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A slice of carrot cake on a white plate with a fork.

Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x


This moist and delicious carrot cake is made from scratch with fresh carrots, pecans, raisins and spices, then frosted with a rich lemon cream cheese frosting.



For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots (from carrots that have been washed and peeled)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, and additional for topping (if desired) – optional
  • 1 cup raisins (brown or golden) – optional

For the Frosting:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from approximately 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from approximately 1 lemon)


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease two 8 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms of pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sugars and vanilla for approximately 1 minute.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat with a hand mixer at low speed for about 1 minute, or until smooth.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, stir in grated carrots, pecans and raisins.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center is removed clean.
  7. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Place first layer (rounded side down) on a plate or cake stand (don’t forget to remove parchment paper from bottoms of cakes).  Spread frosting over the top of the first layer.  Place the second layer on top of the first layer (rounded side up).  Frost side of cake, then frost top of cake.

For the Frosting:

  1. While cake is cooling, prepare the frosting by beating cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer until smooth.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar while continuing to mix.  Add lemon zest and juice and continue mixing until smooth.  Store covered in the refrigerator until cake is ready to frost.


  • Time does not include cake cooling time (about 1 hour).
  • Walnuts can be substituted for pecans.
  • Store cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Recipe adapted from
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: carrot cake recipe from scratch