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. Hi Sally,

    I have some leftover sour cream. Can I sub in some of the oil for it?

    Since it’s only me and my husband, can I halve the recipe for a 8×8 dish?

    Thanks!!

    1. Hi Katrina! You can halve this recipe for a 9-inch square baking pan. The 8-inch is too small unless you make a couple cupcakes on the side. You can try using some sour cream for the oil in your halved recipe, but I’m unsure of the exact results. The cake may not taste quite as rich or moist.

      1. Hi Sally,

        I baked it last night where I halved the recipe for an 8×8 dish. It was awesome!! I did keep the same proportion of oil in your recipe. I just added the same amount of sour cream and it definitely made it rise a lot! It was fluffy but moist. My baking dish is pretty deep so thankfully it all fit in one pan. My husband and I killed half of the cake last night.

  2. Sally Trinidad says:

    HI, Sally! I am Sally

    I do not have confectioners’ sugar for the frosting, what can i replace it with?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Sally, Although I have never tried it myself, I have read that you can make your own confectioners sugar with regular white sugar, corn starch, and a high powered blender. Let me know if you try it!

    2. Irene Berard says:

      I made this carrot cake for my dads birthday and he loved it. My parents said it was the best carrot cake they’ve ever had! Thanks for the delicious recipe!!

  3. Hi Sally!
    This recipe looks wonderful! I was wondering if it would turn out okay if I halved the recipe??
    Thanks

    1. Hi Zoe, Yes you should be able to halve the recipe. Enjoy!

  4. Excellent cake! I made a 9 x 13 pan and the only substitution was 1/2 cup of raisins & 1/2 cup walnuts instead of 1 cup walnuts.
    It was perfect! Thank you so much for an awesome recipe that I will definitely be using again & again!

  5. Hi Sally!
    My dad accidentally grabbed a bag of cake flour instead of all purpose flour at the grocery, so now I’m looking for ways to use it up. Do you think it would be fine to use cake flour in this recipe? I tried it a few weeks ago with all purpose flour and it turned out super yummy!!!

    1. Hi Ariana, cake flour is too light for this cake. Here are all of my recipes using cake flour if you are interested.

  6. Hi Sally, Will this cake work if I skip carrots and the spices just add crushed pineapple and no walnuts?

    1. No it wouldn’t. If you are looking for just a pineapple cake I would suggest my Pineapple Upside Cake.

      1. Thank you for letting me know!

      2. Hi Sally,i created your pineapple and carrot cake using 1 and 3/4 of date syrup instead of sugar.also i used self raising flour instead of plain flour. The cake appeared too dense,any tips on rectify the problem?

  7. This cake was so wonderful I am making it again. I threw in some raisins I had and they worked well with this recipe. A moist and delicious cake.

  8. This is absolutely the best carrot cake i have ever made. Wonder isfit can be turned into cupcakes. Any suggestions?

    1. I turned this into cupcakes/muffins. The baking time was about 20 minutes. They came out well and we ate most of them before we got to the frosting part! Agree with others on the raisins. Great addition.

  9. Best carrot cake you’ll ever have !

    I didn’t have a question, do you know how much many cupcakes this recipe makes?

  10. Made this for my father in laws birthday & he said it was the best he ever had ( it was super delicious if I do say so myself).
    Thank you for the recipe!

  11. Is there a substitute for the cloves? I don’t have any and don’t want to go to the store if I don’t neeeeeeed to right now. I have everything else just not that.

    1. Hi Kristina, If you don’t have any you can leave them out. You can slightly increase another of the spices to make up for the flavor if you wish, or try allspice if you have it.

  12. Amazing recipe, my cake was moist and delicious. It was better the next day, after it had time to sit in the fridge for longer and be cold.

  13. Hi Sally,

    I am planning on making this recipe today – what do you recommend for bake time if I’d like to do this in two 9 inch round cake pans (to make a layer cake)? Should I double the frosting as well?

