These Carrot Cake Bars are a fun twist on the classic carrot cake! They’re topped off with a simple cream cheese frosting and perfect for Easter. Serve these at room temp or cold from the fridge for a sweet treat.
Chad, my husband, is not a cake fan.
It’s weird, because who doesn’t like cake?!
But, he always passes it up in favor of another dessert.
And then I made these carrot cake bars and discovered that he will eat an entire batch of these, thanks to the cream cheese frosting.
Apparently, cream cheese frosting is his weakness.
I almost wish he’d go back to his cake-hating ways so that I had more of these bars for myself!
They’re moist and tender, perfectly spiced, and topped with a simple tangy cream cheese frosting that keeps you coming back for ‘one more tiny piece.’
This recipe comes together super easily without any of the stress of making a whole layer cake.
I mean, I love layer cake, but they honestly stress me out. Even the kind that comes from a box mix!
These are just as tasty as a traditional carrot cake, but a little less intimidating and more casual.
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Combine: To make these, you’ll add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in all of the wet ingredients and stir those together and then fold in the pecans. Don’t overmix or your cake will be tough.
Bake: Once the mixture is all stirred together you’ll spread it into a greased jelly roll pan and bake for about 25 minutes. Let the cake cool completely.
Frost: Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. I like to use vanilla bean paste for this recipe so that you get the little flecks of vanilla bean in the frosting. Spread it all over the bars, slice, and serve!
These carrot cake bars are perfect to serve up at Easter dinner, but I love that they’re easy enough to make anytime.
No need to have a big occasion to whip these little treats up.
Plus, you can eat these carrot cake bars with your hands, which is always a win, but you can also use a fork. It really doesn’t matter how you eat these, as long as you do it while wearing festive bunny ears, surrounded by that evil plastic Easter grass that you find for days and days after Easter. 😉
While carrot cake does contain lots of carrots, which are rich in beta carotene, fiber, and more, we’re still looking at dessert. These carrot cake bars are made with wheat flour, sugar, and butter and then topped with frosting. Not exactly health food, but there are veggies involved!
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the temperature for serving carrot cake, though we prefer it served cold.
We find these carrot cake bars much easier than a traditional layered carrot cake. We mix the cake batter in one bowl by hand, spread it into a pan, bake, and then frost directly in the pan. Nothing complicated about this recipe!
How to Store Carrot Cake Bars:
We recommend storing these carrot cake bars in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 5 days.
For easy storage, we frost and cut the bars and then pop in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up before wrapping with plastic wrap. This helps keep the frosting from sticking to the plastic wrap.
Tips for Decorating Carrot Cake Bars:
As you can see, we kept it very simple with just a thick spread of cream cheese frosting on our carrot cake bars!
If you’d like, use a piping bag with orange and green frosting to pipe a small carrot onto each bar.
Orange or green sprinkles or chopped pecans also make a nice topping.
More holiday desserts:
Easter Cookies: Our favorite cookie dough all dressed up for the Easter Bunny!
Butter Cookies: My mama makes these for every holiday.
Bisquick Peach Cobbler: So simple and always a hit!
Mini Cheesecakes: Topped with the best strawberry sauce!
Lemon Bars: The perfect spring dessert!
Carrot Cake Bars
For the bars:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teasoon baking soda
- 3 cups shredded carrots about 6 medium carrots
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup melted butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans
For the frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Stir in carrots, eggs, and butter until just combined. Fold in the pecans.
- Spread the batter evenly in a greased 15×10 rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan.
- To make the frosting, place the cream cheese and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting reaches the consistency you prefer.
- Spread frosting on the cooled bars. Cut into bars and serve at room temp or chilled.
Tips & Notes:
This post was original published in April 2014. It was updated with a video and new text March 2023.