Loaded Carrot Cake

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Loaded Carrot Cake is the perfect dessert for a special celebration. It’s loaded with extras like raisins, walnuts, coconut, pineapple, and even spiced rum.

What’s Special About This Recipe?

Birthdays are an awesome reason to celebrate! But, my daughter-in-law found herself at home on her 30th birthday due to the quarantine. Turning 30 under a stay-at-home order was a great excuse to bake a Loaded Carrot Cake, don’t ya think?

So, on her 30th birthday, I baked her favorite cake. Of course, I had to include extra stir-ins and embellishments, which is where the name Loaded Carrot Cake came from. Check out the results. Can’t you just taste that cream cheese icing?

Start by Grating The Carrots

The hardest part of making this carrot cake was grating the carrots. I thought my arm was gonna fall off at some point. But, I survived, and have faith that you will too.

So, get in there and start grating! You’ll need about 5 large carrots for 3 cups. I used the larger holes on a box grater and it worked really well.

Don’t even think about buying those pre-shredded carrot thingies. I know you’re tempted, but don’t do it. This cake is worth the effort and fresh carrots definitely makes a difference in taste.

Gather the Ingredients

Gather all of your ingredients ahead of time to make prep a little easier. Here’s what you’ll need…

Dry Ingredients

  • all-purpose flour
  • white sugar
  • brown sugar
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground cloves

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Wet Ingredients

  • oil
  • buttermilk
  • eggs

Mix wet ingredients in mixing bowl until well blended. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat on medium low speed until completely mixed.


  • carrots, shredded by hand
  • crushed pineapple with light juice
  • coconut, shredded
  • golden raisins
  • walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • spiced rum (or vanilla)

Fold in the stir-in ingredients. Stir until blended.

Pour the batter into a prepared 13 x 9 inch sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until cake is done in the middle. You can also use 8 inch cake pans if desired and bake for the same amount of time.

Make the Cream Cheese Icing

I like my cream cheese icing with more cream cheese than sugar, so I use 2 blocks of full fat cream cheese, 1 stick of softened butter, vanilla extract and only 2 cups of powdered sugar. Increase the powdered sugar to 4 cups if you’re planning on adding decorations.

In a mixer, beat the softened cream cheese with the butter until it is creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again.

Add vanilla and powdered sugar gradually. Mix on low speed until incorporated, then mix on medium for 1 minute. Spread on cooled cake.

Decorate It!

Decorating cakes is easy if you have the proper tools. For this recipe, I used a Wilton Cake Tip set (ad) which includes pastry bags.

First, you need to spread a generous amount of icing over the top of a fully cooled cake. You can stop there and life will be good. But, if you want to kick this cake into the stratosphere, pull out the pastry bags.

Choose the tip you like, and place the icing in the bag with the tip at the point. Pipe the icing around the edges of the cake first, then add crushed nuts in a 1 inch border. Next, pipe around the edges of the nuts until you’ve made a rectangle. Fill the inside with more crushed nuts and you’re done.

Insider Tips

To order fun lettering like the “30 & Quarantined” sign, visit Sugar Plum Creations on Etsy. They have lots of choices. If you really want to go all out, sprinkle the entire cake with edible Gold Flakes (ad) which gives it a golden glow.

Want more sheet cake recipes? Try my Vintage Strawberry Cake and Beryl’s Chocolate Sheet Cake. They’re delicious too!

slice of carrot cake with icing and nuts on a white plate with a fork beside it

Loaded Carrot Cake

Loaded Carrot Cake is the perfect dessert for a special celebration. It's loaded with lots of extras like golden raisins, walnuts, coconut, pineapple and even spiced rum! 
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 646kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves


  • 1 cup oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs


  • 3 cups carrots shredded by hand
  • 1 cup crushed light pineapple including juice
  • 1 cup coconut shredded
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups walnuts and/or pecans chopped (use 1 cup for topping)
  • 1 Tbsp. spiced rum or vanilla


  • 2 8 oz blocks of full fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick salted butter softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Shred carrots by hand and set aside. (5 large carrots makes 3 cups)
  • Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix wet ingredients with a mixer until well blended. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Beat on medium low speed until blended and creamy.
  • Fold in the stir-in ingredients. Stir until blended.
  • Pour batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until cake springs back when touched in the middle. 
  • Allow cake to cool completely. (usually takes 1 hour)
  • Frost cake with cream cheese icing. Top with reserved nuts. Decorate if desired.


  • Cool cake completely before frosting.
  • If decorating cake, add 2 additional cups of powdered sugar to icing recipe to allow for piping.
  • Feel free to omit any stir-ins, but cake will have a different texture depending on what you omit.


Calories: 646kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 359mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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  1. Do the carrots need to be finely shredded (on small holes of a box grater) or shredded (using larger round holes)? Also, can this be baked in a Bundt pan, instead? It sure sounds scrumptious!

    1. Great questions, Angelina! I used the larger round holes of a box grater and it worked great. I’ve never tired making this cake in a bundt pan but I bet it would work just fine! If you do it, please let me know how it turns out. 🙂

        1. Hi Susanne. I’ve never tried it, but I bet it could! It has enough weight to it with the fruits and nuts to make a good loaf cake. 🙂

    1. Hi Suzie. Good question! No, it doesn’t need baking powder because the buttermilk acts as a leavening agent.

  2. Hi there! Could I use 2 8″ layer pans and make this a layer cake? I’m a new baker, so feel free to dumb it down. 🙂

    1. Hi DJ! I’ve never attempted it, but I think it’s worth a try! It’s a very moist cake, so that might cause it to be heavier. If you do use layer pans, please write back and let me know how it goes! 🙂

      1. I’m making it for my dad for Father’s Day, so I’ll just stick with the sheet pan as you recommend. Next time… Thanks so much for the quick reply! God Bless!

  3. 5 stars
    My whole family loves Carrot Cake!! I am going to make it the next time we are all together.

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