Carrot Cake Supreme

Carrot cake and Easter seem to go hand in hand. We have a great, easy carrot sheet cake in our first cookbook that we love, but this is the carrot cake for celebrations! This is my friend Jeni’s (who I always seem to be stealing recipes from) trademark cake, and it comes from my all-time favorite all-purpose cookbook. Layers of sweet carrot cake are drizzled with a buttermilk syrup and topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. It’s perfect for Easter, or anytime you are craving good, old-fashioned carrot cake.

Carrot Cake Supreme from Our Best Bites

Ingredient Notes

  • The Basics – You’ll need your typical cake-making ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk.
  • The Additions – Then you’ll need cinnamon, carrots, crushed pineapple, pecans (if desired), and coconut.
  • Buttermilk Glaze – This cake is drizzled with a sweet buttermilk glaze before it’s frosted, producing a rich, tender texture. The glaze recipe makes just under 1 1/2 cups of glaze. As it is written, the recipe calls for this to be split amongst the cakes. It is quite rich and decadent, so feel free to put a little less, or save some for drizzling over the top of the finished cake. Can you leave it out completely and still have a delicious carrot cake? Yes, but it really is what makes this recipe unique. Both full fat and low fat buttermilk will work.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting – It wouldn’t be carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting! Don’t cut corners here- full fat cream cheese and real butter are a must! 
ingredients for carrot cake supreme from our best bites

How to Make Carrot Cake Supreme

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 9″ round pans and set aside. For best results, cut two circles of parchment paper and place at the bottom of your pans.

  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Combine eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and beat at medium speed until smooth.
adding buttermilk to carrot cake

 2. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Fold in the carrots, crushed pineapple, coconut, and pecans (if using). 


3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

4. Now this is where things get crazy. You know our buttermilk syrup? Yeah, we’re pretty much going to drizzle a version of that all over the cakes.  While the cakes are baking, combine the sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter, and corn syrup in a large pot (think soup pot or Dutch oven- it will expand!) and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the syrup is caramelly and golden. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside.

5. When the cakes are done baking, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. With cakes still in the pan, drizzle the warm buttermilk glaze over the cakes. If the full amount of glaze feels like too much for you, feel free to do a little less. Allow the cakes to cool completely (I actually recommend popping these in the fridge and letting them chill after they’ve cooled so the cake is easier to frost).

6. To make the frosting, you’ll need butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  You can also add a little almond extract if you like it. Which I do.

ingredients for the perfect cream cheese frosting

Beat together the softened cream cheese, butter, and extracts.  Add 3/4 lb. of powdered sugar and then test the frosting–if you like it sweeter and softer, add a little more, but I really like a pronounced cream cheese flavor, so I go easy on the sugar.

ingredients for perfect cream cheese frosting from our best bites

7. Tear four thin strips of wax paper or aluminum foil and form a square on the plate that you’ll be serving the cake on. Carefully remove one of the cakes from the pan and place it on top of the strips.

Gently ice the top of the cake layer and then top with the second layer. Ice the cake completely with remaining frosting. Decorate with extra coconut and pecans if desired.

carrot cake supreme from our best bites

I desire it because I’m a horrible cake decorator and it hides all my mistakes.

For best presentation, it’s better to refrigerate the cake overnight and then let it return to room temperature before serving.

carrot cake supreme from our best bites

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ahead of time? Yes! This cake has many steps and can be overwhelming to make all at once. The cake layers can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen (in the pan, with the buttermilk glaze) before icing the cake.

This seems really rich. Is the cake still good without the glaze? Yes, it is, but the glaze gives it a unique caramelly flavor that’s hard to beat. Feel free to cut the glaze down or save some to drizzle on top if you prefer.

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Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture on tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

carrot cake supreme from our best bites

Carrot Cake Supreme

4.50 from 2 votes
This dense, rich, old-fashioned carrot cake recipe is perfect for any springtime celebration (or, really, anytime!)



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking soda1/2 teaspoons table salt2 teaspoons ground cinnamon3 large eggs2 cups sugar3/4 cup vegetable oil3/4 cup buttermilk2 teaspoon vanilla extract2 cup grated carrot1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple drained2/3 cup coconut1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

Buttermilk Glaze

  • 1 cup sugar1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 cup buttermilk1/2 cup butter1 tablespoon light corn syrup1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened1 pound powdered sugar1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease and flour 2 9" cake pans. For best results, cut a circle of parchment to place in the bottom of each pan. Set aside.
  • Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla on high speed until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Fold in the carrots. Fold in the pineapple, coconut, and pecans (if using). Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  • While the cakes are baking, prepare the buttermilk glaze. Combine sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and vanilla in a large pot (think soup pot or Dutch oven- it will expand!) and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the syrup is caramelly and golden. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside.
  • When the cakes are done baking, drizzle the glaze over the warm cakes (still in the pans) and then cool completely on a wire rack. When the cakes are cool, tear four thin strips of parchment or wax paper or aluminum foil and make a square on the serving plate. Place one layer on top of the square. Prepare the cream cheese frosting and spread some frosting on the bottom layer of the cake. Place other layer on top of the frosted layer. Frost the entire cake with cream cheese frosting and decorate with coconut and chopped pecans if desired. For best presentation, refrigerate overnight and then bring to room temperature before serving.


This cake has many steps and can be overwhelming to make all at once. The cake layers can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen (in the pan, with the buttermilk glaze) before icing the cake.
Author: Southern Living
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Wow, this looks like the ultimate carrot cake! Looks so good!

