Rating: 3.37 stars
1515 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 302
  • 4 star values: 372
  • 3 star values: 497
  • 2 star values: 270
  • 1 star values: 74

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.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 (61)

1515 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 302
  • 4 star values: 372
  • 3 star values: 497
  • 2 star values: 270
  • 1 star values: 74
Rating: 5.0 stars
05/28/2020
Loved it. I am a completely novice baker and was very nervous doing this but it turned out great. The instructions and video were very easy to follow
Rating: 5 stars
08/02/2019
I absolutely love this carrot cake. I've done it at least 10 times and it turned out delicious every single time.
Rating: 5 stars
07/06/2019
This is a simple cake to make. It is moist and delicious and very pretty. If I can make it, then anybody can. ;-) Enjoy!
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Rating: 5 stars
05/12/2019
havent tried the cake yet but the frosting is insaaaaaane!!! sooooo delicious !i used half the recipe and i still got lots of leftovers!!! hope they will enjoy it
Rating: 5 stars
11/14/2018
This recipe is PERFECT. I make it for my husband's birthday. Thank you, Martha!
Rating: 5 stars
08/11/2018
Perfection for the home baker! I followed the directions exactly and it was perfect! No changes, no corrections. This is a favorite and only gets made for special occasions. Yes, there is a generous amount of icing, but, carrot cake always has a generous amount of icing. The extra will get used for something else, not an issue for me.
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Rating: 5 stars
04/18/2018
It’s really pretty good. I roast the pecans for 7 minutes in a 350 oven to enhance their flavor. I also add 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins to the recipe. Finally, when it comes to the frosting, I make 3/4’s of the recipe and still have some left over. It’s a good recipe!
Rating: 5 stars
03/30/2018
This carrot cake recipe is freaking amazing!!!
Rating: 5 stars
03/13/2018
Wow, this recipe is fantastic. It is a crowd favorite. I bake a lot and this is the most requested from friends and family.
Rating: Unrated
06/01/2017
Rating: 5 stars
04/19/2017
This cake is easy to make and delicious! Perfect carrot cake!
Rating: 4 stars
02/12/2017
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.
Rating: 5 stars
12/09/2016
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.
Rating: Unrated
11/17/2016
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.
Rating: 5 stars
04/16/2016
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!
Rating: Unrated
04/11/2016
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.
Rating: Unrated
01/21/2016
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.
Rating: 5 stars
07/08/2015
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.
Rating: Unrated
04/21/2015
This recipe looks great but I'm wondering if I can add pineapple bits? I love carrot cake with pineapple bits! Will I need to adjust anything in the recipe?
Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2015
Made this today for Easter and it was excellent. I was worried due to some of the reviews and am sorry it didn't turn out as well for others. Since this was the first time I've made it, I followed the directions exactly (less the pecans due to a food intolerance of a guest) and I wouldn't change a thing, which never happens. This is the carrot cake recipe I'll use again and again.
Rating: Unrated
03/19/2015
Help! I am not a great baker, but I want to make his cake. I need it to be a rectangle, though. How many 9x13 pans would you use, and how long to bake? Thanks for any help you can offer.
Rating: Unrated
09/28/2014
yet another excellent go-to martha recipe. I made this for the first time last night for four kids and it was a huge hit. I halved the recipe and made cupcakes (same temp, reduced baking time by a bit). it's very easy, the texture and flavor are perfect--not too sweet, but as mentioned before the icing makes up for that. I also halved the frosting recipe and it was indeed twice the amount needed, so I'll just have to make more cake today since yesterday's is already gone :)
Rating: Unrated
04/17/2014
Great tasting cake. Layers are quite thin, though, if you use 3 pans. I assume most people only have 2 9" pans, so I'd suggest splitting the entire batter between 2 pans and increase the bake time. Make sure to have all the ingredients prepared before starting. I made the mistake of not grating my carrots or chopping my pecans before starting and it caused headaches.
