Carrot Cake

DessertBakingCakeCarrot

This Carrot Cake with pineapple and coconut is a family favorite, made every year for all sorts of celebrations from birthdays to Easter! Originally from the Silver Palate cookbook, we've made several changes to make it easier and tastier.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Years ago, when I was still in college, someone gave me a copy of the Silver Palate cookbook. I remember many of the recipes being over the top, both for my palate and budget at the time, and come to think of it, my cooking skill as well, but I still loved this book. What I really loved, was this easy carrot cake recipe.

It was the best carrot cake recipe. I even photocopied and sent to my parents, with the note, “Make this carrot cake, it’s great!”

Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Coconut? Yes!

Carrot cake had always been my favorite, and this recipe? Who ever heard of putting coconut AND pineapple in a carrot cake? Twenty-five years ago, no one I knew, but the combination was fantastic.

Of course, we’ve made changes over the years to that original carrot cake recipe, and now I can say the recipe that follows truly is the best carrot cake recipe.

The original recipe called for three cups of sugar (too much even for me) and for cooking the carrots first (not necessary in my opinion). Sometimes I added raisins or left out the nuts, but always included the coconut and pineapple.

Not a fan of pineapple and coconut? That’s ok! You can leave them out and the cake will turn out just fine.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake – A Family Favorite

My father has made this carrot cake for my birthday countless times, even driving hours to deliver it when I lived in Palo Alto or San Francisco.

Today we made this carrot cake together (that frosting job is mine, thank you) and the cake even survived a “D’oh!” moment when three minutes after it went in the oven dad realized he had forgotten to add the coconut.

After the requisite howls of exasperation, the carrot cakes came out of the oven, batter back into the mixing bowl, coconut added, batter back in the pans, and pans back in the oven. No harm no foul. Cake lived, beautifully, I might add.

Love Carrot Cake? Check out these recipes!

Updated April 11, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Carrot Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12-16

Not a fan of pineapple and coconut? That's ok! You can leave them out and the cake will turn out just fine.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup drained crushed pineapple

For the frosting:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Extra whole or chopped walnuts, for topping

Special equipment:

Method

1 Preheat oven and prepare cake pans: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans. Cut out rounds of parchment paper and place at bottoms of cake pans. Butter the top of the wax paper rounds.

2 Make carrot cake batter: Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in chopped walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.

3 Bake: Pour batter into pans. Set on the middle rack of oven and bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes (shift positions of cakes front-to-back if necessary about halfway through), until edges have pulled away from sides and a toothpick or sharp knife tip inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire cooling rack. 

5 Make cream cheese frosting: In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or using hand mixers, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Slowly sift in the powdered sugar and beat until mixture is free of lumps. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice.

5 Frost and decorate the cake: Once cakes have cooled, remove from the pans and frost. Sprinkle top with chopped walnuts or arrange walnut halves in a crown around the top.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Products We Love

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

162 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCarrot Cake

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Judi

    I rate this a 10!!!! I have made this 6 times since Easter and everyone who has tried it absolutely LOVES it . I have given out this recipe to numerous people who cannot stop raving about it.
    I changed the recipe for the icing. I only use 3 cups of powdered sugar and do not use the lemon juice.
    Thank you so much for this recipe. This is all I want to make anymore,
    Judi S., Ft Myers, FL

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Barbara

    I made these once as muffins and they were delicious! I forgot to put the salt in thos time, will they turn out ok?

  3. Thulani

    What can you substitute with? Almond or coconut flour? How much as company?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Ghina

    Great recipe, I do it all the time, it replaced my old carrot cake recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Dorothy

    Your recipe looks delicious! I do have a couple of questions before trying it, though.

    I am a very amateur baker and am wondering why all carrot cake recipes seem to require oil rather than butter. If I substituted butter for the oil, would the cake still turn out, and if so, how much butter should I use to replace the oil, and how & when would I incorporate it?

    Also, would it be okay to add some raisins—say, a cup—to the recipe, or would this make the batter too moist (or have some other deleterious effect)?

    Any advice would be most welcome. Kind regards, Dorothy

    Show Replies (1)
View More
Carrot CakeCarrot Cake