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

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

342 Comments

  1. Thanks, Sally! Just made a single layer cake using this recipe and closely watched it while baking. Came out perfectly moist and delicious. Made only half of the icing yet still had a bit of it leftover despite generously frosting the cake. Will definitely make it again x

  2. Thank you for this and all your other wonderful recipes. This carrot cake is the best and I typically have no left-overs when I make this as everyone fight to take home the left-overs. The frosting is truly very good. Thank you!

    1. You are welcome, Casey! I’m thrilled this cake is such a hit!

  3. Hi Sally, thanks for all your great recipe. Love this cake, since it has small crumbs and holds together very well. You mentioned that you bake in a glass 9 by 11 dish. Do you leave the cake in the baking dish, or do you turn it out.

    Thanks
    Carol

    1. Hi Carol, I usually do leave this cake in the glass pan when serving it, but you can certainly turn it out of the pan if you wish. Enjoy!

  4. Dearest Sally,

    First of all please allow me to congratulate you on your valentines day news; such a beautiful gesture to share your joy with us.

    Well, down to the business of the baking. Sally’s addiction has turned very much into my addiction.
    My first attempt was your profiteroles: first ever attempt at this dessert.
    Wow we couldn’t believe it! My husband and I ate them all the same afternoon just nodding and smiling at each other. Absolute perfection! Thank you Sally.
    Of course I couldnt stop there, the very next day we made your champagne roll and devoured it with the same relish and almost disbelief at how delicious it was. Then the next day was the chocolate roll, there were two slices left at bedtime and my husband sent me down for them at 4am. He said he couldn’t sleep for thinking about  them .
    Next day was followed by the pizza and  the triple chocolate cake. I only discovered you a week ago so it’s been a daily thing hahaha.
    They are truly better than the bakers, I never believed it was possible. I bake often but they always have that amateurish feel about them, like theres something missing but cant figure out quite what.
    Your recipes are truly amazing; the work and love that goes into explaining every detail touches  my heart. I feel like I’ve been given a wonderful gift with each recipe.

    Thank you Sally from my heart for these beautiful recipes which I know come from love, dedication and pure joy. I believe  that’s why they are so special.
    Sending love and blessings and  so many thanks for the joy you’ve given me and so many others with your recipes.
    I woke up excited to get up and make your pineapple carrot cake,
    Here goes… wishing you and your family a wonderful weekend.
    With love

    1. Janet, Welcome to the site! I’m so happy you are here! It sounds like you had a very delicious week and I can’t wait to hear what you bake next 🙂

  5. Sally!!
    This was by far the best carrot cake I made! Was worried at first of how liquid the mix was, but decided to go ahead and trust it with my heart & soul as it was for my partner’s friend’s birthday (who I was meeting for the first time sooo the pressure was on!)
    It was the hit of the night!
    Definitely keeping this recipe close for upcoming get togethers!

    1. I’m thrilled that the cake was a hit, Tamara!

  6. Hi Sally! This recipe looks so good but I have a few questions.
    1. Do i put the juice of the crushed pineapple?
    2. Can I skip the spices? Will it still turn out good? Thanks!
    Oh and btw, the chewy Chocolate chip cookies turned out so good! Thanks!

    1. Hi Diana, I do drain most of the juice from the pineapples before adding them. I don’t recommend skipping the spices – they add a lot of flavor!

    2. Hi Sally!
      I just baked your pineapple carrot cake! It’s very similar to my family recipe with the exception of the brown sugar and ginger cloves and nutmeg. We usually just add cinnamon and white sugar, but I thought those additions sounded fabulous. We also do a blanket of cream cheese frosting! My kitchen smells amazing. We’ll be slicing it up and delivering to family members doorsteps tomorrow for an Easter surprise in this time of quarantine. Hope you and your family are well. Take care. Can’t wait to try the cake tomorrow!

  7. Best carrot cake Ever!

  8. Dear Sally, In your carrot cake recipe, I used 1/2 a cup of unsweetened applesauce, that comes in a 4 oz. cup. Then I used it to measure the 4 oz. of oil. So I had no oily measuring cup to wash. I also used stevia in the raw sweetener in place of the white sugar. And my husband didn’t notice. Have you ever used raisins in this cake? Or do you have another recipe with raisins? Thank you for such a lovely cake recipe.

    1. I’m so glad you made it work for you and your husband, Sewma! You can add 1 cup of raisins if you wish. I do often add them to this Carrot Cake recipe (see recipe notes).

  9. I want to make cupcakes. How long should I bake these for?

    1. Hi Elise, Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

      1. Danielle Sida says:

        Can I split the brown sugar and white sugar into half for example half white and half brown or will the flavour be different and if I can what measurements would they be ? Because you use more brown than white and most recipes I’ve seen they are using 200g white 200g brown can I do this also with this recipe or will it be too sweet?

