Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

Jump To Recipe Jump To Video

I absolutely LOVE this easy carrot cake recipe. We call it "easy" because it starts with a box of spice cake mix, but it is ultra moist and still has all of the key flavors of our carrot cake recipe from scratch.

The addition of carrots, coconut, spices, crushed pineapple, and pecans is totally worth it!

We have made this flavorful carrot cake mix recipe into Carrot Cake Cupcakes as well! Swirled with cream cheese frosting, there's just nothing better!

Carrot Cake- A Doctored Cake Mix

Don't let this easy carrot cake recipe pass you by. It may start from a simple box of spice cake mix, but there are SO many delicious add-ins that you would never guess it wasn't from scratch. The flavor is fantastic!

How to Make An Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

We love this doctored cake mix version of Carrot Cake because it involves more than simply preparing a boxed Carrot Cake mix.

The freshly shredded carrots, spices, coconut, pecans, and crushed pineapple make all of the difference!

**You can find our full, printable cake recipe further down in this post. Here is a quick rundown of our steps!

  • In the bowl of your mixer combine the dry ingredients (spice cake mix (we used Duncan Hines), all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger) and whisk 30 seconds to throughly combine.
  • To this add the eggs, milk, and sour cream and mix on medium speed for one minute ( a bit longer if using a hand held mixer). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix one minute more.
Batter for Carrot Cake- Doctored Cake Mix
  • Next, fold in the shredded carrots, coconuts, pecans, and drained crushed pineapple.
Carrot Cake- Doctored Cake Mix
Batter for Moist Carrot Cake- A Doctored Cake Mix
  • Makes approximately 7 cups of batter.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees. Check at 35 minutes, the cake will be slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center should pull out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Baked Carrot Cake Layers

Frosting for the Carrot Cake

There's nothing like cream cheese frosting with carrot cake! (We this way about Italian Cream Cake and Hummingbird Cake too!) 

For today's cake, we've used one of our go-to cream cheese frosting recipes which is a simple combination of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.

Cream cheese frosting is softer than most and so you will need to refrigerate it now and then if you notice it becoming too soft as you are working. In fact, we often pop our bowl in the refrigerator for several minutes just after making a batch.

Cream Cheese too Soft?

If you notice your frosting becoming too soft as you are decorating the cake, simply chill your piping bag, bowl of frosting, or even your cake for a few minutes to firm things up.

**Due to the cream cheese frosting, this carrot cake needs to be refrigerated until within a few hours of serving. If you cannot refrigerate the cake, I would frost with our Classic Vanilla Buttercream- you could even add a touch of cinnamon to the frosting.

Assembling and Decorating the Carrot Cake

Place the first carrot cake layer on your cake base or pedestal. Spread with a layer of cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake- Doctored Cake Mix

Repeat for the next two cake layers and then apply a thin coat (crumb coat) of frosting.

At this point, I like to chill my cake for about 15 minutes in the freezer to firm things up before adding the final coat of frosting.

We kept things very simple with decorating- I swirled on the frosting with my small offset spatula and added a border of crushed pecans. (Find more ideas here: How to Frost a Cake).

Carrot Cake- Doctored Cake Mix
Carrot Cake- Doctored Cake Mix

We hope that you enjoy this delicious easy carrot cake recipe. Make sure to check out our other cake mix recipes and favorite cakes from scratch!

Slice of Carrot Cake

More Doctored Cake Mix Recipes to Try

We have made lots of delicious doctored cake mix recipes over the years! From our Orange Cake Mix Recipe to Easy German Chocolate Cake and lots in between!

If you love working with cake mixes, or simply love a great tasting cake whether it's scratch or starts with a box, here are just a few of many that you don't want to miss! Some of our favorites are Marble Cake Mix Cake, Banana Pudding Cupcakes, and Oreo Cupcakes!

Thanks so much for stopping by! We hope that you enjoy this Carrot Cake from cake mix! Don't miss our full collection of Cake Recipes! We have lots of cake mix recipes as well as favorite cakes from scratch.

