Carrot Sheet Cake

{Update 3/14}: After four years of loving on this cake, I’ve updated the pictures and added a few minor changes to the recipe (reduced the allspice just a tad and added nutmeg to round out the flavors).

You just can’t have an Easter season celebration without carrot cake, in my opinion. Even if you aren’t a carrot cake fan, you have to love it for approximately 10 days, give or take a few, just in time for carrot cake season to come and go. I happen to know about one of the most unbelievable carrot cake recipes, and it is…well…unbelievable. But sometimes necessity requires a simpler version – a carrot cake that doesn’t have to be layered and tediously frosted, a cake that can feed a crowd and maintain its delicious simplicity.

Carrot Sheet Cake

This carrot cake fits the bill. Sent to me by a reader and friend, Alisha, this cake apparently has been around for a long time and was a renowned recipe in a large bakery that has since closed down. It definitely lives up to its fame! This cake is light and moist and perfectly spiced. Topped with the whipped cream cheese frosting and it is a dream. I even took liberties with the recipe, subbing applesauce for half of the oil, adding vanilla extract and reducing the eggs by one (thanks to Alisha’s own tip) and the result was an absolutely rewarding finish to a lovely meal.

Keep in mind that the full recipe feeds a crowd (think: large sheet pan filled with luscious carrot cake). The great news is that if you want a smaller batch, it halves beautifully. Same delicious cake just in slightly smaller proportions.

Carrot Sheet Cake

Carrot Sheet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Serves 16-20

Carrot Sheet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe works great halved and baked in a greased 9X13-inch pan. It bakes in about 20-22 minutes in my oven when halved.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, washed and ends trimmed (they don’t need to be peeled)
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour an 11X17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Shred the carrots, finely, on a box grater or food processor. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, applesauce, water and vanilla. Whisk in the sugar to combine until evenly mixed.
  3. In a second bowl mix flour, spices, salt, soda and baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until moistened. Gently fold the carrots into the batter until evenly distributed. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  4. For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, vanilla and butter with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the frosting and whip to combine (don’t overmix or the frosting will become too stiff). The frosting should be smooth and creamy.

Recipe Source: adapted from my friend, Alisha O.

75 Responses to Carrot Sheet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Karen says:

    This is the BEST carrot cake recipe! My whole family loved it, even my picky 4 yr old loved eating the “vegetable” cake. The frosting was divine. I made this on Saturday night for Easter Sunday and the leftovers even 4 days later are delicious.

  2. Madi says:

    Hi will this cake be ok if I make it the day before? I have a lot of cooking Easter morning and it would help if this were already finished. Thanks!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Made a 9×5 loaf and the rest made four cupcakes (four sampling). Loaf baked at about 32min, cupcakes 22min; and I used the cheesecake frosting from your cake recipe… aaaaahhhhh! Heaven, so keeping this in the dessert rotation!!!

  4. mia says:

    would you recommend cake flour? what kind of flour do you use?

  5. Serena says:

    I used only two scarce cups of sugar and the result was way better as it was way way way less sugary sweet, but the recipe itself is nonetheless lovely! Thank you very much!

  6. Alie says:

    I cannot get over how good this carrot cake is!!! For the oil I did half coconut oil/ half avocado oil (so it made me feel like we were being healthy ;). My husband hardly ever eats more than a small serving of any dessert I make (because his moms are always better…) and he ate two HUGE servings and took some to work today. Hooray!

  7. Malini says:

    Hi Mel, this recipe looks brilliant. From past experience I know your recipes never fail. Am trying this for a bake sale at my kids school.
    Will this frosting be stiff enough for piping onto cupcakes?

    • Mel says:

      This is a pretty soft frosting, Malini – I haven’t tried piping with it and my gut feeling is it is too soft but you could certainly try!

  8. Taylor says:

    Made this for Easter today, and everyone said that it was delicious and very moist. I used a 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1 cup of oil. Mel, I think cutting the oil in this recipe was very wise as it is not missed at all. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  9. Ashlee says:

    I love your recipes and trust your judgement, so I’m wondering if this is your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe? I’ve got a birthday on Saturday that I would like to make it for. I’ve tried to find a great frosting and haven’t yet!

  10. Melissa says:

    So I used this recipe for Easter to make individual mini carrot cakes and it was to die for!!! It was a huge success!!! Thanks so much for another great recipe!!!

  11. Karen Degen says:

    I LOVED your Easter menu. This year 3 of the 4 came from your easy to choose menu!
    The carrot cake to end the meal was the best ever! So easy and the whip cream made the icing so light and delisch!

    Thank you thank you

  12. […] 29. Carrot Sheet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting […]

  13. Rachey says:

    I love this frosting. Do you think this recipe would frost 2 9in cakes?

    • Mel says:

      Rachey – I’ve never tried it for that size of cake. It might be pretty close, if it were me I’d halve the recipe again (so make a 1 1/2 batch) just to be safe. Good luck!

  14. lauren says:

    I made this and stuck exactly to the recipe, but did a 13X9X2 and a 13X9X1. I don’t think you could get two 13x9x2’s out of this. I made 50% more frosting too and had a surplus. This recipe is very very good, I and my guests enjoyed it. It does contain a ton of sugar, I think the frosting especially could use less. It tastes good as it, but leaves that sugary taste residue on your teeth.

  15. k says:

    made this for a get-together over the weekend. like so many of your recipes, it was so easy and so good! everyone loved it. added it to my “love” folder. πŸ™‚ thanks!

  16. Sheree says:

    Served this cake for Easter dinner, and it was a hit! I halved the recipe since there were only 5 of us, and I still have some leftover in my fridge. I told my son this morning that it’s probably not a good idea for me to be left alone with that cake – I know I’ll be sneaking bites all day! Mmm, just writing about it has my mouth watering – gotta’ get some in my mouth right now. πŸ™‚

  17. MaMaLaLa says:

    This was so easy and good to bring to church. It was gobbled up and my best pal even had seconds. Now that is the ultimate compliment.

  18. LeeAnn says:

    I’m in the process of making this cake. How many cups is 1 and 1/2 # of carrots? I don’t want to make it wrong, could you help?

  19. Tyler says:

    I don’t know about everyone else…but I MUST HAVE crushed pineapple in my carrot cake. Maybe it’s just a California thing…..since California Carrot Cake ALWAYS has crushed pineapple in it. And for those who put raisins in……NOOOOO!!! Now is there a way to make carrot cake into cookies?!?!?

  20. Ivy P Motuyang says:

    Hi, i just want to what can i use to substitue applesauce in the receipe? Thanks….

  21. Britt J. says:

    I never knew I liked carrot cake until I made this for my husband’s birthday. Any time something is so ridiculously delicious that I lose all self-control and cannot stop eating it, I dub it: dangerous. This cake is Dangerous with a capital “D,” my friend.

  22. Shannon Grinsell says:

    This was by far the easiest and most DELICIOUS carrot cake I have ever come across!!!!!!!!!!!! I made one and took it to work…. it was gone by noon…. I go to work at 10:30 lol it was SO moist and heavy.. oh man, can’t wait to make another one!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Kelly G says:

    This was so amazing! I can’t decide if I like the frosting or the cake the best, because they are both sooo good! I love all your recipes, I don’t usually comment, but I wanted to say thanks for making my kitchen life easier. The hardest part about cooking is finding a good recipe! Also for this recipe I used frozen grated carrots I had from my garden and I didn’t know the weight, so I used 4 cups and it seemed perfect. I drained them after thawing them, so it wouldn’t make the batter runny. Just wanted to mention that in case someone else needed the measurement. Thanks again for a winning recipe!

  24. Mel says:

    Ashley – I have made this 24 hours in advance (frosted and everything) and kept it in the refrigerator…it keeps very well.

  25. Ashley says:

    I’m wanting to make this for Easter on Sunday. Can I make it a day or two ahead and keep it in the fridge? Will it still be moist and yummy???

