Loaded with carrots, applesauce, nuts, and warm spices, this Carrot Cake Loaf is moist and delicious! Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee, it’s ready in just one hour. It gets smothered in cream cheese frosting for the perfect sweet bite!
Nothing beats a warm and spicy carrot cake! Try my Carrot Cake Cookies which are perfect for sharing, and for something a little healthier my Carrot Cake Muffins are perfect for breakfast, a snack, or dessert!
The BEST Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting
It’s no secret that I love creating sweet loaf and quick bread recipes. They’re perfect for sharing on any occasion, whether it’s a full-on celebration or just having a friend over for coffee in the afternoon. This Carrot Cake Loaf is just like my amazing Carrot Cake but in loaf form with a little less frosting making it slightly healthier.
I love quick bread recipes because they’re really easy to make, and you can save them for later. This Carrot Cake Loaf can easily be doubled, and then you can freeze the second one either frosted or unfrosted for another time.
I love my carrot cake loaf smothered in cream cheese and loaded with walnuts for a little crunch. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Easter and the beginning of Spring!
Key Ingredients for Carrot Loaf Cake
- All-Purpose Flour: I used plain white flour but you could also use whole wheat flour to add in extra fiber.
- Baking powder and Baking soda: These are both leavening agents used in this recipe to help the cake rise.
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves bring an amazing warmth to this carrot cake loaf. It is perfectly spiced.
- Eggs: Give the cake texture, a slight lift and add lots of moisture.
- Oil: I use canola oil or vegetable oil. Melted coconut oil or avocado oil can also be substituted for a healthier option.
- Sugar: I use a combination of granulated sugar and light brown sugar. The light brown sugar adds extra caramel flavor and added moisture, and the white sugar adds plenty of sweetness.
- Applesauce: Brings a little sweetness and plenty of moisture to this easy carrot cake loaf recipe. You can substitute crushed-up pineapple in place of the applesauce if you prefer.
- Carrots: This recipe calls for a lot of shredded carrots! This is also what makes the cake so moist! I recommend shredding your carrots at home and not buying pre-shredded carrots which tend to be on the drier side.
- Nuts: Chopped-up walnuts or pecans give the cake a nice crunch and added texture, but can be skipped if you prefer!
How to Make a Carrot Cake Loaf
- Prep the oven and loaf pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then set it aside.
- Mix flour and spices: Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Combine wet ingredients and sugar: In a separate medium bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and applesauce.
- Mix them together: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the rest: Fold in the remaining ingredients: carrots and chopped nuts. Mix until everything is just combined.
- Pour and bake: Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until the cake looks set and golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.
- Cool: Allow cake to cool in the loaf pan for 30 minutes before removing it to cool completely. This is the perfect time to whip up some cream cheese frosting!
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
Add cream cheese and butter to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth and creamy, 2 minutes. At low speed, add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.
Tips for Success
- I added nuts to the carrot cake but they are optional if you are not a fan. Raisins can be added as well.
- I find that the flavor of this Carrot Cake Loaf develops the longer it sits. I like to make it a day or two ahead of time and frost the day of.
- When you are making this quick bread I suggest you shred up the carrots in a food processor versus a grater. It saves a lot of time and is less of a mess. You can always grate them by hand if you do not have a food processor.
- You can add crushed pineapple instead of applesauce if you’d like. It will be a little sweeter but still perfectly moist, and it’s a great way to use less processed sugar overall.
Storage and Freezing
- Store: Store this Carrot Cake Loaf in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Freeze this Carrot Loaf Cake in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 3 months. You can freeze it either frosted or unfrosted. Thaw completely overnight at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is carrot cake better for you than regular cake? I would have to say yes! This Carrot Loaf Cake is loaded with carrots and applesauce which both add natural sweetness. This means I can cut down the amount of white and brown sugar added to the overall recipe.
- Why is there no butter in carrot cake? Instead of butter, carrot cake has oil in it which keeps it nice and moist, and also keeps it tasting fresh for days.
- What if I don’t like walnuts? You can skip the walnuts entirely or replace them with pecans.
- Can I add in anything else? Sure! Raisins are a classic addition to carrot cake and carrot cake loaf. On the other hand, you could add in dried cranberries or sultanas. Even shredded coconut would be delicious in this!
More Quick Bread recipes to try:
- Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread
- Lemon Blueberry Bread
- Cranberry Orange Bread
- Apple Fritter Bread
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
- Double Chocolate Loaf
Carrot Cake Loaf
Loaded with carrots, applesauce, nuts, and warm spices, this Carrot Cake Loaf is moist and delicious! Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee, it's ready in just one hour. It gets smothered in cream cheese frosting for the perfect sweet bite!
Carrot Cake Loaf
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup apple sauce
- 1 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Carrot Cake Loaf
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- In a medium bowl combine eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, brown sugar, granulated sugar and applesauce.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Fold in carrots and chopped nuts.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until the cake looks set and golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.Allow cake to cool in loaf pan for 30 minutes before removing it to cool completely. Once cool frost with cream cheese icing, slice and serve!
Cream Cheese Icing
- Add cream cheese and butter to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth and creamy, 2 minutes.On low speed add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.