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This moist Carrot Cake Sheet Cake is topped with a layer of silky smooth cream cheese frosting. It’s got all the characteristics of a layered carrot cake, but in a much simpler, less intimidating sheet cake form!

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A slice of carrot cake sheet cake with cream cheese frosting and a few chopped pecans on top.

Carrot cake is one of my FAVORITE cakes!  It’s got a moist cinnamon-y cake and a fluffy, smooth cream cheese frosting on top. I’ve kept this recipe nut-free and raisin-free (your kids will thank you!), but you can certainly add those if you’d like! See notes in recipe card below for details!

Though this easy carrot cake recipe is perfect for Easter dinner, it’s a great option for baking all spring and summer long!  And with the warm spices and cozy feel of the dreamy cream cheese frosting, it’s even great during the fall and winter months!

Ingredients needed to make a carrot cake on a white countertop.

Ingredients Needed

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda 
  • Salt
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Vegetable Oil – Or another neutral oil such as safflower or canola oil.
  • White Sugar & Brown Sugar – Light or Dark brown sugar will work.
  • Eggs – I use size “large” when baking.
  • Applesauce – Regular, unsweetened or cinnamon applesauce is great.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Fresh Carrots – You’ll want to shred these yourself (more on that below!)
  • Cream Cheese – Regular or the 1/3 less fat neufchâtel will work! Make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature.
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted butter will work.
  • Powdered Sugar – aka. Confectioner’s sugar
A slice of carrot cake sheet cake with cream cheese frosting; a bite has been taken out of the corner of the slice and a few chopped pecans on top.

How do you make carrot cake from scratch?

Why is it that carrot cake seems to be a bit intimidating? Is it because we typically see it in layer cake form? Either way, there’s really nothing super difficult or technical about making a carrot cake (or carrot cake sheet cake for that matter)!

I always start by prepping my carrots. You’ll simply cut the leafy stems off, peel and grate the carrots. I do NOT recommend using the bagged pre-shredded carrots. They’re just not the same (they’re dry and too chunky)!

Once the carrots are ready, the rest goes really quickly. You’ll combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl, add in the carrots, then stir in the dry ingredients. When fully combined, pour the cake batter into a greased sheet cake pan and bake!

When the a toothpick pressed into the center of the cake comes out clean, it’s done!   Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting recipe, you’ll beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and fluffy. I find this easiest to do in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  

Then add the powdered sugar and vanilla is added until nice and smooth. Once the cake cools, spread the frosting over top of the cake carefully, being sure not to tear the cake.

How do you decorate a sheet cake?

You can top the cake however you’d like! Here’s a couple ideas…

  • Add a little candy carrots to each piece or pipe colored frosting into carrots – this is a great option for Easter!
  • If you like pecans with your carrot cake, you can sprinkle chopped pecans on top. (If you have time to toast them first, that’ll add even more flavor!)
  • As with any cake, sprinkles are always a good option, too!! 🙂
A slice of carrot cake on a white plate with a carrot piped on top with frosting and pecans around the edge of the slice.

Variations of This Moist Carrot Sheet Cake

  • Use a Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting in place of the regular cream cheese frosting!  I’ve got a recipe I love here in this post – it’ll make the perfect amount for this cake.
  • Add raisins and/or pecans! More on that in the recipe card below.

How to Prepare Carrots for a Carrot Cake

First off, you’ll want to make sure you purchase whole carrots – NOT baby carrots or pre-shredded carrots. Once you have your whole carrots, here’s how to prepare them for the recipe:

  1. Cut the carrot tops off.
  2. Peel the carrots.
  3. Grate the carrots with a box grater or a food processor with a grater plate.  You can chop the grated carrots a bit for finer pieces, if you’d like even smaller pieces.
A fork with a bite of carrot cake on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I turn this recipe into cupcakes?

Yes!  To make carrot cake cupcakes, you’ll fill 24 muffin liners about 2/3 full of the batter and bake for about 15 minutes.  

How should I store carrot cake?

Carrot cake needs to be refrigerated due to the cream cheese frosting.  If you like it best served at room temperature, simply remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

​Can I freeze carrot cake?

Absolutely.  Cut the leftover cake into slices and place them in an airtight container with parchment paper between bars so they don’t stick together.

A slice of a moist carrot cake on a white plate with a bite out of it.

Other Sheet Cakes I Love

A slice of carrot cake sheet cake topped with frosting with a glass of milk in the background.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cool Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
20
Moist carrot cake is covered in a silky smooth cream cheese frosting for a simple, yet absolutely delicious dessert!

Equipment

  • One 9×13-inch pan

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups shredded carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • One 8 ounce package cream cheese softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
    2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, applesauce and vanilla; add the shredded carrots and mix well.
    1 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 cups shredded carrots
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (don't overmix).
  • Pour into prepared sheet pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. (A few moist crumbs are fine, but you don't want it to be gooey). Let cool completely.
  • Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
    One 8 ounce package cream cheese, 3 tablespoons butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Spread the frosting over the cooled carrot cake. Decorate with sprinkles, pecans, or little candy carrots.
  • Store the finished cake in the refrigerator.

Notes

To add raisins: Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raisins (regular or golden) to the batter when you stir in the carrots.  
To add walnuts or pecans:  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped nuts when you stir in the carrots.  Toast them prior to adding for extra flavor and crunch!
For a thinner cake, you can opt to bake this in a jellyroll pan.  It’ll take about 5-8 fewer minutes in the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 3.3g | Fat: 17.7g | Saturated Fat: 5.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6.5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 111.8mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 898IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 60.9mg | Iron: 0.54mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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