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Three Layer Carrot Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

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  • Author: Adapted from Susan Branch
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: One 3 layer cake 1x


Units Scale

For the Cake

  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 3 cups fresh, finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup coconut chips (substitute shredded coconut if not available)
  • 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar (1 lb box)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste (substitute with vanilla extract if not available)


  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease 3 8" straight edge cake pans. Set out 1/2 cup butter and 8 ounce package of cream cheese to soften (for frosting). Put pineapple in sieve to drain.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugars and beaten eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk in oil and vanilla extract until completely combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
  5. Stir in carrots, coconut, pineapple, raisins, and walnuts.
  6. Pour bater into oiled layer pans. Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Set on a wire rack to cool, at least one hour, or frosting will melt.*
  7. Make the frosting: Whisk together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla paste until completely smooth.**
  8. Frost between the layers and on the top. Garnish as desired (coconut chips, walnuts, raisins, etc


*You can make the cake layers a day ahead of time: After baking the cake layers and letting them cool, remove from their pans, wrap up in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost (no more than 24 hours ahead).

**This frosting recipe is enough to frost between the layers and on top of the cake, with a little extra to do a crumb layer if desired. If you want to fully frost this cake, double the recipe.

  • Cook Time: 40 mins