Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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

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 truly the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted. It’s similar to my classic carrot cake recipe, but there’s a massively flavorful addition today: crushed pineapple.

Today’s cake is incredibly moist, bursting with spice flavor, and completed with a dense and tangy blanket of cream cheese frosting on top. Baking this pineapple 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. Let’s get started!

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

Why You Should Add Pineapple to Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is my #1 favorite cake flavor, but did you know you can turn things up about 800 notches by adding pineapple? The flavor this fruit brings is divine and it reminds me of my hummingbird cake, another personal and reader favorite. When it comes down to it, pineapple brightens up the cake’s flavor. Grab a can of crushed pineapple (or crush your own) OR a can of chopped pineapple and pulse until crushed. You won’t regret this!

Pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Pineapple Carrot Cake

Just like classic carrot cake, this is a quick and easy homemade cake recipe– no complicated steps or kitchen utensils required.

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the carrots, pineapple, and walnuts.
  4. Pour the batter into a prepared 9×13 baking pan.
  5. Bake.
  6. Make the frosting.
  7. Frost the completely cooled cake.
  8. Refrigerate the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
  9. Slice & enjoy!

You can also make today’s pineapple carrot cake as a layer cake or bundt cake.

As a layer cake: Use this cake batter recipe, then bake and assemble following the directions in my carrot cake recipe. Use that frosting recipe, too– it makes a little bit more than today’s so you’ll have enough frosting for in between the layers and around the sides.

As a bundt cake: Follow this 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.

Pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Should I Use Crushed Pineapple or Chunks?

I vote for crushed. Why?

Crushed pineapple acts more like a wet ingredient than an optional addition. This means more added moisture to your cake– a good thing! I also didn’t want large chunks of pineapple in my slices, which could easily take away from the cake’s other flavors. Using either kind of pineapple yields a delicious result, it comes down to personal preference. 🙂 (If you love pineapple, you have to try my pineapple upside down cake recipe next!)

Pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Let’s Decorate!

We’ll garnish our pineapple carrot cake with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. It’s sweet, silky, and tangy, and pairs wonderfully with the cake’s warm spice flavor. I love baking sheet cakes because there’s no fancy or intricate decorating– a simple swipe of frosting does the trick. Try adding extra walnuts, sprinkles, toasted coconut, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or pineapple decor once frosted. Still simple, but totally beautiful!

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

Print
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Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • 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!

Super moist spice cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

353 Comments

  1. Frances S. says:

    Absolute home-run of a recipe! With the exception of omitting ground cloves because I didn’t have it on hand, so I added a touch more ground nutmeg and ginger, I made this recipe exactly as stated and it has turned out perfectly every. single. time. Moist, excellent texture, and a beautiful combination of spices with the right amount of carrots, pineapple and texture from the walnuts, this truly is the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever used. Since the recipe calls for vegetable oil (as opposed to butter)

    Hubby, friends and family absolutely LOVE it and my hubby’s boss even made a request for it after trying it! Truly a crowd-pleaser. Thank you so much for a fantastic recipe, Sally! Love your recipes.

  2. Best carrot cake recipe, added a few more walnuts and some toasted coconut ontop. YUM!

    1. Best carrot cake recipe, i added bittersweet chocolate droplets and raisins,, reduce the spices(ginger and cloves) to 1/4 teaspoon each.i used coconut oil since it is cheaper here in the Philippines. my kids really love it.

  3. Can this recipe be halved for an 8×8 pan?

    1. Yes, that would work! I’m unsure of the exact bake time needed but it will be shorter. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Enjoy!

  4. Sukhey Khela says:

    Such a delicious cake ! Thank you Sally! It’s best warm out of the oven (icing can wait lol). My mom has demolished most of it !! Will be baking again!
    Next time I will add more pineapple though.

  5. Sandra Casco says:

    Can you make this recipe into Cupcakes?

    1. Absolutely! Bake cupcakes for bout 19-22 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness.

  6. I had really high hopes for this one. I love carrot cake and my boyfriend makes an awesome one with pineapple so I thought this would match its tastiness, it didn’t.
    I couldn’t taste the pineapple at all. I just slightly crushed it as the recipe calls for but no, I didn’t like the results.

    It was a huge letdown since I’ve loved every single recipe I’ve found here but this one. Might give it another try but from now on I’ll never use crushed pineapple again. I’ll just leave it whole in small chunks.

  7. Hi Sally!
    Made an eggless version of this cake, used thick yogurt instead & it turned out superb!!
    Thanks for your wonderful recipes, they have made the whole lockdown period bearable!!

    1. How much yogurt did you use thanks

  8. This recipe is PHENOMENAL! I love it! I run a small bakery and now its a permanent on my menu.

    I have been receiving a lot of requests to make it eggless and was wondering what I could substitute it with?

