These Carrot Cake Bars made with fresh grated carrots, chopped walnuts and homemade cream cheese icing are deliciously moist.
Two of my favorite desserts are chocolate cake and carrot cake. I’m not overly picky when it comes to chocolate cake; however, carrot is a different story. Years ago Duncan Hines used to make a Decadent Carrot Cake that had dehydrated carrots and walnuts in the package.
It was the best boxed cake mix I had tried. The pieces of real carrots really kept the cake moist. For some reason, they stopped selling this particular box mix and I haven’t found any good replacements.
With Easter coming, I decided to experiment with my own recipe and came up with these Carrot Cake Bars. My family still likes to make and decorate the Bunny Cake every Easter even though the girls are now 24 and 19. It was a long standing tradition that started with my Mom when my sister and I were little.
Then when the girls were born, she made the cake with them too. Originally, it was made with yellow cake, white canned frosting and flaked coconut. However, as the girls got older they decided that since they didn’t really like coconut; they would make the cake with carrot cake and cream cheese icing instead.
It was a win-win for me too because the flavor of homemade cream cheese icing with carrot cake is THE BEST! BUT, it has to be homemade icing; not the canned stuff.
Since this was going to be a trial recipe, I decided to make it into bars instead of a cake. This way I could easily freeze leftovers to eat at a later time.
How do you make Carrot Cake Bars?
For this recipe you’ll need all purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, ground cinnamon, eggs, Canola oil, carrots and walnuts.
You can grate the carrots using a box grater or a food processor. Or you can sometimes find carrots already grated in a package at your supermarket. Whichever is easier for you works best.
Start by combining the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well. In a larger bowl add the eggs, oil, and grated carrots. Mix; then add the dry mixture and chopped walnuts and mix until well combined.
Line a 13-inch sheet pan with parchment paper; then pour the batter over the pan. Spread it out with a spatula so that it’s evenly distributed; then bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes. The top should bounce back with gently touched or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove the tray and allow to cool completely at room temperature. While the cake is cooling, you can make the cream cheese icing.
How do you make Cream Cheese Icing?
To make the icing you’ll need butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, confectioners sugar and milk. You’ll want the butter and cream cheese to be at room temperature for best results. Also, use regular block style cream cheese; not the ones that are whipped or in containers. It does make a difference.
Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl; then using a handheld electric mixer blend until smooth and creamy. This icing makes 1 cup and you can keep it sealed in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
When the cake has cooled, spread the cream cheese icing evenly on top; then cut into 35 squares.
How can I store the carrot cake bars?
You can store the carrot cake bars in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Either way is fine; however, do not stack the bars on top of each other without separating them with parchment or wax paper.
I also suggest that if you will be storing them in the freezer for later use, that you refrigerate the entire pan prior to cutting them into squares so that the icing has time to firm up a bit.
How long do the bars last?
Carrot Cake Bars will last up to one week in the refrigerator and for up to 3 months in the freezer if properly sealed.
My family and I loved these bars! They were super moist, delicious and I liked that they were sized in individual portions. If you would like to make this into a cake, you can use two 8-inch cake pans or a bundt pan; though I’m not sure how long they will take in the oven.
I will say that I will never purchase another box cake mix again after eating these, they were so good. ~Enjoy!
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For the Carrot Cake
For the Carrot Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well.
- In a larger bowl add the eggs, oil, and grated carrots. Mix; then add the dry mixture and chopped walnuts and mix until well combined.
- Line a 13x9" sheet pan with parchment paper; then pour the batter over the pan. Spread it out with a spatula so that it's evenly distributed; then bake for 35-40 minutes. (The top should bounce back with gently touched or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean).
- Remove the tray and allow to cool completely at room temperature (approximately 30 minutes); then spread the cream cheese icing evenly on top and cut into 35 squares.
For the Cream Cheese Icing
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl; then using a handheld electric mixer blend until smooth and creamy. (This icing makes 1 cup and you can keep it sealed in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use).
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