The best carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a serving plate with a bite on a fork

The Best Carrot Cake (with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting)

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This carrot cake recipe with orange cream cheese frosting is my favorite homemade carrot cake recipe. It is easy to follow and makes a hearty, moist carrot cake that is topped with a tangy orange cream cheese frosting. Follow this recipe and you will have the best carrot cake ready to serve for your Easter dessert!

The Best Carrot Cake (with cream cheese frosting) on a serving plate topped with chopped pecans and orange zest

Carrot cake is one of those cakes that you either love or hate, but in my house, everyone loves this recipe! The orange cream cheese frosting is a game changer. It really makes this the best carrot cake that I’ve ever had (and I don’t say that lightly!). With carrots, applesauce, and crushed pineapple in the cake, it is moist and delicious. The cream cheese frosting on top is flavored with orange zest, adding just the right amount of citrus flavor to make this best carrot cake recipe absolutely irresistible.

This homemade carrot cake recipe is very simple to follow. You will start by whisking together your dry ingredients. Then you can add your shredded carrots into the mix and toss them until they are coated with the flour mixture. In a separate bowl, beat together your applesauce, sugar, and eggs. Then you can fold in your pineapple. Once these are mixed together, you can start combining that mixture with the flour mixture. Pour the batter into a prepared 9×13 pan and you are ready to bake your cake! While it is in the oven or when it is cooling, you can mix up your yummy orange cream cheese frosting. This is super simple to make! Start by beating together your cream cheese and butter. Then you can add in your vanilla, milk, orange zest, and powdered sugar. Beat all of these ingredients together until they have reached the consistency that you want for your frosting. Once your carrot cake has completely cooled, spread this frosting over the top! You can top your cake with some crushed nuts if you want a little crunch on top.

Why You’ll Love This Best Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • This homemade carrot cake is hearty, moist, and delicious.
  • This will be the best carrot cake that you have ever had!
  • The orange cream cheese frosting adds a boost of zesty flavor to this carrot cake recipe.
  • The recipe for carrot cake is very simple to follow.
  • Even your picky eaters will love this delicious homemade carrot cake!

Ingredients For Your Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake Batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts for topping
The best carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a serving plate with a bite on a fork

How To Make The Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan.

Step 2: In a medium size bowl whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Step 3: Add grated carrots to the flour mixture, and toss to coat well. Set aside.

Step 4: In a large mixing bowl beat sugar and applesauce until smooth and creamy. Add in one egg at a time and beat on low speed until combined.

Step 5: Fold in pineapple until just combined.

Step 6: Slowly add in dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until cake batter is just combined. Don’t overmix.

Step 7: Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Step 8: While the cake is cooling, make frosting by beating softened cream cheese and softened butter until smooth. Add in vanilla, milk, orange zest, and powdered sugar. Continue beating until smooth and creamy.

Step 9: Once the cake has cooled, spread frosting evenly over cake and add chopped nuts if desired. Enjoy!

What to Serve/Pair with Your Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

This carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is a great stand-alone dessert. I also like to serve it with a cup of coffee and a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or this No-Churn Oreo Ice Cream if I’m craving a little chocolate) – yum! If you want another springtime dessert to go along with this cake, these Cadbury Egg Cookies look very cute on a dessert table. If you want to stick with the “carrot” theme, serve these tasty Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies.

Popular Substitutions & Additions

I love the orange flavor in the cream cheese frosting, but if you don’t like citrus flavors, you can nix the orange zest.

Top this cake with chopped pecans or walnuts for some extra crunch.

You can also make this cake into cupcakes! Follow the recipe as it’s written, but put the batter into a cupcake pan instead of the 9X13.

If you don’t have time to grate your own carrots, you can buy a bag of shredded carrots at the grocery store.


Light cream cheese can be used in place of regular cream cheese in this carrot cake recipe

close up shot of a bite of carrot cake on a fork

Storage & Leftovers

Because of the cream cheese frosting and the carrots, you will want to store your carrot cake in the fridge. Make sure that it is completely covered. Your carrot cake will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe FAQs

Can I use self rising flour instead of all purpose flour in this carrot cake recipe?

Sure, you can use self rising flour. If you do, omit the salt, baking soda, and baking powder. These are already added into self rising flour.

Will the icing on this cake be orange?

No, the orange zest won’t turn your cream cheese frosting orange. If you want a colored frosting, you can always add a little bit of food coloring.

Why am I putting applesauce in my carrot cake?

I love putting applesauce in homemade cakes! In this cake, specifically, it helps hold everything together and adds a good bit of moisture into the cake.

Carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans in a white baking dish

Other Great Dessert Recipes You’ll Love

Don’t Forget To Come Back And Let Me Know How Your Best Carrot Cake (with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting!) Turned Out!

The best carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a serving plate with a bite on a fork

Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

April King
This carrot cake recipe with orange cream cheese frosting is my favorite homemade carrot cake recipe. It is easy to follow and makes a hearty, moist carrot cake that is topped with a tangy orange cream cheese frosting. Follow this recipe and you will have the best carrot cake ready to serve for your Easter dessert!
4.50 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Cake Batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce or vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan.
  • In a medium size bowl whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add grated carrots to the flour mixture, and toss to coat well. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat sugar and applesauce until smooth and creamy. Add in one egg at a time and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Fold in pineapple until just combined.
  • Slowly add in dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until cake batter is just combined. Don't overmix.
  • Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • While cake is cooling, make frosting by beating softened cream cheese and softened butter until smooth. Add in vanilla, milk, orange zest, and powdered sugar. Continue beating until smooth and creamy.
  • Once cake has cooled, spread frosting evenly over cake and add chopped nuts if desired. Enjoy!
Keyword carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, homemade carrot cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

11 Comments

  1. I wish this recipe could be pinned to Pinterest. Saves the storage space on my phone.

    • April King

      Hi Carolyn, we are creating a pinterst pin for this recipe today, keep an eye out so you can save it there.

  2. Can I freeze the cake before frosting it?

  3. 5 stars
    I followed this Carrot 🥕 cake recipe! And it came out sooo moist and delicious 🤤 I love it!!😄Thank you for the recipe!!

  4. This recipe for the Best Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting on Modernmealmakeover.com is a must-try for any carrot cake lover. The cake is incredibly moist, with just the right balance of sweetness and spice, and the homemade cream cheese frosting with a hint of orange is absolutely delicious. It’s an easy recipe too, so even beginner bakers can impress their friends and family with this yummy dessert. Definitely a new favorite in my household!

  5. 3 stars
    Delicious cake but couldn’t tell it was a carrot cake by tasting. I use another recipe for carrot cake and it has more carrot and only 1 8 oz block of cheese in the frosting. I always like to try new recipes because you might find one even better. Still a good cake though.

  6. 5 stars
    This looks amazing and I’m going to make it tomorrow but have 2 questions…can I use home made apple butter in place of the applesauce? And will I change flavor, texture or baking time much if I add golden raisins?

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