Also, if you are interested in cake decorating, don't miss our huge collection of cake decorating tutorials!

Yield: 15 servings

Carrot Cake -Doctored Cake Mix Recipe

Carrot Cake- Doctored Cake Mix

Nobody would ever believe that this amazing Carrot Cake recipe starts with a box of spice cake mix! The added carrots, coconut, pecans, and crushed pineapple add wonderful flavor!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans
  • Do not follow ingredients on the back of the cake mix box, use the ingredients listed below.
  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix, sifted (We used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 cup (121g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • ½ (3 g) teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (242 g) sour cream
  • ½ cup (118 g) milk
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) ginger
  • 1 ¼ cups (112g) Grated Carrots (small pieces)
  • ¾ cup (50g) shredded coconut- We used Baker's Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut
  • 4oz Crushed Pineapple, drained (You can put it in a strainer and let the excess juice drain out)
  • ¾ cup (92g) chopped pecans

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened (total weight 452g) I use full fat cream cheese. Using reduced fat or the spreadable cream cheese will cause the frosting to be too soft.
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt (2g)
  • 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g to 747g) powdered sugar

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans. We also line the bottom of the pans with parchment circles.

For the Carrot Cake Layers

  1. In the bowl of your mixer combine the dry ingredients (cake mix, flour, sugar, salt, & spices) and whisk 30 seconds to throughly combine.
  2. To this add the eggs, milk, and sour cream and mix on medium speed for 1 minute ( a bit longer if using a hand held mixer). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix 1 minute more.
  3. Next, fold in the shredded carrots, coconuts, pecans, and drained crushed pineapple.
  4. Makes approximately 7 cups of batter.
  5. Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees. Check at 35 minutes, the cake will be slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center should pull out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is smooth.
  2. Cut the softened cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated. If you are using a hand mixer you may need to soften the cream cheese a bit more.
  3. Add the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended. Cover the bowl with a towel to keep down the cloud of powdered sugar.
  4. Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy. Don't over beat or it will become too soft. If it becomes too soft, just refrigerate a short while to firm it up a bit.
  5. This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.
  6. Will frost a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake.

Notes

(We used to have a version of this carrot cake that used a box of spice cake mix and a box of white cake mix (plus all of the add-ins). We phased this one out as it made so much batter. However, if you are searching for this older recipe, here is a link! : Carrot Cake Doctored Mix (Retired Version)

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image. Drop file here

60 Comments

  1. Hi Dorothy, Haven't tried using carrot cake but I think it would be fine. I don't know what the carrots are like in the carrot cake mix, I think you would still need to add the finely grated carrots. I hope you will enjoy the cake.

  2. Good morning. When you are talking about finely grated carrots, how finely grated do you mean. If you are using a hand grated, one side is to grate cheese with and the other side has little holes. Which side? I just got a new food processor and have not looked at the blades yet. so please help. Hope all of you are staying safe and baking more, that's if you can find flour. I still see plenty of cake flour on the shelves where I live. Cake flour does make bread. God Bless

  3. Hi Claudia, You will use the cheese side of your grater. The pieces will be thin enough that they soften as the cake bakes. They will look shredded. I hope you will enjoy the cake.

  4. Has this recipe been updated? I swear last year it was 2 boxes of cake mix, one spiced and another yellow. Is this the case?

    1. Hi Josie, yes it has! I had linked to the previous one for those that still want that one (I just gave it it's own heading so it will stand out a little better now) - If you look above the existing recipe at the bottom of the post, you will see it.

    1. Hi Ann, yes that is correct. The sour cream in the recipe adds a good amount of moisture to the cake!

  5. Hi Sara, I am not sure what you mean by a traditional pan. If you do not have 8 inch round pans the recipe can be baked in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Keep an eye on the cake as all ovens do not bake the same. You could also bake in 2 nine inch round pans, check at 25 minutes .