This carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in made in one bowl and only a wooden spoon is required! Super moist and has the perfect amount of sweetness. The best dessert to make for Easter Sunday or any celebration!
Carrot cake tastes amazing all year round, but I especially love to serve it at our Easter brunch or dinner. It’s one of those classic Easter desserts that everyone always looks forward to, as well as coconut macaroons drizzled with melted chocolate. So, so yummy!
This carrot cake is super moist and is such a delicious treat! The recipe comes together so easily and is perfect for a small dinner party. I also love that you just need one bowl and a wooden spoon. No mixer required!
It’s so moist and has the perfect sweetness from the pineapple. Plus the rich cream cheese frosting is to die for. I could have just eaten it by the spoon (okay maybe I did…shhh). There will most likely be leftover frosting, so feel free to just dive in. Or spread it on graham crackers (or just about anything). That is one of my favorite childhood treats.
One of the keys to the BEST carrot cake is using freshly grated carrots. They make the cake super moist and delicious. The pre-grated carrots are too big and have usually lost a lot of their moisture and fresh taste. By grating whole fresh carrots at home, this ensures they’ll retain a lot of their moisture and flavor.
There are two ways to grate carrots:
- Hand grater. Using a hand grater is an easy way to grate the carrots. Make sure to use the side of the grater with the large holes. This method does require a little more elbow grease, but it gets the job done!
- Food processor. To make it faster, use a food processor. Pulse it a few times until the carrots are grated into small pieces (but not puréed).
TIP: For this recipe, you’ll need about 2 medium carrots to make 1 cup of packed grated carrots. You might want to buy a couple of extra though just in case it doesn’t make enough. :)
- Pineapple. Make sure to drain the pineapple. The carrots already contain a lot of moisture, so adding crushed pineapple with the juice will ruin the consistency of the cake.
- Applesauce. Applesauce can be used in place of crushed pineapple if you prefer.
- Extra mix-in’s. Feel free to mix extras into the batter, like raisins, chopped nuts or shredded coconut. You can even toast the nuts first for even more flavor.
- Line the pan. The cake is super moist, so make sure to use parchment paper and cooking spray. You don’t want it to stick to the pan!
- Toasted coconut. Before serving, try topping the cake with freshly toasted coconut. It adds incredible flavor and just the right amount of sweetness.
- Doubling. To double the recipe, use a 9×13″ baking dish or two 9×9″ circle cake pans.
Cream cheese frosting
You can’t have carrot cake without cream cheese frosting! The rich, tangy flavor is the perfect compliment to the sweet flavor of the cake. There will most likely be leftover frosting after making the recipe, so feel free to save some for later when making cinnamon rolls or pumpkin bars. Or if you really like frosting, add it all on top of the cake! I won’t judge. :)
Variation: For a fun twist, add 1/2 cup dulce de leche to the frosting and a pinch of salt if desired. You can even make a fun caramel swirl by placing 9 dots on top of the cake, then swirling with a knife. The caramel flavor adds a great touch and pairs wonderfully with the other flavors of the cake. A maple cream cheese frosting would also taste delicious.
Storing + freezing
- To store: Simply place the cake in an airtight container and cover with a lid or plastic wrap/aluminum foil. It will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days.
- To freeze: If you plan on freezing this dessert, I’d recommend cutting the cake into squares then freezing them in the pan overnight. This allows the icing to harden up, so that it won’t stick. Then wrap the cake squares in plastic wrap and add to a zip top bag. Place in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, simply remove plastic wrap and thaw in fridge.
More delicious recipes for Easter:
- 1/2 cup + 1 TB vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar , packed
- 2 large eggs , beaten
- 1 cup packed freshly grated carrots , about 2 large carrots
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple , drained
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, stir the oil and sugars together with a wooden spoon. Then stir in the eggs, carrots, pineapple and vanilla. Next stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and stir, just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes clean. Let the cake cool completely.
- For the cream cheese frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add more powdered sugar until you reach desired thickness and sweetness.
- Frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting, then cover until ready to serve. Cut into squares and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Dessert for Two by Christina Lane.