  10. Can this recipe be used for cuocakea

    1. Sure can! Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

      1. That was some impressive translating! I was trying to figure out what cuocakea was! 😀

  11. Thanks so much! Hoping to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Mary Clayton says:

    Very good recipe! Thank you

  13. My son is a very fussy eater. I made this for his birthday.
    Firstly he had a very small piece thereafter he kept on going.
    Lol. Thanks again for your lovely receipy.
    Everyone enjoyed your cake.

  14. Hi Sally, Love this recipe!!! I add some grated lime peel and juice to the cream cheese frosting! It’s soooo good! Hugs from Rotterdam!

    1. That sounds delicious, Matias! I’m glad you enjoyed the cake!

  15. Hello, I’m by no means a baker of any sort, and was trying this recipe for the first time. I’m a little confused as to the grams to cups conversion…I measured out 312 grams and ended up with only 2 1/4 cups. Then checked online and it said that 1 cup of all purpose flour is 120 grams, so 2 1/2 cups would be 300 grams. None of these numbers match up and I don’t want to ruin this recipe. Any help on clearing up my confusion would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi Nick! My spoon and leveled flour measures to be about 125g per cup. I use King Arthur Flour in all my recipe testing and written recipes. 2 and 1/2 usually measures to the gram measurement given. I recommend following the measurements given as that’s how I bake (and tested) this cake. Thanks for checking!

  16. An excellent cake recipe… perfect spices, moist, just amazing. Dad loved it for his birthday!

  17. Hi Sally!
    i was wondering if i could substitute with whole wheat flour? If yes, would it be 1:1? Would I need to reduce the butter/oil?
    Thanks!

    1. I do not recommend whole wheat flour in this recipe. The cake would turn out very dense.

      1. thanks for the reply!

  18. Ashida Parol says:

    Hi Sally,

    I am allergic to walnuts. What can I substitute it with ?

    1. You can leave them out, or replace them with a different nut or raisins if you wish.

  19. Hi Sally, to what extend do we whisk the wet ingredients? Good enough to just whisk them till they are mixed? Thanks.

    1. Hi Jenny, Whisk them together until they are combined with no lumps remaining. Enjoy!

  20. Hi Sally…. can I substitute apple sauce for pineapple crush??? I am not able to find good quality pineapple…. thanks

    1. Hi Kiran, You can use my Favorite Carrot Cake recipe which calls for applesauce instead of pineapple 🙂

  21. The cake was a bit sweet for me (I should have backed off on the sugar) and for some reason, when it came out, it was very dense in the centre. Perhaps I didn’t cook it for long enough. But it is still delicious and fun to make, my husband is still enjoying it! Thank you for sharing it!

  22. Stephanie Johnson says:

    Hi Sally,
    Would it be possible to make this as a pineapple upside down cake (adding pineapple rings to bottom of pan without changing your recipe)?

    1. Hi Stephanie! This batter could easily overflow with the pineapple topping on the bottom of the 9×13 inch pan. You may want to only fill 1/2 – 2/3 full then use extra batter for some cupcakes on the side. Let me know if you try it!

  23. Hi Sally, do you think I can replace the cloves/ginger/nutmeg with pure maple syrup in replacement for the spice taste.. and since syrup is sweet, thought I can cut back on sugar.

    If you think it’s possible, what should the amount of brown sugar and maple syrup be?

    1. Hi Vanessa! I don’t recommend replacing spices with maple syrup.

  24. Can I replace the pineapples with banana? Trying to figure out something I can make with what I have!

    1. Hi Marcia, You can try using banana or applesauce, or see my Carrot Cake Recipe which doesn’t call for pineapple 🙂

  25. Hi Sally,

    I’ve made this twice and it is my all time favorite my husband wants raisins in his carrot cake could I add them and it not effect how the cake turns out??

    1. Absolutely! I recommend 1 cup.

  26. Best Pineapple Carrot Cake recipe ever!! Husband is very picky and he LOVED it!! Thanks Sally!!

  27. Awesome recipe! 45 minutes was slightly too long in my darker metal pan, and I added golden raisins in place of the walnuts but it’s still delicious!

  28. Could you 1/2 the recipe and make this into a loaf pan?

    1. That should fit, yes. I’m unsure of the exact bake time, but bake it at 350°F (177°C).

  29. I got so many compliments on this amazing cake. I made it as a Bundt. Thank you!

  30. Amy Jackson says:

    This is without a doubt the best carrot cake recipe I’ve used! I’m really bad at layer cakes and because carrot cakes are so moist and dense, they always look even worse so I loved making it in a 9×13 pan. I added some sweetened coconut and raisins and had some fresh pineapple that needed to be eaten so I used that. It was great the first day and even better the second, so it would work really well as a make ahead dessert. Thanks for posting this!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, Amy!

    2. Hi Sally, I made this today and it turned out perfect! Was wondering if the eggs can be substituted for anything ?

      Kind regards,
      Hina:)

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