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.
This was my first time making a carrot cake which is odd because it’s one of my favorite cakes. This recipe is easy to follow and the cake was fabulous. This is a keeper!
This is the best carrot cake!! Just the right amount of oil so it’s not too heavy. I served it at a party and everyone was raving about it!
I know you can swap out the applesauce with pineapple, I’m just not sure how much. Is it a full 8 oz can crushed or 1/2 cup (applesauce).
That’s correct! You use either an 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple (that’s been drained) or 1/2 cup of applesauce.
Delicious! I baked it in two 8 inch round pans for just under 30 minutes. They came out perfectly moist with delightful, slightly chewy edges that make me tempted to try these as cupcakes. I might increase the spices next time but that’s just personal preference. The frosting recipe is great although I did add another half cup or so of powdered sugar. It was enough to frost between the round cakes and all around the sides. It was my 5 year old son’s birthday cake request and he was a very happy camper. Thank you!
I’ve been making this Carrot (Pineapple) Cake for over 40 years. My recipe is essentially the same but your version is even better! I have started using brown sugar like you. I am a lover of nutmeg so I always increase the amount a little. Also, for about 10 years I have been using freshly grated nutmeg which I LOVE. I also use pecans (because I am a southern gal) which I toast first.
Today I happen to have a fresh pineapple which I can chop or crush. How much should I use?
Hi, Susan! You can use 1/2 cup of freshly chopped/crushed pineapple.
Can we replace oil to butter?
Yes, you can replace the oil with an equal amount of melted butter.
Do I need to alter the ingredients if I leave out the raisins?
Healthy Hint: I use Coconut Palm Sugar instead of cane sugar. It’s just as delicious but lowers your glycemic index from 60 to 35.
Thanks for posting this yummy recipe.
No, you don’t have to change anything if you leave out the raisins.
This sounds delicious & I love the reviews! Would this be suitable for a 2-tier wedding cake?
I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work! You’d likely need to increase the recipe though.
Hi would i b able to leave out the fruit an not use apple sauce?
You can leave it out, but I suggest replacing it with either 1/2 cup of sour cream, yogurt, or crushed pineapple.
Hi can I add coconut?
Yes, you can mix 1/2 cup of shredded coconut into the batter.
This recipe is the best. It never fails me. Could I make as a 9 inch cake?
Yes, you can bake it in two 9-inch cake pans.
I’m wondering if anyone has substituted the all purpose flour for gluten free flour? My daughter has to eat gluten free and I’d love to try this recipe using gluten free flour for her. Carrot pineapple cake is her favorite.
I haven’t, but it may be okay if you use a gluten-free flour that substitutes 1:1 for all-purpose flour.
Loved this carrot cake. It is the best I ever made.
The whole family loved it!
Will be making it many more times.
My husband says it’s the best carrot cake he’s ever eaten. My cream cheese frosting was silky smooth. Next time I will add lemon juice instead of vanilla. Thank you
So delicious! I used to make a different recipe but it always ended up being too oily. This one was perfect! Question: if I wanted to halve the recipe, do you think it would work? What size pan would you recommend?
Yes, you can cut the recipe in half! You can bake it in an 8 or 9-inch pan (either square or round is fine).
Just made and it is delicious! Thank you very much!
Absolutely the BEST carrot cake I have ever eaten. I cut the brown sugar by a
quarter cup. It was moist and so delicious. Thank you. Thank you.
I made this Pineapple Carrot Cake for the first time today. It was sooo delicious !! I will definitely be making it again !!
could i use this for cup cakes?
Yes, that would be fine!
I can’t believe I am asking but I want to replace coconut oil with the oil..cause that’s all I have. I forgot if coconut oil is suitable, do you happen to know?
Yes, you can replace it with an equal amount of melted coconut oil. Just make sure all of your other ingredients are at room temperature, so the coconut oil doesn’t solidify when you mix the batter together.
How will this recipe work if i double it?
I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work fine to double it. It will be quite a bit of batter, so just make sure not to over mix the dry ingredients.
I have coconut lovers in my family and I’m baking this cake for a birthday. Do I use 1/2 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut?
Hi, Patti! Either one would be fine. I personally prefer using sweetened shredded coconut though.
Does this need to be altered if I make cupcakes?
You’ll just need to reduce the baking time.
Awesome carrot cake thanks for sharing. Everyone loved it!
Great recipe, my customers love it.
Can I use this recipe for a sheet cake?
Yes, that would be fine! You will need to reduce the baking time though.
I made this today and OMG, the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever made…I can’t say enough about it! My other carrot cake recipes are in the trash…I added raisins and omitted the nuts, just a personal preference.
I usually take several recipes and pick & choose ingredients to combine. This recipe had everything I was looking for spelled out. Perfection!
The frosting recipe is great too…I did add 2 tsps of vanilla, again a personal preference.
Anyone who likes carrot cake and makes this recipe will agree…Kudos to the author Danielle and a big thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Jeannine! So glad you loved the cake!
I have a family member who wants to make this cake but is allergic to pineapples, any substitute you could recommend or should she just omit them?
You can replace it with 1/2 cup of applesauce or sour cream.
My second time making your carrot cake recipe was so good first time I made another so good after a nice meal as desert with a good cup of coffee can’t beat it.
Hello, I was wondering if I could bake this cake I a tube pan. If so what temp. And how long. Thank you?
As long as it holds 10 to 12 cups of batter that would be fine. I would keep the oven temperature the same and for the baking time I would guess 45 to 65 minutes.
I have been looking for my Moms carrot cake recipe. I don’t remember ginger in it. She always layered hers and at a gathering I too need to do this. I like 3 layers. Will this work or do I need to look elsewhere? Have you ever layered this one? Thanks sounds delicious.
Hi, Karen! This recipe is enough for two 8 or 9-inch cake layers. If you’re wanting 3 layers, I would recommend increasing the recipe by half. I would also double the amount of frosting.
I just made this cake yesterday and I had to comment. It is the best carrot cake I have ever made!!! The texture is perfect. Some carrot cakes tend to be heavy or slightly greasy but this was not true for this recipe. I followed it exactly and I was not disappointed. The carrot cake was not overly sweet and the frosting was great. I highly recommend this carrot cake recipe, your peeps will love it!