This scrumptious carrot cake—JoJo's Carrot Cake as we like to call it—is my mother's recipe! It's moist, flavorful, and effortless to whip up. It can also be made nut and dairy-free.
About this Cake
When people ask me what my favorite dessert is, the answer is always JoJo's Carrot Cake. Just thinking about it while I write this makes my mouth water.
It's my mom's famous carrot cake, comprised of a fluffy cream cheese frosting paired with delicious flavors of carrot, nut, and sugar. It's a staple in our household and we enjoy it for just about every celebration.
Heck, even if we're not celebrating anything, it's the first dessert we gravitate to! Often times, I'll double the batch and freeze one cake for when we need it next.
Make sure you check out the listed notes for substitutions. This recipe can easily be made dairy free and nut free without taking away from the rich taste in every bite! And if you're looking for a lighter take on carrot cake, try these Healthier Carrot Cake Bars, too!
- Shredded carrots: These are crucial as they are our cake's main flavor. I highly recommend you shred your own as they'll contribute to a moister cake.
- Lemon flavoring: Seems odd to add lemon to a carrot cake, but it adds depth of flavor and keeps this cake bright.
- Chopped nuts: My favorites are walnuts or pecans. Hazelnuts or -istachios would be tasty, too. Omit if you are making this a nut free cake.
- Cream Cheese: Used in our frosting to bring this cake to life! Be sure it's softened before using.
- Powdered sugar: Adds sweetness to the frosting and a fluffy texture as compared to using regular white sugar.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two (2) cake pans with coconut oil spray or butter. I recommend using 9 x 12 x 2" circular pans or 9 x 9" square pans.
2. Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl: sugar, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Add vegetable oil and beat until consistent batter forms, roughly 3 minutes. Then add one egg at a time into the mixing bowl. Beat well after each addition.
4. Fold in chopped nuts, shredded carrots, and lemon flavoring. Then pour the mixture into the greased pans.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to cool before removing from the pans.
6. For the frosting, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl: butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt if desired. Blend frosting ingredients on medium speed until smooth. All of the clumps of powdered sugar should be dissolved.
7. Frost the cooled cake using ⅓ of the frosting as the glue between the two tiers of cake and the remainder for the top & sides. Enjoy!
Store leftovers of this cake in the fridge. If I am making it a day in advance, I will keep the cake and frosting chilled separately.
It’s crucial to beat the batter after each egg on high speed so the liquid can adequately absorb into the dry baking ingredients.
This cake DOES freeze well! Store it in an airtight container. I don't recommend storing it for more than 2 months. I love the taste of an extra cold, dense cake!
To garnish this Carrot Cake, you can also use candied oranges, cinnamon sticks, or coconut shavings. All elegant, beautiful, and delicious!
You can easily make JoJo's Carrot Cake dairy or nut free or both! For the cake, exclude nuts from the batter. For the frosting, use a plant based butter and cream cheese. I've not tried making a gluten free version, but I'd be willing to bet gluten free 1:1 baking flour would work (using ~2-3 less tablespoons of flour since GF flour is slightly drier).
More Recipes You'll Love
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JoJo's Carrot Cake
- Mixing Bowl
- Cake pans (2)
- Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
- Food Processor
- Measuring Cups
- Conventional oven
- Standing or hand mixer
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp lemon flavoring
- 3-4 cups carrots, shredded
- 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts and pecans are best
- ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 - 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 - 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 dash salt, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease two (2) cake pans with coconut oil spray or butter. I recommend using 9 x 12 x 2″ circular pans or 9 x 9″ square pans.
- Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl: sugar, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat until consistent batter forms, roughly 3 minutes.
- Add one egg at a time into the mixing bowl. Beat well after each addition.
- Fold in chopped nuts, shredded carrots, and lemon flavoring.
- Pour the mixture into the greased pans.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool before removing from the pans and frosting.
- Frost the cooled cake using ⅓ of the frosting as the glue to the two (2) cakes and the remainder for the top & sides.
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl: butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt if desired.
- Blend frosting ingredients on medium speed until smooth. All of the clumps of powdered sugar should be dissolved.
Looking for this in MyFitnessPal?
If you're using MyFitnessPal, search 'A Paige Of Positivity' and find JOJO'S CARROT CAKE calories and nutrition facts. Disclaimer: for most accurate macronutrients and caloric breakdown, it is recommended that you input each ingredient into your MyFitnessPal food diary.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. It’s my passion to create dishes that can be shared with others. Tell me something you loved or just say hi!
A friend brought this over and it is amazing! I type this while eating the rest she left over. I cannot wait to make this for my family! I usually don’t love nuts in baked goods but the pecans in this cake were the perfect crunch!
Sydney Van Acker says
cake is not my dessert of choice.... unless it's THIS CARROT CAKE. so simple to make, but so tasty. Thanks for sharing!
Courtney Paige says
My mom makes this for EVERY family event and it's the BEST. She'll make it for my wedding one day. GAHHH it's so good!!!!