These carrot cake bars are easy to make and unbelievably delicious. They are moist, perfectly spiced, and topped with an incredibly fluffy cream cheese frosting.
Carrot Cake Bars
We’ve been told a few times that these are the best carrot cake bars ever. They are perfectly moist, have amazing flavor, and the cream cheese frosting is truly magical. The bars + the frosting is a match made in heaven.
Carrot cake bars are a great way to enjoy carrot cake without the commitment of having to bake (and eat) a whole cake. To make these bars, we’ve taken our loved carrot cake recipe and scaled and tweaked it so that it works in a 9″x9″ pan. The bars turn out very soft yet are firm enough to pick up with your hands. Even so, we sometimes like to cut big squares and eat them with a fork. It’s just so good.
Carrot cake bars are an amazing year-round treat. In the springtime or at Easter, however, they are a must-make recipe. The moist cake, gentle spices, fresh carrots, and soft cream cheese frosting is a delicious way to celebrate and treat yourself!
Do you Love Carrot Cake?
Then you should also check out The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe EVER!
How To Make Carrot Cake Bars
It’s easy to make carrot cake bars!
- Make the cake. Simply mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another bowl. Now mix them together and add some grated carrots. Then bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Make the frosting. Beat some room temperature cream cheese with butter, powdered sugar, a little vanilla, and a splash of milk. Easy!
- Put it all together. Once the cake is 100% cool (don’t rush this part or you’ll melt the frosting!) spread the cream cheese frosting over the cake then cut it into bars.
How to Decorate These Bars
We like to decorate our carrot cake bars with a little sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s simple yet really pretty. Here are a few other fun toppings you can try:
- A sprinkle of finely chopped nuts
- A whole pecan or walnut on top of each bar
- Small carrot-shaped candies
- A little finely grated carrot
Keep It Fresh With These Variations
- Pineapple – instead of the apple sauce, use crushed pineapple.
- Switch up the nuts – pecans, walnuts, and chopped almonds are all great.
- Brown butter – nix the oil and add tasty brown butter instead.
- Coconut – mix ½ cup of shredded or desiccated coconut into the batter.
How Big are These Bars?
That’s totally up to you! In the first picture above, you’ll see the bars cut into nine big, mouthwatering pieces. At this size, it’s a real sweet treat that’s more like a big slice of cake. Cut into twelve pieces is a bit more reasonable, but perhaps not quite as much fun.
We like to cut ours into 36 small pieces that are two bites each. In the last picture, you’ll see one of the bars cut to this size. The easiest way to do this is to cut nine bars then cut each of the large bars into 4 smaller bars.
How Long do Carrot Cake Bars Last?
These bars will keep well for 5-7 days if kept in a covered container on your counter. Make sure to read below to find out about storing the frosting!
How to Store Carrot Cake Bars
We store our frosted carrot cake bars on the counter and make sure that we eat them within 2-3 days. While many people agree that the sugar in the frosting acts as a preservative, other people feel more comfortable refrigerating it. If you live in a hot area, then refrigerating the frosting is a must.
But since carrot cake bars taste best if stored covered at room temperature, you may want to keep the frosting separately in the fridge and frost each bar before you eat it. Remember, the frosting will harden in the fridge and it will need about 10 minutes to soften enough to spread on the carrot cake bars.
Popular Carrot Cake Recipes
- Carrot Coffee Cake
- Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Frosted Carrot Cake Cookies
- Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling
Carrot Cake Bars
Carrot Cake Bars
- ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups finely grated carrots
- ½ cup raisins and chopped nuts (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons salted butter softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray or butter a 9×9 inch baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the apple sauce, oil, eggs, sugars, and vanilla.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. Add this to the large bowl then mix until just combined. Fold in the carrots and any optional ingredients then pour the batter into the baking dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and let the bars cool completely in the pan.
When the bars are completely cool, make the icing. Add the softened cream cheese and butter to a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and mix to combine. Add the powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting or more cream for a thinner frosting.
Spread the frosting over the carrot cake then cut them into bars.
The Recipe Critic