A scratch carrot cake with pineapple that’s covered with cream cheese frosting. This recipe makes a very moist homemade carrot layer cake using brown sugar, spices, pineapple and walnuts. It’s also the perfect cake for Easter.
I love the idea of the ‘loaded’ carrot cake. One with lots of carrots, lots of pineapple and walnuts for crunch.
This cake is a really moist carrot cake and when you top it with cream cheese buttercream it’s so addicting. It’s perfect for spring or Easter, but you really don’t need to wait for those times to eat it…I feel like any time’s a good time for carrot cake.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
Now let’s talk a little about the ingredients that are in this cake. (The list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice: These are the spices you’ll add and they are actually needed because they, along with the carrots, are what creates that classic carrot cake flavor.
Brown sugar: I really like the use of brown sugar in this cake because it adds some depth to the flavor.
Carrots: Ok, obviously we’ve got carrots in a carrot cake. You’ll definitely want to use thinly shredded carrots though. (Make sure to read the FAQ section in this post for tips on that.)
Chopped walnuts: These are completely optional, but if you want some crunch, then go ahead and add them.
Cream cheese buttercream: Ok, this isn’t one of the cake ingredients, but you’ll want to cover the cake in a frosting of some sort and this stuff is really good on carrot cake. You can find that recipe here: Cream cheese buttercream
Mixing Method Notes:
Let’s talk a little about the mixing method. (The exact instructions are in the recipe card below.)
The mixing method for this cake isn’t complicated at all. There’s no alternately adding ingredients with this one.
You’ll add the dry ingredients to one bowl, the liquid ingredients to another bowl, then just add that into the dry ingredients. At that point, you’ll add in the carrots, pineapple and walnuts.
That’s it…super simple.
Tips & FAQs:
Yes, it does. Just like apple cakes have apples, pumpkin cake has pumpkin and zucchini cake has zucchini, carrot cake does contain shredded carrots.
I know it’s hard for some to imagine putting carrots in a cake and it coming out actually tasting good, put it really is!
Carrot cake tastes like a spice cake, which would include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc. It doesn’t taste like carrots although they do enhance the flavor. The carrots soften while baking and give the cake a good texture and moisture.
This cake is moist and it will stick to your pans if you don’t prepare them well. Make sure to grease and flour them well.
It’s not a good idea to leave out the spices. The spices, in addition to the carrots, are what give the cake that classic carrot cake flavor.
Make sure you’re spooning the flour into the measuring cups and not packing it in as that could add too much flour and make the cake too dense.
Make sure to use thinly shredded carrots. You can peel them with a vegetable peeler and then just use a box grater to shred them up and make sure to use the thin side of the grater. You can also use a food processor.
Make sure not to use the thickly pre-shredded carrots that you can buy at the store. Those aren’t shredded thinly enough.
Either is fine here, but I used light brown sugar. Make sure you pack it into your measuring cup.
You’ll be using 8 oz. of crushed pineapple and you don’t want to drain it. Make sure to add that whole can into your cake batter, juice and all.
Yes, you certainly can.
Yes, this cake can be made ahead of time. Once baked and iced, cover it well and store in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days.
To freeze, wrap the unfrosted cooled cake layers in plastic wrap, then in foil and place in the freezer for up to one month. To thaw, set the cake layers out at room temperature and leave the wrappings on while the cake layers thaw. Once defrosted, remove the wrappings and add frosting.
If you cover this cake with cream cheese buttercream, then it will need to be stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover it well so that it doesn’t dry out and it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days.
This cake is best served at room temperature, however since it needs to be stored in the refrigerator, set the cake out about 20-30 minutes before serving or warm up a slice in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
This cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.
I have not tested out this recipe as cupcakes, but it should work fine. Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔ of the way full and bake at 350 degrees F instead of 325. Start checking the cupcakes for doneness at around 20 minutes or so.
This cake is perfect for spring or Easter, but you can also make this any time you have a craving for carrot cake.
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Ok let’s get to the recipe!
Note About Recipe Measurements: I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are more familiar with and I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated when baking. For metric/weight measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card below. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s just a best guess. I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results, since I test recipes using volume measurements.
Scratch Carrot Cake with Pineapple
- 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour (Make sure not to pack the flour down into the measuring cup. Spoon flour into the cup, don't scoop the flour.)
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups thinly grated carrots (about 4 -5 medium carrots)
- 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple, not drained
- 1 ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour two 8" round (2" inch deep) cake pans and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together the oil, sugars, eggs and extract. Whisk well and add to the dry mixture.
- Mix by hand or with an electric mixer on medium until just combined.
- Stir in the shredded carrots, pineapple and walnuts.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.
- Set the pans on wire racks to cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the racks and let them cool out of the pans completely before adding frosting. (See notes for frosting links)
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