  2. This looks great…can’t wait to give it a whirl. I don’t know if my family loves carrot cake though. That worries me a bit…an entire cake for just me! I usually don’t mind indulging but that could spell trouble.

    Hope all is well.

  3. We had carrot cake at our wedding too! And hubby’s birthday is coming up next month. I see carrot cake in our future… if I can manage to wait that long!

  4. Oh, this cake…..

    I want it.

    Glad to hear that things are getting more back to normal for you.

  5. Nothing nicer than a new, fresh recipe for the always wonderful carrot cake! This one appears to be absolutely delicious!

  6. This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! Also, I’m so glad that Sam is back on his feet and back at home. love you!

  7. This is what I call the “Utah Carrot Cake”. We have a family recipe that is also to die for but I am from the south so no pineapple, no coconut, no glaze, BUT my Sister’s MIL has a recipe almost identical to this one (she is a born and bred Utahan :)hence my nickname… and it is super yummy! Carrot Cake is my favorite cake next to chocolate of course 😉

    1. Karmen, that’s hilarious because it comes from the Southern Living cookbook, haha! Maybe it’s Utah’s Southern Carrot Cake? 🙂

  8. So glad that you and hubby are back in commission. Carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts, but I’ve never had it with pineapple or coconut. What brilliant flavors to combine.

  9. Ln your buttermilk glaze, you have 1/2 butter. Is it 1/2 stick butter or 1/2 cup butter? Thanks

    1. You know, I probably wouldn’t. It’s pretty dense and I think the edges would be done way before the center (I even experienced a little of that in the 8×8 square pan).

  10. Wow. this looks delish. Kate, I’m pretty sure I knew you in Logan. congrats on your successes :)) and keep inspiring me!!

  11. I am so excited to try this! We had carrot cake for our wedding cake because my husband loves it (don’t worry, we had chocolate cupcakes on the side!) and I have looked and looked for a yummy recipe to make on our anniversary or maybe just this week because, hey…we can still be all in love and stuff even if it isn’t our anniversary, right! So thanks! (You guys are seriously my go-to girls when I need inspiration. Yesterday I was going to make roasted potatoes for dinner and I was lookin’ in the spice cabinet to try to decide what to put on them and then I thought…why think about this. You know OBB probably has some super yummy recipe you could make work. And…. you did! I love it!)

  12. Good grief! I can see it on my hips now. I’ve decided that this will be my birthday cake this year. Yum yum!
    So glad to hear that your love is home and getting better. 🙂

  13. I really should try to make a carrot cake some time. This one makes it seem rather intimidating though, maybe it’s just because it uses a lot of ingredient and that trasnlates to problems when you have like 2 feet of counter space in your kitchen.

  14. I have made this recipe several times. The best carrot cake ever!!! I did tweak it and added 1 Cup of Golden Raisins. I dazzled my friends with this cake and they just rave about it.

  15. There is a local place that makes the best carrot cake, we were trying to dissect what was in it and I am pretty sure it was all these ingredients. Thanks for saving me lots of time trying to perfect a recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  16. Ugh, living in hospitals is the worst! I gained 10 lbs when my son was in for a ruptured appendix. Glad you guys are doing better. 🙂

  17. My family thinks it is not a true carrot cake if it does not have raisins in it as well. Would a cup of raisins be enough for this amount of batter or is it too much? I am concerned with the raisins absorbing the moisture and making the cake too dry.

    Thanks for another great recipe! I am glad to hear your husband is on the road to recovery and you can breath now.

    1. Diane, this cake will DEFINITELY not be too dry (because of the glaze). I’d throw in 3/4 c, see where you are, then add a little more if you need to. 🙂

  18. I am with all the other folks – I LOVE carrot cake. Adding buttermilk to the recipe is sheer genius. I am excited to give this new recipe a try – right after I buy more flour (all used up on bread and cookies!!) Thanks and hope your hubby is back on his feet soon.

  19. There’s nothing I love more than a good carrot cake and yours looks just fabulous, Kate. What a wonderful, classic recipe! I have got to try this sometime this season.

  20. This looks delish! But I hate eating pineapple any way except fresh. Can I omit the pineapple in the cake and will is still turn out okay?

    1. Katherine, you seriously can’t taste the pineapple at all. If you really, really don’t want it, I’d replace it with applesauce or something similar.

  21. Glad to hear your hubby is doing better.
    This looks like a dark delicious carrot cake….a winner among so many colorless carrot cakes one sees. Copied it already!

  22. Muahahaha! This cake is so evil. But, sometimes evil is a good thing;) Where’s my invite for cake and a diet coke?

    1. Jeni–I was all set to invite you when Sam had to go to the hospital. The WORST part is that most of the cake went in the garbage because no one was around to eat it!

  23. I love love love carrot cake. I’m making this scrumdiddlyumptious (thank you, Willy Wonka, for words that accurately describe foods with this magnitude of yum!)cake this weekend. It’s totally happening. And, incidentally, I clicked on the link for your fav cookbook. . is it really $129?!?!

  24. (PS So glad your husband is doing better! See what happens when my vision gets clouded with cream cheese frosting? I forget the important stuff!)

  25. This looks very good! I’m glad your husband is home now. I’m sure you had a stressful week!

  26. Sort of regretting clicking through now… 😉 Carrot cake is my absolute favorite, and I’m not a fan of cakes, really — but I am a huge fan of cream cheese frosting and would probably eat anything if it had enough frosting on top. I might have to try this one out, even though it completely messes with my “healthy” carrot cake reasoning! Oh, and by “might have to try” I mean scanning my cupboard contents for ingredients right this very second. Blerg!