This Pineapple Carrot Cake is filled with grated carrots and crushed pineapple and topped with pineapple cream cheese frosting. A moist, lightly spiced cake with a decadent sweet and tangy frosting. A delicious twist on carrot cake that everyone will love!
My obsession with carrot cake continues. I’ve shared Carrot Cake Cookies, Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Pumpkin Carrot Cake, and Healthy Carrot Cake. And now the new addition to the carrot cake family: PINEAPPLE Carrot Cake. Yep, a touch of sweet and juicy pineapple is the perfect addition to this carrot cake recipe.
Cake: A soft and moist cake sweetened with granulated sugar and brown sugar, flavored with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla, and loaded with grated carrots and crushed pineapple. This cake comes together quickly. Combine the wet and dry ingredients separately and then combine them with each other and stir in the carrots and pineapple. Easy peasy!
Frosting: This is a typical cream cheese frosting; creamy, smooth, sweet, and tangy. I give the option of adding crushed pineapple into the frosting for another pop of pineapple flavor.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ease: No fancy techniques or equipment needed. Plus, we’re making this cake in a 9×13 pan, so no need to fuss with decorating and frosting layers.
- Flavor: The perfect balance of brown sugar, spices, and a pop of freshness from the pineapple.
- Texture: Moist and soft cake with little bits of juicy pineapple throughout.
- Make ahead: This cake can be made, frosted, and refrigerated up to one day in advance of when you’re serving it.
Drain the crushed pineapple well. This ensures that the cake isn’t too wet. I recommend draining the crushed pineapple in a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Stir it several times to make sure the excess juice drains out.
Grate the carrots yourself rather than using pre-packaged grated carrots. Use whole carrots (about 3-4) and grate them using the medium holes on a box grater or a food processor.
Don’t have buttermilk? Try one of my buttermilk substitutes. In a pinch you can swap the buttermilk for regular milk.
Tent the cake loosely with foil about halfway through the bake time. This ensures that the cake doesn’t get too dark.
Pineapple Carrot Cake
- One 20-oz can crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon EACH ground ginger and nutmeg
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup vegetable oil or canola oil
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 8 oz block cream cheese, softened to cool room temp
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to cool room temp
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup crushed pineapple (optional), drained really well
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and empty the contents of the 20-oz can of crushed pineapple. Stir several times and allow the pineapple to drain while you proceed with the cake.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer (I use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment), beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined, scraping the ides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Give the crushed pineapple a few more stirs to remove any excess liquid, then add the pineapple and grated carrots to the batter. Mix until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Loosely tent with foil, then bake another 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- With an electric mixer (I use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment), beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and combined.
- Beat in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, followed by vanilla. Increase the speed to high and beat for 30 seconds until fluffy and smooth. If adding crushed pineapple, drain the pineapple really well (I use the back of a spoon to press out the excess juice). Stir the pineapple into the frosting.
- Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Garnish with more crushed pineapple if desired.