My secret ingredient to make the Best Carrot Cake is adding a can of crushed pineapple, which makes it SO moist with less added sugar.
Best Carrot Cake Recipe
I was recently asked if carrots are really in carrot cake – The answer is yes! Hence, the name! This cake also has coconut flakes and pineapple giving it such great flavor, texture and moisture with no butter. This healthier dessert is the best carrot cake for your Easter celebrations or any time of the year. Other Easter or spring dessert recipes I love are these Coconut Macaroon Nests, Hummingbird Cupcakes, and Easter Egg Cake Balls.
Carrot Cake Ingredients:
- Flour: Use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour for extra fiber.
- Granulated Sugar or brown sugar can be used
- Coconut: Shredded sweetened coconut
- Baking Soda and Salt
- Cinnamon and Vanilla Extract for flavor
- Oil: I used canola oil, but coconut oil or vegetable oil works too.
- Eggs: You’ll need two large eggs.
- Carrots: Peel and grate carrots until you have two cups grated.
- Pineapple: Buy a 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple and drain the juice.
- Walnuts: Mix some chopped walnuts into the batter and top the cake with the rest.
What is cream cheese frosting made of?
This easy cream cheese frosting for carrot cake only has three ingredients:
- Cream Cheese: I like 1/3-less-fat cream cheese because it saves calories but still tastes good. You can use regular cream cheese, but I wouldn’t substitute fat-free. Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature, so it blends well.
- Powdered Sugar: Beat in a quarter cup of powdered sugar.
- Vanilla: A teaspoon of vanilla extract improves the flavor.
How to Make Carrot Cake
- Dry Ingredients: Whisk both flours, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
- Wet Ingredients: Combine the oil, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl and then mix in the carrots and pineapple.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. The cake batter will be stiff and dry, but keep stirring it, and it will all come together, no need to use a mixer but you can if you prefer. Fold in a quarter cup of walnuts.
- Bake: Spoon the batter into an 8” x 3” cake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and the cake pulls away from the pan’s sides. Let it cool completed on a wire rack.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat the room-temp cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake and garnish with the remaining nuts.
What is the best type of pan to bake a cake?
I baked this carrot cake in an 8-inch round cake pan, which I love because it’s three inches deep. Other cake pans you can use, a Bundt cake pan, a 9-inch springform pan, or a 13 x 9-inch pan. Just know the baking time will vary, so keep an eye on it and test it with a toothpick.
Most carrot cake recipes are lighter because they have much smaller serving sizes, so I cut the cake into 16 equal slices. If you use a different pan, the serving size might be slightly different.
Should carrot cake with cream cheese frosting be refrigerated?
Carrot cake will usually keep on the counter in a cool place for one to two days if un-frosted. If the cake has icing, refrigerate it right away, and it should last for five to six days.
How to Freeze Carrot Cake
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is ideal for freezing. I like to freeze it sliced so I can pull out a piece or two as needed. However, you can certainly freeze the entire cake frosted. To thaw, put it in the refrigerator the night before.
- Flour: You can use all purpose flour or sub white whole wheat flour for the wheat flour.
- Gluten-Free Carrot Cake: I would try swapping all the flour for the same quantity of gluten-free Cup4Cup flour.
- Coconut Swap: Substituting the sweetened coconut for unsweetened may make the cake less sweet. I haven’t tested it, so you may need more sugar depending on your tastes.
- Not a coconut fan? Sub it with the same amount of raisins or dried currants.
- Allergic to pineapple? Try swapping the pineapple with grated zucchini and adding more sugar or using applesauce instead. I haven’t tested these changes, but if you do, let me know in the comments how it worked.
- No walnuts? Substitute them with the same amount of pecans or macadamia nuts.
- Frosting: If you’re dairy-free or want to reduce the calories/sugar, skip the icing.
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes: If you want to make cupcakes, bake them at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Check them with a toothpick to ensure they’re done.
More Cake Recipes You’ll Love
Yield: 16 servings
Serving Size: 1 slice
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, and spices; stir well with a whisk.
In a medium bowl, combine oil, eggs, and vanilla; stir well.
Add grated carrots and pineapple; mix well.
Fold wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, batter will be stiff and dry but keep folding it and it will all come together. Fold in 1/4 cup chopped nuts.
Spoon batter into an 8″ x 3″ cake pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for about 40-50 minutes, depending on pan size or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake is pulling away from sides of pan. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
To prepare frosting, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cake.
Garnish with remaining chopped walnuts.
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Serving: 1 slice, Calories: 216 kcal, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 8 g, Saturated Fat: 2.5 g, Cholesterol: 33 mg, Sodium: 392 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 22 g