Easy Carrot Cake Bars are moist and covered in a wonderful cream cheese buttercream frosting. They’re just like eating a moist carrot cake in a bar form!
Best Carrot Cake Recipe
If you enjoy a great carrot cake then you will love our Easy Carrot Cake Bars covered in Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting. With the perfect texture and ultimate carrot cake flavor, these delicious bars will definitely impress!
These Carrot Cake Bars are soft, moist, and can be filled with your choice of walnuts, pecans, coconut, or raisins.
You will love the carrot flavor and the sweet hint of cinnamon. Making this easy carrot cake bars recipe is so much simpler, and a little different in a good way, than making a traditional carrot cake, in my opinion.
These deliciously spiced, indulgent treats are made completely from scratch, moist and sweet, and too easy for words to prepare! There’s no need for any fancy methods to decorate these cake bars. Just spread the frosting across the top and add some chopped nuts if that’s what you like.
I have to tell you that my niece Kyra used to love, and still does to this day, these incredibly moist, carrot filled bars so much she actually made me an award that she created and colored herself, stating that these bars won in a competition for the best carrot cake.
It meant so much to me that I just had to keep it and I have until this day.
Unfortunately, I just can’t remember where I put it and, boy oh boy, have I looked. Ugh. I have been told that my memory will only get worse as I get older and I am already in big trouble! lol ?
I wanted to include a picture of the award so much in this post and I am sure I will find it, long after this post is out. That is the way stuff usually happens with me and I am sure at least one of you understands exactly what I mean when I say that…hopefully.
Her award was bright and colorful, as all awards should be, and it had a large #1 in the middle of it. She was about four, and it was beautiful and hung on my fridge until I needed the space for more of her pictures!
Regardless, I had to make sure that you were aware that this cake recipe was officially an Award Winning Carrot Cake Recipe!
Origins of Carrot Cake
The origins of the best ever carrot cake are unclear and disputed according to wikipedia and if you want to read the entire article feel free to take a look!
There is an English recipe, that was published in 1591, for “pudding in a Carrot root” that is basically a stuffed carrot with meat.
It includes so many elements common to the modern day dessert such as shortening, cream, eggs, raisins, sweetener (dates and sugar), spices (clove and mace), scraped carrot, and breadcrumbs (in place of flour).
Numerous food historians believe that carrot cake originated from carrot puddings eaten by Europeans in the Middle Ages, when sugar and sweeteners were expensive and many people used carrots as a substitute for sugar.
Over the years, variations of carrot pudding evolved to include baking it with a crust (as pumpkin pie), steamed with a sauce, or molded in a pan (as plum pudding) with icing.
In 1814, volume two of “L’art du cuisinier”, Antoine Beauvilliers, former chef to Louis XVI, included a recipe for a “Gâteau de Carottes”, which was popular enough to be copied word for word in competitors’ cookbooks.
Also, in 1824, Beauvilliers had published in London an English version of his cookbook which includes a recipe for “Carrot Cakes” in a literal translation of his earlier recipe.
Another 19th-century recipe comes from the housekeeping school of Kaiseraugst (Canton of Aargau, Switzerland). According to the Culinary Heritage of Switzerland, it is one of the most popular cakes in Switzerland, especially for children’s birthdays.
The popularity of carrot cake was revived in the United Kingdom because of rationing during the Second World War.
There you go, a brief history and it appears we will likely never know the exact truth!
Carrot Cake Bars
Now that I am getting older I am starting to make big things smaller, just like this Simple Carrot Cake Bars Recipe. Instead of a big cake, I just make a little pan of cake bars. Somehow it makes me feel better.
Without my son at home my husband and I are left to eat everything and believe me we are more than willing to do it! I am just trying to reduce the opportunity, if that makes sense, without giving up even a bit of taste and flavor.
These moist carrot cake bars satisfy every craving and depending on our mood or what I have in the house, we decide whether we want to add pecans, walnuts, coconut or raisins. Sometimes more than one, it all depends, and we are never disappointed.
When I’m feeling adventurous or if it’s around the holidays, I like to decorate these Carrot Cake Bars with a variety of toppings. The traditional ones are chopped walnuts or pecans. Sometimes I switch it up a bit and sprinkle diced raisins or coconut on top.
For the holidays, I top the bars with green and red sprinkles or sparkles, depending on what I have on hand. For Valentine’s Day I use pink and red and around St. Patricks’s Day I use green. I think you get the idea.
If you have a topping that you like, feel free to add it. I’ve even gone so crazy as to add toffee bits during the fall. Whether you decorate these bars or not, they’re great any time of the year!
Another great way to switch things up is to change the type of pan you use to bake in. There are so many sizes and shapes that are out there that the possibilities are endless. One year I went with a heart-shaped pan and made an edible Valentine’s Day gift for my family.
I decorated it with pink and red sparkles and little heart-shaped gummies that I found at the local bulk food store. My family still remembers it to this day!
Best Carrot Cake
I used to overcomplicate this simple, moist carrot cake bars recipe with not only cinnamon but a pinch of allspice, ground cloves, and nutmeg as well. Then I realized that you just don’t need all of it.
