Carrot Cake Loaf

Quick Summary

Carrot Cake Loaf- this simple carrot cake is made in a loaf pan. It is perfectly spiced, super moist, and topped with a generous amount of rich cream cheese frosting. It is the perfect treat for spring, Easter, or anytime!

carrot cake loaf cut in slices with cream cheese frosting

I love carrot cake, but I don’t love decorating layered cakes. I don’t have the patience or talent to do anything too fancy. That is why I LOVE this Carrot Cake Loaf. You get all of the same flavors and textures as traditional carrot cake, but it is SIMPLE to make!

You don’t even need a mixer to make this recipe. It is easy to mix up and you bake it in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. The cake is perfectly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It is super moist thanks to the butter, buttermilk, and of course the carrots.

I always add raisins because our family loves raisins, but you can leave them out. You can also stir in chopped walnuts or pecans if you like nuts in your carrot cake.

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting are a match made in heaven so I always finish the loaf with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Cut into thick slices and serve! Your friends and family will fall in love after one bite.

If you don’t want to top the loaf with cream cheese frosting, you can serve it plain and call it carrot cake bread. Bread or cake, either way it is DELICIOUS!

It is the perfect recipe for spring, Easter, Mother’s Day, or any day. Serve for breakfast, brunch, or dessert! Yes, I said breakfast, it has eggs, carrots, and raisins, it’s totally acceptable:)

carrot cake loaf ingredients

Loaf Cake Ingredients

  • Flour– use all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder and baking soda– use both for this recipe!
  • Spices– cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves! The best combo!
  • Salt– to enhance the flavors in the cake!
  • Coconut oil– I use oil instead of butter in this recipe so the cake will bake up loftier with a more even crumb. Oil also helps the cake stay more moist and tender. I use melted coconut oil but vegetable oil or canola oil will work too.
  • Sugar– you need brown sugar and granulated sugar!
  • Eggs– use large eggs and make sure they are at room temperature.
  • Buttermilk– to keep the cake super moist!
  • Vanilla extract– a must!
  • Shredded carrots– buy whole carrots and shred them with a grater or food processor. I don’t recommend using pre-shredded carrots from the store because they are dry and hard.
  • Raisins– the raisins are optional because I know not everyone loves raisins, but I always add them:)
carrot cake loaf with cream cheese frosting and walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting

You can serve the carrot cake plain, it will still be good, but I personally think cream cheese frosting is a MUST. For the frosting, you will need:

  • Cream cheese– make sure the cream cheese is softened before you get started.
  • Butter– to make the frosting extra rich and creamy!
  • Confectioner’s sugar– sift so there are no lumps in your frosting!
  • Vanilla extract– always!
  • Pinch of salt– to balance out the sweet!
carrot cake loaf with cream cheese frosting and walnut topping

How to make Carrot Cake Loaf

  • Preheat the oven and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Stir in the shredded carrots and raisins, if using.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over mix!
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan. Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Every oven is different so check early to make sure you don’t over bake. Mine takes about 50 minutes. If the top starts to brown too quickly, you can loosely cover the top with aluminum foil hallway through.
  • Remove from the oven and let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • While the loaf is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Spread the frosting over the cooled bread. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired. Cut into thick slices and enjoy every single bite.
carrot cake loaf on cutting board

Storing Tips

The loaf is fantastic the day it’s made, but let me tell you a little secret. I think it is even better on day 2. The flavors have time to develop and the cake gets more moist, it’s absolute perfection! So you can make this loaf cake in advance, which is another reason I love it so much.

Storing without frosting: Cover and store the loaf cake at room temperature for up to 4 days. The cake will get more moist as it sits. If you live in a hot and humid climate, you can store the bread in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.  

Storing with frosting: Once you add the cream cheese frosting, it’s best to store the loaf in the refrigerator. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to one week. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving. Although, I do love a cold slice right from the fridge. SO good!

Freezing the loaf: The loaf freezes best without the frosting. Let it cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and frost with cream cheese frosting, if desired.

slices of carrot cake loaf on plates with forks

More Easy Cake Recipes

Carrot Cake Loaf

This simple carrot cake is made in a loaf pan. It is perfectly spiced, super moist, and topped with a generous amount of rich cream cheese frosting. It is the perfect treat for spring, Easter, or anytime!
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients
  

For the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, can use canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and shredded carrots, pack when measuring
  • 1/2 cup raisins, optional

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans, for garnish, if desired

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Stir in the shredded carrots and raisins, if using.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over mix!
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan. Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Every oven is different so check early to make sure you don’t over bake. Mine takes about 50 minutes. If the top starts to brown too quickly, you can loosely cover the top with aluminum foil hallway through.
  • Remove from the oven and let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • While the loaf is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Spread the frosting over the cooled bread. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!

Notes

You can add up to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired. 
Storing without frosting: Cover and store the loaf cake at room temperature for up to 4 days. The cake will get more moist as it sits. If you live in a hot and humid climate, you can store the bread in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Storing with frosting: Once you add the cream cheese frosting, it’s best to store the loaf in the refrigerator. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to one week. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
Freezing the Loaf: Don’t frost and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and frost!

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 211mg, Potassium: 213mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 2915IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Question on the nutrition info, is the amount per slice with the icing or without? I watch my sugar and potassium intake on everything I eat.

  2. I’m dying to try this but am not a big fan of coconut. Does the coconut flavor come through with the oil?

    1. You can use vegetable or canola oil, but I don’t think the coconut oil gives it a coconut flavor.

  3. 5 stars
    This carrot cake loaf is so delicious! I substituted gluten free Cup 4 Cup flour and it turned out great! The cream cheese icing is very sweet, but it tastes great with the carrot cake!

  4. I did not find the loaf to be sweet at all. Is that supposed to be the case? (Or is it possible I omitted some of the sugar by accident. 🙂 )

  5. 5 stars
    This was delicious! Easy to make and the whole family loved it. Nice and moist. I’m already planning on making it again.

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I’ve tried a few other carrot loaf recipes and this is by far the best I’ve come across. Very easy to make and quite moist! The sweetness is just right and the spice flavours are well balanced.
    In my oven, it was baked in 50 minutes.
    Can this recipe be made into carrot muffins? And, how long would they need to be baked?
    Thank you!!