This carrot sheet cake is loaded with plenty of carrots, pineapple, raisins, and walnuts, and topped with a chai-spiced cream cheese frosting. It’s the most unique carrot cake we’ve ever tried. And we mean that in a good way.
This carrot sheet cake is for everyone, even those who think they don’t like cake (yes, such people exist). Even self-proclaimed cake haters were licking their plates clean of this cake loaded with carrots, pineapple, raisins, walnuts, and a chai-spiced cream cheese frosting.and proclaiming their newfound love for cake. And card-carrying carrot cake aficionados expressed that it’s the best they’ve ever experienced.–Angie Zoobkoff
☞ Table of Contents
How do I make this carrot cake into cupcakes?
Love the idea of cake but prefer cupcake form? Simply divvy the batter between 2 muffin tins lined with papers, filling each well 2/3 full. You should get about 16 cupcakes. Reduce the baking time to about 28 minutes and cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. If you prefer to lavish frosting on cupcakes so they resemble fancy bakery cupcakes, you’ll need to double the frosting recipe.
Carrot Sheet Cake with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting
For the carrot cake
- Baking spray
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar loosely packed
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup mild vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple undrained
- 3 cups (about 3) grated carrots
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup raisins
For the chai cream cheese frosting
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of table salt
Make the carrot cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan with parchment paper and spray it with baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the oil and then the buttermilk. Add the pineapple and carrots and stir to combine thoroughly.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, folding with a rubber spatula just until combined. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the center of the cake is set, the edges are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
- Let the cake cool for 20 minutes in the pan. If desired, invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Cool completely before frosting.
Make the chai cream cheese frosting
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, and salt. Increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes.
- Place the cake on a serving platter and frost the top of the cake with the chai-cream cheese frosting. Cut into squares and serve. Originally published January 21, 2020.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This carrot sheet cake was a home run. We were having friends over, and I was told that of the 4 of us, 2 are passionate carrot cake fans, 1 is someone who doesn’t care for cake but loves all the components of this recipe, and then there’s me (a sucker for nearly all desserts). Basically, I had a house full of willing guinea pigs.
I’d never made a carrot cake with pineapple before. I had no idea what I was missing! Despite the cake being incredibly rich and moist, the pineapple gave it a brightness that was unmistakable. This cake also had the perfect blend of spices. I was hesitant with the frosting because I feared that with all the spices in the cake, the abundance of spices in the frosting might overwhelm or muddy the flavor. I was wrong. They harmonized perfectly.
The guest who isn’t a fan of cake declared this recipe a 10 out of 10. And despite having had two dinners that evening, he still managed to clean his plate. My carrot cake fans were head over heels with this recipe. And I was delighted. Clearly this recipe will stay in rotation.
This sheet cake turned out to be the best carrot cake I’ve ever had and the chai cream cheese frosting really elevated this seemingly humble cake into an amazing company-worthy dessert. I was bringing dessert to a friend’s house for dinner and needed something that was easily transportable, simple to serve, and a little upscale, so I thought this carrot cake with chai cream cheese frosting would fit the bill nicely.
To make this dessert more portable and single serving, I used large cupcake tins instead of the sheet cake pan and it worked out perfectly. This recipe will make enough batter for 16 large cupcakes but you’ll need to double the frosting if you plan to pipe big swirly tops like I did. The frosting is super soft and fluffy, so after piping onto the cupcakes, I left them in the fridge overnight to stiffen up a bit so they wouldn’t get smooshed in transit.
The batter was really thin with all the liquid from the crushed pineapple, buttermilk and oil, but it really did create a wonderfully moist cake with yummy bits of pineapple, nuts, carrots and raisins. So good. But the real star of the show was the chai-cream cheese frosting. The best descriptive word I can come up with to describe it is “luscious.” The warm and subtle notes of the spices worked so well with the cream-cheese frosting and didn’t overwhelm the flavor at all but actually tied in with the overall flavors of the carrot cake. I’m not a huge frosting fan, but I can tell you I really liked this one.
I also sprinkled some of the leftover toasted walnuts over the tops to make them pretty as well as adding another crunchy element.
The batter doesn’t rise too much, so if you go the cupcake route as I did, you don’t have to worry about them rising up and over the sides of the tins. I used parchment tulip liners as a precaution in case they ended up being high-risers and they just looked so cute when serving. I also toasted my walnuts first because I think it makes them more flavorful.
I don’t bake cakes. I don’t particularly like cake. I never wanted a birthday cake, not understanding why I was never offered birthday cookies instead. In addition, I don’t even have the equipment needed to bake one. I do have a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. But I liked the idea of a sheet cake. No need to stack layers and frost between them, as well.
I don’t think of this as a cake. It, like banana bread, is what I think of as a quick bread.
I have been wanting to try making a carrot cake for a while now. When good, they are very, very good. They are moist, and full of interesting flavors and textures. Looking at the ingredient list for this recipe, I felt that this might be one of those cakes. Indeed it is. The carrots and walnuts give it crunch and a nice texture. The pineapple gives it sweetness, as do the raisins. The warm spices lend great flavor to the cake, as well as the frosting. This is a cake that I would happily make for company, to take somewhere for a potluck, or to add to someone’s dinner table.
I brought it to work for my boss’s birthday and it was a huge hit at the office. It’s definitely a keeper recipe that I will make again. I loved that it went in a 9×12 pan. So easy to transport.
I spent about 15 minutes whipping up the ingredients for this delicious carrot sheet cake with chai cream cheese frosting. I followed the recipe exactly. I used kosher salt and low-fat buttermilk. I used the “by weight” ingredient measures. It took 6 carrots for me to get the whole 330 grams. I didn’t have walnuts in the house, so I used pecans instead, which is usually my “go-to” nut when I make carrot cakes.
I let the butter and cream cheese for the frosting sit on the counter while the cake was baking so it had time to come to room temperature. I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to get it to a good spreading consistency, and I thought the frosting was a little too sweet. I think the next time I make it, I would add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of vanilla to cut the sweetness a bit.