You can have the best Ever Carrot Cake Bars without adding unnecessary ingredients. My husband used to say that to me all of the time, simpler is better, and I have come to realize that in most cases that is a true statement.
You can have a fabulous dessert, with only several ingredients, and just love it. Sometimes less is more and sometimes my husband is right. This dessert is proof!
If you like these carrot cake bars and you still want something a bit more compact, to hold in your hand, I have a tasty Best Carrot Cake Cookies recipe for you to check out.
These cookies are moist and chewy with an absolutely to die for cream cheese frosting. Just like mini carrot cake bars, only smaller!
Best Moist Carrot Cake Recipe
I remember when my first husband was alive, my mother used to make this carrot cake that he used to just LOVE. He honestly could not get enough of it and the frosting. Watching him lick the bowl cleaner than the dishwasher!
Remembering still puts a smile on my face, even though that was a lifetime ago.
My mother loved him so much she used to make him smaller carrot cakes for our freezer, cheesecakes too, so he could eat them whenever he wanted. She really spoiled him and he loved every minute of it.
Their relationship was quite special and they were lucky to have each other for as long as they did.
Simple Carrot Cake Recipe
These tasty bars aren’t just for us aging adults who want to make things simpler. People of all ages just adore them or so I’ve heard. Children like my niece have sworn that they are the best out there.
Plus, if you’re like me and you know a picky eater, these Easy Carrot Cake Bars are a great way to sneak in some vegetables. My friend’s son said that he hated carrots but absolutely loved the bars. I totally believe it!
My son Patrick, on the other hand, went nuts over vegetables when he was young (he still does to this day). We had a garden in the back and he would always be back there digging up carrots, washing them, and eating them.
When I would make anything with shredded carrots he would be the first to volunteer to help prepare them. A definite hands-on type of kid who loved to cook and eat good food. Especially desserts!
Now there’s one thing I can’t stress enough. It is extremely important to make sure that you use fresh carrots. While it may be convenient to use the pre-shredded ones, they just don’t work properly.
I remember when I first starting making these delicious bars, I thought I’d save some time. I bought the packaged, shredded carrots (also called match sticks) and the recipe turned out to be a disaster.
It was a total mess and I ended up having to start again from scratch. Talk about a waste of time. My husband just laughed and reminded me that some shortcuts can end up having the opposite results. So true, so true!
Ingredients in Easy Carrot Cake Bars
Carrot Cake Bars
- melted butter
- brown sugar
- baking powder
- pinch salt
- shredded carrots
- walnuts or pecans
- raisins (optional)
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- cream cheese
- vanilla extract
- powdered or icing sugar
How to make Best Ever Carrot Cake Bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment and coat with non-stick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, then flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt until well blended.
Fold in carrots and walnuts or pecans, raisins if using, then mix in milk until fully incorporated.
Pour into prepared 8×8 inch pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before icing.
Make icing by beating together cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and milk until thick and fluffy.
Spread over carrot cake bars, and sprinkle with walnuts or pecans.
Cut into squares and enjoy.
Can you freeze Carrot Cake Bars?
These wonderful Carrot Cake Bars freeze beautifully, in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
How do you store Carrot Cake Bars?
These bars can be stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 4 days. They are covered in an amazing cream cheese buttercream frosting and the only way to store them is in an airtight container and in your fridge.
Luckily, these bars taste delicious right out of your fridge and can easily be served cold. Consider yourself warned that it is also way too easy to walk right by your fridge and grab one while you are walking by.
I have seen my husband do that so many times and I never would do it myself! ? I just had the best laugh I have had in a long while and it felt great. Now I feel like making some more of these bars, again.
Easy Easter Desserts
Other Easy Bar Recipes
If you’re in the mood for something in bar form but you don’t feel like carrot cake, here are a few other easy and delicious recipes for you to try. In my opinion, bars are the new cake slice. Getting more and more popular every day.
I often spend a day baking and make a few different of these recipes, cut them up and freeze them for when company comes over. You can take them out of the freezer and let them thaw on a serving tray. You’re guests will think you’re a kitchen genius!
Easy Carrot Cake Bars video
Easy Carrot Cake Bars
- 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch cake pan
- ⅔ cup melted butter
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans + ¼ cup for topping
- ½ cup coconut, shredded (optional)
- ⅓ cup milk
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
- 4 oz cream cheese or ½ brick
- ¼ cup butter or ½ stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 2 cups icing or powdered sugar ½ - 1 cup more if needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Take an 8x8 pan, line with parchment and coat with nonstick spray. Set aside
- In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
- Beat in eggs, then flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
- Continue to mix until well blended.
- Fold in carrots, walnuts or pecans, and raisins (if using), then mix in milk.
- Gently stir until fully incorporated.
- Pour into prepared 8x8 inch pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before icing.
- Make icing by beating together cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and milk until thick and fluffy.
- Spread over carrot cake bars, and sprinkle with walnuts or pecans.
- Cut into squares and enjoy.