake well in a food-safe container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Can I Freeze Carrot Cake?
You can freeze this carrot cake if you want to store it for later. We typically always freeze half of it for a quick dessert later. To freeze this carrot cake, first refrigerate it so the frosting hardens. Once its cool enough and the frosting is hard, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then cover with foil. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge or on counter.
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Easy Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- measuring cups and spoons of various sizes
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 half sheet pan (18x13-inch)
- 1 Rubber spatula
- 1 whisk
- 1 electric mixer (only for making the frosting)
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (350 grams)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed (200 grams)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (115 grams)
- 4 large eggs , at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups peeled and grated carrots (about 5 medium carrots)
- 12 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (227 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar (720 grams)
To Make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18x13-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease pan with nonstick spray. (I recommend Baker's Joy.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil and melted butter until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine. (Do not use an electric mixer for this cake batter.)
- Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the grated carrots.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet. Use the rubber spatula to spread evenly in the pan.
- Bake in oven for 22 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before frosting. This is a very soft and moist cake so I serve it straight from the pan.
To Make the Frosting:
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on high speed until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar on low speed until combine, then turn to high speed and beat until smooth.
- Spread an even layer of frosting over the cooled cake and decorate as desired.
- Store frosted cake in the fridge for up to 4 days. Seal well in a food-safe container or cover with plastic wrap.
- To freeze cake, place cake in fridge until frosting is hardened. Remove cake from pan and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with foil. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in fridge or on counter.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only.