Recipe Post: Tropical Carrot Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing

This recipe is my absolute go-to recipe for all things carrot cake; its origin comes from my little More Food That Really Schmecks baking book by Canadian home-cook heroine, Edna Staebler. I’ve fiddled around with it over the years, adding this and removing/altering that, until I developed what I consider to be the best carrot cake recipe out there.  It’s not oily, but it is moist and tender and incredibly flavourful, and it’s never failed me once (the four pillars on which I base all of my “tweaked until perfect” recipes).

This cake recipe is just the thing for those times when a vanilla or chocolate cake just won’t do. It’s also incredibly versatile in that you can make carrot cupcakes, layer cakes, sheet cakes, and is sturdy enough for wedding cakes. This cake happens to be dairy-free, and can also be made vegan with the appropriate substitutions (flax eggs for the eggs, and vegan sugars).

And did I mention (again) how VERSATILE this recipe is? You can add or substitute several ingredients to suit your taste and dietary preferences; you can change the sugars and the spices around to suit your tastes, and you can even delay putting the cake batter in the oven for a couple of hours with no effect, though I don’t recommend it, if only that it means a couple of extra hours you will be without TASTY NOMS IN YOUR FACE.

So don’t delay! Get out that grater, turn it to the small holed side, and start grating up carrots for the yummiest method ever created to eat your fruits and vegetables.

Tropical Carrot Cake

Original Source courtesy of More Food That Really Schmecks, Edna Staebler
Yield: Two 8″ layers

  • 1 cup/188g granulated sugar
  • 1 cup/220g brown sugar
  • 2 cups/250g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp/9g baking soda
  • 1½ tsp/4g ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp/1.5g ground nutmeg OR mace
  • ½ tsp/1g ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1¼ cups/296mL vegetable oil
  • 4 each/200g liquid eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups/220g finely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup/180g crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed, juice reserved
  • 2 tsp/10mL pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup/145g raisins, soaked in hot water and drained/squeezed dry


  • 1 cup/93g toasted coconut (optional)
  • 18-24 lightly toasted walnut halves (optional)
  • 1 cup/117g lightly toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 8″ round cake pans with a circle of parchment in the bottom of the pan.
  2. With blender or stand mixer, combine all dry ingredients including spices.
  3. Blend in oil; add eggs, carrots and pineapple, then vanilla.  Combine well, then stir in raisins by hand; if omitting raisins, add 1 cup/110g more finely grated carrot.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes, rotating and moving pans once during baking. Check for doneness in center of pans with a toothpick or cake tester.
  5. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then carefully de-pan layers, remove parchment, and allow to cool completely before icing.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 pkg/227g full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup/115g butter, softened
  • 2¼ cups/454g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp/5mL vanilla
  • 1 tsp/5mL reserved pineapple juice

Blend cream cheese and butter; slowly add icing sugar, vanilla and pineapple juice.  Ice only after cake is completely cold or it will melt. Decorate with toasted coconut and walnuts as desired.


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