Pineapple Carrot Cake
A moist carrot cake with pineapple, chopped walnuts, and topped with an easy cream cheese frosting. This Pineapple Carrot Cake is perfect for Easter or carrot cake lovers!
Today’s recipe comes from two questions I receive on my homemade carrot cake recipe quite often. Can you use crushed pineapple and can you bake it in a 9×13-inch pan? The answer? YES AND YES!
Since Easter is so close, I felt that it was time to finally get to work on a pineapple carrot cake recipe. And I have to say, this recipe does not disappoint.
In fact, I think I actually prefer how simple this recipe is to make compared to my layered carrot cake recipe. There’s no need to worry about leveling cakes or decorating the cake to make it look pretty. All you have to do is bake the cake, let it cool, then spread some cream cheese frosting on top.
When it comes to good carrot cake, I have a few requirements. The cake must be moist (and stay that way!), have a good amount of spices but not too much, and it needs to be topped with cream cheese frosting.
So what makes this carrot cake so good?
- Flour: Be sure to spoon and level the flour when measuring it. You don’t want to wind up with a dense cake!
- Baking powder and baking soda: Helps the cake rise in the oven.
- Oil: Canola or vegetable oil will work.
- Eggs: Should be room temperature before being whisked into the batter.
- Crushed pineapple: I usually stick with unsweetened applesauce in my carrot cake to add moisture and not make it greasy with too much oil. For this cake, I swapped out the applesauce for a can of crushed pineapple and it worked perfectly. The cake doesn’t taste like pineapple, but it adds the perfect amount of moisture.
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar: I think that all carrot cakes should incorporate brown sugar. Not only does it add more flavor, but it also adds more moisture to the cake. Win-Win!
- Grated carrots: You’ll be using three cups of grated carrot in this recipe, no skimping on carrots anywhere around here.
- Walnuts: Use chopped, raw walnuts for this carrot cake recipe with pineapple.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Spices: Ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. The spices are not overpowering in this cake, but they add just the right amount of flavor.
How to Make Carrot Cake with Pineapple
The batter for this homemade carrot cake is as simple as mixing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then combining them and pouring it into the pan. If you find your cake is browning a little too much on top before the cake is finished, just tent it with some aluminum foil until it’s done.
Once you bake the carrot cake, you’ll let it cool and then spread some cream cheese frosting on top.
I stuck with my favorite homemade cream cheese frosting for this cake. It’s just a simple mixture of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. To get a super smooth and creamy frosting, make sure to put your cream cheese and butter out ahead of time.
You can also decorate this cake with some cute carrot designs or sprinkle some more chopped walnuts on top.
Can I Make This Cake in Advance?
I actually love to bake this cake the night before and then frost it the next day. I find the flavor of this carrot cake is always better on day two, plus it even tastes delicious straight out of the refrigerator. I’ve given detailed instructions on how to prep this moist carrot cake ahead of time in the recipe card below.
Freezing & Storage Instructions
Store leftover carrot cake in the refrigerator covered tightly for up to 4 days.
To freeze, remove the carrot cake from the pan and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cream cheese frosting will also freeze well for 2-3 months.
- When measuring your flour, don’t scoop it out of the container with the measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour around, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Feel free to use your favorite nut in this carrot cake instead of the chopped walnuts. If you love raisins in your carrot cake, you may also use 1/2 cup.
- Make sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature before mixing together the frosting. This will ensure a super smooth and creamy frosting on top of your cake.
- If you want to make this recipe into cupcakes, I recommend following my Carrot Cake Cupcakes recipe instead. That way you don’t have to guess about ingredient ratios, etc.
More Easy Cake Recipes to Try!
