Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Bundt Cake

This cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake is moist and perfectly spiced with cheesecake swirls hidden inside!

I’m working with McCormick this year, a brand I’ve been longing to work with for years, to bring you fresh and flavorful recipes. I grew up spicing and flavoring food with McCormick, so I’m thrilled to be on their blogging team!

Look what we’ve got today! Carrot cake + cheesecake in one.

But first, how was your weekend? Do anything fun? It’s been my first weekend home with zero plans in months, so guess what I did? Spring cleaning! I promise I’m not as boring as that sentence. But when you haven’t been home for, like, 6 months straight and are moving in 2 months– cleaning out closets and cabinets and junk drawers horror drawers feels like a dream come true. Pair that with a morning of baking carrot cake, 2 long runs, a lunch date, the couch, a bottle of wine, and some marathon Friends watching– that’s my idea of the perfect weekend these days. Man, I really AM 30.

This cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake is moist and perfectly spiced with cheesecake swirls hidden inside!

But let’s discuss that carrot cake business.

I first made this carrot bundt cake the other week. Loved it, of course. The recipe is quite similar to my favorite carrot cake recipe, with only a couple changes. When I made it again this weekend, I added something completely new in the form of cheesecake. A tunnel of sweet cheesecake running through the entire carrot bundt cake. And, yes, it’s as incredible as it sounds. But what makes this carrot bundt cake even better are my other tiny additions. There’s fresh orange zest and raisins (sorry) inside the batter, sweet orange glaze on top of the cake, and the entire thing is sweetened with just brown sugar. So it has that whole brown sugar molasses flavor going on.

Every bite tastes as dreamy as spring cleaning feels. ♥

The reason I fancied up my carrot cake recipe? Test-baking for Easter! Do you do that too? I really want something to impress at Easter brunch. Though carrot cake and pineapple upside-down cake usually make appearances on my Easter table, I wanted an updated spin on our tradition. And maybe you do as well? Maybe you’re hosting Easter this year and want that show-stopper dessert? Look no further because this cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake is it.

Moist and perfectly spiced carrot bundt cake with cheesecake swirled inside! Recipe found on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This carrot cake is as simple as folding a bunch of ingredients together. You’ll need a mixer for that cheesecake layer, which I’ll chat about in a sec, but that’s about it. Since we’re not creaming butter, the carrot cake batter can be made by hand. Add-ins like pecans and raisins are completely optional and I swear you won’t hurt my feelings if you leave those sweet ‘n’ plump raisins out. Sniff sniff.

Oil makes the carrot cake lusciously moist and tender, while applesauce prevents the cake from tasting too oily (and flavors it, too!). It’s all about balance. Brown sugar, eggs, and freshly grated carrots also keep the carrot cake super moist. Make sure you are grating your own carrots, rather than buying pre-shredded carrots from the store. Why? Store-bought shredded carrots are usually very dry in comparison. When you grate carrots yourself, you’ll notice how wet they are– and how much they’ll moisten the cake.

For flavor, we obviously have the brown sugar. We also have a powerhouse pack of spices: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves all tied together into one blissfully spiced carrot cake. The spice flavor is the BEST part about carrot cake, so don’t skimp on quality or quantity. We’re using McCormick brand and we’re using a lot of them. Mostly cinnamon, but there’s a good amount of ginger as well. Not that this carrot cake will taste like gingerbread, but there’s just enough to make you notice its little flavor zing. I love ground ginger in carrot cake and you will too. In addition to the brown sugar and spice flavors, we have fresh orange zest in the carrot cake as well.  Plenty of spice + vibrant citrus + sweet cheesecake = carrot cake kicked up about 12 million notches.

This cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake is moist and perfectly spiced with cheesecake swirls hidden inside!

The cheesecake batter is layered between the carrot cake batter, so you get this rippled cheesecake layer throughout the baked carrot cake. Sort of like the cheesecake swirls in my pumpkin cream cheese bars– but you’ve got a thicker, solid layer in this carrot bundt cake. It’s super simple: just cream cheese, egg, a little sugar, and pure vanilla extract. All tasty and easy ingredients, but when combined? You have a tunnel of actual cheesecake. The (delicious) whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

And let’s not forget the sweet orange glaze. Cherry on top, if you will.

This cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake is moist and perfectly spiced with cheesecake swirls hidden inside!

My plan: taste and freeze the extras.

My reality: I couldn’t put down the fork.

Between all the flavor, texture, cheesecake, orange glaze, and moist carrot cake texture– your tastebuds won’t even know what happened to them. This is most definitely the impressive Easter dessert masterpiece we all need!

