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Carrot Cake


Beneath this towering yet unpretentious appearance lies multiple layers of moist, mildly spiced cake that are flecked with carrots and pecans and enveloped by a generous coating of cream cheese frosting.

  • Servings: 10

Photography: Kenji Toma

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2007


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake)
  • Easy Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.

  2. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.

  3. Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.

  4. Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Reviews Add a comment

  • cakengiftsini
    1 JUN, 2017
    This cake is well decorated and looking very attractive, The recipe of this cake that you given is also very simple and easy to bake it. Today we will make it. Last time i made such beautiful cakes from :
  • cakengifts
    18 MAY, 2017
    I must be pleased for sharing your ideas. Thank you for the good writes up. It’s a brilliant job.
  • sholloway1twc
    19 APR, 2017
    This cake is easy to make and delicious! Perfect carrot cake!
  • nwkawa
    12 FEB, 2017
    I really liked this cake even though I am usually not a lover of carrot cake because it's too dense for me..... but it was delicious despite being dense! I've made it a few times for my carrot cake loving faamily/friends and they all raved about it. I found the video to be on the sloppy side. She neglected to mention baking soda in dry ingredients, she used 2 pans for cake while recipe called for 3, and she said she put toasted pecans on frosting but nothing mentions that in recipe, and they didn't look to be toasted. Does that mean you toast the pecans for cake batter as well? I found her a bit hard to follow. She seemed really nervous.
  • cheryl.harnishfeger
    9 DEC, 2016
    Made this cake for my carrot cake loving boyfriend's birthday last year, and he said it was the best carrot cake he's ever had. About to make it for his birthday tomorrow, as he's been requesting it and talking about it for the past year. This cake came out moist and just sweet enough. Paired with the Cream Cheese Frosting recommended for this cake.
  • kellycolombagm
    17 NOV, 2016
    This recipe is for the perfect carrot cake! I have been using it for years and it's my husband's favorite. I, like a few others on here, half the icing recipe. I also omit the ginger from the recipe as I'm not a big fan. It may not rise much as it is a dense cake, but with three layers, it becomes a very decent size.
  • jennhansen88co
    16 APR, 2016
    I have been baking this cake for over 5 years, several times a year. It is the go-to request from my family for every celebration and holiday! The only thing I change is to halve the frosting recipe. It is the perfect and most delicious carrot cake! Way to go Martha!
  • atomshine
    11 APR, 2016
    Ugh. Way too rich and dense. We prefer a light, fluffy and moist cake. This was almost brownie like. The frosting recipe was great, though. We won't be making this one again.
  • caroline.noel7779
    21 JAN, 2016
    I loved this recipe! Best carrot cake ever. Made it a few times and noticed it sensitive to over cooking (it drys out) so mind your time. Also the cream cheese frosting recipe yields way more then necessary. Its safe to only make 3/4ths.
  • gotrr
    8 JUL, 2015
    I'm not sure why this recipe is only currently rated at 3 1/2 stars, but it deserves five. Best carrot cake I've ever tasted, much less made. Amazing recipe! A true cake consistency and not an oily, mushy giant carrot muffin. Will make as often as I can afford the calories.