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!

158 Comments

  1. Has anyone tried using different pans? Like a loaf pan or a round or rectangular cake pan? I don’t have a bundt pan but desperately want to make this!!

  2. I made this cake today to enjoy ahead of Easter because frankly I couldn’t wait that long!!! What a great cake. The orange flavor is phenomenal!!! My cake was moist, but the edges of the cake were a little crispy in spots(Love!!). This cake won’t make it until Easter

  3. Just made this cake, hoping it’s a hit at our Easter dinner tonight. It’s cooling right now, my fingers are crossed it worked out. 

  4. Hi Sally! I love love love your site! Thank you for the fabulous recipes!  I’m thinking of buying your book…

  5. Hi Sally!

    Are you able to make this with a mini-bundt cake pan? Would you be able to estimate a cooking timeframe to shoot for? I look forward to trying this out!

    Thanks!

    1. I’m unsure of the bake time for mini, sorry! Use a toothpick to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, it’s done!

  6. I made your Carrot cake bundt yesterday and the taste is great but my cheesecake layer has air holes in it. Did you think tapping the pan on the counter a few times before baking will eliminate the problem?

      1. The flavors and texture of this bundt cake are delicious. Because the cream cheese is inside the cake, it’s the perfect dessert for a brunch or after a big meal as it’s not as sweet as a frosted cake.

  7. This is so seriously delicious!!! I’m never good with carrot cakes, but the cream cheese got me interested.  I love carrot cake and cream cheese.. It’s like too good.  I made a few adjustments, and baked it in a loaf pan.  My family loved it too.  Thanks again.

  8. Hi Sally! Quick question about the raisins…regular raisins or baking raisins? My mom has always used baking raisins in her stuffing and I’ve never made a carrot cake from scratch – but always noticed the baking raisins are so soft and juicy in the stuffing- do you have any experience with them? Thanks! Melanie 

  9. I made this for Easter.  I made it on Thursday (when I had extra time) and froze it.  I took it out on Saturday and iced it.  Fantastic!  What a creative idea.  Thanks for another great recipe!  Your website has turned into my go-to website for recipes.

  10. Hi Sally.  Who doesn’t love carrot cake!?   I made this for Easter dinner and everyone loved it.   I must say my house smelt wonderful while it was baking.  The spices in combination with the orange, apple and carrot made such a delicious cake.   I toasted my pecans first and I soaked the raisins in some orange juice.   Thank you for such great recipes.   I enjoy following your site!

  11. I remember trying a carrot cake cheesecake a few Easters back at the Cheesecake Factory. This seems like a much more approachable DIY home version! Carrot spice is an underrated spring flavour and I’m definitely going to give this a try this spring 😉 

    1. You won’t have enough batter– you’d likely have to 1.5x the recipe or make two batters to fit the bundt pan. I suggest sticking to this recipe.

  12. Hi Im new here. I baked this beauty for Easter and was so good. Sally i just want to say that i love your recipes because you dont hide tips or techniques.

    Everyone loved this bundt cake!!

    I have also baked the snowball cookies. I made them smaller as i dont want sandies. total hit!!

    God bless you all during this Easter season

  13.  I noticed in  other recipes you interchange can canola oil and coconut oil.  Do you think you could do that in this recipe?

  14. Well, I made this for Easter. I think I may have overbaked it as mine is much darker than yours and to me, not as moist as I had hoped. I took it out at the 55 min. mark and even then, it was overdone I think. I subbed the pineapple for the applesauce, I don’t know if that could have made a difference in the texture, but my cake was really dense. Everyone loved it and thought it tasted great, but for me, I really wanted it to be moister and lighter. I will try this again, and follow your recipe exactly and check it at 45 min. or so.

  15. Sally.

    I got engaged. At 41yrs old. 30 seems a million years away and a life time ago.
    You’re inspiring.

    🙂 Looking forward to trying this cake recipe this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

  16. I made this for Easter and it was wonderful! I saw many comments wondering about using a softer cream cheese than traditional brick style, and wanted to make a note about that. We are Americans living in the UK, and it seems impossible to find a firm cream cheese here. Even Philadelphia brand is sold in a tub and seems too soft. All the “soft cheese”, as it is called here, that I have tried is closer to a spread. So I used what we had and added 3 tablespoons of flour to the cream cheese mixture. I think 2 would probably have been sufficient. I had no problems with it, it came out looking just like the pictures, and stayed nice and creamy. Super delicious cake! Thanks Sally for your awesome, dependable recipes.

      1. Sally, you’re right, this is very helpful! May I suggest that you add Kris’ advice to this, and future recipes calling for block-style cream cheese? 

  17. This cake was incredible! I made it at easter for a large group, I added cream cheese to the frosting but that was the only thing I changed. Not only were there no leftovers, people were licking the crumbs off the plate. To say this was a hit does not do the cake justice! My father in law who is a decidedly picky eater could not believe how moist it was and announced that this will be his staple dessert from now on (because everyone needs a staple dessert right?). Thanks for sharing, I love your recipes and writing!

  18. Hi Sally 🙂
    I’m making this recipe for a cake club on Thursday, if I make it tonight and cover it in the fridge, do you think it will be ok for Thursday evening? Thank you x

  19. Hi sally! My dad keeps asking me to make this cake ever since he saw it (his favorite cake is carrot cake)
    But for the pineapples, can they be canned?
    This is a really stupid question, but I wanted to make sure
    Sorry, I know you’re super busy, but I’m a baking perfectionist:)

  20. I made this cake for a family BBQ and it was amazing! My first cake from scratch, first bundt cake and first carrot cake. No one could believe I made this. lol thank you! 

  21. Hi Sally!
    Do you think this could be made with your lemon blueberry cake instead of carrot cake? 
    Thank you,
    Alyssa

  22. I love your recipes and have your book:) I am not a cake baker – my son asked for this as his birthday cake- I know u say the toothpick must be clean and it is on the outside part,still a little sticky on inside. Won’t it set as it cools? Already at 1 hour and edges dark and used foil. 5 more minutes- this part of baking stresses me out

    1. It will continue to set– just a bit– as it cools. If you’re ok with a little sticky moisture on the inside of your cake, you can take it out.

  23. Fan-frickin-tastic!!!! I made this for Father’s Day because my FIL loves carrot cake. I had no idea it would be THIS good. I made another three days later for my coworkers and they really enjoyed it, too. I think the youngest guy took home about a quarter of it (tiny office), so that made me happy.
    The only change I made was to reduce the cloves by half because I felt they were overpowering. Otherwise, it was like a European bakery cake – not so sugar-laden that you feel sick after having a piece. It was perfect!!

  24. Hi

    If I want to make this in mini bundt pans do you think it would be ok, and for how long should I bake it?

  25. This recipe sounds absolutely incredible and I am so looking forward to making it. Do you think it would be possible to make these as cupcakes instead? I want to bring it for a party tonight, but know I want have time to let a whole bundt cake cool. Thank you, I love your recipes and seeing photos of your doggies!

  26. Hi Sally – I need to find a DAIRY-FREE dessert recipe and am having trouble. Would it be possible to make this WITHOUT the cream cheese layer? Would it come out OK? And do you have any other dairy-free recipes that you’d recommend? Thank you!

      1. Thanks Sally! I made this with the cheesecake layer and it was amazing. Now i need to make it again this week without the cheesecake. Do you suggest any modifications to the recipe if making it without the cheesecake layer? Should i still put in the cheesecake layer ingredients minus the cream cheese if i have to make it dairy free? Or just leave out that whole section?

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