Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Bake my super moist spice cake next.

The best carrot cake recipe is this pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! Moist, spiced, and so easy! Easter dessert on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The week is here: happy spring!

While the calendar shows spring this week, the snow piles on our lawn beg to differ. Mother nature is a tad confused, but one thing’s certain: Easter is less than a month away. And with longer days and fresh tulips blooming on the horizon, we HAVE to have carrot cake on the mind.

And, really, any and all spring baking.

The best carrot cake recipe is this pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! Moist, spiced, and so easy! Easter dessert on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’m in freak out mode over this pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Which isn’t much different from any other time I eat carrot cake, but this time it’s a little excessive because this is 100% + honestly + literally the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted. It’s similar to this spiced carrot cake (which I may have to rename “my 2nd favorite carrot cake”), but there’s a massively flavorful addition today: crushed pineapple. It brightens up the entire cake.

Do you usually add pineapple to carrot cake? I feel like this is a norm for a lot of bakers. And while I’ve tried it before, I usually default to applesauce, raisins, or coconut as a flavorful add-in. But this year I decided to be like the cool kids and I beg you to give pineapple a whirl too. Grab a can of crushed pineapple OR crush your own OR a can of chopped pineapple and pulse until crushed. You won’t regret it.

This pineapple carrot is absolutely a cut (slice?) above the rest.

Pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s get into the cake details.

This sweet and spicy cake is uncomplicated where all you’ll need is 2 bowls, a whisk, and a rubber spatula. No mixer required, but a little arm muscle to really get those wet and dry ingredients combined. Easy, yes, but that doesn’t mean the carrot cake is plain. It’s bursting with spice flavor and completed with a dense and tangy blanket of cream cheese frosting on top. Baking this carrot cake as a sheet cake in a 9×13 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.

Crushed or chunks? I vote for crushed. Crushed pineapple acts more like a wet ingredient than an optional addition. (Read: added moisture, a good thing!) I also didn’t want large chunks of pineapple in my slices, which could take away from the cake’s other flavors. And because pineapple is sweet, I slightly reduced the sugar in this carrot cake recipe. While most carrot cakes are cloyingly sweet, this one hits the mark where you KNOW it’s dessert but also don’t feel a cavity forming at first bite.

On a moist level (ew?), this pineapple carrot cake reminds me of my favorite banana cake. Remember the one I obsessed over and recreated last summer? Just like that. If it’s not stick-to-the-back-of-your-fork moist, it’s just not worth it.

We aren’t lacking on the flavor scale either, like I mentioned above. The cake is sweetened *mostly* from dark brown sugar. Light brown works just the same, but I love the extra hint of molasses from dark– especially when baking carrot cakes, spice cakes, and the like. There’s also the mighty gang of spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. And pineapple too, of course.

As for the texture? This pineapple carrot cake is between a dense pound cake with tight crumbs and fluffy white cake with looser crumbs. Somewhere in the middle where it’s a little bit of both. Distinctively cake-like and moist, sort of fluffy and a little dense with speckles of carrots swirled throughout. Make sure you grate your own carrots. Extra moisture that way. (Again, a good thing!) Here is the grater I own and love.

Pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I told you: an actual blanket of cream cheese frosting. ↓

Super moist and spiced pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Feel free to get fancy with a piping tip or you can garnish the cake with chunks of pineapples, extra walnuts, toasted coconut, whatever. I decided for a rustic look. Aka: the hungry lazy girl’s method. Spread & serve.

Super moist and spiced pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Slice & devour.

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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 oil1
  • 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)2
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained3
  • 1 cup (125g) Diamond of California 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x13 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.

Make ahead tip: 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.

Recipe Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Want a layer cake instead? Follow this recipe and the assembly/baking directions in my carrot layer cake. Use the frosting recipe in the layer cake (makes a little more than this).

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

This recipe is adapted from this super moist spice cake, which is basically a deliciously spiced apple version of today’s carrot cake recipe!

Super moist spice cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Icing Spatula | Kitchenaid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Glass Baking Dish

You’ll also love my cheesecake swirl carrot bundt cake!

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

In partnership with Diamond of California. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

The best carrot cake recipe is this pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! Moist, spiced, and so easy! Easter dessert on sallysbakingaddiction.com

188 Comments

All Comments

  1. Hi Sally! I am planning to make this cake for my mother in law’s birthday. Would it be possible to make it a two layer round? And if so, can i substitute ginger and cloves with more cinnamon and nutmeg? Unfortunately here in Japan they don’t have ginger and cloves on hand. Thank you.

