Super Moist Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This Moist Carrot Sheet Cake has all the great spiced flavor of a traditional carrot cake in an easy to make sheet cake!

Carrot cake has a way of bringing out alllll the strong opinions. Should it have pineapple? Nuts or no nuts? What about raisins?

I have my own strong opinions, and this Carrot Sheet Cake meets all my requirements and then some. It’s super moist, subtly spiced, and topped with a dreamy cream cheese frosting. Give it a try, and you might just be convinced this is the best carrot cake recipe!

Carrot Sheet Cake slice with cream cheese frosting and pecans

So, what makes this carrot sheet cake so special?

1. First things first–the carrots! Most carrot cakes call for two cups of shredded carrots, but this one includes three whole cups. More carrots gives this cake a more robust flavor and texture than other recipes.

2. Pineapple! That’s right, I love my carrot cake with pineapple! The pineapple compliments the flavor of the carrots well, and I love the subtle tangy zing it adds. Plus, it makes this carrot cake so incredibly tender and moist. What’s not to love about that?

3. Nuts. I personally love carrot cake with nuts. I like the extra texture a crunchy nut brings to the cake. Pecans are my favorite, but walnuts also work well here. 

I realize many people are firmly against nuts in their dessert. My simple solution is to add chopped pecans to the top of the cake rather than bake them inside. This way, the nuts can be added to just half the cake, and everyone can be happy!

4. Finally, I’m on team NO RAISINS. I’m not a raisin hater in general. I love a good oatmeal raisin cookie, and a juicy raisin in a Morning Glory Muffin can be delightful. 

But raisins in carrot cake? They’re just a distraction. I don’t want any unwelcome raisins interrupting my bite of moist, cinnamony carrot cake. 

If you are on Team Raisins, feel free to add them. I always recommend soaking them in liquid before adding to the batter so they’re nice and juicy instead of dry. Water, orange juice, or pineapple juice all work great for this!

Carrot Sheet Cake with dollop of cream cheese frosting on top

What Frosting Goes with Carrot Sheet Cake?

For this question, I don’t think there’s much debate. Cream cheese frosting is the absolute best frosting for carrot cake. The slight tang of cream cheese frosting compliments this spiced carrot cake perfectly. 

I like my cream cheese frosting to be heavy on the cream cheese and not overly sweet. This recipe calls for two sticks of cream cheese and only one stick of butter, so the cream cheese flavor really shines!

Make sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature and sift your powdered sugar to ensure an extra creamy, smooth cream cheese frosting. 

Carrot Sheet Cake with cream cheese frosting on top

Why I Love Making Carrot Sheet Cake

Layer carrot cakes are obviously gorgeous and perfect for special occasions, but I really love the simplicity of a great carrot sheet cake. 

Sheet cakes are so easy to make. They don’t involve any stacking or torting, and frosting them takes about 2 minutes, tops. Sheet cakes are great for feeding a crowd, and for bringing to potlucks and casual gatherings. My Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Crazy Cake are regulars in our rotation. 

I make my sheet cakes in a 9 x 13 inch pan rather than a half sheet pan, because I prefer thicker slices of cake. Feel free to use a bigger pan, but be sure to reduce the baking time. 

Carrot Sheet Cake in a white pan

Storage and Make Ahead Instructions

How do you store carrot cake?

This Carrot Sheet Cake can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to a week.

Some people love carrot cake eaten straight from the fridge (my husband). I prefer it warmed up in the microwave until the cream cheese frosting is just starting to melt a bit. How you serve it is up to you!

Can I bake carrot cake ahead of time?

This Carrot Sheet Cake keeps very well in the fridge. In fact, I actually think it gets better the second and third days!

If you’d like to make it very far in advance, you can freeze carrot cake by double wrapping the unfrosted cake tightly in saran wrap and then foil and storing it in the freezer. You can thaw the cake in the fridge overnight then frost as usual!

Slice of carrot sheet cake with cream cheese frosting

FAQs

Can you make carrot cake cupcakes with this recipe?

Yes! This recipe will make about two dozen cupcakes. Bake time will be 20-25 minutes.

Can you bake this in a different size pan?

Yes! This recipe can be made in 2 8 or 9 inch square or round pans, a 9 x 13 inch pan, or a half sheet pan. Note that the slices will be much thinner in the sheet pan. Almost like bars!

The baking times will be different if you change the pan. Here’s a great cake baking times guide for different pans.

Can you stack this carrot cake recipe?

I would not recommend stacking this recipe as written. The cake is already quite thick and dense and would be overwhelming if stacked.

If you would like to stack it, I would recommend making thinner cakes in several round pans or a half sheet cake. Please note that the cream cheese frosting we use is not good for piping. It is a soft, smooth, and extra creamy cream cheese frosting!