Rating: Unrated
03/08/2014
This cake was amazing. The batter was absolutely perfect. We thought we'd died and gone to heaven after eating it. The icing has a good flavor, but it is a bit too sweet to really enjoy eating more than few bites. If the sugar in the icing was toned down just a bit, this cake would have been DYNAMITE!
Rating: 4 stars
01/12/2014
great and easy recipe!
Rating: Unrated
01/12/2014
Absolutely love this! Followed the recipe but substituted wallnuts with pili nuts (which is less expensive) and used muscovado sugar instead. First time to bake a cake and turned out really well. My husband and kids really love it!
Rating: 4 stars
10/25/2013
This is a great Carrot Cake recipe. So far it's on the top of my list.
Rating: Unrated
05/02/2013
I get this request every year from my son on his birthday. He loves it! I make it in 2 square pans and it looks so impressive. Everyone loves the cake and my sons favorite part is the frosting. Sweet, creamy and perfect. People ask all the time how I make it. It has become a birthday tradition around here. You have to try it!!
Rating: Unrated
02/09/2013
,m
Rating: Unrated
02/04/2013
for my cupcakes, make my friends so happy
Rating: 4 stars
02/03/2013
I made this cake for my best friend's birthday and it was a huge success! I did also use only 2 9" pan instead of 3 but I didn't had any batter left for cupcakes! This cake is great because it's moisty - often carrot cakes are dry! Enjoy!
Rating: 5 stars
02/01/2013
I made this cake at Christmas, and family loved it! Of course the icing is decadent, and the cake itself is very tasty. I used two 9-inch pans, rather than 3 pans. This adaptation worked perfectly fine. I will say that a food processor for this much carrot is a must. I used organic, locally grown carrots; and I think this really added to the flavor. Also, I made cake two days prior to serving (refrigerated in Martha Stewart cake carrier in the meanwhile) and this worked great!
Rating: Unrated
11/01/2012
Like other reviewers of this recipe, I didn't have to tweak or adjust any procedure or ingredient - very trustworthy and convenient. I found it easy to do. Most important is that tastes great too! I did follow to bake it in 3 9" pans. Maybe next time I'll make cupcakes out of this. I am looking forward trying a lot more recipes found in this site.
Rating: Unrated
10/01/2012
This recipe was amazing, and I've tried quite a few different recipes. It is not as dense/heavy as most recipes,and I love the flavor that comes from using butter. I only had 2 9-inch pans, so I made half a dozen muffins as well. Even my son [4] who is normally extremely picky enjoyed these! I did not change or modify anything in the recipe. I used my food processor for the carrots and the rest is easy. Can't wait to layer this and serve!
Rating: Unrated
09/05/2012
It really only makes sense to use two 9 inch rounds, not 3. Have yet to try to actual cake.
Rating: Unrated
09/05/2012
It really only makes sense to use two 9 inch rounds, not 3. Have yet to try to actual cake.
Rating: Unrated
08/12/2012
This is by far, the best carrot cake recipe I have ever used! The recipe is so light & moist - rather than some of the really heavy recipes I have used in the past.
Rating: Unrated
08/01/2012
Best carrot cake of all time!!! I've made it a couple times now and it always turns out great!
Rating: Unrated
04/08/2012
I also bought fresh ingredients and followed the recipe exactly. The cakes didn't rise very well at all. And it only produced two layers not three. Has a pleasant flavor though. I don't think I will try this recipe again.
Rating: Unrated
02/29/2012
can this be baked in one pan instead of three?
Rating: Unrated
09/29/2011
This is the only carrot cake I'll make! Its perfect!
Rating: Unrated
08/14/2011
Ok, so far not impressed!. I bought fresh baking powder, baking soda, flour, sugars, eggs...just about everything new and this did not rise very much at all. Yes, I checked the exp. dates on everything! Haven't tried it yet but so far, no good. Its for my sons birthday so I sure hope it taste better than it looks so far!! The batter was yummy :) so there is a small chance of hope this will turn out. Check back later with the end results. I could be VERY surprised....
Rating: Unrated
08/13/2011
Yummy cake. :) Not quite as sweet as most carrot cakes, but the frosting makes up for it. I will definitely bake this again.
