You can now enjoy both your fruits and your veggies all in one serving … of cake. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure that information falls under the win-win category. And that is exactly where this easy recipe for Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting should be filed.
If you hate really moist cakes, then we should probably part ways at this point. Because this cake has mastered a moist crumb with a dense texture and the full flavor of pineapple and carrots. And did I mention there’s no butter involved? That is, until we get to the tangy bowl-licking-worthy cream cheese frosting. But I couldn’t stop there. Someone cue the kitchen twine, candy melts, piping bags and pastry tips!
As it turns out, cutting a 9-by-13-inch cake into carrot-shaped pieces requires a strong understanding of geometry. Either that, or Tetris. So rather than start slicing away until you reach that “oh crud” moment, I’ve devised a nifty trick: Use kitchen twine to outline and adjust your cuts prior to slicing.
You can follow the pattern I’ve outlined above to get 10 carrot-shaped slices with a few scraps left over for your favorite taste tester. What’s that? Your favorite taste tester is you? Hey! We’re twins! Now go preheat your oven and get ready to flex those mental muscles for Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s a workout for the mind and the body.
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Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 1 (9x13-inch) cake
- For the cake:
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- For the frosting:
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- For decorating:
- 1 1/2 cups orange candy melts
- 1 1/2 cups green candy melts
- Equipment: Pastry bags; Small round pastry tip (such as Ateco #3)
- Make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the grated carrots, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, crushed pineapple and chopped pecans, stirring until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack to cool completely then invert it onto a large cutting board.
- Make the frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the butter and vanilla extract, beating until combined.
- Stop the stand mixer, sift the confectioners' sugar into the bowl and then beat just until combined.
- Decorate the cake:
- Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the green candy melts in the microwave or on the stove per the package instructions then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe carrot stems onto the wax paper by piping a long line with leaves on the end. (See Kelly's Notes.) Set the carrot stems aside to cool until they have fully hardened.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, frost it with the cream cheese frosting then slice it into carrot-shaped pieces. (See Kelly's Notes.)
- Melt the orange candy melts in the microwave or on the stove per the package instructions then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe the orange candy coating across the top of the cake slices in your preferred pattern, and then carefully insert about three of the hardened candy carrot stems into the back side of each slice of cake. (See Kelly's Notes.) Serve immediately.
- Kelly's Notes:
- Cutting the 9x13-inch cake into carrot-shaped slices requires discarding (and/or eating) a small portion of the cake. If you'd rather feed more people and not have to discard any excess cake, simply cut the cake into squares and decorate as instructed.
- I used an Ateco #3 small round pastry tip to pipe both the green carrot stems and the orange decoration on top of the cake slices.
- The candy carrot stems break very easily when inserting them into the cake, so I recommend piping as many extra carrot stems as possible to allow for any breakage. You can also pipe a thicker carrot stem, which would make a sturdier candy piece to press into each slice of cake.
Cake recipe adapted from All Recipes.
Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post.