3-Layer Carrot Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting


This is one of my all-time favorite carrot cake recipes. I inherited this recipe from a close friend about 12 years ago and it's still a favorite!

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs
1 9-inch layer cake


  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened


  • 1 pound cooked carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 ½ cups white sugar

  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped walnuts

  • 1 (8 ounce) can unsweetened pineapple, drained

  • 1 cup corn oil

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Lemon Buttercream:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 ¼ cups butter, at room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 5 ⅔ cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with wax paper; grease wax paper with butter.

  2. Combine cooked carrots, flour, white sugar, walnuts, pineapple, corn oil, eggs, cinnamon, baking soda, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl.

  3. Pour carrot mixture into a food processor, and blend, working in batches if necessary, until smooth. Divide batter among prepared cake pans.

  4. Bake cakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely, about 1 hour.

  5. Beat cream cheese, 1 1/4 cup butter, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract together in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until frosting is smooth.

  6. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spread with 1/4 of the frosting. Place a second cake layer on top of the first; spread 1/4 of the frosting on top. Place third cake layer on top; frost top and sides with remaining 1/2 of the frosting.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

844 Calories
48g Fat
100g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 844
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 48g 61%
Saturated Fat 19g 94%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 492mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 100g 36%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 78g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 64mg 5%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 221mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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