    1. Hi Ciara! For a 2 layer cake, divide between 2 9×2 inch cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. You can switch the spices to what you have on hand.

  2. I found your recipe on line doing a search for carrot cake , baked it for Christmas day and it was a fabulous result , everyone loved it , super moist with the pineapple in it , hard to stop going back for yet another piece of it , Thanks for sharing it and Happy Christmas you you and your family .

  3. My husband loves, loves, loves carrot cake. Whenever we go to a cupcake shop his order is always carrot cake. I saw this recipe with pineapple and I was intrigued. I made it and ended up having a house full of friends and neighbors for an impromptu dinner. Luckily I had baked this cake and it was AMAZING! The 9×13 pan was gone immediately. Huge hit! Note: I did omit the walnuts. Thanks for the fabulous recipe.

  4. So I did a little modifying,I used a gluten free flour blend,and a cup and a half of coconut palm sugar for both sugars,oh my goodness I ate one as soon as it was cool enough without frosting ,delicious ! Thank you so much for the recipe,I’m going to make a stevia cream cheese frosting.

  5. Hi Sally
    I was about to bake your supermoist carrot cake when I came across this one. I am making a three tier cake ( with your pistachio cake as top layer!!) and want to use the carrot as the base layer in a 10 inch pan.
    Which of your two carrot cakes would you suggest as the better option? I will bake ahead and freeze the tiers and I feel the one with pineapple will be a better option? Also, the slightly higher quantity of flour used in the recipe will fill a 10 x 3 springform better?
    Thanks as always
    Yasmin.

    1. Hi Yasmin! Truthfully, either of the carrot cakes would be OK for the bottom tier. I really love this one because of the addition of pineapple though. 🙂

  6. We were going to make a chocolate cake after dinner tonight, and randomly didn’t have cocoa powder, but had all the ingredients to make this cake! We just ate it and it was AMAZING! Thank you for a fabulous recipe!

  7. Hi Sally, This is so close to the recipe my grandmother and I have used! I have struggled converting hers to cupcakes….have you made this into cupcakes or do you think it would work well? Thanks so much!

  8. Thank you for the recipe, a touch of feedback tho. I am not a big baker so when I saw 45-55 min. I set the oven to 55 min. Big mistake! It’s a bit on the dry side. I had someone bake me a carrot cake once and it was raw in the middle. So probably afraid of that, Most carrot cakes (I now see) are 30-45 min. So I will go for the 35-45 min rule & check it from now on when baking this cake. Thank you!

    1. It will depend on the pan you use, Sally has baked in a glass pan which always takes longer. I made this recipe in a metal pan and it took 35mins

  9. I baked this caked yesterday for my husbands birthday. I followed the recipe exactly, weighing the dry measurements. The spices were wonderful, and the addition of the pineapple was what I was looking for. The cake was done at 43 minutes using a 9X13 glass pan. I was very disappointed with how dry the cake was. I have double checked the recipe to see if I missed anything, but cannot see that I did.

  10. Hi Sally,
    Excited to make this for a picnic this weekend, planning to make ahead of time. This recipe says to store in the fridge and layer cake says room temp. Which do you think provides better next day results? Also, how much does the moistness/texture degrade making it 1 day in advance or 2 days in advance vs day of?

    Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Monica! Either works. The cake stays fresh and moist when covered tightly. I prefer leaving it at room temperature overnight. When doing so, I frost it the next day. The frosting is best stored in the fridge.

  11. Hi Sally,
    I was thinking of making this carrot cake for the weekend but then I saw your apple crumble cake recipe! Is it possible if I put the crumble on top of this carrot cake instead? Will the baking time be different? Or will I need to bake the cake halfway then add the crumble on top and continue baking?

    1. Hi Ieza! That would be SO good. Cover the batter with the crumb topping before baking. Bake time will be similar, but it may require a couple extra minutes since it will be covered in the crumb topping.

  12. I wanted to thank you for another great recipe, Sally! My oldest daughter turned 8 last week, but was at camp for the week, so we celebrated as our family of 4 tonight. I always give the girls their choice of the kind of cake they want me to bake. Initially, she wanted the strawberry cake I made last year (also your recipe), but since she is a flower girl in a wedding this weekend and sometimes gets a rash on her face from strawberries, I suggested she give me a second option. She wanted a carrot cake. So, I made it, it was delicious and now I have to hide it from myself or I’ll completely blow my diet! I told my husband I would pack a couple pieces up for him to share tomorrow and he asked me, “why are you giving away our cake?” Raves from the whole family!!! The pineapple is an amazing addition and don’t even get me started on the frosting!