  26. Carm says:

    This was so good Mel! Thanks for yet another keeper.

  27. Erinn says:

    This was such a huge hit with my husband and his co workers! I substituted crushed pineapple in place of the applesauce. And the frosting… good. I will definitely be using it in place of typical dense cream cheese frosting.

  28. melanie says:

    Hey Melanie,
    I made this for Easter this year and just an fyi…I froze the leftovers with the frosting on and I pulled it out last night for some company and it tasted awesome!! just like I made it fresh :)–it freezes and defrosts beautifully!

  29. Stefanie says:

    I check your page everyday, because I’m kind of stalking you! I love how you break everything down to make it easier. I always tell people it is one of Mel’s recipes…they are starting to think you are a family friend. Anyway, I made this cake yesterday for Easter; Big hit. However, it was freckled with green specks. I googled and could only come up with it being a reaction to baking soda/powder. That was good enough for the family, but how can I prevent it in the future? Still tasted amazing πŸ™‚

    • Mel says:

      Stefanie – how bizarre about your cake! To be honest, I have no idea why that would have happened, I’ve never heard of such a thing. It sounds like what you’ve read could be a likely culprit but who knows how to prevent it? Sorry I can’t be of more help – I’ve never had the green speckled effect!

      • Melissa says:

        Actually, in your second photo of this post, right in the middle of the “bite” I can see a green speck!
        My real reason for posting though is to ask about nuts. I love a nutty carrot cake. Do you have any suggestions for incorporating nuts into this recipe?

        • Mel says:

          Haha, you are right. I never noticed that. Although that could be more likely due to my kids getting some of the carrot top greens in with the shredded carrots but maybe there is something to the baking soda reaction.

  30. jessLewis says:

    I made this recipe with juiced carrots. I juiced the carrots, took the pulp and added the juice back into them. It made for wonderful texture in the cake. I hand stirred wet ingredients into dry. I baked the recipe in two 9×13 and iced and layered them, but I think I would just make one deeper cake next time. The recipe made a great flavor and my brother “the chef” loved it and took it to work as a potluck where everyone loved it, including someone who LOVES carrot cake who said it was the best carrot cake he had ever tasted. Thanks for the recipe; it’s a keeper.

  31. Jodie says:

    I just found this and was so in the mood for carrot cake . . . and cupcakes. This recipe worked really well as cupcakes also! So moist and just really yummy! Didn’t need the frosting, but ohhh, the frosting was amazing! I halfed the recipe and only used oil because I didn’t have any applesauce at the moment. I got 18 cupcakes out of it and baked them for 20 min and they were perfect!

  32. Zoe says:

    Looks delicious!!

  33. Jessica says:

    Hey Mel
    Well, I’ve made this cake 4 times now(everyone keeps asking for it) It’s worked GREAT each time!

    • Mel says:

      Jessica – you are nice to fill people’s requests! I’m so glad this cake has been a hit. Thanks for letting me know!

  34. Kathy Fowler says:

    I made this and it was a hit! Thanks, so yummy!

  35. Jessica says:

    Ok, I’m not normally a carrot cake person… but this was GOOD! I love your site. Thanks for sharing your hard work with the rest of us. I have the cake (2nd attempt) cooking in the oven right now. The smell is heavenly! Thanks for the tip on how big it is!

    • Mel says:

      Jessica – did it work out the first time, too, or was the second try just because you liked it? Thanks for checking in to let me know!

  36. Krista says:

    I made this cake for Easter and it was amazing! We had family over for the traditional egg hunt and dinner, the cake was a hit. I could eat a pound of this frosting (I can hear my thighs screaming in agony). Thanks so much for adding to my Easter dinner! -Krista

    • Mel says:

      Krista – I’m glad I’m not the only one whose thighs are revolting against this frosting! Thanks for letting me know cake (and frosting) were a hit…

  37. Shanna says:

    Yum, yum and more yum! This was my first time making carrot cake and it was delicious! I loved that the recipe was HUGE and I could share the deliciousness with friends and family. We all LOVED it! Thanks so much!

