Every fall, my mom makes the best pumpkin cake bars, and I crave them all year long. Unfortunately pumpkin is a fall thing, so I only get to indulge on her pumpkin bars once a year. If pumpkins are the official food mascot of fall, then carrots have to be official food mascot of spring. So why not make the pumpkin cake into carrot cake? These sheet pan carrot cake bars are super moist and topped with a super indulgent cream cheese frosting. As an added bonus, they are so so easy. Mix the ingredients, throw the batter into a sheet pan, and bake--it's that simple! I like to cut the cake into bars, but you can do whatever you want. It's the perfect cake for Easter and spring celebrations.
Here's what you need for this sheet pan carrot cake.
For the cake:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Granulated sugar
- Oil. We use avocado oil, but regular vegetable oil works too!
- Carrots. We used whole carrots--you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Apple sauce
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
Here's how we make this sheet carrot cake.
These sheet pan carrot cake bars are so easy. Mix the ingredients, throw the batter into a sheet pan, bake, and frost--it's that simple!
- Preheat the oven.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. That's it. That's the step.
- Prep the carrots.
In a food processor or blender, puree a cup of peeled and washed carrots (about 2 full-sized carrots). Add the apple sauce, and puree until smooth.
- Make the batter.
In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar together with a hand or stand mixer, then add the oil and beat well. Add the carrot and apple sauce puree and the shredded carrots, then gradually add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Bake the batter.
Add the batter to a greased half sheet pan (18x13 inch) (you can line the sheet pan with parchment paper instead of greasing it if you prefer) and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Make the cream cheese frosting.
Combine softened unsalted butter and cream cheese with a hand or stand mixer. Then add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until combined.
- Frost the cake.
Once the cake is done, let it cool completely, then top with frosting and spread evenly. We like to cut our cake into rectangular bars, but you can serve it however you like. It's not my cake, it's yours. To cut it into rectangular bars, cut the cake crosswise into fourths, then cut the fourths into thirds. Then cut lengthwise into fourths. Decorate with sprinkles, chopped nuts, or little piped carrots (just reserve some of the frosting, color it, and pipe onto the cake with a piping bag).
Sheet Pan Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting: FAQs
You can decorate it with sprinkles, chopped nuts (pecans would be great), or little piped carrots. I just reserved some frosting, colored it with orange and green food coloring, and then piped the carrots onto the cake with piping bags.
Sure! Just add chopped nuts to the batter before you pour it into the sheet pan. I recommend pecans, but use whatever you like!
Yes, because the frosting contains cream cheese, I recommend refrigerating this cake. I actually prefer the way it tastes cold anyway.