This pineapple carrot cake recipe features a moist carrot cake speckled with bits of pineapple. It's spiced with warm cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Cream cheese frosting with orange zest is slathered over the cake for the ultimate treat.
Pineapple carrot cake is well-loved. It's my preference over regular carrot cake any day!
But, I am partial to carrot cake scones and will almost always choose those over cake. You're in for a real treat if you are here because you love carrot cake!
If you are not a fan of bland carrot cakes, you have come to the right place. This one is loaded with spices and the lush orange cream cheese frosting goes so well with the cake. I'm fairly certain you are going to declare this recipe a hit!
Why this Pineapple Carrot Cake recipe works
- The right amount of sweetness is added to balance the flavor of the cake.
- Pineapple makes the cake superior when it comes to moisture!
- The frosting is flavored with orange zest to add brightness to the cake. It really stands out when compared to regular carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting.
Pineapple Carrot Cake Ingredients
The cake is slightly adapted from my moist carrot cake. I changed the spices, reduced the amount of carrot, and added crushed pineapple.
The frosting is my favorite cream cheese recipe with the addition of orange zest. I garnished the top and sides with a few coarsely chopped walnuts. Here is an overview of the ingredients:
- Flour: I like to use all-purpose flour for carrot cake. The fine crumb from cake flour doesn't hold up well with the amount of shredded carrot.
- Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda are used to help rise while staying soft and fluffy.
- Spices: Cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg give warm flavor to the cake plus they pair so well with carrot and pineapple.
- Sugar: A combination of light brown sugar and granulated sugar add the right amount of sweetness. And the molasses flavor from the brown sugar adds to the cake.
- Oil: Use a flavorless oil like canola or vegetable oil.
- Eggs: 4 whole eggs are needed for the cake.
- Carrots: Don't use storebought shredded carrots! They are too thick and dry. Shred your own carrots with a box grater.
- Pineapple: Use crushed pineapple from a 20-ounce can and drain it well. I like to press and squeeze the pineapple to get as much moisture out as possible.
How to make pineapple carrot cake
The cake batter is simple to put together and requires only a bowl, whisk, and silicone spatula.
The wet ingredients are mixed together first then the dry ingredients are sifted in and everything is folded together.
Here’s how to put it together…
Prep the pans. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper that has been cut into a circle to fit.
Make the batter. Whisk both sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Stir in the carrots and pineapple.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg into the wet ingredients. Fold until everything is well combined.
Bake. Divide the batter evenly between both pans and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
Cool the cakes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 5 minutes then invert onto a wire rack and let them cool completely.
Make the orange cream cheese frosting
The frosting is made with butter, brick-style cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, vanilla, orange zest, and salt.
Meringue powder is used to thicken the frosting and keep it stable. If you don't have access to meringue powder, simply leave it out.
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Sift in the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, and salt. Then mix until well combined. Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix until well combined.
Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a serving platter. Spread about 1/3 of the frosting over the top. Place the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting over the entire cake.
Garnish the cake with coarsely chopped walnuts if you wish.
Tips for pineapple carrot cake
- You can make your own crushed pineapple! Place 1 cup of pineapple chunks in a blender and use the chop setting for 30 seconds.
- Follow the recipe closely! This includes using carrots that you grate yourself.
- Make sure you measure the flour correctly. Using too much flour by mistake will ruin the cake's texture.
If you like this recipe, try my other fun Easter recipes: