This scrumptious carrot cake loaf is a delightful sweet and moist “no-layer” take on the classic version of carrot cake—it's perfect to simply ice, slice, and enjoy!
A Simple Twist on Traditional Carrot Cake
Loaf cakes are some of my very favorite kinds of sweet treats to bake up.
I appreciate the simplicity of pouring my prepared batter into a single pan rather than into two or three separate cake pans, and also really love the slightly rustic “minimal frills” presentation which doesn't require much fussing over perfectly frosted layers! (Translated: I'm not the best froster.) 😉
Enter this sweet, moist, fragrant carrot cake loaf as the perfect example—my take on carrot cake in the form of a delicious loaf!
It's filled with all of the wonderful flavors one expects from classic carrot cake, only prepared in loaf form for a more relaxed presentation, which is meant to be enjoyed as one would any other sweet bread or loaf cake: in decadently thick slices!
Carrot Cake Loaf, No Layers Required
This recipe for my carrot cake loaf has all of the classic components and flavors we all crave in a homemade carrot cake recipe.
It's generously filled with freshly grated carrots, fragrant spices such as cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg, a generous scoop of warm brown sugar, even crushed pineapple for extra sweetness and moisture.
Of course, there's also a simple cream cheese frosting perfumed with vanilla to generously slather thickly over top of the prepared loaf, along with a crunchy little sprinkle of chopped, candied walnuts for nutty flavor.
Beautiful, mouthwatering and easy, what could be better when it comes to preparing homemade carrot cake? 😉
Here's a little sneak peek at my recipe for carrot cake loaf (or just jump to the full recipe):
- I always like to start by whisking together my dry ingredients in a large bowl, and then set those aside.
- Next, in a separate bowl, I whisk up my “wet” ingredients (sugars, eggs, vanilla and oil) and pour those into the dry ingredients.
- Then, I gently fold into my batter the grated carrots and pineapple just until just combined, and pour into the prepared loaf pan, and bake.
- I allow the carrot cake loaf to cool completely before I frost it and top with candied walnuts.
Carrot Cake Loaf
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8 (1" thick slices)
Nutrition Info: 698 calories
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Carrot Cake Loaf Ingredients:
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• ¾ teaspoon baking powder
• 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ¼ (heaping) teaspoon ground allspice
• ¼ (heaping) teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ (heaping) teaspoon salt
• Pinch nutmeg
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 teaspoon vanilla
• ¾ cup safflower oil (or vegetable oil)
• 1 ½ cups grated carrots
• ¾ cup crushed pineapple, well-drained of juice
• ½ cup chopped, candied (or roasted) walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
• 4 ounces softened cream cheese
• 4 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
• 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
• 1 tablespoon milk or half & half
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and prepare a 9 x 5” loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper that slightly overhangs on the sides (for easy removal of the loaf after baking), and a generous spritz of cooking spray.
- To prepare the carrot cake loaf: in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt, and set these dry ingredients aside for a moment.
- In another medium-large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil until very well blended and combined; add these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk together just until the ingredients are blended.
- Add the grated carrots and crushed pineapple into the batter, and fold those in with spatula just until combined (take care to not over mix).
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, and bake the carrot cake loaf for about 1 hour and 5-10 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (I like to turn the loaf about half way through for even baking; and if it seems to be getting a little dark on top, cover it very loosely with foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking.)
- Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then very carefully lift it out using the overhanging parchment, and place onto a wire rack to completely cool.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting by adding your softened cream cheese and butter to a medium bowl, and using a spoon, sort of “mash” those together to make them creamy; add half of the powdered sugar, half of the milk (or half & half), and all of the vanilla.
- Using a hand blender, beat the the mixture until combined and creamy, then add the rest of the powdered sugar as well as the milk (or half & half) and blend until light and fluffy; cover the frosting with plastic wrap and keep at room temp, or, place into fridge to keep cool if the kitchen is too warm.
- Once the loaf is completely cooled, frost the top of it generously with the frosting, and finish with a pretty sprinkle of the chopped candied walnuts, and serve.
Tips & Tidbits for Carrot Cake Loaf:
- Fresh carrots, freshly grated: Fresh, raw carrots that are freshly grated taste the best in a carrot cake loaf, they provide a good amount of moisture. I like to use my box grater, the side with the larger holes, and simply grate out the required amount. You can also use a food processor with a grater attachment for convenience as well.
- Crushed pineapple, drained of juices: The addition of good quality, canned, crushed pineapple provides a lot of extra moisture in carrot cake. It is pretty neutral, and won't hinder the flavor of the spices.
- Fresh, fragrant spices: In order for your carrot cake loaf to turn out extra flavorful, make sure that your spices are fresh! It makes a difference in the final result, one that you can taste and smell.
- Neutral oil for neutral flavor: I like to use vegetable oil or safflower oil for this recipe. You can use any oil you'd like as long as it is neutral in flavor.
- Parchment paper for easier removal: In order for my carrot cake loaf to be more easily removed from the loaf pan, I like add some parchment paper (sprayed with cooking spray) with overhanging sides to lift the loaf out. Easier clean up too!
- Cool the loaf completely: Make sure to allow the carrot cake loaf to cool completely before frosting it and adding the chopped candied walnuts.