The Best Carrot Cake


You can’t have Easter without carrots, so of course I wanted to be sure I shared my mom’s famous carrot cake recipe with you. This is by far the best carrot cake — it is perfectly spiced, moist, and delicious topped with homemade cream cheese frosting. The cake gets extra sweetness from the addition of crushed pineapple to the batter.

I used to think carrot cake was healthy; because obviously there are carrots in there, unfortunately that is not the case. But, that’s why it’s so special. We can indulge every once in a while and have a piece of cake, and if you are going to enjoy a slice of cake it needs to be this one.

This carrot cake may not be a traditional Mexican recipe, but it’s a favorite with our family. This was the cake I always requested for my birthday parties. Instead of a pretty multi-layered round cake my mom usually doubled the recipe and made a big sheet cake. It had to be big with the size of our familia. There were always lots of cousins, aunts, and uncles to polish it off.


I actually made this cake a couple of weeks ago to celebrate my Tia Vicky’s birthday. All my aunts live in El Paso, but my Tia Vicky lives here in Colorado. Visiting with her is like being home in El Paso. It’s fun to sit and just talk with her — talk about the good ol’ days and all the family chisme.

And of course, her daughters who also live here are like sisters to me — it makes living in Colorado extra special. I’m very thankful that my children are growing up surrounded with extended family and cousins just like I did.


This classic recipe is moist, sweet, and has the perfect combination of spices. The cream cheese frosting is delicious but not too sweet — a scrumptious complement to the moist carrot cake.

I would love for you to try this recipe and let me know what you think. I have a feeling you are going to love it just as much as I do.


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Pastel de Zanahoria)



  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple including the juice
  • 2⁄3 cup crushed pecans (optional)

Cream cheese frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg white, sugar, and oil.
  3. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and beat all together.
  4. Add carrots, pineapple, and pecans, if using, and mix again. Pour into prepared pans.
  5. Place both pans on the same oven rack and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and place pans on wire racks. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pans. Allow cake layers to cool completely on wire racks before frosting. 

Make cream cheese frosting:

  1. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract.
  2. Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar. Add milk to desired consistency. Don’t make it too thin or it will slide off the cake.
  3. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with crushed pecans if desired.
More recipes available at This recipe is also published in Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

Subscribe to Muy Bueno to get new recipes in your inbox and stay in touch on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.