Old Fashioned Carrot Cake Recipe

| March 28, 2021 | 4 Comments

Carrot Cake

Follow our complete, step-by-step, photo illustrated directions to learn how to make, bake, and assemble this old fashioned recipe. A real Southern favorite. Printable recipe included.


Carrot Cake, enjoy!
This old fashioned version is a basic cake. It’s delicious, without the pineapple, coconut, raisins and some other things you might not like, or find in some of the more modern versions. Yes, we share our recipe for cream cheese frosting with pecans as well. You really need to try this one.


Carrot Cake, slider.


Sometimes I wonder why it takes me so long to post some of the most popular of Southern type recipes here on Taste of Southern. You would think I would have done this one a long time ago.

I love cake. And, as a friend of mine often says, “I’ve never met a cake I didn’t like.” Smile.

Carrot Cakes are certainly a favorite of cakes here in the South. You’ll not likely attend a church dinner, some type of social event, or family reunion, without finding a nice Carrot Cake sitting somewhere on the dessert table. It has a habit of showing up everywhere.

Most Carrot Cakes these days are made with pineapple, coconut, pecans, and some times raisins. They almost always have a Cream Cheese frosting. I refer to that one as the Ultimate Carrot Cake, and I hope to post that recipe before too long.

This one is more basic, without the pineapple, coconut or raisins. I refer to this one as an Old Fashioned Carrot Cake. It’s still delicious and many folks prefer it especially if they don’t like crushed pineapple. I do hope you’ll try it.

I often have wondered who was the first person to place carrots in a cake – and why. Not sure we’ll ever know the real answer, but they sure did create a great cake recipe from it.

This one is perfect for Easter, which is right around the corner at the time I’m sharing this one.

Ready to give our recipe a try? Alright then, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!


Carrot Cake, ingredients.
Old Fashioned Carrot Cake Recipe – You’ll need these ingredients for the cake. You’ll also need a cup of Canola oil which somehow refused to stand still for a photo. Please forgive me.

I’ve got the ingredients for the cream cheese frosting with walnuts further down.


Carrot Cake, grate the carrots.
We’ll start out by grating 2 cups of fresh carrots and then just setting them aside for the moment. Please grate the carrots yourself for the best flavor. The pre-grated or shredded carrots just can’t compare.


Carrot Cake, add eggs to bowl.
Crack 4 large eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl next.


Carrot Cake, add the sugar.
Add 2 cups of granulated sugar to the bowl.


Carrot Cake, add the oil.
Add 1 cup Canola Oil.


Carrot Cake, mix well.
Mix everything together with a mixer on Low to Medium  speed. Mix just until combined.


Carrot Cake, sift flour.
Sift a bit more than the 2 cups of all-purpose flour called for in the recipe.


Carrot Cake, level cups.
Use a spoon to scoop the sifted flour into your measuring cup. Fill the cup overflowing at first, then use the back of a butter knife to remove any excess until you have one level cup of sifted flour.

Place 2 level cups of sifted flour into another mixing bowl.


Carrot Cake, add cinnamon.
Add 2 teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon to the flour.


Carrot Cake, add baking soda.
Add 3/4ths of a teaspoon of Baking Soda.


Carrot Cake, add baking powder.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder.


Carrot Cake, add salt.
Add 1/4th teaspoon of Salt.


Carrot Cake, add nutmeg.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg.


Carrot Cake, mix well.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together well. I like to use my whisk for this.


Carrot Cake, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually.
Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until incorporated with an electric mixer. Do not overmix the batter.


Carrot Cake, scrape down sides of bowl.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.


Carrot Cake, add the carrots.
Add the 2 cups of grated carrots to the bowl.


Carrot Cake, fold in carrots.
Use a spatula or large spoon and fold the carrots into the batter.


Carrot Cake, prepare the pans.
Prepare your baking pans. I’m using 2 of the 8 inch round pans for my cake. I sprayed the inside of each pan with a cooking spray that already has flour in it first. Then, I placed a parchment circle in the bottom of the pan and sprayed that as well.

