Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot Cake Bars
Photo: Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Karen Rankin
Active Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
40 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs
1 bars

If you love carrot cake but don't want to bake and frost multiple layers, these simplified Carrot Cake Bars are just what you're looking for. Crushed pineapple and shredded carrots add sweetness and moisture, ground cardamom and vanilla extract make the cake smell heavenly, and toasted walnuts add a nice crunch to offset the tender cake. And of course, a classic cream cheese frosting makes the perfect finishing touch, along with a sprinkling of toasted coconut chips. (We like Dang brand, which is sold at many supermarkets.) The bars are made in a 13- by 9-inch baking pan and a texture that's moist yet firm enough to be sliced into neat squares, making them a great choice to bring to a gathering. The bars and frosting can be made up to a day ahead. Cover them and store them separately in the refrigerator. Let the frosting come to room temperature before spreading it over the bars.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • ¾ cup canola oil

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided

  • 2 cups cups grated carrots (from 2 large carrots)

  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts, plus more for garnish

  • 1 (8-oz.) can or 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained (about 1/2 cup drained)

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • Toasted coconut chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cardamom, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk flour mixture into sugar mixture until well combined and smooth. Fold in carrots, walnuts, and crushed pineapple until combined. Grease a 13-x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray, and pour batter into prepared pan.

  2. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and top is deep golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

  3. Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on low speed until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

  4. Evenly spread frosting on top of cooled cake. Garnish with toasted coconut chips and additional chopped toasted walnuts. Cut into 12 bars.

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