Rating: Unrated
04/05/2011
Have anyone tried it half of the original amount and with "one" pan?I want to make it, but I don't know how long does it take to bake.
Rating: Unrated
01/15/2011
This is the BEST TASTING cake ever! However...it was so moist that it started falling apart when I tried to put icing on it. Yes, I let it cool completely before trying. Not sure what the answer is to cure this. I sent the cake to work with my husband (because it was too ugly to take to the lady's event that I made it for). He literally received tons of e-mails from his co-workers saying how delicious it was! They said that I can send my "mistake" cakes anytime. :)
Rating: Unrated
07/31/2010
Best cake ever! SO moist and tasty. I pureed the carrots after grating them which helped make the cake soft. Will definately be making this cake again
Rating: Unrated
06/14/2010
Wonderful cake! I made it for my daughters baptism and it was a hit. We had about 20 guests and there was only a small amount left over. The amount of frosting it makes is too much however very delicious.
Rating: Unrated
06/07/2010
This cake is most delicious, a family favorite. The ginger is a great touch!
Rating: Unrated
04/19/2010
Tried this today but as mini cupcakes and they were a hit. They tasted great, however, a bit light in color and in density for carrot cake.
Rating: Unrated
02/15/2010
this recipe is excellent - I always get compliments when I bring this to parties!
Rating: Unrated
11/30/2008
The carrot cake was very moist, creamy and heavy. It had a lot of interesting textures and had a profound carrot flavor. After baking the cakes, it took longer than 15 minutes before i could remove it successfully from the baking pan. In addition, I found that it was too heavy to allow it to cool on a baking rack. Rather, I just let them cool for about 2 hours in their pan and then assembled the cake.
Rating: Unrated
07/16/2008
This turned out very good. lindakuist has a good suggestion though, when I was mixing it, it looked very odd -- watery/lumpy -- so I had to mix it VERY well in order to get it to look like normal cake batter. Also, the cake was ymmy, but not as most/dense as typical for carrot cakes. The frosting recipe make about twice as much as you actually need as well.
Rating: Unrated
05/29/2008
This is a very good cake, good flavor. But when mixing, I found it turned out better if you added the flour mixture first and then the carrots, nuts and vanilla. Then the water last. It just mixed up better. Also for the frosting, try adding fnally chopped nuts, coconut and raisins, the amount doesn't matter. People tell me that the frosting doesns't taste as sweet. And it makes the cake look fancier!
Rating: Unrated
05/10/2008
The best carrot cake I've made, I like the fact that it uses butter making it lighter. The whole family LOVED it.
Rating: Unrated
04/11/2008
so I made this yester day it was delious and im acuttally eating a peice while I write this.I cut the recipe in half though seeing from others saying how big it was. it was the perfect amount. The only thing I would change is adding some raisins. It's one of the many carrot cake recipes im trying for my parents aniversy cake.
Rating: Unrated
03/16/2008
Good but grainy and HUGE!
Rating: Unrated
01/24/2008
This was my first "from Scratch" carrot cake. My family loved it. It does make a large cake. It would be good for feeding a crowd. Very dense and rich. A tiny slice is all you can eat.
Rating: Unrated
01/24/2008
This was my first "from Scratch" carrot cake. My family loved it. It does make a large cake. It would be good for feeding a crowd. Very dense and rich. A tiny slice is all you can eat.
Rating: Unrated
01/17/2008
I halved this recipe, cut out the nuts ('cuz I'm allergic) and used the maple cream cheese icing recipe from another carrot cake recipe on this site. Really good carrot cake, but it was huge
Rating: Unrated
12/21/2007
this carrot cake is delicious i going to share it with my friends
Rating: Unrated
12/07/2007
This carrot cake is luscious and divine! My old recipe calls for oil instead of butter, and I think the oil makes a huge difference! I added one cup of raisins that I soaked in warm water for an hour and then drained, and they were a pleasant addition to the cake. The frosting is spectacular. I will definitely be making this again!
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2007
Made it for a Parents' Football Dinner and received MANY compliments.