- Banana Cake
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Hummingbird Cake
- Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
Pineapple Carrot Cake
For the carrot cake:
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (180ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs , room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple , drained
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups (300 grams) grated carrots , lightly packed
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup (75 grams) raisins (optional)
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8-ounce) package brick style cream cheese , softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the carrot cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, crushed pineapple, and vanilla extract until fully combined. Add the grated carrots and chopped walnuts to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a whisk or rubber spatula until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and spread around into one even layer. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes or until the top of the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If needed, tent with foil for the last 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning on top of the cake.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool completely in the pan.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix for about 30 seconds-1 minute until well combined and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Using a knife or an offset spatula, top the cooled carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting. Slice into pieces, serve, and enjoy!
Adapted from my Layered Carrot Cake recipe.
Amazing! Thank you
Can this be made in a bundt pan? Also what if I want to substitute Maple Syrup for all the sugar? Is that possible?
Yes, you can bake it in a bundt pan! Baking time should be 45 to 60 minutes. I don’t suggest using maple syrup in this recipe, but you could use coconut sugar.
I am not a baker by any means and tend to hold on tightly to the few things that I do bake so a carrot cake was way too high up in the baking skills list for me to even contemplate. Today I took the plunge as it was 35deg Celsius outside and staying indoors with my A/C blowing was much more pleasant and I made this cake. Needless to say I felt like a master baker when it turned out so beautifully! Thank you Danielle. I cut the sugar by half a cup and added in a mix of hazelnuts and almonds – superb! I would probably cut out a further 1/4 C of sugar next time too. Netra
Thank you for the recipe..can already feel the yummy cake!
Can this cake be made in round pans & layered like your other carrot cake? I hope so! I am planning to make it this afternoon! I would love to hear back soon.
Yes, absolutely! The baking time for two 9-inch pans should be about 20-25 minutes.
This is by far the BEST carrot cake ever!! I have made it many times for my family – it’s a winner! It always stays moist which is why we love it so much.
The cream cheese recipe below is delicious and great too! You know the cake is great when my husband frequently reminds me to make it LOL
My family Loves this Voted to see what cake i should make for upcoming event Everyone said this carrot cake Winner in my house an so easy to prepare Always a plus while baking You do not have to be a Pro for it to turn out delicious
Thank you for recipe! It was my first time making it and it won’t be my last! Sooo goood!
Absolutely delicious. I am low on sugar and used 1/2 cup of white & 1/2 of brown will try 1/4 less again next time, perhaps the lightly sweetened pineapple I used made the sweetness up. I did not want the texture of nuts or raisins and left them out, neither did I put frosting on the cake just a light dusting of icing sugar for decoration but it melted in. I would like to make it in muffin tins as well. Thank you for this recipe.
I intend to try this next week, but wanted to check, for crushed pineapples, can we use fresh ones? What exactly does it mean to crush these pineapples, i.e. how mushy or crunchy should they really be?
Yes, you can use fresh pineapple! I would just mash it to where there are still some chunks, but most of it is crushed.
I am trying to see the cook time for cupcakes? I have cooked them for 18 minutes but do not appear done?
It depends on how many you make, but it should be about 20 minutes.
Hi! Can I leave out the nuts?
Yes, that’s fine!
Wonderful recipe and delicious cake! I cut the recipe in half and baked it in an 8″ square pan. I decreased each of the sugars by 1/3 the quantity and replaced the 2 eggs with half a cup of applesauce (due to an egg intolerance.) It was perfect!
I baked your “Best Carrot Cake Recipe” last week for Easter and it was amazing! Was just about to make it again when I realized I ran out of applesauce but I have plenty of pineapple. Wondering if you could describe the difference in taste between the crushed pineapple version versus the applesauce one?
The pineapple version has a little bit of pineapple flavor, but it’s not overpowering at all. I think they both taste equally as good!
Great recipe! I didn’t have walnuts so I used pecans and it came out delicious! I also added golden raisins which is optional. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!
This is by far THE best carrot cake I have ever had AND I made it myself. It was SO easy. The frosting was amazing and not too sweet. I followed the recipe exactly only made it in a square pan since I didn’t want to waste any. Can’t wait to try it in layers so I can get more frosting. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe
Great recipe. However I felt it was too much sugar. I put 1 cup brown sugar only and baked it until skewer came out clean. ( loaf pan). Top rack for 2/3 time then bottom rack til done. Pour off pineapple juice.
