Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

You know I couldn’t leave the upcoming carrot cake season alone without offering my favorite new carrot cake of the year. If you tried the Carrot Cake Cheesecake from a couple years ago – heavy on the cheesecake, light on the carrot cake – think of today’s recipe as a flip-flopped (and much easier) variation: heavy on the carrot cake (oh, yes), light on the cheesecake.

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

What it is, simply, is my all-time favorite carrot cake adapted to layer over a simple, blended cream cheese filling. All you have to do is spread half the batter in the bundt pan, add the cheesecake filling on top, and spread the last half of the carrot cake batter on top. The 45 minute, or so, stint in the oven does all the swirling for you so you have more time to do the things you love (or maybe just wash up the dishes, whatever).

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

The cake is not only beautiful (there’s just something about bundt cakes that scream fancy pants), but the tender spiced carrot cake with just a hint of cream cheese swirling throughout is almost so delicious, you could do without the frosting. But on second thought, who am I to even dare suggest that. Carrot cake without a healthy dollop of luxurious, creamy frosting would be sacrilege (and if you haven’t made the unbelievable carrot cake recipe yet, you should know that adding the little spoonful of sour cream to the frosting is the difference between ok and completely ridiculous).

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

Carrot cake (let’s rephrase: really, really good carrot cake) gets me every time and I still have yet to figure out why. It’s what I like to call the “sugar cookie syndrome.” As much as I love and adore and crave and dream of decadent chocolate cakes, confections and cookies – you show me a table laden with treats and if there’s a sugar cookie on there, I’m a-gonna have to try it. Same with carrot cake. Those are probably the two desserts that I’d give up chocolate for (speaks volumes) and the version today is out of this world delicious.

One Year Ago: Fluffy Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
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Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

Yield: Serves 10

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

For the oil, you can try subbing in half unsweetened applesauce (it works great for the original carrot cake this was adapted from). I used a combination of avocado and light olive oil for this recipe but you could use canola, vegetable or even coconut oil (melted first).

I know the issue of the bundt pan will probably come up. First off, I use a 10-inch bundt pan (a totally old school one from the 70's my mother-in-law gave me a few years ago that she got as a wedding present and it's crazy vintage awesome) but you could try a smaller bundt pan keeping in mind you may need to increase the baking time (and make sure the batter doesn't overflow, although there was an inch of space left using a 10-inch pan). If you don't have a bundt pan at all, feel free to experiment using a couple loaf pans or even a cake pan. I can't offer any advice about how they will work but things like that are always worth a try, in my opinion (if nothing else, you could treat yourself to a new bundt pan and spend a lifetime making fancy bundt cakes).


    Carrot Cake:
  • 1 2/3 cup (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 large carrots (12 ounces), ends trimmed and finely shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup oil (see note above)
  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans, optional
  • Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Frosting:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch bundt cake pan very well, getting in all the nooks and crannies. Lightly dust with flour, tapping out the excess, and set aside.
  2. For the cake batter, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl (you can use the bowl of a stand electric mixer here), with a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugars together until blended. With the mixer running, drizzle in the oil and mix until thick and creamy.
  4. Add the dry ingredients, carrots and pecans, and mix gently by hand until combined and no streaks of flour remain. Set aside for a few minutes while preparing the cream cheese filling.
  5. For the cream cheese layer, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and egg until smooth and well-combined. You can use an electric mixer or I generally use my blender (Blendtec model) for whipping this together.
  6. Pour half of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Spoon the cream cheese mixture in dollops evenly across the top. Finish with the remaining carrot cake batter. It's ok if you can see the cream cheese layer peeking through - the carrot cake may not cover it all the way.
  7. Bake the cake for 45-60 minutes until the top lightly springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  8. Remove fron the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate to cool completely.
  9. For the frosting, whip together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth and well-combined (again, I use my blender for this but you can use an electric mixer). Add the heavy cream, sour cream and powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
  10. Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting over the top curve of the bundt cake. If you want to cover the cake entirely, you can double the frosting.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The cake can be made, frosted and refrigerated up to a day in advance.

Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe my friend Kim sent me (adapted my own favorite carrot cake to use, cut down the frosting amounts, added a bit of sour cream to the frosting because it’s the best thing ever, and varied a few other ingredients). Thanks, Kim!

