Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • dessertsRecipe
  • I think it’s time you know that I’ve been keeping a secret from you. I have decided to finally reveal my true identity to the world. Not only am I The Cookin’ Cowgirl, but I am also The Carrot Cake Expert.

    Cookin’ Cowgirl by day. Carrot Cake Expert by night.
    {Pumpkin expert on the weekends}

    Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Now, to be clear, I am not claiming to be the carrot cake baking expert, but I am for sure, with out a doubt THE carrot cake tasting expert. I’m pretty sure it’s official.

    This is going to be a long post with lots of instructions and photos, because after all, carrot cake is a very serious matter! :) In all my days of carrot cake testing {and believe me, there have been a LOT}, I have learned a few very important things.

    #1 Raisins are a moo point {if you don’t know what that means, go watch Friends}. They are fine, but serve no real purpose in carrot cake.

    #2 Only use freshly grated carrots, and make them small. It they are the large, pre cut carrots, they will simply not do. {If you’re going to do that you might as well just go buy the cake instead of making it your self}.

    #3 Carrot cake must, I repeat MUST have nuts! I prefer pecans, but use what ever you like. That was a test! I already told you, I am the carrot cake expert!

    #4 If you are making a 3 layer cake and you are trying to cut some calories, use things like apple sauce and pineapple {or a combination of both} to replace some of the oil. But do NOT make use fat free cream cheese or light butter to make the frosting as it will be more runny and make your cake layers slide! Yes, I learned that tip from experience.

    #5 The cake is MUCH easier to frost if the cakes are cold and the frosting is room temperature.

    Is your mouth watering yet? GOOD! Let me cross this off my bucket list and we’ll get started!

    Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
    adapted from my mom!
    makes 3-9inch cake rounds, 16 slices
    2 C sugar
    1/2 C + 2 T canola oil
    1/2 C + 2 T unsweetened apple sauce
    2 C all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    1/2 tsp salt
    4 eggs
    3/4 C crushed, canned pineapple in 100% juice, don’t drain
    2 C finely grated raw carrots
    1 C chopped pecans

    12 oz cream cheese
    1 1/2 sticks (or 3/4 C) butter, softened
    3 tsp vanilla
    3 C powdered sugar
    1 C chopped nuts, for the outside of the cake

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, cream sugar, oil and apple sauce together and set aside.

    In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together.

    Add dry ingredients to wet and mix. Add eggs and mix. Add pineapple, carrots and pecans and mix.

    Spray 3, 9 inch baking pans with Baker’s Joy and distribute batter evenly.

    Bake cakes for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven at 15 minutes. You may want to check the cakes with a few minutes to spare; mine were perfect at 28 minutes.

    Cool cakes for a few minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely on cooling racks. Let cakes chill in fridge before next step. To insure your cake layers won’t slide around, take a serrated knife and keeping knife flat, saw back and forth to remove the very top layer.

    Now your cakes will sit evenly. Place cakes in fridge while making frosting.

    Meanwhile, to make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together in mixer with flat paddle attachment, until smooth.

    Add in vanilla and mix.

    Add in powdered sugar, about a cup and a time. Begin with mixer on low so you don’t make a mess.

    Mix until frosting is smooth and creamy.

    Place a small bit of frosting on cake plate and spread around the middle so that your cake will have something to “grab on to,” to keep it from sliding around.

    Place one cake on plate and frost the top completely with an off set spatula.
    Repeat with other layers.
    Frost a thin layer around the outside of the cake and pop it in the fridge for a few minutes to let the frosting firm up.
    Add another layer of the frosting the the cake.
    Last, grab handfuls of chopped pecans and stick them to the outside of the cake.
    I started with a little over two cups of chopped pecans, and ended up using about a cup.

    It’s not a bad idea to have extra pecans chopped so you can clean up any “messes” on the outside of the cake.

    Look how pillowy and delicious that frosting is!

    And even though this cake has pineapple in it, it only enhances the flavors of the cake; it doesn’t make it super pineappley. Don’t worry, this cake isn’t for a luau!

    It’s just the most perfect, moist, sweet, decadent, rich, luxurious, elegant yet comfortable cake you’ve ever had.
    {Hmmm, maybe I should try “humble pie” next!}
    click to print
    • Tina

      Perhaps a trade of cakes is in order, I am craving this one now! You have some great tips on the instructions also. Well done.

    • Jocelyn

      You know the way to my heart!!! Carrot cake is one of my absolute favorites! And yes, raisins in the cake are BAD! Your looks absolutely divine and I want to swan dive into a piece like now!!!


      Wishing you shipped these…

    • Cookin’ Cowgirl

      Spicy Perspective…you are awesome! :)

    • Anonymous

      I like to use pumpkin in place of the applesauce….try it you’ll like it!

    • nate.primecp

      Thank you for participating in the RecipeLion blog hop. Voting will begin on March 26th at midnight CST and end on March 29th, 2012 at midnight CST. Tell you friends to vote for this recipe. Good luck!

      Vote Here

    • Tabitha (a.k.a. Penny)

      I was just looking for a recipe for this cake! You have made my day.

      Found you through the RecipeLion blog hop and I have pinned your recipe. Best of luck in the contest!

      If you like linky parties, I would love to have you swing by on Friday for Weekend Potluck. Link on one blog but it shows on four. Always incredible. :)

    • pateachew

      OH MY GOSH. I absolutely LOVE carrot cake, and I think I must try your recipe immediately. Thanks for the great post, the cake looks to die for!

    • Kim Bee

      Loving this one. You are truly the carrot cake expert. This is beautiful.

    • Stephanie @Eat. Drink. Love.

      Beauuuuutifullll carrot cake!Love the pineapple and omg, the frosting, I could just sit and eat it with a spoon!