Print

Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Bundt Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: serves 10
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Perfectly spiced and moist homemade cheesecake swirl carrot bundt with cheesecake swirls hidden inside! I know it looks like a bunch of ingredients, but they’re all pretty basic! Make sure the cake cools completely before cutting into it.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (133g) smooth unsweetened applesauce*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups (260g) grated carrots (about 3 large)
  • optional: 1 cup (150g) raisins
  • optional: 2/3 cup (95g) chopped pecans

Cheesecake Layer

  • 12 ounces (336g) brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 23 Tablespoons (30-45ml) fresh orange juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and orange zest together until combined and no brown sugar lumps remain. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the ingredients together until just combined. Then, fold in the carrots, raisins, and pecans. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan.
  3. In a medium bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer filled with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until completely combined. Spread in an even layer on top of the carrot cake batter. Do your best to spread- it’s a thick mixture.
  4. Spread the remaining carrot cake batter evenly on top. Bake for 55-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. This cake will take awhile to bake because it is so moist and very thick. All ovens are different, so do not feel discouraged if your cake is taking a long time. It is done when the toothpick comes out clean. Cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil if you begin to see the top browning quickly. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes inside the pan.
  5. After 30 minutes, invert the slightly cooled bundt cake onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  6. Whisk the glaze ingredients together and spoon over cake prior to serving. Cover up extras tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake 1 day in advance. Allow to cool, then keep cake in the refrigerator, covered tightly, until ready to serve. Cake may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.
  2. Applesauce: Instead of applesauce, you can use 3/4 cup crushed pineapple.
  3. Cream Cheese: Don’t use cream cheese spread; use brick-style cream cheese. Full-fat preferred, though low fat works too. Don’t use fat free.
  4. Add Ins: If you’d like to switch up the raisins and pecans, you can use shredded coconut or even chopped walnuts instead of either. Or you can leave the cake plain without any add-ins.
  5. Bundt Pan: Here is the bundt pan I own and love. Heavy-duty, long-lasting, love the grip handles!

Keywords: cheesecake carrot cake, cheesecake swirl carrot cake

For more fancied up traditional Easter dishes, check out McCormick’s selection. 🙂

I’m working with McCormick to bring you today’s recipe. Thank you for helping me work with brands I love!

This cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake is moist and perfectly spiced with cheesecake swirls hidden inside!

165 Comments

  1. carrot cake just isn’t the same without cream cheese frosting, so i love the idea of inverting it and putting the cream cheese on the inside instead of the outside! i’m pro-raisins in baked goods, but i know a ton of people aren’t, so i think making them optional is a great compromise (:

  2. Yummmmm! I don’t think I can ever go back to a regular carrot cake now after seeing this lovliness! It looks fabulous Sally!

  3. Ooh, so pretty! The Cheesecake Factory’s carrot-cake cheesecake is one I’ve always wanted to try, but your idea is easier 🙂 I love this!

  4. Congratulations on working together with McCormick! I’ve seen carrot and cheesecake combined before but never like this.. My goodness. I need!

  5. Look at you, superstar!! Congrats on working with the best spices around! I also made a carrot cake this weekend, but that recipe will likely never go on the blog. It was my specialty when I had the cake business and the only reason I fulfilled this cake request is because a coworker of mine’s husband is a pastry chef but loves MY carrot cake the best for his birthday every year! Oh man, it was so hard not to dive right in. You just cannot go wrong with carrot cake EVER! Love your cheesecake swirl take on this one, Sally!

  6. It’s very cool that you get to work with McCormick. That’s a baker’s dream!
    So yeah…being over 30 means that a night in PJs watching TV is the best  thing ever. I get so upset when I actually have plans, even if they’re nice ones. I just want to be comfy on the couch! Running around is for daytime.
    This carrot cake is amazing. I’m a huge fan of the bundt, and an even bigger fan of cheesecake in the middle. Yes!!!

  7. My plan and reality are always the same when it comes to baked goods! Gorgeous-looking bundt cake Sally! <3

  8. This looks delicious! Do you think this will work ok with the spreadable cream cheese? In the UK we dont get the brick type cheese only the Philly spreadable 🙁 I’m going give this a try this week!

    1. Hey Emma! It might be OK in the cheesecake swirl layer. But the closest substitute would be mascarpone, though you’ll lose that tang flavor.

      1. Thanks Sally! I’m thinking if I add a bit of lemon juice to the mascarpone it might give it some of the acidity you would get from the cream cheese…I’ll let you know how it works out

  9. Congrats on joining the McCormick blogging team, Sally! 🙂 Woot woot! That’s awesome. 🙂
    Meanwhile, a weekend of TV, cleaning, running and Friends sounds perfect. One time, I read this quote that perfectly encompassed the feeling of cleaning, it said something like, “Cleaning creates this halo that spreads throughout everything you do. It gives you a healthy sense of control.” Isn’t that exactly it? It’s kind of therapeutic, like baking. (Note that I am also 30. Haha.)
    Meanwhile, the line “A tunnel of sweet cheesecake” is just something I’ll have to fantasize about all week now. P.S. Tastings always turn into dessert buffets, don’t they? Life of the food blogger. Haha. Thanks for another awesome recipe, Sally! ♥

      1. Let me correct myself. That’s why I love a clean/cleaned out home, not the actual act of cleaning!!

    1. Mary, it *might* be ok as the swirl layer in this cake. The closest substitute would be mascarpone, though you’ll lose that tang flavor.