48 Responses to Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

  1. SOF says:

    Stop it,Mel! My belly grows with each and every recipe you post.This one was NO exception! I’ve been informed,no,ordered,to make this again.ASAP.Thanks!
    I first came across your page when I finally grew tired of store-bought frosting.That was 5 years ago.Now?I think you KNOW! Kudos to you for the joy that you have brought to so many of us,Mel.I’m forever grateful,and let everyone know about just how wonderful your site truly is.

  2. Chris says:

    Made it, ate it, loved it! The “I don’t eat a lot of desserts” people in the crowd went for seconds! Made it in an angel food cake pan, worked perfectly.

  3. Sharon says:

    This cake turned out delicious! It was so easy to make and was perfect for my husband’s birthday, since he LOVES carrot cake. Thanks for another great recipe!

  4. Pat C says:

    I made this for Easter dessert. It was really a hit with everyone (even those who claimed they didn’t like carrot cake. I used half canola oil, half applesauce and it turned out so moist and luscious. The frosting is to die for, I could have eaten it by itself. Thanks for another great recipe winner.

  5. Christine J says:

    I made this for Easter, and it received rave reviews! Thanks!

  6. HeyBeckyJ says:

    I made this for dessert yesterday, and it was amazing! The carrot cake was incredible. The cream cheese layer didn’t really swirl for me; instead it mostly sank to the bottom of the pan, but it still was a delicious layer. Thanks for another amazing recipe.

  7. Kate says:

    I made this for Easter and it was AMAZING! I followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect. I’m not a huge flavored cheesecake fan, but loved the contrast between the cake, filling and frosting. I’m one who is prone to baking disasters, so if you need a no fail dessert to impress, pick this with confidence. 🙂

  8. Kayla says:

    I made it for Easter and it was fabulous! Thank you!!

  9. Megan A says:

    Well, I’ve definitely achieved baking ninja status due to this bundle of deliciousness. And, let’s be honest. The only reason I’ve come even close to being a ninja in the kitchen is because of your recipes. I have made and love your carrot cake cheesecake but this is easier and equally divine. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  10. Janet Phillips says:

    I made this for Easter and everyone loved it! It looked so pretty with some easter sprinkles on top of that gorgeous frosting. My two year old gandaughter who usually doesn’t like cake ate a slice all by herself and wanted more! I did substitute half of the oil with applesauce and it worked beautifully. No need to double the frosting, it makes plenty and would be actually good without it as well. Thank you for a show- stopper recipe!

  11. Lisa says:

    I made this for Easter dessert. Just as instructed. It was delicious, everyone loved it. Next time I’ll make two so that we can have a slice left for tomorrow! Thanks for you consistently wonderful recipes.

  12. Rachel says:

    Made for our Easter dinner…looks divine! Who knew sour cream could make such a difference with the cream cheese frosting,

  13. Jenni says:

    I love carrot cake with pineapple in it. Do you think this recipe would still work if I added some crushed pineapple that is well drained?

  14. Jackie says:


    I have a 15 cup bundt pan, will that be too big for this recipe.

  15. Camille says:

    You’ve outdone yourself! This is my new favorite recipe! I can’t wait to make one for everyone I know! I’m always nervous about things turning out because of the crazy high altitude I live at, but this turned out perfect with no adjustments! Love it!

  16. jerrie says:

    Oh my, I made this and the next day the whole thing was gone. I never even got to the frosting part. I am going to make one for Easter but will use the applesauce oil split. Very good, very moist, a true winner in my book!!

  17. Terry A. says:

    I made this yesterday. It is delicious – very moist and flavorful. Definitely a keeper!!

  18. Kim says:

    In the picture above, did you double the frosting or is it a single recipe? Thank you! Can’t wait to make this for Easter! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      The pictures show the recipe how it’s written in the post. If you want extra frosting, double the amounts. Does that help?

      • Kim says:

        Yes! Thank you!!

        • Lynda says:

          I made this last night and doubled the frosting. I frosted it like she did, and I used about 3/4 of the double recipe (but I don’t like skimping AT ALL on frosting!! I just put the extra in a container and will use it on cupcakes later……..the frosting is REALLY good!!!!!!!!

