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Mom's Triple Layer Carrot Cake

Make your holiday magical with this best-ever carrot cake recipe.

Moms Triple Layer Carrot Cake
Moms Triple Layer Carrot Cake
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Carrot cake is one of those classic desserts that is bound to show up at family holidays and gatherings. This layered carrot cake recipe is not only amazingly tasty, it's also super moist. If you've been hunting for just the right dessert for a family event, get ready to be impressed! Creamy frosting, crunchy walnuts, and soft raisins - not to mention the most moist and perfectly sweetened cake we've ever tried - this may be the best carrot cake recipe out there.

And we can't forget to mention the frosting. This cream cheese frosting is easy to make, and you'll know as soon as you taste it that canned versions just can't compare. It's the perfect topping for a totally classic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, and we couldn't be happier to share it with you and your family. Enjoy!


Chilling Time10 min


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons crushed, drained pineapple
  • 4 cups loosely packed shredded carrots (about 6 carrots)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (or raisins, or both)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (we used walnuts)
  • 3/4 cup soft butter (1.5 sticks)
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (for garnish)


For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350º and grease three 9-inch cake pans.

  2. Cut circles from parchment or waxed paper to fit the pans, lay them in the bottom and grease them.

  3. Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and fluff with a fork to mix.

  4. Combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the dry ingredients gradually with mixer on low, scraping down the bowl and mixing until all dry ingredients are mixed in.

  6. Add the pineapple and carrots and mix on medium low for 1 minute.  Stir in the coconut and nuts by hand.

  7. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. (Top of cake should spring back and not leave fingerprints when cake is done; or insert a toothpick in the center.  The toothpick should come out clean with no wet crumbs.)

  8. Remove cake layers from pans and place upside down a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Carefully peel off the paper liner from the bottom when cool enough.

For the Frosting

  1. In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla on medium high until mixed and fluffy, for 2 minutes. 

  2. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber scraper.

  3. Add the powdered sugar gradually and continue to beat until frosting is mixed, adding a bit more milk if necessary to reach a spreadable consistency. 

To Assemble

  1. Check cakes for doneness.

  2. Let cool for 10 minutes.

  3. Check with toothpick to make sure cake is baked through.

  4. Carefully unstick cake from sides of pan with a rubber spatula.

  5. Place cooling rack on top of cake pan.

  6. Remove cake(s) from pan by flipping upside down onto cooling rack.

  7. Carefully remove parchment/wax paper, and let cake cool completely.

  8. Begin frosting the top of your first layer.

  9. Place second layer on top of the first.

  10. Frost the top of your second layer.

  11. Place third layer on top of the second.

  12. Frost the entire cake, top to bottom.

  13. Smooth out frosting, and add chopped walnuts; chill in the refridgerator for 1 hour before serving.


*Walnuts and coconut are optional.

**The cake may be baked in a 9 x 13-inch bake pan for 40-45 minutes instead of in three layers.  If you are making the 9 x 13-inch version, you will only need half the amount of frosting. Cut the frosting ingredient quantities in this recipe in half.

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