This is hands-down the best pineapple-carrot cake I have ever had! I have baked this cake several times in a row, each with a lower take on the sugar (i.e. 1 cup brown + 1/2 cup white, 1.5 cup brown only and 1 cup brown only). Even with the variation in sugar quantities, the cake was moist and delicious! Thank you for this recipe- this is family’s all time favorite pineapple carrot cake!
Delicious! Tried i today and it came out perfect, and will try it with the new Philadelphia cream cheese frosting. Yummy! Thank you for the recipe ♥
Has anyone tried to make these into cupcakes? Easier to share the love!
You can bake them into cupcakes! It should make about 28-30 cupcakes, baking time will be 16-20 minutes.
Tried the cake, and my family loved it! Moist and tasty. Roasted the nuts so it had an extra crunch!
Hi I am about to make this cake today. Can I use two 8 inch pans? And what is the baking time? Thanks
Yes, that would be fine. I would guess the baking time to be 30-35 minutes.
I came across this recipe while doing a random search on the internet. My mom’s favorite cake is carrot and I wanted to bake her one for Mother’s Day. I can’t remember the last time I made a cake from scratch, but this one came out perfectly! Based on other reviews, I decreased the amount of sugar and settled on a 3/4 c brown & 3/4 c white mix. The cake was delicious, but I don’t think the added sugar would make it overly sweet. Depends on how sweet I’m in the mood for. I pinned this recipe so I can find it easily next time. Thanks for sharing it. I’m happy I found your site. I’ll be back for more!
Thank you, Tammy! So glad you enjoyed the cake!
I plan to make this today because it seems delicious and easy. Should it be baked on lower rack or middle all the way through and air or conventional?
I bake it on the middle rack and always use a conventional oven. You can use convection, but if you do you’ll want to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F or decrease the baking time some.
This recipe sounds delicious. Wondering if I swapped out the pineapple for applesauce how much applesauce should I use? Thanks
You can replace the pineapple with 1/2 cup of applesauce.
You are a genius
I often bake from your recipes .
This one is absolutely beautiful and perfect
the cake turned out to be amazing
everyone in my family loved it
I skipped the cream cheese frosting and a reduced the sugars by 30 g each but it was just perfect moist and indulging. Thankyou.
Can I use pineapple tidbits????
That would be fine, but I would crush them and then measure out 1/2 cup so it’s similar to the crushed pineapple.
I can’t thank you enough! Your recipe is delicious, amazing, beautiful!!! I made them in muffins and they disappeared, family is asking for more!
This recipe is incredibly easy and delicious!!!! Every Thanksgiving/Christmas I make a homemade Italian Cream Cake, which is delicious but a little harder to make with the folding in of the egg whites. I found this cake to be just as good with much less effort.. Thanks! P.S. I have been making this exact cream cheese icing recipe, but have always double, and still struggle to cover whole cake, So head up any newbies, double the icing recipe for adequate coverage of cake layers (Or maybe I just LOVE ICING, lol).
This is now my go to carrot cake recipe! I have made it several times and each one turns out better than the last one ? My husband l0ves it and he is a carrot cake connoisseur! Absolutely delicious ?
I’ve made this cake so many times and its been a hit every time! Love how moist it is. just added a tiny bit extra nutmeg because im a huge nutmeg fan and it was perfect. Iv always searched for the perfect carrot cupcake / cake and literally who knew we can bake it ourselves! Delicious is an understatement!
Thanks so much for the recipe! I just made it about 4 days ago, and finally got to share it with my colleagues/family last night and it was a hit! Everyone enjoyed it and said how delicious it was! Of course I packaged the pieces individually with toothpicks and saran wrap to help keep the icing from coming off each piece as much as possible to make it safe. <3