A one-bowl recipe, this single layer olive oil carrot cake is soft, light, and has just the right amount of spice. It's all the best things about carrot cake plus flavourful olive oil. This cake is topped with a maple cream cheese frosting, which is a little softer than regular cream cheese frosting, but is a perfect pairing with carrot cake. This is a really great easy cake and it only needs about half an hour to bake.

Love baking with olive oil? Try our lemon olive oil cake, too. Or if you're a fan of adding vegetables to your baking, make a batch of sourdough morning glory muffins or summer-favourite chocolate zucchini muffins.

Cream cheese frosting-topped carrot cake with slices removed.
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Ingredients

Carrot cake ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Carrots: no need to peel carrots for cake, you won't notice it and it reduces food waste.
  • Olive oil: use a lighter-tasting olive oil if preferred. For a stronger flavour, choose a more distinctive type – it's pretty subtle, even with a strong oil.
  • Brown sugar: this can be light or dark brown sugar or muscovado sugar.
  • Add-ins: if you like nuts or raisins in your carrot cake, try adding 1 cup (100 grams) walnut or pecan pieces, 1 ½ cups (100 grams) of shredded coconut, or ½ cup of raisins. Don't add something with a lot of liquid, like pineapple. Here's a pineapple carrot cake recipe instead.
  • Make it dairy-free: use a creamy non-dairy milk to replace whole milk.

Method

Cake steps 1 to 4, mixing the batter.

Step 1: beat the sugar and olive oil until well combined. It won't cream like butter does.

Step 2: beat in the eggs one at a time.

Step 3: mix in the milk.

Step 4: add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined.

Cake steps 5 to 8, before and after baking, and with frosting.

Step 5: fold in the shredded carrots.

Step 6: transfer the batter to a prepared cake tin.

Step 7: bake for about half an hour, or until it passes a toothpick test.

Step 8: cool fully before topping with frosting and serving.

Top Tips

  • Use the right cake pan: this recipe needs a 10-inch cake pan. A smaller one will make for a cake that's a bit dense and that takes too long to bake. It doesn't need to be a springform, but it does need to be the right size.
  • Don't over-mix: a few streaks of flour visible after mixing in the dry ingredients is fine. Remember that you're going to mix a little bit more when you fold in the carrots.
  • Preheat fully: if the oven is a little too cold before the cake goes it, the cake will be a little gummy and settle to the bottom. Make sure the oven is fully preheated and at the correct temperature (an additional oven thermometer is very helpful).

Recipe Notes

Depending on the kind of texture you like, you can do a finer or coarser grate for the carrots. More finely grated carrots (the slightly smaller option on a box grater) will blend in more fully to the cake and might be preferable for people who like their vegetables to be less visible.

How to Store

Storage: keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days, with or without frosting. Without frosting, the cake can be stored at room temperature for a day, but no longer than that.

Freezing: transfer the plain cake to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature before frosting and serving. Cream cheese frosting makes cake a bit soggy when it thaws so we recommend freezing it without any topping.

If you make this Olive Oil Carrot Cake recipe or any other cake and cupcake recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Cream cheese frosting-topped carrot cake with slices removed.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Olive Oil Carrot Cake

A one-bowl recipe, this olive oil carrot cake is soft, light, and has just enough spice. It's all the best things about carrot cake, plus flavourful olive oil.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Yield: 10

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric hand or stand mixer, or handheld whisk
  • 10-inch cake pan or springform
  • Wire rack

Ingredients

  • cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar loosely packed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger or cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups shredded carrots 3-4 medium carrots
Makes: 10inch round

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease a 10-inch (25.5 cm) cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • Start by mixing the vinegar into the milk and setting aside to sour slightly.
    ⅓ cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Add the sugar and olive oil to a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer) and beat on medium speed until well combined. It won't cream like butter and sugar does but will lighten.
    1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup olive oil
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Mix in the vanilla, then mix the milk mixture in on low speed.
    3 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Add the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined. A few streaks of flour are fine.
    2 cups plain white flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Gently fold in the shredded carrots until evenly incorporated into the batter.
    2 cups shredded carrots
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Bake on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes, or until evenly golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool for 30 minutes in the pan before carefully removing and cooling fully on a wire rack. Once fully cooled, top with cream cheese frosting and serve.

Notes

A slightly longer prep time is noted here as it takes a bit of time to grate the carrots. If you have a food processor, you can make quick work of it with the grating attachment.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 4434IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg

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