  10. Hi Sally! Congrats on working with McCormick! That’s really awesome! 
    Thanks for your links, I went and bought my bundt pan! Thank you Prime! I’ll make this as soon as the pan appears on my doorstep. I’m actually going away for Easter this year.  Sunday is my 10th wedding anniversary!! Doesn’t mean I can’t make the dessert before we leave! Lol. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

    1. Happy anniversary! That’s incredible. And I don’t know what I would do without prime! All the shopping I do off prime is slightly scary.

    1. I have never had any problem with subbing coconut oil for the vegetable oil. I melt mine first so it is easier to stir in. But it makes it doubly important that the rest of the ingredients are room temp. or it goes back to solid quickly. Just my thoughts if it helps!

      1. Thank you so much Lisa.  I prefer coconut oil and use it frequently.  Much healthier!  I truly appreciate your response!

  11. Well doesn’t this look heavenly!  I have to admit I already made a carrot cake this weekend – also getting ready for Easter brunch! – but now I’m wondering if I’d be a huge weirdo to have TWO carrot cakes on the table, because I’m dying to make this right now! 

  12. Carrot cake must be in the air! Made a small batch – two small ramekin cakes worth this weekend. It’s so perfect for Spring and for date night. Now to just get the cold out of this east coast air! 
    Your  bundt cake looks delicious. I think I will try it for Easter this coming weekend!

  13. I could eat this right off the screen. I love carrot cake, in fact I just made some Vegan Carrot Cake Bars last week. This is perfect for Easter dessert.

  14. Yummy, and a layer of cheesecake in the middle – I had to make this after opening your email! It is cooling on my counter as I write this … My husband and I are looking forward to eating it. Thank you, Sally!

  15. I hate to say tis out loud but I don’t really care for cheese cake but I L-O-V-E carrot cake! Do I follow that same recipe without the cheesecake? Thanks and super excited to make carrot cake!

  16. I made this last night…ran out to the store to get the ingredients after work and was able to quickly pull it together after dinner.  My husband LOVES it!  This is a keeper.  Thank you.

  17. This looks amazing! I don’t have a bundt pan though — would I be able to scale it for my 1.5 qt loaf pan? I feel like I could probably math that out, but thought I’d check to see if you have any advice first!

    (BTW, just found your site last fall and have been absolutely loving everything I made! Whenever I find a promising baking recipe I always try to scout and see if the writer ‘gets’ the chemistry of what they’re doing before I spend money on ingredients, so I was immediately in love with your site once I saw how you always take the time to explain the science behind baking! Plus, my family was in comically overtop rapture over your chocolate chip cookies on Christmas — thanks for making my in-laws continue to think I’m some sort of baking goddess!)

    1. Hey Mallory! Appreciate the sweet comment and I’m glad you confide in my recipes! I’m sure you could scale this recipe down for your pan. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

  18. Thanks Sally– thanks a lot! I had my Easter desserts all planned– a fresh Strawberry pie and a Lemon Meringue. Now what do I do??? I want this cake as well! I guess I’ll have 3 desserts on the table–not a bad thing I guess!! I’m sure my family will thank you!

  19. Normally I wouldn’t get too excited about carrot cake. But if it has a cheesecake swirl? COUNT ME IN.

  20. Hi Sally,

    This looks amazing and will definitely be on the menu for Easter dessert this year along with your funfetti layer cake but made in a bunny shaped pan. We just loved your moist carrot cake recipe, my husband couldn’t stop talking about the cream cheese frosting. Do you have a suggested bake time if I were to do these in min bundt pans?

    Thanks!!!!

    Jill

    1. What size are the mini pans? I’m really unsure of a bake time for them– check with a toothpick. Once it comes out clean, they’re done. A bunny funfetti cake sounds absolutely incredible!

      1. It’s funny there are no size specifications anywhere on the pan or packaging but they are just a bit bigger than a jumbo size muffin

  21. I made a slightly healthier version of this last night. Here’s what I amended from Sally’s recipe:
    replaced 2/3 c of oil with low fat buttermilk
    reduced brown sugar to 200g (about 1 cup)
    increased carrots to 300g (just shredded 3 whole carrots and that’s what it gave me)

    And that’s all I did – saves quite a few calories from my bum. Kept everything else the same. The flavor is great – spices really shine, cream cheese layer adds a nice mellow creamy mouth feel without tasting like cheesecake at all.  Since I lowered the sugar I made sure to add the raisins….and because carrot cake is yum with raisins. 
    Thanks for the recipe Sally! I know I tweaked it a bit but your signature is still on this one in my view. 

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