Slice of carrot sheet cake on a spatula

What to Serve with Carrot Sheet Cake

This cake is really lovely for any occasion, but it’s often served at Easter and other spring events. You can check out our full Easter brunch menu here.

Some of our favorite recipes to serve with carrot cake include Green Pea Soup with Candied Bacon, Sweet Orange Glazed Ham, Easy Cheesy Potatoes, Make Ahead Butterhorn Rolls, and Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots.

Carrot Sheet Cake in a white pan

Carrot Sheet Cake

Moist carrot sheet cake with cream cheese frosting is an easy dessert that’s perfect for any occasion!
4.5 from 549 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 18
Calories: 498kcal

Ingredients
 

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 20 oz crushed pineapple (well drained)

For the frosting:

  • 16 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature (1 stick )
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Instructions

For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the grated carrots until they’re well coated.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and oil on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the pineapple.
  • Pour the carrot and flour mixture into the egg mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and is no longer jiggly in the center. Allow the cake to cool before frosting.

For the frosting:

  • Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract and 1 Tablespoon of milk. If the frosting is still a little thicker than you’d like, add more milk, a Tablespoon at a time, until it’s easily spreadable.
  • Spread frosting on the cooled cake. Top with nuts, if desired.

Video

Notes

  • The frosted cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days, or in the fridge for 5-7 days.
  • To make the cake ahead of time, bake and cool completely. Cover unfrosted cake tightly with saran wrap then freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then frost as usual before serving.
Course Cake, Cupcakes & Frosting
Cuisine American
Keyword carrot cake, carrot cake with nuts, carrot cake with pineapple, carrot sheet cake, moist carrot cake, moist carrot sheet cake

Nutrition

Calories: 498kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 450mg | Potassium: 188mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 4139IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a review, Mention @NeighborFoodie, or tag #neighborfoodies!

105 Comments

    1. I have not personally tested this with applesauce instead of eggs. If you try it, I would also add an extra teaspoon of baking powder to the recipe.

  1. Hello – I am making this recipe but in a half sheet pan. I still want thicker slices though. How much would you recommend I increase the recipe by to achieve this? Also – do you think it would be okay to layer this cake? I have a crowd to feed so a sheet cake seems like the best bet.

  2. My first carrot & pineapple cake! It was a hit! I did made tweak on the sugar part, I made it half of measurement to cater Diabetic family member. Thank you for this recipe. This is my go to recipe.

    1. Thanks so much! That means a lot! If you haven’t left a star rating yet and have an extra minute, we greatly appreciate it!

  3. I made this wonderful cake for my husband’s 80th birthday. There were 30 people there so I made 2 9×13 cakes and barely had enough. So many people wanted seconds to take home. Even men who don’t like carrot cake loved this one. I added about one cup of sweet coconut and 1 tsp of nutmeg to the mix and it was delicious! People are still complementing me about it. Thank you for the great recipe.

  4. This was really good! I baked it in a glass Pyrex casserole dish at 325 degrees for a potluck dinner. It was perfect!!

  5. I made this yummy recipe into cupcakes.the batch made 24 cupcakes. Cook time was 25 minutes (we live in Florida)!

  6. This carrot cake was beyond good. Best carrot cake I have ever had. I baked it a 17″ x 11″ sheet cake pan. I baked it for 20 minutes and it came out perfect. So moist and flavorful. Push raisins and walnuts in half the cake before I baked it. Good with or without these additions. I will make this again.

  7. If I baked this in a 10x15x1 jelly roll pan, would it overflow the pan? About how many cups of batter does this make? Does it rise significantly? Currently obsessed with converting all cake recipes into ones that will fit into a half sheet pan (13x18x1) or jelly roll (10x15x1) plus 8×8” square. Love the cake to frosting ratio. 🙂 Thank you for the help.

  8. Hi Courtney! I’m looking for a carrot cake sheet cake recipe that I can bake, then cut out small rounds and make mini layer cakes. Is this cake stackable or is it too dense with the pineapple? Thanks!

  9. This carrot cake is absolutely great! I don’t change a thing and it’s a big hit every time! Moist, flavorful, and delicious…not to mention EASY! Thank you for the recipe!!!!

  10. Hands down one of the BEST cakes I’ve ever made! I substituted 2 sticks of melted butter for the vegetable oil, added 1/2 cup honey pecans and added one extra teaspoon of cinnamon to the cake mixture. I toasted coconut flakes and sprinkled these on the top of the cake after icing. Simply perfect and for sure a crowd pleaser!