You could also just use oil to grease your pans lightly. Then sprinkle the inside with some flour and swirl it around until the bottom and insides of the pan are lightly coated with flour. Tap out any excess flour and you’re good to go. Smile.


Carrot Cake, divide the batter.
Divide the batter as evenly as possible between the two pans. Lift each filled pan up about an inch and drop it on your countertop a couple of times to help remove any bubbles in the batter.


Carrot Cake, baking time and temp.
Pre-heat your oven to 350F degrees.

Place both layers on the middle or just below middle rack in your oven. Let them bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350F degrees until the layers are done.

You can test them by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center of the layer. If it pulls out clean, your layers are done. If it pulls out with a few crumbs attached, your layers need to bake for a minute or two longer.

Also, the layers will start pulling away from inside the pan when they are done.


Carrot Cake, remove to wire rack when done.
When the layers are done, remove them from the oven and place them on a wire rack or folded towel to cool for 10 minutes.


Carrot Cake, turn out to cool.
After 10 minutes, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to be sure the cake layer isn’t sticking to the inside of the pan. Then, flip the layers out of the pan and place them back on the wire racks to cool completely. The layers need to be completely cooled before you frost them.


Carrot Cake, frosting ingredients.
Cream Cheese Frosting with Walnuts – You’ll need these ingredients


Carrot Cake, add butter and cream cheese.
Place 1/2 cup of Butter and 1 3oz package of Cream Cheese in a large mixing bowl. Both the butter and the cream cheese should be at room temperature.


Carrot Cake, cream together.
Start on Low speed with your mixer, then work up to Medium speed and cream the butter and the cream cheese together. This will take 4-5 minutes or longer to make sure they are both combined together and creamy and fluffy in texture. Don’t skimp on the time in doing this. Smile.


Carrot Cake, add vanilla.
Add 1 teaspoon of Vanilla flavoring to the mixture.


Carrot Cake, sift in the sugar.
Gradually sift in the sugar and continue to mix it all together.

Confectioners Sugar will about always have some lumps in it. You don’t want those in your frosting if you try to do any piping, flowers, or writing in your cake decorations.


Carrot Cake, scrape down sides of bowl.
As you mix, scrape down the sides of the bowl and up from the bottom of the bowl to be sure you get all the sugar mixed in.


Carrot Cake, add the nuts.
Add the 1 cup of chopped Walnuts if you want to use them. You could make it without the nuts if you prefer. Your choice.


Carrot Cake, fold the nuts into the frosting.
Use a spatula or large spoon to fold the nuts into the frosting.


Carrot Cake, assemble your cake.
Assemble your cake. 

It’s hard to see in the photo, but I have a small turntable that I like to use to help frost my cakes. I have a piece of drawer liner on top of the turntable to keep my cardboard cake circle from slipping.

Place the cardboard cake circle, or plate if you’re using one, in the center of the turntable. Then, place just a dab of the frosting in the center of the board. This will help hold the cake layer in place while you work on the cake.

I cut small strips of parchment paper and place it around the outside edges of the cake board. This will keep the board or plate clean while you work on frosting the cake.


Carrot Cake, first layer.
Place the first layer, top side down, on the cake board making sure you have it centered up on the board.

I like to fill a cake decorating bag with frosting and a large open round tip. Use this to pipe a circle of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer.

You don’t have to do this of course, but I like that it gives me a fairly even height around the outside edge of the cake to help me put an even layer of frosting on top.


Carrot Cake, add more frosting.
Now, pipe some more frosting inside the outer ring of frosting. It doesn’t matter what this looks like, but it would be a good time to practice if I would take advantage of the opportunity. Smile.


Carrot Cake, spread the frosting.
Use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top of the first layer.


Carrot Cake, add the second layer.
Center the second layer on top of the first layer.


Carrot Cake, add frosting.
Frost the top and the sides of your cake.


Carrot Cake, ready to cut.
Your cake is now complete, or you can decorate it if you like.

I gently removed the pieces of parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. As you can see, the cake board is pretty clean. Just saying.

