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The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe

The BEST carrot cake recipe I have ever found! A buttermilk glaze seeps into the cake layers and a cream cheese frosting brings all the flavors together.

Southern Living's Carrot Cake

I made a cake.

Carrot Cake.

It was also the BEST Carrot Cake recipe I have ever found. 

And I desperately wish that this recipe for the BEST Carrot Cake of all time was actually mine. But I am not the one who created this perfect gem. Nope…I got this recipe from Southern Living. I’m also not the only one who love this cake. Chrissy Teigen raved about this cake on social media and John Legend described it as “Heavenly.” Seriously, it’s that good!

Ingredients & Equipment

Here are the kitchen items you’ll need:

  • 3 (9-inch) round cakepans
  • Bowls and electric mixer (or whisks) for mixing
  • Oven

Your ingredients:

Cake: This 3-layer cake is a mix of lots of carrots, crushed pineapple, coconut flakes and pecans or walnuts. Making a cake with pineapple makes it incredibly moist and the coconut and nuts add both flavor and texture.

Buttermilk Glaze: This particular carrot cake also has a lick-the-spoon-and-bowl-clean buttermilk glaze that seeps down into the cake while it’s still warm from the oven, making it incredibly moist.

Cream Cheese Frosting: The cream cheese frosting brings it all together as the smooth and tangy frosting seeps into the layers, creating an even more tender bite.

(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)

Best Carrot Cake Recipe

How to Make Carrot Cake

The full step-by-step instructions are below but this recipe couldn’t be easier to follow. Just mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls while folding in the fruits, nuts and vegetables all into one bowl. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

You drizzle buttermilk glaze over the warm layers right out of the oven and the layers absorb every bit of glaze, then you frost with cream cheese.

I know you’re going to enjoy it as much as I did! And if you have a Best Carrot Cake Recipe that you think rivals this one, feel free to link to it (or share the recipe) in the comments section. The more Carrot Cake the merrier!

The BEST carrot cake recipe I have ever found! A buttermilk glaze seeps into the warm cake layers making it extra moist. Then a delicious cream cheese frosting is added to bring all the flavors together. It's even BETTER the next day!

Best Carrot Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

This is my favorite recipe for carrot cake! It has three layers. And homemade frosting that I spread between each layer and then all over the top and the sides. It's the best carrot cake recipe I've ever found.


Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Buttermilk Glaze

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 11 ounces cream cheese, softened (about a block and a half)
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with parchment paper rounds.
  2. Use floured spray or lightly grease and flour parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Stir flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract to a mixer bowl and mix at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
  6. Fold in carrot, pineapple, coconut and walnuts. Pour batter into cakepans.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes.
  9. While in pans drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers.
  10. Remove from pans, and cool on parchment paper or wire racks for 30 minutes.\
  11. Cool layers in freezer or fridge to speed up the final cooling process.
  12. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Buttermilk Glaze

  1. Bring sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter (or margarine) and light corn syrup to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract; beat at high speed 10 seconds or until smooth.


Poke holes in layers with toothpick to aid in absorbing glaze.

Ensure layers are fully cooled to prevent frosting from melting as it's applied.

Keep cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.

    Famous Queen’s Cake Vs Southern Living’s Best Carrot Cake

    When the Buckingham Palace chefs shared the exact carrot cake recipe they used to make for the Queen of England many rushed to make this recipe at home. So who has the best carrot cake? Southern living staffer Ivy Odom had fun putting this question to the test. You’ll have to watch to see which one she picks!

    More delicious dessert recipes:

    Kristy Bernardo
    Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)


    Wednesday 17th of February 2021

    I have made this recipe and LOVE it!! But wondering if anyone has made it in cupcakes? Wondering how many it yields and aprox bake time? Thanks!

    Kristy Bernardo

    Monday 22nd of February 2021

    I haven't made it into cupcakes but I love the idea. I may give it a shot for Easter and will update the post if I do. So glad you love it!


    Friday 5th of February 2021

    Your link doesn't work. It just comes back to the page. And I never got the recipe. Too many pop up ads

    Kim Blanton

    Sunday 17th of October 2021

    @Kristy Bernardo, It is October 2021 The link won't work for me either . Could you please send it to my email if you have it. I tried looking it up on the site and can't find it. I would so appreciate it if you could.

    Kristy Bernardo

    Monday 22nd of February 2021

    Hi Kt, I just tested the link and it seems to be working. Regarding the ads, they're what allow me to continue paying our bills as well as keep the site running by offering free recipes. Sorry you had trouble!


    Monday 28th of May 2018

    I have made this same recipe for 30 + years and it is perfect!


    Thursday 7th of June 2018

    It's soooo good, isn't it?? Thanks for sharing!

    Prudy Copas

    Sunday 1st of April 2018

    Made last night for Easter dinner today. Everyone loved it! Thanks for the great recipe.

    Kristy Bernardo

    Monday 2nd of April 2018

    Oh, I'm so glad you loved it!! Someone brought carrot cake cupcakes to our Easter dinner at my parents yesterday and they were SO good. Reminded me of this cake and that I need to make it again soon. Happy Easter, Prudy!


    Sunday 28th of January 2018

    hello krisrty, it looks incredibly delicious, but I need the recipe in grams, I want to do it :)

    Kristy Bernardo

    Monday 29th of January 2018

    Hi johana, I apologize but this isn't my recipe so I don't have the amounts in grams. I'm only sharing it because I loved it so much. I did find this online calculator, so hopefully this will help you!

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