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Close up of one orange carrot cake glazed and topped with orange zest over a wooden coaster.

Best Orange Carrot Cakes

This Orange Carrot Cake is light as air, very tender, moist, fluffy and studded with carrots. A carrot cake recipe with an extra boost of flavor and freshness from the orange and a faint hint of cinnamon spice.

Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword carrot cake, carrot cake recipe, homemade carrot cake, how to make carrot cake, orange carrot cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 cakes
Calories 193 kcal
Author Mahy


Wet ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest ( about half the zest of 1 large orange)
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 3 tablespoon buttermilk

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots ( about 3 carrots)

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • extra orange zest for sprinkling (optional)
  • 1 cup Confectioner Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice Add more or less to adjust consistency of the glaze


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and spray or paper line your mini loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, add all the wet ingredients together and whisk them smooth.
  3. In a smaller bowl, blend all the dry ingredients together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl, and then add the carrots. Fold the batter together using a rubber spatula, making sure to evenly distribute the carrots and incorporating all the flour mixture. The batter will be lumpy—which is ok, it produces a fluffier cake.

  5. Pour the batter into the 12 cavity mini loaf pans and bake for 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes before removing them.
  7. Glaze the cakes with an orange flavored cream cheese icing if using and sprinkle with extra orange zest.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Squeeze some of the juice out of the grated carrots using a paper towel to prevent excess moisture.
  • Try adding more or less of the spice: like add ginger, cardamom, or omit all of them and add vanilla.
  • If you don't want the orange flavor here at all although I strongly urge you to try it! Skip the orange zest. 
  • Don't over-mix the batter, as that might lead to dense carrot cakes as opposed to the light and fluffy texture we are after.
  • Start checking the cakes for doneness after about 15 minutes.
  • Wait for a few minutes before glazing the cakes.
  • Adjust the consistency of the glaze by adding more or less of the orange juice to confectioner sugar ratio.
  • Store the cakes well wrapped over the counter at room temperature. 
  • To freeze the cakes, make sure you freeze them unglazed. Glaze them when they defrost.
Nutrition Facts
Best Orange Carrot Cakes
Amount Per Serving (1 unglazed cake)
Calories 193 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Cholesterol 27mg9%
Sodium 119mg5%
Potassium 93mg3%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 2720IU54%
Vitamin C 2.3mg3%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.