  11. This has become one of my favorite “go to” recipes for me. That extra cup of carrots makes such a difference. I have also made this cake in a half sheet pan, more like bars, and they were excellent. I now make zip lock bags with premeasured dry ingredients to keep in my pantry. When traveling, I just grab a bag and take it along for a great dish to make up for our host families. I have a huge family, so when mom (6kids), grandma (25 grands), great grandma (25 greats), comes to visit she gets to cook. Love sharing new recipes.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I just love hearing how people are making and sharing my recipes. So glad you love the carrot cake!

  12. This is the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten and by far, the BEST cream cheese frosting I’ve ever tasted. I confess I’m not a cream cheese fan, but I could eat this stuff by spoonfuls. Made this for my hubby for Father’s Day, he said it’s the best he’s ever had (carrot cake is his fav). My prior recipe was labor intensive and had a very long ingredient list, but it always drew raves. This one puts it to shame. Can’t wait to make this for get-togethers! Thanks so much!!

    1. Wow! What a compliment. Thank you so much for sharing! It always makes our day. I’m so glad everyone loved the carrot cake!

  13. Absolutely delicious and super moist cake. Fool proof recipe in my opinion. My nephew asked me to make mini carrot cakes (NOT CUPCAKES! Lol), but I didn’t want to follow my other carrot cake recipe because it’s very crumbly. This recipe made the most delicious super moist mini cakes. All the teachers at my nephews school loved them. So much so they literally begged me to make them again for their end of year school party. I did add a bit more spices (1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and grounded 1 allspice).

  14. this is the best carrot cake ever! Thank you! I used a glass container to bake it in, but the edges browned too much…any suggestions?

    1. Hmm…You could take it out just a few minutes earlier. I usually bake in ceramic or aluminum pans and haven’t had this issue, so you could try that too! So glad you liked the carrot cake recipe!

  15. Made this today. Followed the instructions exactly and ended up with one absolutely delicious carrot cake. My brother, who said he doesn’t even like carrot cake liked this one. Thank you for sharing this delicious cake recipe. It will be something I continue to make for our special occasions.

  16. This looks amazing! Going to try it today. I am going to try subbing in maple syrup instead of sugar. Have you ever tried that? Would you adjust anything else?

    1. I haven’t tried this, and probably wouldn’t sub all maple syrup for sugar as the batter might not behave quite the same. I would start by subbing half and see how that goes! Best of luck!

  17. This was awesome. I added orange zest from a large cara cara orange to the frosting since it was a little too sweet for my taste. I have to say we thought that brought a whole fresh taste to an already awesome cake. Can’t wait to make this again!

    1. Woah! Thanks for the tip. That sounds delicious! We love cara cara oranges. One of nature’s most beautiful fruits IMO.
      Share a pic with us next time you make it using #neighborfoodies

  18. I don’t typically write reviews but this cake was so good I just had to . I made this cake for my daughter in laws birthday. I followed the recipe as written and let me tell you how moist and delicious it was. The frosting was perfect and not overly sweet. Everyone raved about it. I think this might be the best cake I have ever made. Will definitely make again

    1. Wow! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know. It makes my day. And I’m so glad you all enjoyed the carrot cake recipe!

    2. Awww. This kind of feedback gives us life! Robbin, you can go on and leave reviews anytime you’d like!
      In the world of food blogging, it’s hard to really emphasize when a recipe is LEGITIMATELY awesome, (because so many bloggers are like “THIS IS THE BEST ____ EVAAAAHHHR!” on every single post)
      We really try to use the word “Best” sparingly, so it still carries weight. But this carrot cake really is the REAL DEAL…
      Hey, if you like chocolate cake, be sure to try our recipe for “The Best Chocolate Bundt Cake Ever.” It’s another one that earns its reputation.

  19. I have made this twice now and it is to die for. I took two pieces over for a neighbour couple and the wife loved it so much she ate her husbands too! My question is if I wanted to bake this recipe in ceramic mini loaf pans, how many do you think it will make and how long should I bake them for? Thank you again for sharing with us.

  20. What type of pan did you use for this? Glass, Aluminum? I am going to try your recipe this weekend.

    Thanks

    1. Sorry for the delay! I hope you enjoyed the carrot cake. I’ve used glass, aluminum, and ceramic with no issues. Aluminum and ceramic are my go-tos. The only pan I wouldn’t recommend is a dark coated pan.

  21. The best Carrot Cake I have ever made and ate!! I did add raisins to mine and I took your suggestion to soak them before and that was the best thing to do with them! They were plump and so good! Thank you for the delicious recipe!!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Carrot Cake and that the raisins trick worked. I do that for any baked goods that have raisins now. 🙂

  22. Have you tried this recipe as bundtlets, maybe? Because I’m looking for a good one – and yours sounds yummy!

  23. Made this today with the addition of some walnuts and it was soooo delicious! Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  24. Wow!!! Just tried it and it’s the best carrot cake I’ve had. Super moist and very tasty. I made it for my partners bday. Which we would have to celebrate after quarantine is over. Thank you for sharing.