  38. Mel says:

    Lesley – thanks for letting me know this cake turned out well for your daughter’s 1st birthday! Happy birthday to her! Thanks for letting me know.

  39. Lesley says:

    I made this cake yesterday (1/2 recipe) for my daughters first birthday. Yummy and simple, this is my kind of cake. I have loved all the recipes I have tried from your site, thanks!

  40. Mel says:

    Marissa – your comment made me laugh! I can just picture your Granny yelling to you that you did well! Too funny. I’m glad that this worked out for you!

  41. Marissa says:

    I made this for Easter dinner with my family at my Grandparents’ house. My Grandma yelled across the yard, “Rissa, this carrot cake is so good!” And she informed me I have proven myself as being able to bake. (I’m a newlywed and fairly new to cooking.) Thanks!

  42. Mel says:

    Thanks, Sara!

  43. Sara Reagan says:

    made this cake yesterday for Easter, we all loved it! thanks again for another great recipe!

  44. Mel says:

    deanne – the recipe that I gave in my post is WITH my changes so if you want to make it the way I did, you don’t need to further cut down the eggs/oil. Hope that helps!

  45. deanne says:

    did you make the changes that you talked about in the recipe that you wrote down? or do i still need to cut out one egg (so if i halved it i would only use one egg)) and still reduce the oil even more and add more applesauce than what you have down? hopefully that makes sense

  46. Alisha O says:

    I am so glad you enjoyed the cake! I just pulled all of the carrots out of my winter garden & along with oodles of baby food, I plan to make a couple of these babies. I can’t wait to try the whipped cream frosting. Yum!

    Oh, & a year ago or so I found a quarter sheet jelly roll pan (made by Calphon) at a discount store… TJ Maxx or something… anyway, I almost always just do 1/2 of the recipe unless I have a crowd to feed! You just have to decrease the baking time by a bit.

  47. Jaymie says:

    Can I just say how much I love your site?! I can? I LOVE YOUR SITE! I am a visitor 2-3 times a week. I haven’t made a single one of your recipes that I didn’t really like…and that’s not normal. We have the same taste in food I think, although I can’t stand asparagus, sorry. You’re hilarious. I’ve never commented before but after this carrot sheetcake recipe that I needed for Easter that you suddenly saved me with AGAIN…THANKS!!! You rock!

  48. grace says:

    what a unique frosting! i thought regular cream cheese frosting was as decadent as one could get, but i was wrong. so very wrong. πŸ™‚

  49. Jessica Olsen says:

    I have been searching for the last week for a Carrot Sheet Cake recipe! This one by far looks the BEST, and just in time for the event I need it for. Thank You! πŸ™‚

  50. Barbara says:

    I’ve never made a carrot cake in sheet cake form….super idea, Mel! And the frosting looks heavenly rich!

  51. Therese says:

    Mel–you read my mind! I have had “carrot cake” written on the white board on my fridge for weeks now–no lie. Just been in the mood. Now I don’t have to search for a recipe. This one looks awesome.

  52. Cammee says:

    There is a carrot cake season? In my house it’s all year long, baby! I love carrot cake in all its varieties. Sometimes cream cheese frosting is just too heavy for me, I can’t wait to try this frosting recipe!

  53. Memoria says:

    This cake looks and sounds amazing. I love the addition of heavy cream in the frosting.

  54. Cathryn says:

    Oh my…these last several recipes ALL look delish. I can see my Easter dinner shaping up quite nicely thanks to you. πŸ™‚ I think the traditional ham is out the window!

  55. cindy says:

    I love carrot cake, this recipe looks delicious! Can’t wait to try the frosting I’m sure it is heavenly.

  56. Kim in MD says:

    Carrot cake is a favorite in our house, and I make one that has crushed pineapple in it (we love it!). My son’s birthday is in April, I can’t wait to try your whipped cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake…it looks like it would take almost any cake to the “over the top” level! Thanks for sharing, Mel!

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