Let’s cut into it. Shall we?


Carrot Cake, enjoy.

Don’t judge my attempt to put carrot decorations on my cake. I’ve never had any talent for cake decorating, even though it’s something I’ve always wanted to learn. My hands just aren’t steady enough for it these days, but I still try a little something some times.

You will want to cover any leftovers and store the cake in your refrigerator. It should last several days and stay fairly fresh and moist as well. I hope you’ll try it and enjoy it.


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Carrot Cake, printbox

Old Fashioned Carrot Cake Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Desserts, Cakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


This is an older and more basic version of Carrot Cake. It doesn’t contain pineapple, coconut or some of the other ingredients found in some Carrot Cake recipes. It’s still very tasty and flavorful and well worth a try.



Ingredients For Cake Layers:
2 cups Carrots, grated
4 large Eggs
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Canola Oil
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, sifted
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup Butter
1 8 oz package of Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon Vanilla Flavoring
33/4 cup Confectioners Sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons Milk as needed
1 cup chopped Walnuts, optional


Make the layers:
Grate the carrots, set aside.
Place eggs in a large mixing bowl.
Add the sugar.
Add the canola oil.
Mix on low-medium speed with mixer.
In another large bowl, place the level cups of sifted flour.
Add cinnamon.
Add baking soda.
Add baking powder.
Add salt.
Add nutmeg.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together until combined.
Gradually add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, beating just until combined.
Add the grated carrots.
Fold carrots into batter with a spatula or large spoon.
Prepare your two 8 inch cake pans with oil and flour or cooking spray.
Divide batter between the two pans.
Bake at 350F degrees for 30-40 minutes or until done.
Remove from oven. Place on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
Turn the cakes out of the pans, place layers on wire racks. Let cool completely.

Prepare the frosting:
Place butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl.
Cream together until smooth and fluffy. About 4-5 minutes.
Add vanilla flavoring. Mix lightly.
Gradually add the confectioners sugar.
Add enough milk to reach desired spreading consistency.
Add chopped walnuts if desired.
Fold walnuts into the frosting.
Spread frosting over layers and decorate as desired.
Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator

Keywords: carrot cake, old fashioned carrot cake, carrot cake without pineapples, easy southern cake, Easter cake, walnuts, cream cheese frosting,

Your Comments:

Have you tried our Old Fashioned Carrot Cake recipe? How did you like it?

Share your memories of this great Southern dish with us. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below.

Just remember, all comments are moderated.  That just means that I personally read each and everyone before they are approved for viewing on our family friendly website. Thank you in advance for sharing.

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You might also like: Easter Bunny & Eggs Cake Recipe

Or, maybe this:  Basic Cake Layers – a more in depth look at making cake layers.

Or this:  Southern Flavors Pound Cake Recipe




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Category: Desserts

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (4)

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  1. Valerie says:

    Icing recipe calls for “1 3oz package of Cream Cheese”. I believe this is a typo. I think it should be 1 8oz package of Cream Cheese

    • Thelma Kay says:

      Yes, Valerie. I reviewed Steve’s recipe and replaced the recipe item to 8 oz cream cheese. Thanks for the notice. I am new to managing the website. So, I am learning. Bare with us.

  2. Cheryl Ann says:

    My goodness, your cake looks fabulous! My son always has carrot cake on his b-day. It’s about the only time he’ll eat cake. I usually buy myself a coconut cake once a year as a b-day treat for myself. This is actually the first year in my entire life that I don’t have plans for Easter for it’s the first time in 50plus years I will be alone. Because weather here has been unpredictable to say the least (today 67-yesterday was 32?), I’ll more than likely putter around with TBN on television. This will truly be for me a day of rest and I choose to see it as the gift it is. Have a Wonderful Easter to Everyone.
    PS. Have you seen the new series called “The Chosen”? It is on television and online– what a fabulous series-all about Jesus-so well done-worth checking into if you have not already!

  3. Jennifer A. says:

    THANK YOU! Carrot cake the way mom made it – yummy.

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