  19. Gigi says:

    Really Mel, spring will be here in a few days which means summer will be here in a flash. This is NOT good for bathing suit season. If this is half as good as your unbelievable carrot cake ( which was proclaimed by my boyfriend as the best cake he has ever eaten ) we will be able to finish this whole thing in three days..or two maybe..haha. Darn you and your crazy awesomely good recipes.

  20. Carrot cake in bundt form? Pinch me now. And not because it’s St. Patty’s Day and I forgot to wear green. 🙂 But because this looks so dreamy!! I can’t wait to try it. Pinned!

  21. shalynn says:

    I am in pain!!! I feel like I want to eat this right off the screen! I hope I can make it in the next few days.

  22. This looks so good!
    I love carrot cake and choose it every time I am out for coffee and cake…..that happens more often that I am willing to admit 😉
    Will be trying this soon! Thank you.

  23. Sheila says:

    Your pumpkin cream cheese muffins are one of our favorites. And this carrot cream cheese looks and sounds just as delicious. I can’t keep up with all your goodness, Mel. This will have to wait until I try your new homemade yogurt recipe. I’m waiting on the nut bag. Your recipes are the very best!

  24. Looks delicious! Great idea for Easter 🙂

  25. Lynda says:

    I’m hoping you can answer this tonight as I want to get this ready to make tomorrow for a pot-luck on Wednesday at work. I bought pre-shredded carrots at the store. Do I need to put them through a food-processor again to make them like super fine? I wish I could attach a picture so you could see them. They are basically shredded like you would get if you used a peeler……do they need to be finer? Thanks!

    • Lynda says:

      Oh, also, I use the Pam with flour to flour my bundt. That will work for this, correct? I’m assuming it does. It sure does make it easier to hit all the nooks and rraniies than using regular flour.

      • Mel says:

        I think I know what you are talking about, Lynda. If it were me, I would probably try to get them a little finer – the thinner they are chopped, the more moist the cake will be (you don’t want them mushy, just thinly and finely chopped). Having said that, I’ve eaten carrot cake before that had larger pieces of carrots so you probably don’t have to go through the extra step – I’ve never made this recipe, though, with large shredded carrots.

        • Lynda says:

          Ok, I will try that tonight. I didn’t get it done yesterday, but I have to tonight because the potluck is tomorrow!! I will let you know what I decided to do and how it turned out. Thanks for getting back to me.

        • Lynda says:

          Mel – one more thing. Do you use salted or unsalted butter in this? Thanks!

        • Mel says:

          Salted. 🙂

        • Lynda says:

          Ah, I used unsalted. It tasted just fine. I really DO like the sour cream in the frosting. Couldn’t believe the difference. Haven’t had the cake yet, since it’s for a potluck today, but it LOOKS good!!! Wish I could share pictures!!!!!!

        • Lynda says:

          Oh, and I did put the carrots in the food processor with the chop blade (not the shredder blade because it wasn’t doing anything since they were already shredded). It did cut them up a lot more without mushing them, so again, I’ll see when we eat it this afternoon!!!!!!!

  26. Shelley says:

    Well I had to make this TODAY <<< no self control. I used a 9" bundt pan (Nordicware Fleur de Lis) and it fit perfectly.

  27. Kim in MD says:

    Two of my favorite desserts combined into one…I love this, Mel!

  28. This bundt cake is gorgeous and sounds so amazing!

  29. Tanni says:

    We are going out of town for spring break and get home the day before Easter….can this be made ahead and froze…..adding the frosting once the cake has thawed? Looks delish!

  30. Mel, looks like you’ve got another winner here. Cream cheese swirl AND cream cheese frosting? Be still my heart! I, too, am a carrot cake aficionado. Just as I can’t pick a favorite kid (have 4 of ’em!), I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite carrot cake recipe. May I suggest one of my all-time favorites? It’s moist, dense and sink-your-teeth-in good. As much as I love frosting, all this needs is a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

  31. Rachel says:

    Carrot Cake is my all time favorite dessert. This looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it!

  32. I love the swirled cheesecake in the carrot cake, that sounds amazing! Also that frosting on top looks so, so good! I haven’t had carrot cake in eons, so that certainly needs to change!

  33. Ok. This looks great but it is going to have to go on the back burner. Thursday, double batch of snicker-doodle cookies. Saturday (aka: Pi Day of the Century) two pies.

    I’m completely sugared out.

    However, this wont sit on the back burner for long.

  34. I love the cream cheese swirl! Such a great idea!

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