Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pineapple carrot cake is incredibly moist, full of spice flavor, and topped with smooth tangy cream cheese frosting. This simple from-scratch recipe comes together quickly and easily. It’s baked as a sheet cake, so there’s no fancy decorating required!

slice of pineapple carrot cake on a silver plate with a fork

Tell Me About This Pineapple Carrot Cake

  • Flavor: This cake has all the spiced flavors you’d expect from a classic carrot cake, but with a flavorful addition: crushed pineapple. This simple addition brightens up the cake’s flavor and reminds us of another reader favorite– hummingbird cake. While wonderful on its own, the sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting pairs beautifully with the cake’s warm spice flavor.
  • Texture: This is a moist cake finished with a dense and silky blanket of cream cheese frosting.
  • Ease: Baking this pineapple carrot cake as a sheet cake in a 9 × 13 inch pan makes it even more effortless. Just one layer of cake and one layer of frosting. Easy to frost, easier to cut, easiest to eat.
  • Time: The batter comes together quickly, but the baked cake needs a considerable amount of cooling time before it’s frosted. If desired, you could place it in the refrigerator after about 45 minutes to speed things up.

spreading cream cheese frosting onto pineapple carrot cake in a glass baking pan

Choosing the Right Ingredients: Pineapple

Carrot cake with its wonderful texture and spiced flavor is a cake classic BUT it can also be turned up about 800 notches with one notable ingredient: pineapple. 

Crushed pineapple or chunks? We vote for crushed. Crushed pineapple acts more like a wet ingredient rather than an optional add-in. The result is a remarkably moist cake, which is a good thing! We didn’t want large pineapple chunks in the slices, because they could easily take away from the cake’s other flavors. However, it’s all a matter of personal preferences – you can use either crushed pineapple or chunks and still yield a delicious result. Use fresh or canned. (If you’re a fan of pineapple, try this pineapple upside-down cake recipe next!)

ingredients for pineapple carrot cake

pineapple carrot cake batter in a glass bowl

Let’s Decorate!

What you’ll love about sheet cakes is that there’s no fancy or intricate decorating required – a simple swipe of frosting does the trick. Today’s frosting recipe is adapted from our spice cake, a reader favorite in the fall months. For garnish, try adding extra walnuts, sprinkles, toasted coconut, a dash of cinnamon, or pineapple decor once frosted. Still simple, but beautiful to serve.

overhead image of pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish cut into squares

Make It a Layer Cake or Bundt Cake

Today’s pineapple carrot cake also works as a layer cake or Bundt cake.

  • Layer Cake: Use this cake batter recipe, then bake and assemble following the directions from our regular carrot cake recipe. Use that frosting recipe because it makes a little bit more than today’s recipe– this way you’ll have enough frosting to spread between the layers and around the sides.
  • Bundt Cake: Follow this cake batter recipe, pour into a greased 9.5- or 10- inch Bundt pan, and then bake for 55-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. This cake will take a while to bake because it is so thick and moist.

slice of pineapple carrot cake on a silver plate with a fork

Similar Recipes

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
slice of pineapple carrot cake on a silver plate with a fork

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: serves 12-15
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is super moist and bursting with spice flavor.


Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH ground cloves, ground ginger, + ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup canola (240ml) or vegetable oil*
  • 1 and 1/4 cup (250g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)*
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained*
  • 1 cup (125g) chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan. I always use this glass pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and other spices together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in the grated carrots, pineapple, and walnuts.
  4. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top or edges of the cake is/are browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. After about 45 minutes, I usually place it in the refrigerator to speed things up.
  6. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it). Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
  7. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare cake through step 5. Cover the cake tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, make the frosting, frost, and serve. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature or serve cold.
  2. Special Tools: Box Grater, Icing Spatula, KitchenAid Hand Mixer, Glass Mixing Bowls, and Glass Baking Dish
  3. Oil: Instead of 1 cup of oil, try 1/2 cup (90g) unsweetened applesauce and 1/2 (120ml) cup oil. The cake is just as moist.
  4. Carrots: Don’t use pre-shredded carrots found in the produce aisle. They’re typically on the dry side. Rather, freshly grate 3 large carrots to yield approximately 2 moist cups of carrot shreds.
  5. Pineapple: I use canned crushed pineapple. You can also crush fresh pineapple to use in the cake batter. Crushed pineapple, as opposed to pineapple chunks, acts like a wet ingredient keeping this cake extra moist and tender. Keeping that in mind and if you want larger chunks of pineapple in your cake, you can use chunks instead.
  6. Layer Cake: Follow this sheet cake batter recipe, then follow the assembly/baking directions in my carrot cake recipe. Use the frosting recipe in the layer cake (makes a little more than this).
  7. Bundt Cake: Follow this sheet cake batter recipe, pour evenly into a greased 9.5 or 10-inch Bundt pan, then bake for 55-70 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.  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. Then invert the slightly cooled Bundt cake onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Keywords: pineapple carrot cake, carrot cake

Today’s recipe is adapted from my spice cake recipe– a deliciously spiced apple cake with cream cheese frosting!

spice cake with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish

197 Comments

  1. This recipe just didn’t work for me. I used fresh crushed pineapple and the applesauce/oil combo, and it was just SO dense. The flavor was great, but it was too moist and didn’t rise much at all. The texture kind of reminded me of a traditional English pudding. Not really what I was going for.

    1. Cynthia Guerrini says:

      Moist, flavorful! The second time I made this cake, I added an extra 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder for a higher cake. I made it in a 13×9 pan, cut it in half and the sliced each piece in half, making a 4 layer cake. Beautiful presentation, tasty tasty cake!!

      1. I made them as cupcakes using the baking instructions from a comment on here. The flavor is good – not too much spice, like I had feared. But they are quite dry even though there’s pineapple in them

  2. I was pretty disappointed that this recipe is not adequately tested when it comes to the frosting. The cake is good, but the frosting is a disaster. I made it exactly to the recipe, using a metric scale, with exact measurements, and I also chilled the frosting overnight in the fridge. I used full fat cream cheese. It was just a runny mess and didn’t look at all like the pictures or harden enough to spread. It was more like a sauce, and extremely sweet. Won’t be making the frosting again, probably a simple glaze would have been enough. I was expecting a rich, whipped frosting texture. Didn’t turn out like that at all. I also cut back on the sugar, and even with less sugar, it was still extremely sweet.

    1. I just made the cake and it’s cooling I was kind of skeptical about all the sugar in the cake so I used only 1/2 cup of sugar, now I never got to the frosting part thanks for the heads up I think I will look for a less sugary recipe

    2. Hi, I love this cake, bakes beautifully every time in a 9×13” pan

      However, this time I wanted to bake it in a 12×17” sheet pan, what would the bake temperature and time pls?

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Fay, you can use this recipe for a 12×17 pan for a carrot sheet cake. Same bake temp, we’re unsure of the exactable time but it will be shorter since the cake is thinner. Enjoy!

  3. I have made this cake multiple times and everyone loves it! I gave them as gifts to families for Christmas last year and decorated with dried edible flowers. I was just wondering, have you made a vegan version of this cake? And if so, what replacements did you use for the eggs and cream cheese? Want to make one for a vegan friend so am interested, I saw somewhere unsweetened applesauce could be an egg replacement?

    Thanks for the recipe! ❤️

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess, we’re so glad you love this cake. We haven’t tested a vegan version, but let us know if you try anything!

  4. I think the spices and pineapple make this an exceptional cake. I topped it with nuts (as I usually do) and it is wonderful! As I have found ALL recipes from this site to be.

