The next time you have a craving for carrot cake but don’t want to put in the time of making a full cake, try these easy carrot cake bars instead.
Carrot cake bars
Carrot cake is a classic dessert you can enjoy any time of year. But it can also be a complicated recipe that takes time and effort to prepare. Carrot cake bars are much easier and faster to make! They’re packed with carrot cake flavor and topped with a delicious cream cheese icing. But you won’t believe how quick and easy they are to make!
How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake
Grating carrots for your carrot cake is an essential part of this dessert recipe. And while it may take a little extra time, you want to make sure your carrots are finely grated so you don’t end up with large chunks in your batter. Follow these steps to grate the carrots for your bars:
- Peel and trim the carrots. Start by washing the carrots and peeling the outer layer off the carrots. Trim the end of the carrot off to make it easier to grate.
- Use a box grater. Use the small side of a box grater to grate your carrots finely for a smoother cake texture. Slide the carrot over the grates until you have enough carrots for your recipe.
- Or use a food processor. A food processor is a simple way to grate your carrots. Use the shredder blade in your food process to finely shred the carrots. Place the carrot on top of the blade and process until you have enough carrots for the recipe.
More cake ideas you will love:
- Chocolate mousse cake
- Apple coffee cake
- Crumb coffee cake
- Apple tiramisu cake
- Buttermilk blueberry cake
- Carrot cake cupcakes
- French cream puffs
Can I Freeze Shredded Carrots for easy Carrot Cake?
Making carrot cake means taking the time to shred a bunch of carrots. But by prepping your carrots ahead of time, you can cut down on your prep time the day you plan to bake your bars. While your carrots may go bad when stored in the refrigerator, freezing them is a great way to save your carrots before you’re ready to make your carrot cake bars.
Start by preparing your carrots by washing and peeling them. Then, use a grater to shred your carrots for your carrot cake. Measure out the amount of carrots you’ll need for the recipe, then add them to a freezer-safe bag. Flatten the bag to make storage easier, then place the carrots in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
When you’re ready to bake, place the carrots on the counter top at room temperature until they’re fully thawed. You can add the thawed carrots directly to the batter of your carrot cake bars and bake according to the recipe.
Can You Freeze Carrot Cake Bars?
These cream cheese carrot cake bars are so delicious, I’d be surprised if you had any leftovers! But if you do have extra bars, you can store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Since these bars are made with cream cheese, they need to be chilled when they’re not being eaten. To store leftover bars in the refrigerator, simply place the bars in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can also store leftover bars in the freezer. Place the bars in an airtight, freezer-friendly container or tightly wrap individual bars in plastic wrap. The bars can be frozen for up to three months.
Carrot Cake Bars Topping Ideas
Once you spread the delicious cream cheese frosting over these carrot cake squares, you could be finished preparing your dessert. But why stop there when you can add some delicious toppings? Try these topping ideas to dress up your dessert bars:
- Icing decorations. If you’re creative, one simple way to decorate your bars is with icing decorations. Try piping a pretty design around the edges of your bars or drawing carrot shapes on the top to dress up a plain dessert.
- Sprinkles. Give your carrot cake bars a pop of color on top with the help of some sprinkles. Add some pastel sprinkles for a fun spring look or stick with orange for a color-coordinated design.
- Chopped nuts. You can’t go wrong by adding some chopped nuts to the top of your carrot cake. Use traditional nut options, like walnuts or pecans, to decorate the top of your bars and add some crunchy texture and flavor to your dessert.
- Grated carrot. With the help of some grated carrot on top, you’ll be able to give your dessert bars even more carrot flavor. Set a small piece of carrot aside as you’re preparing your dessert, then grate the carrot over the top of the bars after you’re finished icing them for a simple decorating idea.
- Dried fruit. Another popular option for decorating your bars is dried fruit. Many carrot cake recipes incorporate dried fruit, like raisins, shredded coconut, or dried pineapple. Chopping those dried fruit pieces into smaller pits would make them a great garnish – especially when you combine the fruit with other toppings, like carrot and nuts.
Carrot cake bars recipe
While fancy looking, this recipe is very simple and easy to make and requires simple ingredients too.
What do you need to make carrots cake bars from scratch?
- Flour – all purpose flour works great for this recipe but if you have cake flour available, that’s a good option too.
- Eggs – room temperature
- Vegetable oil
- Buttermilk – room temperature
- Shredded carrots – I like to grate them through my large vegetable grater as I like to feel the carrot in my cake. For a smoother texture use the small plate of your grater.
- Cream cheese frosting – I used this recipe
- Walnuts – chopped
- Raisins – optional
- Baking powder
How do you make this carrot cake bars recipe?
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl, using a hand mixer.
- Add dry mix to wet mix and combine until smooth.
- Add carrots, walnuts and raisins and transfer to baking dish.
- Make cream cheese as instructed in the recipe linked above.
- Once cake is cooked and completely cooked, cover in cream cheese and cut into squares.
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Carrot cake bars
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 3/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup walnuts chopped
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup golden raisins rinsed and drained
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Butter for greasing the baking dish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the baking dish with butter and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside.
- Add raisins to a small bowl, top with boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain well and use paper towels to dry.
- In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Add wet ingredients to a large bowl: eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, whisk on medium speed until fully combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing with mixer on low. Stop from time to time to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Whisk just until fully combined.
- Stir in shredded carrots, chopped walnuts, and raisins.
- Transfer to the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen from the pan. Let it cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate and then re-invert onto another plate. Cool completely before frosting.
- Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting according to recipe directions.
- Cover the top of the cake with the frosting.
- Use chopped walnuts and cinnamon to garnish.
- Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or until somewhat stiff before cutting into squares/bars and serving.