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Hi Victoria, See recipe note #6 🙂

  14. Hello! I’m planning to bake this tomorrow but I cannot find the other spices in stores!!! Can I still make this if I only have the ground cinnamon??? Thank you

  15. Victoria Lea says:

    OMG Sally cake is too die for!!!
    I had my mom’s recipe for pineapple carrots cake and lost it, I have tried a few and was not happy. Yours is bang on…..
    Thanks for giving my Momma ,s recipe back to me❤️

  16. Judy Black says:

    This cake is absolutely delicious and moist. I added a half cup more of carrots, and precooked them with the oil in microwave for 10 minutes. I added them to the batter while they were hot. This reduced my baking time by approximately 12-14 minutes. I also used pecans instead of walnuts.

  17. This recipe is fabulous! I could eat the frosting by itself. Vegetable oil kinda freaks me out, so I substituted melted and cooled butter. This is my first carrot cake, but I suspect the first of many from my boyfriend’s reaction.

    1. ChareA Fairey says:

      How did it come out using butter?

  18. May I substitute melted coconut oil for the canola/vegetable oil? Would this work? Can’t wait to make this recipe!

    1. Sure can!

  19. Hi Sally,
    Would this recipe still work if I omit the walnuts (nut allergy)? Would I need to adjust the other ingredients at all?
    Thank you! Can’t wait to bake this one!

    1. Hi Melanie, You can simply leave the nuts out with no other adjustments.

      1. Thanks so much!!!

  20. Lauren Ross says:

    Hi Sally! Can I substitute coconut sugar in this recipe? We’re out of granulated and brown, haven’t been able to find any in stock. Thanks! And thank you so much for all the delicious smiles your recipes have brought to our family over the past couple of months

    1. Hi Lauren, I have not tested this recipe with coconut sugar, but let me know if you try it!

  21. Made this for Mother’s Day tomorrow. Looks amazing. The icing is just the perfect amount. I made 3 in the 8 inch pans. Perfect for layering.

  22. Can this be mad in loaf pans?

    1. Hi Fran, you can bake this batter in loaf pans. It should make 2 loaves. I’m unsure of the bake time, but use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  23. Made it in two 7×4 loaf pans! Baked about 65-70 minutes. Great tasting and very moist. Husband approved

  24. Hi Sally,

    I only have baking powder – should I use 3 teaspoons of that?

    Love your recipes and can’t wait to try this one!

    1. Hi Kay, unfortunately baking powder and soda aren’t interchangeable in recipes. This recipe requires the use of both. If you’re ever interested, you can read more on my Baking Powder Vs Baking Soda page.

  25. Hi Sally! Is it okay to use 1 and 1/4 cup AP flour and 1 and 1/4 whole wheat flour? I’d like to mix it with whole wheat flour what ratio would you recommend? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kaye! The more whole wheat flour you use in a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour, the denser it will taste. Keeping that in mind, you can make any amount of substitution. This will taste pretty dense with any amount of whole wheat flour since it’s already supposed to be a dense cake.

  26. Can you make this with light bream cheese?

  27. i’m pondering baking this. To my surprise, I don’t have a 13×9 (117sq in) but I do have 2 8×8 square (64 sq in each = 128total sq inch). Any tips for this and possible layering of the resultant cakes?

    1. Hi Tim, you can divide this batter between the two 8-inch square baking pans. I’m unsure of the best bake time. They’ll be very thick cakes, but you can certainly layer them if you’d like.

  28. Hey Sally! I was wondering if I could add raisins, if so how much would you recommend or any recipe adjustments to recommend with the addition of raisins? Thank you!

    1. Hi Bryanna, You can add 1 cup of raisins if you wish. I do often add them to this Carrot Cake recipe (see recipe notes).

  29. Hi Sally,

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. It looks similar to the carrot cake Whole Foods sells. Which is absolutely delicious. I was wondering if i should drain the pineapple after I crush it?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Maddy, you can drain most of the juice from the pineapples before adding them.

  30. HI Sally,
    I am making this recipe for a vegetarian who won’t eat eggs. I am planning to replace the 4 eggs with 4 tbsp of chia seeds soaked in 12 tbsp of water. Do you have any recommendations for making this recipe egg-free, and still keep the moisture? Should I add extra oil, or pineapple juice?

    1. Hi Satbir, I have never tested this recipe with an egg substitute so I’m unsure of the results.

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