Swirled Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars
Have your carrot cake AND cheesecake and eat it, too, with these simple and super delicious swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars! Holy cow, they are tasty (and so pretty!).
Ok, where are all my carrot cake and cheesecake lovers at??
Today’s dessert is for YOU! These swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars are incredible! So easy and so stunning, they bring together ultra tender carrot cake and creamy cheesecake in a combination that is irresistible.
I don’t know what it is about the spring weather (and upcoming Easter season), but I start thinking about carrot cake and can’t stop. I love it! Love it. Carrot cake is one of my absolute favorite desserts ever. This best-ever carrot cake recipe is my all-time favorite. I rarely, rarely stray from it when I want a fabulous classic carrot cake. Which is, like, every day February through June.
Because carrot cake pairs so naturally with light and fluffy cream cheese frosting, it’s a no brainer to transition the frosting to cheesecake batter and combine the two desserts. Carrot cake + cheesecake. Love, love. The combo is so fantastic.
I posted this beautiful carrot cake cheesecake recipe years ago, and it’s a further testament that the two “cakes” belong together. But…in honor of making an even simpler combo of carrot cake and cheesecake (that doesn’t require a special springform or bundt pan), today it’s all about swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars.
They are easy, elegant, and amazingly delicious.
It’s as simple as whipping up a quick carrot cake batter (yes, taken from that favorite carrot cake recipe, always), getting a simple cheesecake batter ready to go, and spreading, dolloping, swirling, and baking. See? Easy!
The result is a whirly, swirly pan of carrot cake cheesecake bars with tender, moist carrot cake dancing in and around the luscious river of cheesecake. The cheesecake flavor and swirls are definitely prominent in this recipe – perfect for the cheesecake lover in your life! (If you want more cake to cheesecake ratio – consider 1 1/2-ing the cake part!)
This recipe definitely benefits from cooling completely and then chilling. And like any good cheesecake recipe, I think the flavor gets better with time, which makes it a perfect make-ahead dessert! (I have a strong suspicion the baked bars cut into squares would freeze great, too.)
I’m already loosely planning our Easter dinner menu (ok, ok, I have a spreadsheet dedicated to the cause), and these swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars will be there. How can I not? They are so easy and so, so tasty.
And since it helps me sleep better at night, here’s a few of my other favorite carrot cake recipes! Sharing is caring.
- Carrot Cake Cheesecake
- Best Ever Carrot Cake
- Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirled Bundt Cake
- Carrot Cake Sheet Cake
- Banana Carrot Bread
One Year Ago: Easy Chicken Shawarma
Two Years Ago: Lemon Cream Cheese Crumb Muffins
Three Years Ago: Doubletree Hotel Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Four Years Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake
Five Years Ago: Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna
Swirled Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars
- 1 ¼ cups (178 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (159 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (53 g) packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup neutral-flavored oil, like vegetable, canola, grapeseed, etc
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ pound carrots, finely shredded (about 2 cups)
- 2 packages (8-ounces each) (454 g) cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (106 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan (I use a metal pan) with parchment paper with overhanging edges to make it easier to lift and cut the bars. Lightly grease the bottom and sides with cooking spray and set aside.
- For the carrot cake batter, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until very well-combined and lighter in color, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients and then the carrots and mix until no dry streaks remain (don’t over mix).
- For the cheesecake batter, whip the cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer) until smooth and well-combined, 1-2 minutes. Add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla and mix for another minute or so until evenly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Spread half of the carrot cake batter in a thin layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the cheesecake batter and remaining carrot cake batter over the top, alternating heaping dollops so there’s an even amount of batter across the bars.
- Use a knife to lightly swirl the batter together (see pictures in the post). Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes until the top springs back lightly to the touch. Let cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled (these bars can be made 1-2 days ahead of time; refrigerate until serving).
Recipe Source: adapted and inspired by this favorite carrot cake recipe
25 Comments on “Swirled Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars”
My cheesecake mixture came out extremely runny. I couldn’t dollop it. I used full fat cream cheese. Any ideas what caused this? They are baking now so I hope they turn out ok!
How did it work out, Karen?
I made this for the first time this weekend. I added raisins, crushed pineapple and sliced almonds to the carrot cake batter. Soooooooo good. The cheesecake to carrot cake ratio was perfect.
