This carrot cake loaf recipe is a moist, perfectly spiced quick bread with creamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting! It’s made with simple ingredients and there’s no mixer needed! It’s the perfect Easter, springtime, or holiday treat!
This carrot loaf cake is basically carrot cake in a loaf pan. It’s a super moist and perfectly spiced quick bread. Enjoy as is or with luscious cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top!
This carrot cake loaf recipe makes it possible to enjoy the flavor of carrot cake anytime of the day! Everyone loves it for breakfast, an afternoon snack or dessert.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This carrot loaf bread has the same warm spice flavor as carrot cake!
- Everyone loves the luscious cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top.
- This easy carrot cake loaf recipe is mixed together by hand. It’s so easy, just like my pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting!
- This carrot loaf cake recipe is an excellent make-ahead recipe. It stays moist for days!
Here are useful notes on some of the ingredients needed to make this recipe for this carrot cake loaf recipe.
- Oil: Use olive oil, vegetable, or canola oil. Oil makes this cake super moist!
- Brown sugar: Use light or dark. Make sure to use fresh brown sugar.
- 2 eggs: Use 2 large, room temperature eggs.
- Spices: This recipe uses a combination of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice or allspice. This cake is deliciously spiced, just like my spiced banana cake.
- Carrots: You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of shredded carrots. That is about 2-3 medium carrots. Grate carrots using a food processor or the small holes of a box grater. I don’t recommend using store bought shredded carrots. For another yummy carrot recipe, try my carrot scones!
- Applesauce: The cake batter uses applesauce to keep the cake extra moist. Make sure to use unsweetened applesauce.
- Cream cheese: Leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before making the frosting. Use full fat block of cream cheese, not the kind in a tub.
- Powdered sugar: Sift your powdered sugar. Sifting will make sure your frosting is smooth and free of lumps.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
- Instead of applesauce, use sour cream or buttermilk.
- Add some pecans or walnuts to the batter or as a topping. Be sure to chop nuts finely before adding them to the batter.
- For a dairy free version, swap in dairy free butter and vegan cream cheese.
- I haven’t tested a gluten free version of this cake recipe, but most of my cakes can be made gluten free. I would recommend using a 1:1 substitute of gluten free flour.
- Use shredded zuchhini in place of shredded carrots. You could also do half carrot and half zucchini.
- Add cinnamon swirl in the middle! Use the ingredients and instructions from my cinnamon swirl banana bread.
Here are the directions on how to make this carrot cake bread recipe.
Step 1: (Photo 1 above). Whisk to combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt).
Step 2: (Photo 2 above). Mix together the wet ingredients. Whisk together the sugars and eggs. Stir in the vanilla and applesauce followed by the oil.
Step 3: (Photo 3 above) Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Avoid overmixing.
Step 4: (Photo 4 above) Pour mixture into a a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes.
Step 5: (Photo 5 above) Place the cake pan on a rack. Place pan on a wire rack. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 20 minutes then remove cake from pan. Allow to cool completely on the rack.
Step 6: (Photo 6 above) Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer til smooth. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Beat 30 seconds then turn mixer up to high for an additional 1-2 minutes. Spread frosting over the cooled cake.
Hint: Add more powdered sugar to the frosting til it’s the thickness you desire.
- Tip #1: Avoid overmixing. Mix only the last streaks of dry ingredients disappear into the batter.
- Tip #2: Grate your carrots at home. Store-bought shredded carrots are very dry compared to freshly grated carrots.
- Tip #3: Use the small holes on a box grater or food processor to grate carrots.
- Tip #4: Use block-style room temperature cream cheese for the frosting.
- Tip #5: Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the creamed butter and cream sugar. This will prevent the frosting from having lumps.
Yes, but I recommend oil. Oil makes the cake moist and helps it stay moist for days.
Yes! You can add raisins or some toasted walnuts or pecans to this carrot loaf cake. I would add about 1/2 cup total of add-ins.
It’s best to store carrot cake in the refrigerator. It can be left out for a couple of hours while serving. Cream cheese frosting spoils quickly and is best refrigerated.
Store unfrosted carrot loaf cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. If it has frosting, store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To freeze, tightly wrap the cooled, unfrosted cake in plastic wrap then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months.
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Carrot Cake Loaf
Carrot Loaf Cake
- 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ½ cup oil extra virgin olive oil, canola or vegetable
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups shredded carrots 2-3 carrots, peeled and shredded
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Carrot Loaf Cake
- Spray sides and bottom of a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray. Line pans with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugars, applesauce or sour cream, and vanilla until no lumps of brown sugar remain.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold the wet ingredients in with a spatula until just combined. Stir in the carrots until just combined.
- Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
- Place pan on a wire rack. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes then remove cake from pan. Allow to cool completely on the rack. Frost the cake when it has cooled completely.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Sift together the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a hand held mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until completely combined, creamy and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
- Turn mixer off and add the powdered sugar mixture. Beat on low until powdered sugar is no longer visible. Turn mixer to medium high and beat for one minute.
- Use right away or cover with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.