Find cheesecake swirls when you cut into this deliciously moist and perfectly spiced carrot Bundt cake! The ingredient list looks long, but most items are pantry staples and repeated in other layers of the cake. Make sure the cake cools completely before slicing.
- 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil*
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark)
- 3/4 cup (133g) smooth unsweetened applesauce*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (can omit if desired)
- 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) 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) peeled and shredded carrots* (about 4 large peeled carrots)
- optional: 1 cup (130g) roughly chopped pecans*
- 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
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 Tablespoons (30-45ml) fresh orange juice or milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously grease a 12-15 cup (2,839-3,548ml) capacity Bundt pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, brown sugar, 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. Fold in the carrots and pecans. You will have about 6 cups of batter. Pour and spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared Bundt pan.
- In a medium bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted 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 cream cheese mixture in an even layer on top of the carrot cake batter and try to avoid spreading it all the way to the edges of the pan. It’s a thick mixture, so do your best to spread.
- Pour and spread the remaining carrot cake batter evenly on top and then use a knife to very gently swirl the batters together.
- Bake for 55-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. This cake is large and heavy and takes quite some time to bake, so do not be discouraged if yours takes longer. 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.
- After 30 minutes, invert the slightly cooled Bundt cake onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Make sure cake has cooled completely before glazing, slicing, and serving.
- Whisk the glaze ingredients together. If desired, use more liquid to thin out or more confectioners’ sugar to thicken. Drizzle over cake. Slice and serve.
- Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake 1 day in advance. Cool completely, cover tightly, and then refrigerate until a couple hours before serving. Set out at room temperature for a couple hours before serving. It’s best to garnish with glaze close to serving the cake. To freeze, cool cake completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.
- Oil: This recipe is best with vegetable oil. You can use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil if desired, but be sure that all other ingredients are room temperature so the coconut oil does not solidify before baking the batter.
- Applesauce: Instead of applesauce, you can use 3/4 cup canned crushed pineapple.
- Cream Cheese: Do not use cream cheese spread. Use block cream cheese which is sold as 8 ounce blocks. You need 1.5 blocks since this recipe calls for 12 ounces.
- Pecans & Other Add Ins: You can add up to 1 and 1/4 cups add-ins to this cake. I usually use just 1 cup (130g) roughly chopped pecans. You can use raisins, chopped walnuts, and/or shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened). A combination of any works as long as the total amount isn’t over 1 and 1/4 cups. Or you can leave the cake plain without any add-ins.
- Loaf Pan: Some readers have halved this recipe and baked it in a loaf pan at the same oven temperature for about 1 hour, though my team and I have not tested it. You could also try this carrot cake loaf instead.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Vegetable Peeler, Box Grater, 12-15 cup Bundt Pan (such as this Bundt pan, this Bundt pan, or this fluted tube pan)
Keywords: cheesecake swirl carrot Bundt cake