  9. Hi Sally, I used 2 loaf pans because I don’t have the 9*13 inch pans and my oven isn’t big enough. The cake tasted fabulous. Everybody loved it but it was way too moist and falling apart. Do you think this because I used a loaf pan or something else? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve it the next time I make the cake.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kezia, It sounds like the cakes may have been under-baked. The cake would be much thicker in a loaf pan so may need additional time in the oven. They will be finished baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    2. Jacquie Walters says:

      Hi Sally
      Do you use the juice from the canned pineapple?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Jacquie, you will drain the pineapples. Enjoy!

  10. Linda Thomas says:

    My cake came out dry! The icing was good. If I made it again I would not make it in a 12×9” pan – maybe a smaller pan would make it better! Maybe it needs more oil- several recipes call for 1 1/2 cups oil

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Linda, It’s possible the cake was simply baked too long. If you try again begin checking the cake a few minutes earlier. For more troubleshooting tips see the post How to Prevent a Dry or Dense Cake.

  11. Can I make this with almond flour so that it is gluten free? So substitute almond flour for all purpose, same amount?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      No, we don’t recommend almond flour here. We have not tested this with gluten free flour but if you wish to try it you can try a cup for cup all purpose gluten free flour.

  12. I’m constantly stalking your page and trying your recipes but have never taken the time to thank you. I made this recipe into mini cakes for a wedding and they were a smash! Thank you so much for constantly bringing amazing recipes!

    The bride loves pineapple so I crushed 4 oz and left a lot of chunks. I used fresh carrots, grated half and shredded the other half. I also added 3/4 cups of chopped dried cranberries.

    For the frosting, I added 1 tbsp of pineapple juice and a dash of salt. It was super creamy and delicious!

  13. Could zucchini be added to this recipe and I forgot so what alterations would you suggest —? A little more flour ???

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Missy, You can swap some of the carrot for zucchini! Just be sure that the total amount of carrot plus zucchini equals about 2 cups.

  14. April Doiron says:

    Followed the recipe exactly except omitted the nuts cause husband hates nuts, and it was perfect. Spiced but not over the top, sweet but not overly so, perfect frosting, dense and moist but not gummy. The whole family loved it. I made a 9×13 cake and took it out of the oven at 40 minutes which was just rigbt for my oven.

  15. Can you use left over cooked shredded carrots in place of fresh carrots?

  16. Margaret olano says:

    Hi Sally. I know many people have asked if you can bake them as cupcakes. I want to use a mini muffin tin instead. Should I still bake for 20-22 minutes? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Margaret, For mini cupcakes, bake for about 12-13 minutes. Enjoy!

  17. Boitumelo Keabilwe says:

    I just love your recipes.. so easy to make and follow. Much love from me in botswana .

  18. Joyita Lakhmani (Haute Chocolat) India says:

    I made this today, was so afraid to initially as I had never ever attempted a carrot cake before! It was deeeeeliciioous! And the most fabulous cannot-go-wrong recipe…thank u so much, Sally! Shall be trying all your recipes from now on…

  19. I would like to add raisins before making….how much should I put in and making a Bundt cake.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joan, Yes you can add raisins! We recommend keeping the total amount of add-ins to 1 cup – so either half cup nuts and half cup raisins, or simply replace the nuts with raisins. For directions on how to bake this as a bundt cake see recipe notes. Enjoy!

  20. I haven’t made this lovely sounding recipe yet but have 2 questions before I do. 1) Would adding some orange zest to the cream cheese frosting ruin anything? 2) Would adding some cinnamon and clove to the cream cheese frosting ruin anything?

    Thanks for the help!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi John, You can add zest, cinnamon, and clove to the frosting. Sounds delicious – let us know if you try it!

      1. Sally, your advice arrived just in time for me to ice this cake and put in in the fridge for a while before bringing it (my bribe this week) to my student’s home. I added the zest from 1 orange, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. ground cloves to the icing. I can’t tell you how warm and delicious it is! My “comfort food” during these unusual times seems to come from the cozy sensation I get from warm spices. Thanks again, Sally, for yet another brilliant recipe!

  21. Could I add raisins and eliminate walnuts? If so, how much raisins would you put in? Thank you.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jen, Yes you can add raisins! We recommend keeping the total amount of add-ins to 1 cup – so simply replace the nuts with raisins.

  22. Mary Blindert-Willms says:

    This recipe was soo good and fun to make ! I made cupcakes and it made 36 cupcakes. I made a mistake and added the brown sugar to the dry ingredients instead of the egg mixture lol but when the crushed pineapple was added it fixed itself lol. both the frosting and the cupcakes were amazing !!! I added raisins and a home made trail mix that I had on hand for the nuts. So the addition of crushed up cashews, honey roasted peanuts and milk chocolate morsels were totally a bonus! I also sprinkled crushed candied pecans that I forgot I had to the top of the freshly iced cupcake and it was both beautiful and delicious!! thank you soo much for the recipe !!! this is totally worth the try!! it was not dry and full of flavor !! 😀 woo hoo!

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