Easy and Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting


So, how was everyone’s weekend!? How excited are we that it’s Monday?! I for one am not excited that it is Monday, but I am super excited to share this easy and moist carrot cake with you! It is everything you crave in a carrot cake, with a little bit of crunch and a whole lot of sweetness. I know it’s true that many find carrot cake a very grandmotherly kind of cake, but it is by far one of my favorites. Not only is this recipe super duper easy, but it is ready in under an hour. It really is the best of the best!


So, about our weekend: we had a great one actually. Zach, being the boy that he is, got himself a tap system for tapping beer. Oh, boys. I love beer. We all should know this by now, but one thing is for sure, I do not like kegerators.

Well, let’s backtrack a second. I don’t MIND a kegerator, but I do mind it sitting in my kitchen. Therefore it is is the basement, and this, I can deal with. We want to eventually have some kind of “bar” in the basement, but that will be down the road … a long, long way down the road, since our living room still doesn’t have drapes and our kitchen still doesn’t have a backsplash. Priorities.

This is how we spent our Friday night (Halloween): with food from a local BBQ joint, TV and beer freshly poured from a brand new keg.

Let’s just say that he was like a kid in a candy store.

Sunday was the big day this weekend, and this is when I whipped up this easy and moist carrot cake. We had a mock Thanksgiving. If you are wondering why we put ourselves through the torture of preparing Thanksgiving on our own TWICE, well there are a couple of reasons! First of all, you guys! I have been slacking lately. I didn’t want to even think about Thanksgiving recipes until Halloween passed, and because I’m kind of an obsessive planner I like to have tried the meals first before I actually make the real deal! You know, so I can work out all of the kinks!

It’s weird. I know.

The day went pretty smoothly, except for some minor mishaps. I may have dropped an entire carton of eggs on the floor (every single one of them breaking). I knocked a whole container of chicken stock onto, you guessed it, the flour. I then dropped the first batch of my batter for this carrot cake all over my cleanly mopped, yup, floor. In my defense, the bottom of the springform pan fell out. What a disaster!

Someone should have told me NOT to mop before preparing this dinner.

Other than these mini ordeals, everything went great. I have a whole gaggle of Thanksgiving-inspired recipes ready to hit the internet waves, and I’m pretty darn excited about it.

*Note* Not to sure why I’ve decided to start using the word “gaggle.” *End Note*

The cake is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve mentioned before that I have a very difficult time baking cakes at altitude. I’m not sure why I can not grasp this skill. I mean I’ve lived here for quite a few years now! I never have any problems with this moist carrot cake though. It comes out perfectly each and every time. The recipe is below, so check it out, and make it for Thanksgiving. It’s what all of the cool kids are doing.


Beer Love:
I decided to go with an oatmeal stout (once again) for this carrot cake. I just paired my french toast sticks with an oatmeal stout, but I could think of no other way to go. An oatmeal stout is just perfect for this moist carrot cake. Oatmeal stouts have a subtle earthiness that I just love, and that earthiness really compliments this carrot cake. It also has just enough sweetness to really take this moist carrot cake over the top!
Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast

Troeg’s JavaHead Stout

Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merkin

Elysian’s Dragonstooth

Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout

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Easy and Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields 8

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


    Carrot Cake
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil (vegetable or canola oil may be substituted)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk (milk, coconut milk or almond milk may be substituted)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups carrots, finely grated
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • Frosting
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 package), softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioner's sugar (more as needed)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and spray a springform pan with non-stick spray (preferably 9-10 inches).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, with paddle attachment fixed, cream together the sugars and oil until smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix again to incorporate. Add each egg, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix again.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just moistened. Do not overmix. Fold in the carrots and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from heat. Place the pan directly on a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. While your cake is cooling, prepare your frosting.
  7. In your stand mixer, with paddle attachment fixed, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add the confectioner's sugar, in 1 cup increments until combined. Add more as needed. Add the milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Mix again.
  8. Frost the cake once it has cooled completely. Sprinkle with the remaining pecans and enjoy!
  9. The carrot cake will store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.


Categories: American Fare, Appetizers and Snacks, Autumn, Cake, Christmas, Cuisine, Dessert, Fall, Food and Beer Pairings, Holiday, Recipes, Seasonal, Sweet, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian, Winter
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13 thoughts on “Easy and Moist Carrot Cake with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting

  • November 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I bet Cilantro was in heaven with all of the food droppings, this is why I need a dog! How exciting that Zach got a tap system, somehow I don’t see a kegerator fitting in well with your kitchen decor. Now, this cake…Amazing! Who cares if carrot cake is grandmotherly, it’s the best!!

  • November 3, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    This looks so great! I know most people don’t die over carrot cake but it’s always been a favorite of mine, even as a kid! I love this and am definitely pinning it to make for a special occasion (or maybe someone will make it for me!)

  • November 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    My husband’s most favorite cake ever is carrot cake. This looks so gorgeous Justine! Definitely pinning this and can’t wait to make it for the hubs. Hope you have a fantastic week.

  • November 4, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I love, love this cake Justine!! Carrot cake is one of my favorites (my dad’s absolute favorite!) and so we made it a lot growing up. I’ve got to try yours because it looks super moist and seriously the best I’ve ever seen!! Pinned :)

  • November 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Haha, it was a struggle keeping him away from the raw eggs while I tried to clean it up! What a mess! NO, it DOES NOT fit with my decor hahaha. That’s why it’s in the basement! Thank you so much, Danae. ;)

  • December 1, 2014 at 6:43 am

    OK, one more question – by how much should I reduce the ingredients to make this for an 8 inch spring form? 1/4? 1/3? Thanks!

  • December 1, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Hi Nan! I have made this cake in an 8-inch springform pan with the same amount of ingredients before. You will just get a thicker cake and it will need to bake for a little bit longer (until a toothpick comes out clean). If you would like for it to be thinner, I would suggest decreasing the amount by 1/4 (or 25%). I hope this helps! Personally I like a thicker cake, but that just means more cake. ;) It’s up to you! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks! – Justine

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  • March 29, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Hi Justine! Could I make this in a square pan instead? And also, may I know if I can leave the sour cream/greek yoghurt out? Thank you!

  • March 29, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Hi Dee! Yes, you can definitely make this in a square pan! You can leave the sour cream or greek yogurt out, but you will have to substitute something else in. Perhaps throw in applesauce instead. I hope this helps!

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