  25. My son asked me to make him a carrot cake and I found yours, it looks real good. I live in a high altitude area so the cake sank in the middle. I’m not a baker personally I can’t eat sweets. How do I adjust for high altitude?

    1. Hmm..I”m sorry about that. I haven’t experienced this myself, but I would try cutting back the baking soda and powder by 1/2 teaspoon each, and baking at 375 degrees for a little shorter time.

  26. I split the ingredients in half and made one 9×9 according to the recipe and one 9×9 gluten free. I just used an all purpose gluten free flour made by
    Pillsbury in the second one. Both were perfectly moist and so simple! I added coconut and pecans (no raisins).

  27. I just made this cake and frosting for Easter and it is SO good. Probably the best carrot cake I’ve had. I made sure to drain the crushed pineapple really well and it baked perfectly in 45 min. It is so moist and flavorful! Definitely adding this to my staple desserts to bake! 🙂

  28. Wow! I’m a home baker as well and I saw your blog picture on pinterest. I can not remember the last time I made carrot cake! This turned out O.M.G. delicious! Best I ever had. This is a keeper!

    1. Hmm…I’ve never tested this in a bundt pan. If you give it a try please let me know how it turns out! The temperature would be the same, but the time might need to be adjusted. Sorry I can’t help more on this one.

  29. I don’t usually leave any comments, but after making the carrot cake recipe, I had to say that it was the best carrot cake I have ever made or had. Thank you for the delicious recipe.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the carrot cake recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know!

  30. I made the cake and unfortunately for me it never cooked. It raised nicely and after 50 mins it was still very uncooked. I left it for almost another full term and still nothing was happening. I remember that i did not forget any ingredients… i dont know what happened. I made it in a pyrex and cooked at 350 fahrenheit…what did i do wrong?? I saved and froze the frosting for future usage but the cake went all to the garbage… it looked sooo good 🙁 also detail: i cut my own pinaple… made sure i removed excess juice.

  31. So, I never leave comments on blogs, recipes, websites… EVER! But I made this cake (first time making carrot cake). O. M. G. So so so good, and moist, and just delicious. I didn’t have crushed pineapple so I pulsed sliced pineapple in a blender a few times. Also added pineapple juice to the frosting, only a tablespoon or 2. What a treat to have around during quarantine. Extremely flavorful! Thanks for sharing!

    1. This just made my day! I’m so glad you enjoyed the carrot cake. Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know!

    1. I’m not sure, as I haven’t tried it myself. Please let me know if you decide to give it a try!

    1. I haven’t tried this myself, but applesauce might work as a substitute. Please let me know if you give it a try!

    1. Dark metal pans can sometimes bake faster than aluminum or glass. I would check the cake 5-10 minutes earlier for doneness.

  32. I thought I would try this for Easter by making a bunny cake. I will use one round pan and two 9×9 pans. Will I have enough mix for all these pans or should add another 1/2 or full recipe?

    1. You’ll need at least 1 1/2 depending on the size of your round pan. One recipe should cover the 2 9 x 9 square pans. I hope it turns out amazing!

    1. They would bake fine in round cake pans, but I’m not sure about layering them. It’s a really moist and heavy cake, so I’d be a little worried about stacking.

  33. The best carrot cake I’ve ever tried so far. I took it to the farewell dinner event last night and I went back home with an empty tray 😊

  34. My mother always added pineapple.. this recipe is exactly the same .. although sometimes she would add chopped maraschino cherries. I like to add a half of a cherry on top of the icing to each piece. Makes It look a lil Christmassy.

  35. Absolutely! You can add either or both. This is a sturdy cake recipe, so it should hold up fine with up to 1 1/2 cups of additions.

  36. i think my pan was too big. I know it was about 13 and a half. Wide. it was for a large crowd. and I remember saying, two more minutes should do it. now I know those 2 extra min..were too much.Thecake turned outgood. It taste good, but not as good as my layer cake.I personally found it slightle dryer than i like., and i used 10 oz. of pineapple crushed..in its own juice. But this was my own fault. Next time I make it as a sheet cake…i think i,ll know. Better. Overall, its still. Good and i would add more nuts than i did.

  37. This looks like the moistest carrot cake I have ever seen…I’m definitely going to give it a try because I love carrot cake and I love pecans. Thank you or sharing this recipe!

4.48 from 549 votes (549 ratings without comment)

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