Sturdy yet moist, plain (in a good way), easy to make, with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting - this Carrot Cake Loaf recipe is everything you could ever ask for from a snack cake.
Carrot cake is a year-round favorite, but there's something about making a moist carrot cake with thick cream cheese frosting in the spring time so much more enjoyable!
This Carrot Cake Loaf doubles as a snack and celebration cake. You will love it just as much served at Easter as you will on a casual Tuesday afternoon.
Many recipes for carrot cake include add-ins like raisins, nuts, coconut, and pineapple - but not this one. This carrot cake loaf recipe is perfectly plain in all the best ways.
Made from oil, buttermilk, and shredded carrots, this cake is super moist. It slices like a dream and sturdy enough to eat out of hand if you just can't be bothered with a plate and fork.
This was inspired by my best ever Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Frosting. I skipped the pineapple in favor of a combination of buttermilk and Greek yogurt. You could even sub sour cream.
This oil-based cake is super moist and straightforward. There are no add-ins, just carrots and some spices. Don't for get the cream cheese for the icing!
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Avocado or canola oil - any neutral flavored oil will work. I made this cake with half olive oil with great tasting results.
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar - light and dark are both fine options
- Large eggs
- Dairy - you can use plain Greek yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, or a combination
- Spices - I use cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger
- Kosher salt - recipe quantities are based on Diamond Crystal salt
- Cream cheese
- Unsalted butter
- Icing sugar
- Vanilla extract
See recipe card for quantities.
Tools and Equipment
This stir-together recipe needs very few tools to make.
- Box grater
- Mixing bowls
- Large rubber spatula
- 9X4.5-inch loaf pan or similar
- Electric mixer (for the frosting)
How it Works
Bake this carrot cake loaf recipe at a lower temperature. This prevents a heavy crust from forming on the outside.
A lot of loaf cakes bake unevenly - raw in the middle and dry on the ends. Likewise, baking the loaf cake at 325°F keeps the cake moist throughout.
In addition, using oil is preferred in carrot cake because it is typically frosted in cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese needs to be refrigerated and the oil keeps the cake soft even after being chilled.
- Dairy - A combination of plain Greek yogurt and buttermilk offer great flavor, acidity for tenderness, and a bit of fat. You may use sour cream or just one of the dairy products listed with great results. Stir a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into plain or plant-based milk at the start of the recipe to allow it to sour.
- Spices - use your favorite spice blend or add some pinches of nutmeg and/or cloves to a teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Pre-Shredded Carrots - although not preferred, look for thin shredded carrots not thick. Comparatively, pre-shredded carrots may lack moisture versus fresh.
- Olive Oil Carrot Cake - replace all or part of the oil with olive oil for a pleasant fruity, grassy taste.
- Brown Butter Carrot Cake - swap the cream cheese frosting for half of this Brown Butter Frosting recipe
- Nuts - Go nuts! Feel free to add in chopped and roasted walnuts or pecans
Carrot Cake Loaf Storage
Store cakes made with cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator about 30 minutes after assembling.
Serve the cake at room temperature by allowing the slices to soften 10 to 20 minutes out of the refrigerator or eat cold. The oil in the batter will keep the cake part soft even after it is chilled.
Afterwards, wrap leftovers in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Bake the Carrot Cake Loaf at 325°F for a soft crust more even bake throughout.
Carrot Cake Loaf FAQs
You technically can, but it is not recommended. Pre-shredded carrots tend to be dry and hard. They may not produce as moist of a cake and the carrots may not completely soften.
Sure! Do not fill the liners more than ⅔ of the way full. Bake at 350°F and start checking for doneness at 22 minutes.
Related Carrot Cake Loaf Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Carrot Cake Loaf
For the Carrot Cake Loaf
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tea baking powder
- ½ tea baking soda
- ½ tea kosher salt Diamond Crystal
- 1 tea ground cinnamon
- 1 tea ground cardamom
- ½ tea ground ginger
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (65g) brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ⅔ cup (160ml) avocado or canola oil
- ¼ cup (60g) plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup (60g) buttermilk
- 3 medium-large carrots (175g) shredded
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup (113g) cream cheese softened
- 2 to 3 cups (240g to 360g) icing sugar
- 1 tea vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoon milk as needed
To Make the Carrot Cake Loaf
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and line a 9X4.5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and the mixture slightly lightens in color, about 2 minutes.
- Add the oil and whisk to combine. Add the yogurt and buttermilk. Whisk to combine.
- Working in two additions, tip about half of the dry ingredients into the batter and stir together with a rubber spatula. Add the second half and mix until smooth.
- Add the carrots and fold until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a wooden skewer poked into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack before topping with the cream cheese frosting.
To Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Using an electric mixer (hand or stand), beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined.
- Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on low to combine then increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth. No need to over do it here, then frosting should be thick and smooth. Add milk as needed.
- When done, scoop mounds of frosting on top of the cooled cake and swirl with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. The frosting will be thick.