Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

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!

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

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.

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe

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Dessert

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This easy recipe for extra-moist Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is part dessert and part tabletop décor!
4.6 from 5 votes
Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting #recipe
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients 

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
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:

  • 1 (8-oz.) 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)

Instructions 

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.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

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Cake recipe adapted from All Recipes.


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Nutrition

Calories: 848kcal, Carbohydrates: 128g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 420mg, Potassium: 235mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 104g, Vitamin A: 6805IU, Vitamin C: 4.5mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 1.9mg

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Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Loved this idea, and the decorating, if careful was a cinch! Icing is terrific! I found the cake to be too heavy and not very flavorful. I will definitely make this again, using your clever decorating ideas and excellent icing, but substitute my usual carrot cake recipe. Thanks very much!

  2. 5 stars
    THIS IS THE BEST CAKE I HAVE EVER EATEN/MADE!!! EVERYONE AT MY CHURCH, MY JOB, MY HOME LOVES IT!!!

  3. 5 stars
    Can this cake be baked as a layer cake in 8 or 9 inch pans and if so how long would I bake them?
    Thank you

    1. Absolutely, Linda! However, I’ve never made this recipe in a smaller pan so I’m not certain of the bake time. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  4. I was planning on making these for Easter, but my concern is “serve immediately”, do I really need to? Or can I put them on a tray & allow our guest to serve themselves whenever?

    1. Hi Susana! It totally depends on how long you’ll leave the cake out and what the temp is (if it’s indoors, outdoors, etc.). Cream cheese frosting can be a bit finicky if not kept in a cool environment!

      1. Kelly, I want to thank you for your response, with all the comments/questions you must receive, it’s certainly very nice of you to take the time to respond.

        They’ll be set up indoors – I’d like to make them the night before as in right before bed in efforts of keeping them as fresh as possible. Another question (sorry): is there anything you recommend I do or store them in to keep them fresh?

        Thanks again!

      2. Hi Susana! I’d keep the cake in the fridge then slice and add the decorations on the morning of. Enjoy!

  5. Hello, how are you? I had feature your delicious recipe in my blog, I hope you don’t mind. Have a nice day!

  6. Hi Kelly! These are adorable. I used a different cake recipe however I did use your carrot design. I used 8 inch rounds and cut them into wedges. I found that the rounded edges were still very cute therefore no wasted cake. I also used another reader’s advice and cut slits in the tops of the wedges for the candy stems (which I made thicker) and I only broke one! I love how they turned out. Thanks for this super cute idea.

  7. My best friend and I just baked a batch…the cake’s still cooling, but we tried a piece already…and it tastes delish! Thanks for sharing, Kelly!!!

  8. I made these last night! I used vanilla almond bark and food color since I couldn’t find candy melts and the stems were the best part super cute and yummy, they set up just fine and were very easy to insert into the cakes! I only broke one! however I may be one of the people who don’t like super moist cake, don’t get me wrong , I love a good cake , but the amout of oil in this, are we sure that’s not a typo? My cake taste like vegetable oil! Everyone thought they were cute, no one really ate much of them, i kinda wish I had used a different recipe and stole your decorating idea! All in all, the are cute ,just wish they tasted a little better!

    1. Hi Sarah – Love your idea for using vanilla almond bark! I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the taste of the cake, however the recipe is accurate as written above.

  9. Can’t wait to make! Wondering how far ahead of time I can make these? Have a lot to do Easter morning. Thank you!

    1. Hi Carrie! I hesitate suggesting making the cake more than 24 hours in advance, however you can keep the cake and frosting separate in the fridge then decorate on the day-of. Enjoy!

  10. These are ridiculously cute!! Are there any people that hate moist cakes?!!! That concept is foreign to me :)

    1. Hi Emily – Unfortunately candy melts have the specific ability to harden once they cool, so I can’t think of any alternatives that would harden enough for the carrot stems to be inserted into the cake slices. You could try chocolate, however it’s hard to add food coloring to white chocolate, as it has to be gel-based (rather than water-based), or the chocolate will seize and crumble.

  11. Who could hate a moist cake?! Not I. Not I. These are seriously some of the cutest little things I’ve ever seen!

  12. This is such a brilliant idea, and so cute! I’m yet to make anything for easter that is carrot cake like…I need to get on it!

  13. Who doesn’t like moist cake? These are the most adorable little cakes I have seen!

  14. These look amazing! I love the addition of pineapple to the carrot cake- brilliant idea!

  15. I saw these on instagram…. love this… just like your Christmas tree cupcakes.

  16. I have seen these explode on Pinterest today, and I’m in love – these look fantastic & I can’t wait to share them with those I love!!

  17. Wow, these are so beautiful! Carrot cake is a favorite of mine, I’ll have to try this recipe!!

  18. These are beautifully done and absolutely adorable! Can I teleport to NYC to be your taste-tester? :)

  19. Honestly, the best looking carrot cake ever! I was waiting to read this recipe since you posted the picture on social media… Just wow! Now I only wish I could taste this cake…Your detailed and skillful piping work is amazing!

  20. moist & dense is TOTALLY my kind of cake!! and I die over how you decorated these, so adorable Kelly!

    1. Hi Gina! You are so sweet to leave a note! I cannot wait to see you all very soon :) So much to catch up on! XOXO

  21. For the carrot shape, it might be simpler to bake the cake in a round pan, cut the cake in traditional wedges, and slice off the curved end that will become the carrot top.

    1. Hi Jess! Yes, I’ve tried cutting this shape with a round pan, however I found that you end up losing a lot more cake since you’re cutting away from each slice.

  22. Best looking carrot cake I’ve seen Kelly. I simply love how each slice is decorated!

    1. Thank you, Sally! That means so much coming from someone as crazy talented as yourself! Love everything you make!

  23. You always have such wonderful, creative ideas!! Love these cakes so much, they are so adorable!!

  24. You are so darned clever! I genuflect every time I open your blog. The ways that you use candy melts is absolutely inspiring.