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Paula Deen Carrot Cake (Easy Recipe)

This Paula Deen carrot cake recipe makes a moist and flavorful cake filled and covered with decadent cream cheese frosting.

And it’s so insanely good, it has the power to convert all carrot cake haters!

Paula Deen Carrot Cake Recipe
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I’ve always loved moist carrot cake.

From the sweet, lightly spiced taste to the fun texture and tangy frosting, it’s a dessert dream.

And no, it doesn’t taste like carrots at all.

So you can serve this Paula Deen carrot cake recipe on any occasion. That includes birthdays, anniversaries, and rainy weekends at home.

Paula Deen’s Carrot Cake

Paula Deen has so many incredible recipes.

Some of my faves include:

But when I need an impressive dessert, this carrot cake has my heart.

Unlike some recipes that include pineapple, this is pure carrot. So while it’s sweet, you don’t get that fruity undertone.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pineapples! But I find they distract from the carrot and pecans.

So if you’ve only ever had carrot cake with pineapples (and maybe didn’t love it), I highly recommend trying this recipe. I think you’ll love it.

A Slice of Carrot Cake with Tea


For the Cake

  • All-Purpose Flour – The base of the cake that gives it structure. All-purpose is fine here, no need to get cake flour. Sift the flour, along with the other dry ingredients, to create a smooth batter.
  • Granulated Sugar – For sweetness. Paula Deen’s uses granulated sugar, but you can also use a mix of granulated and brown for extra moisture and flavor.
  • Baking Soda – The leavening agent that makes the cakes rise. Be sure your baking soda is still active by stirring a teaspoon of it with a little bit of vinegar. It should start to fizz upon contact. 
  • Ground Cinnamon – This warming fall spice gives this cake such a comforting flavor.
  • Salt – To enhance the flavors of the cake.
  • Eggs – For binding the ingredients together. They also help make the cakes rise, and add richness, too. 
  • Vegetable Oil – While other cakes call for butter, carrots cakes require oil. It’s essential to make the cakes wonderfully tender and moist. Don’t use too much, though, or your cake will be greasy.
  • Grated Carrots – It isn’t called carrot cake for nothing! Shred the carrots yourself as pre-shredded ones are hard and dry.
  • Chopped Pecans – For extra flavor and crunch.

For the Frosting

  • Cream Cheese – Use blocked cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. Also, be sure it’s at room temperature, or your frosting will be lumpy.
  • Butter – Use salted butter as this frosting contains a lot of sugar. The salt in the butter will balance out the sweetness.
  • Powdered Sugar – It’s what gives the frosting a stiff, pipe-able consistency. If your frosting ends up too sweet, add a splash of lemon juice to contrast it.
  • Vanilla – A flavor enhancer 
  • Pecans – For a nice textural variety.
A Slice of Carrot Cake with Nuts in a Plate

Tips for Making a Moist Carrot Cake

  • Use room temperature ingredients, particularly the eggs, butter, and cream cheese. They’ll blend much easier with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Measure the flour accurately. Using more flour will make it too dense and dry, while using less might make the cake fall apart. Use a kitchen scale or the spoon-and-level method.
  • Grease the cake pans well. Grease AND line the pans with parchment paper for the easiest cake release.
  • Moisture Trick. Reduce the oil to 1 1/4 cup and use 1 cup each granulated and brown sugar. Or add 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)! To use 1 cup of applesauce, reduce the oil to 1 cup.
  • Optional Nuts. Add pecans or walnuts for texture and flavor. Toast them at 350°F for 6-8 minutes and coat them in flour to prevent sinking.
  • Shred the carrots at home. Pre-shredded carrots are tough and dry! Use a box grater or, if you want to make things easier, use the food processor. Be sure to peel the carrots first.
  • Frosting Tip. If frosting is runny, add more powdered sugar and chill. Also, refrigerate the cake before serving to firm up frosting even more.
  • Extra Flavors. Add craisins, coconut, or chocolate chips for variety. Experiment with nutmeg, cardamom, allspice.
  • Advance Prep. The batter and frosting can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge.

How to Store the Carrot Cake

Because this carrot cake has frosting, don’t leave it on the counter for over a day, especially if it’s warm where you’re from.

Instead, place the cake in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days.

You can also freeze the cake for up to 2 months, as long as you don’t frost it yet.

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Cover each cake with plastic wrap and foil. Let it come to room temperature before frosting it.

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Paula Deen Carrot Cake (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the Carrot Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for lining the pans

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

  • 3 cups grated carrots

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • For the Frosting
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature

  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 3 (9-inch) round pans with baking spray, oil, or butter and lightly dust with flour. Line the pans with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs and vegetable oil, and beat at medium speed until well-combined. Gently mix in the carrots and pecans with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the batter equally into the lined pans. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, beat softened cream cheese and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and spreadable. Gently mix in the pecans with a rubber spatula.
  • To assemble, place one cake on the serving plate. Spread 1/4 of the frosting evenly on top. Repeat with the remaining 2 cakes. Cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Slice and enjoy!
Paula Deen Carrot Cake Recipe

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

11 thoughts on “Paula Deen Carrot Cake (Easy Recipe)”

  1. I’ve used this recipe for years! Every time I make it, my friends ask if I’ll share my recipe, everyone says it’s the best carrot cake they’ve ever tasted! It’s perfect every time! Thanks Paula for sharing!

    • Hi Kathy, I’m so happy you like it. I make it for so many special occasions, too! Nobody quite does dessert like Paula. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. My Granddaughter always requests a homemade birthday cake for her birthday.This year she is 11 years old and asked for a carrot cake w/ cream cheese icing….. after much researching, I chose to make this one…..She Loved it !….Everyone did ! So GOOD!

    • Hi Jessica!
      Yes, you can make this in a 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes (check it after 30).
      The frosting recipe will give you a nice thick layer. If you want it thinner, cut it in half ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hello,
    When adding pineapple to it how much is recommend? Also when adding brown sugar along with white how much do I measure for both ?
    Thank you

    • Hi Rene!

      First, reduce the oil to 1 1/4 cups
      Then, you can add 1 cup of drained, crushed pineapple
      Or, for the sugar, use half and half (1 cup each) for the best taste and texture ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi, Kim! I love this recipe and for me, it’s the easiest one to memorize. My daughter’s SIL gave it to her and she gave it to me years ago. I do not add the raisins nor the pineapple, but do add walnuts inside the cake and chopped on top of the icing. The recipe makes great cupcakes and you only need 1/2 of the icing recipe needed for the cupcakes. Thanks so much for sharing!


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