  13. Dear Sally,

    I wanted to bake an eggless version of this cake. What can I substitute for eggs and in what quantity. Thank you.

    Regards,
    Vrinda

  14. Can I just say that I didn’t care for carrot cake till I tried your recipe?! My husband and everybody who tried it LOVES it! I want you to know that you’re awesome

  15. I made this cake in an 8-inch square pan by halving the recipe and then again in a 6-inch round pan by quartering it. Worked well both times. I really appreciate that the ingredients are listed in grams. Tasted great.

  16. Would it be possible to substitute zucchini for the carrot? I’m making a cake for my dad’s birthday and I have lots of zucchini (and he’s not a chocolate fan otherwise I’d make your chocolate zucchini cake!) Or would the zucchini be too moist?

    1. Yes, you can definitely make that swap! A pineapple zucchini cake would be fantastic and I don’t think it would be too moist at all.

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Reviews

  1. My husband loves, loves, loves carrot cake. Whenever we go to a cupcake shop his order is always carrot cake. I saw this recipe with pineapple and I was intrigued. I made it and ended up having a house full of friends and neighbors for an impromptu dinner. Luckily I had baked this cake and it was AMAZING! The 9×13 pan was gone immediately. Huge hit! Note: I did omit the walnuts. Thanks for the fabulous recipe.

  2. We were going to make a chocolate cake after dinner tonight, and randomly didn’t have cocoa powder, but had all the ingredients to make this cake! We just ate it and it was AMAZING! Thank you for a fabulous recipe!

  3. Can I just say that I didn’t care for carrot cake till I tried your recipe?! My husband and everybody who tried it LOVES it! I want you to know that you’re awesome

  4. I made this cake in an 8-inch square pan by halving the recipe and then again in a 6-inch round pan by quartering it. Worked well both times. I really appreciate that the ingredients are listed in grams. Tasted great.

Questions

  1. Hi Sally
    I was about to bake your supermoist carrot cake when I came across this one. I am making a three tier cake ( with your pistachio cake as top layer!!) and want to use the carrot as the base layer in a 10 inch pan.
    Which of your two carrot cakes would you suggest as the better option? I will bake ahead and freeze the tiers and I feel the one with pineapple will be a better option? Also, the slightly higher quantity of flour used in the recipe will fill a 10 x 3 springform better?
    Thanks as always
    Yasmin.

    1. Hi Yasmin! Truthfully, either of the carrot cakes would be OK for the bottom tier. I really love this one because of the addition of pineapple though. 🙂

  2. Hi Sally, This is so close to the recipe my grandmother and I have used! I have struggled converting hers to cupcakes….have you made this into cupcakes or do you think it would work well? Thanks so much!

  3. Hi Sally,
    Excited to make this for a picnic this weekend, planning to make ahead of time. This recipe says to store in the fridge and layer cake says room temp. Which do you think provides better next day results? Also, how much does the moistness/texture degrade making it 1 day in advance or 2 days in advance vs day of?

    Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Monica! Either works. The cake stays fresh and moist when covered tightly. I prefer leaving it at room temperature overnight. When doing so, I frost it the next day. The frosting is best stored in the fridge.

  4. Hi Sally,
    I was thinking of making this carrot cake for the weekend but then I saw your apple crumble cake recipe! Is it possible if I put the crumble on top of this carrot cake instead? Will the baking time be different? Or will I need to bake the cake halfway then add the crumble on top and continue baking?

    1. Hi Ieza! That would be SO good. Cover the batter with the crumb topping before baking. Bake time will be similar, but it may require a couple extra minutes since it will be covered in the crumb topping.

  5. Dear Sally,

    I wanted to bake an eggless version of this cake. What can I substitute for eggs and in what quantity. Thank you.

    Regards,
    Vrinda

  6. Would it be possible to substitute zucchini for the carrot? I’m making a cake for my dad’s birthday and I have lots of zucchini (and he’s not a chocolate fan otherwise I’d make your chocolate zucchini cake!) Or would the zucchini be too moist?

    1. Yes, you can definitely make that swap! A pineapple zucchini cake would be fantastic and I don’t think it would be too moist at all.

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