  5. This cake was amazing! Nice spicy warmth/depth to it w/ the combo of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg and very moist. I may reduce the cloves down to a 1/4 tsp and bump up the cinnamon though – just for a softer note. I cooked mine in an metal pan and it took 35 minutes, and I also needed to use the foil on top as suggested as it was getting a bit too browned quickly.

    Frosting was excellent too! I added a touch more vanilla and salt to balance it as I did need that extra 1/4 C of sugar for consistency.

    This is definitely a keeper! No need to look for another recipe!

  6. If I want to add coconut and raisins to this cake how do I go about that? Sorry, it sounds stupid but I’ve found recipes for carrot cake with all these ingredients plus the afore mentioned add ins and based on the reviews it all worked only because the bakers made serious modifications to their cakes.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrea, yes you can add raisins and coconut! We recommend keeping the total amount of add-ins to 1 cup – so try 1/3 cup of each (walnuts, shredded coconut, and raisins). Enjoy!

  7. Want to make 1/2 sheet cake using this recipe…..do I double the recipe?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nana, Do you mean a larger sheet cake, such as 12×17 inch? Or a full sheet cake that’s larger? Use the batter as written– it will be enough for a thinner and larger sheet cake. The bake time will be shorter since the cake is thinner.

  8. Perfect cake ! The only thing I did different was to boil the shredded carrots because my grater makes huge shreds that don’t bake soft. Oh, and the frosting is to die for.

  9. Arista Corica says:

    Omg it was soooooo good !!! I cant thank you enough for sharing your recipe with us !!! It made it for my husband and few friends and they loved it !! Thank you so much!!!

  10. Dahlia Sturlesi says:

    Hi Sally,
    I made this cake for my brother’s birthday… carrot cake is his favorite. Our dad used to make a carrot cake that we loved. I made your recipe and it was an amazing hit! By far, the best carrot cake we’ve had, moist, flavorful and totally delicious! We all agreed, with all due respect to dad, your recipe is the best! (Dad would have agreed!) This is now my go to carrot cake recipe. Thank you Sally!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dahlia, thank you so much for taking the time to report back. We’re thrilled this carrot cake was such a hit for your family, and best of all, that it brought back great memories of your dad. Thank you for sharing and for making this recipe!

  11. Bakedcarrot says:

    Exactly the recipe I have been looking for. Moist but not claggy, spicy and creamy.

  12. This cake is amazing! Did it as a layer cake with my granddaughters for my husband’s birthday! Because we had to use gluten-free flour for one of my granddaughters, I did not drain all the pineapple juice and added 1/4 cup of soir cream in the cake! Nit made it moist even with gluten-free flour!
    As for the frosting, only used 2 cups of icing sugar and it was perfect for us!!

  13. If I wanted to skip the pineapple all together, would I need to increase the amount of carrots or perhaps add yogurt/sour cream in order to keep the cake moist? If so, how much of either would I need to add? I was originally looking at the super moist carrot cake recipe; however, I don’t want to use a round cake pan – I need to make it in a square pan for easier serving/portability.

    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ana! You can use the batter from our Favorite Carrot Cake (layer cake) to bake a sheet cake. That recipe doesn’t have pineapple in the batter. See recipe notes for 9×13 baking instructions!

  14. Really great recipe though I omitted the granulated sugar. Tried it a few times and it turns out awesome every time. Everyone who tried it really loved it.

  15. Hi Sally,
    This recipe is great! Please can you give me any tips on making these I to cupcakes?
    Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Caryn, you can absolutely make these into cupcakes. Bake cupcakes for about 19-22 minutes at the same temperature. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Enjoy!

  16. Hi Sally,
    What can I do/subtitue if I want to make this eggless? Thanks

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Khyati, we haven’t tried an egg-free version of this cake, but let us know if you give anything a try!

  17. Thanks a million for this recipe, Sally! I followed it to the tee.. and it was perfect. Tip- squeeze the juice out of the crushed pineapple before adding, and to keep it moist, before frosting, wrap the cooled cake with cling wrap . I also added half a cup of raisins.

1 3 4 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×