How much of the ‘additives’ (raisins, etc) did you add? And, did you bake longer? Thank you in advance 🙂
Since our gathering was forced to be small this year, I made half the recipe and baked in an 8 inch pan for just over 30 minutes. The bars were absolutely delicious; I kind of regretted not making a big pan! 🙂 The cake to cheesecake ratio was spot on for our taste. I’ll definitely be making these again!
SO delicious! Definitely a big cheesecake fan so I like that the cheesecake is prominent in this. This recipe is such a nice blend of both making it perfect for Easter dessert. Will be making again with my leftover carrots. Thank you so much!
So delicious!! My husband wanted carrot cake or cheesecake for his birthday, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it! He Loved it! I did use half oil and half applesauce. Also used light cream cheese….just added a few teaspoons flour and it turned out great!
Can you freeze these?
Your bars made it until here to Switzerland and they were a huge success. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!
Thank you so much!
Love you Mel! I’ve made many of your recipes with great success. However, I just made these bars this morning and I have to agree with Leah. The ratios seem to be a bit off. I only used about half of the cheesecake mixture and still was not able to achieve a marbled look because of the discrepancy. The bars appear mostly white. Also the cheesecake batter seemed a bit too runny. I couldn’t get it to stay in much of a “blob” while alternating the with the batter. I’m sure they’ll taste fantastic regardless. Maybe I’ll try them again and double the cake batter as has been suggested. I’m off to go eat the left over cheesecake mixture by the spoonful…that stuff is delicious!
Thanks for the review, Malea! I should have been more explicit in the blog post that I intended these to be heavy on the cheesecake and light on the carrot cake. I’ll add those details so people know what they are getting into! 🙂
Made these yesterday for dinner with friends (I never hesitate to try out one of your new recipes on company) along with your Blue Cheese and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes (https://www.melskitchencafe.com/blue-cheese-and-cheddar-scalloped-potatoes/) and bone in pork chops with your marinade (https://www.melskitchencafe.com/the-best-all-purpose-meat-marinade/).
The bars were a hit but it seemed to me that the cake/cheesecake ratio was off a smidge? I felt like I needed more cake? (and this is saying something because I would jump in front of a moving bus for cheesecake.) I don’t think I would double the cake part but maybe 1 1/2 part cake to 1 part cheesecake?
Anyone else have thoughts on this?
Hey Leah, thanks for the feedback! Yes, these bars are definitely heavy on the cheesecake. I did that intentionally because I wanted a more cheesecake-centered dessert, but I think 1 1/2-inch the cake part for more cake to cheesecake ratio would definitely work!
Could I use butter for the oil? I have that or olive oil!
Yes, I think so…the cake texture may be slightly different (maybe slightly less moist, but I think it’s a good sub)
I just made these, they are so lovely and then some!! Highly recommend! They were easy to make. I followed your instructions exactly. I’ll definitely make these again and again…..and again! Thank you for another great recipe Mel! (PS, all I had in the fridge was baby carrots and so I shredded like 10 million of them by hand….but it was so worth it! :0)
I only keep baby carrots on hand as well and they can be a pain to cut up (they are small + they roll around when you’re trying to slice).
So for this recipe, I weighed out 8 oz of carrots (or you could just take out half a pound bag), put them in the food processor and they were ready in about 10 seconds. Hopefully that can save you cutting the next time you make a carrot cake!
Oh wow, you definitely deserve an award for hand shredding all those baby carrots!! Haha. You’re amazing. And I’m so happy you loved these little bars!
My husband would love these for his birthday this month! Do you think I could double it and bake it on a rimmed cookie sheet?
Yes I think so! I’m a little worried about it overflowing because of the short sides so keep an eye on that just to be sure.
Did you try this and did it work out? Based on the reviews about the ratios, I’m thinking of 2x the cake and 1.5x the cheesecake in a half sheet pan…
Oh my goodness! Feeling the love with this recipe that showcases two of my favorite things in such a simple way! Fast and delicious recipes like this are how this foodie satisfies her cravings amongst the busyness of 5 littles! Yum! Thanks Mel!
Thanks, Lisa! I agree that sometimes it’s the fast and easy and super tasty recipes that are the key to my heart. 🙂