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.
Great recipe I used pecans instead of walnuts and I also added 1/2 cup of coconut turned out excellent everyone wants the recipe
This was so delicious! I don’t like carrot cake but my dad wanted a carrot pineapple cake so I found this recipe and made it for him. It was so much fun to make with all the different ingredients. And the directions were easy to follow. Turned out perfect. Dad insisted I try it and after my first bite I can’t stop eating it!
Can I use Splenda instead of sugar?
My husband is diabetic n he loves carrot cake but can only eat a little piece. I would love to make him one with only using Splenda.
Thank you for your delicious recipes.
I honestly haven’t tried it. I imagine that you could, but it will change the taste and texture of the cake.
Hey, can I split this into two loaf tins?
If so, how long for 🙂
Yes, that would be fine. I’m not sure on baking time, but I would guess 40 to 55 minutes.
Can it be divided into two round tins? If so how big should they be and how long does it take to cook? Thanks.
Yes, that would be fine! You can divide it between two 9-inch round pans, the cooking time should be 20 to 25 minutes.
I want to use your recipe for a layer cake (two layers)
Do I have to change anything in the recipe for this? I’d also like to add coconut to the batter. Any changes necessary for the coconut? Thank you
You can divide the batter between two 9-inch cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. If you want to add coconut, I would probably just add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of shredded coconut.
Best carrot cake ever! Tried it during lockdown and was amazed at the result . I am not usually successful with baking but this recipe is so easy and delicious. All my family and friends think I am a star baker and this is a winning recipe,
All my family and friends loved this recipe
Do you think I could leave the nuts out? Nut allergies here.
Yes, that would be fine!
Canned crushed pineapple not available in my country. What weight of drained pineapple chunks should I crush?
It should be about 120 grams.
Can this recipe be used for making cupcakes as well?
Yes, you can use it to make about 26 to 28 cupcakes or cut the recipe in half to make less.
Hey! This tasted amazing! My family loved it and I believe this will be the only carrot cake recipe I’ll use in the future. It’s moist, flavorful, fluffy and not too sweet. I also sprinkled some toasted coconut, toasted sesame seeds and toasted almonds slices on top/as decoration for an extra nutty, toasty flavour. Thank you for sharing! You’re an angel ❤️
Do you think you could make these into cupcakes? If so, how long do you think the bake time should be? Can’t wait to try this recipe!!
Yes, that would be fine! I would only fill them about 2/3 of the way full and I would guess baking time to be about 15 to 25 minutes.
This recipe is awesome! I tried it last Thursday and came out great. I just cut a little bit on the sugar coz my folks can’t have too much. Aside from that everything was balanced. So happy!
This turned out AMAZING! I put less sugar in mine so it has more of a quick bread sweetness instead of cake. The pineapple compliments everything well without being overpowering.
Can I freeze this cake?
Yes, it will freeze well for up to 3 months.
Family favourite 🙂 i love this recipe and everyone loves it 🙂
Hi! Can I bake this in a foil pan? 9×13? How long is the baking time? Thanks!
Yes, baking time will be the same in the recipe (35 to 45 minutes).
Hi ! Can I make this recipe in 3- 8 ” pans.??
Yes, but it may not be quite enough batter. I’d recommend multiply the recipe by 1.5 and increasing the baking time slightly.
Will this a recipe make a 12x18x2 sheet cake or does the recipe need to be doubled?
I haven’t tried it, but I think you would need to increase the recipe maybe by half.
If I want to use apple sauce instead of the pineapple would it be the same amount?
If you’re using applesauce, just replace the crushed pineapple with 1/2 cup (125 grams) of applesauce.
Can this be made in a bunt pan?
Yes, absolutely! The baking time should be around 45-60 minutes.
Can I bake this batter recipe as ONE full 9-inch round cake?
If doable, what is the baking time please?
Also what would be the reduced cream cheese frosting recipe for one full 9-inch cake?
If I skip the ground nutmeg and ground ginger, do I need to increase the cinnamon powder? Can I substitute with fresh lemon zest?
How much in grams for 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple please?
Looking forward to your reply.
As long as your pan is deep enough, it would be fine to bake it in one 9-inch pan. I’m not sure on the baking time, but you may need to adjust it slightly. You can cut the frosting recipe in half for a one layer 9-inch cake. You can omit the ground ginger and nutmeg, but it will change the flavor of the cake. I’d recommend using them if possible or adding additional ground cinnamon or another spice (like cloves). You can add the zest of one lemon to the batter if you prefer. One 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple weighs 227 grams before it’s drained.
Can you use this same recipe to make individual cupcakes or do you need to adjust
Yes, absolutely! It will make a little over 2 dozen cupcakes. I would only fill each liner about 2/3 of the way full, baking time should be around 20 minutes give or take a few minutes.
Would this recipe work with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free baking flour?
I haven’t tried it, but I think it would probably be okay.
I want to make this recipe, but I’m a bit puzzled about the quantities of dry ingredients. The baking authorities that I’ve read indicate that 1 C. of all purpose flour weighs 5 oz. (or a little more) or 142 g. Your 1C. measurement is 125 g. Your sugar measurements are, likewise, lighter than those used by other baking professionals. Would you provide me with your rationale for the lighter measurements for dry ingredients? Thank you!
I’m not sure how the other bakers you follow measure their flour, but I spoon and level it. When you spoon and level your flour, you should always end up with right around 125 grams. I explain it in more detail in this post. For granulated sugar, I just scoop it and for brown sugar I pack it into my measuring cup. I measure out all of my ingredients in cups and then weigh them to make sure they are as accurate as possible.
Can you use coconut oil for the canola oil?
Yes, that would be fine.
Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. It was so moist and delicious. I added pecans and it was simply perfect. Will be our go to recipe from now on. I put less powdered sugar for the frosting since we like things not to sweet. Thanks again for sharing this recipe.
Hi Danielle I just make your recipe this morning the smell ? is great I can’t wait to taste it it’s cooling down right know but I will let you know how it taste ? Thank for the delicious carrot cake
This is my new favourite carrot cake recipe. It was delicious. I loved the texture, it was moist without being too dense. It was just the right amount of everything! I made it for my son’s 29th birthday and my whole family raved about it and wanted seconds. I used a large springform pan to bake it. I used melted butter instead of vegetable oil and I added cocoNUT because it is my favourite.
The cake sunk slightly in the middle while cooling but perhaps that was because of the cake tin I chose to bake it in. Will definitely be bookmaking this recipe for my recipes folder and making it again. Thanks!