Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

drizzling caramel sauce on a slice of carrot sheet cake

The most gorgeous and moist Carrot Sheet Cake, topped with thick cream cheese icing, is the only carrot cake recipe you need. Baking in a sheet pan makes things so easy since it bakes evenly in one layer and then all you need to do is top with the cream cheese icing. No need for cake levelling, layering and spreading icing up and down the sides.
This carrot sheet cake recipe is inspired by the famous Hummingbird Bakery carrot cake but the original recipe is typically baked in 3 x 20cm tins then layered, with icing in each layer, rather than one large sheet pan. I prefer the sheet pan method myself as it’s less fiddly and just as delicious.

What you’ll need for this Carrot Sheet Cake

Soft light brown sugar (using brown sugar means that the cake has a lovely toasty flavour, almost caramelly, through the cake which works so well with the cinnamon and ginger)
Sunflower oil
(or any neutral oil would also work such as vegetable oil or rapeseed oil)
Plain flour
Bicarbonate of soda
Baking powder
Ground cinnamon
(crucial for that typical carrot cake flavour)
Ground ginger (again, don’t scrimp here as this really adds to the cake overall)
Vanilla extract (this brand is the best. Vanilla extract can be expensive but buying the good stuff like a proper paste really makes such a difference)
Carrots (grated, I like to medium grate them so they aren’t so fine that they turn into a puree but also not coarsely grated as I find that can be a little chunky. The medium grate has good texture but also melts nicely into the cake)
Orange (just the zest needed but it adds a nice brightness across the cake)
(must be at room temperature and really soft so it blends well into the cream cheese, otherwise you get little clumps of cold butter within the cream cheese)
Icing sugar
Cream cheese
(full fat and Philadelphia ideally, as this does really give the best texture)

carrot sheet cake covered with icing with a knife cutting through
carrot sheet cake slice on a white plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this carrot sheet cake in advance?

You can make the cake a couple of days in advance and wrap tightly in clingfilm. You can ice the cake one day in advance. Just make sure it’s in an airtight container and in the fridge overnight. It’s so easy though that I would recommend baking and icing on the same day you intend to serve just because a freshly baked cake really is always best.

What other mix-ins can I use?

Any other nuts would work. Walnuts are more traditional for this type of cake but I like the pecans alongside the walnuts too. Otherwise, mixing in peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts even would be great. Some people love raisins in their carrot sheet cake but this can be controversial so totally up to you!

Why does this carrot sheet cake call for oil rather than butter?

Using oil rather than butter in a cake batter is a recipe technique you see now and again and it’s one I really favour. Using oil rather than butter keeps the cake extra moist and tender for a longer period of time. You also get a cake with a bigger crumb and I just like that texture. If you haven’t baked a cake with oil before instead of butter, try with this cake and you’ll see what I mean!

More recipes you might like

Moist chocolate cake (a perfect celebration cake)
Banana bread bars in a sheet pan
No bake Biscoff cheesecake
Fluffy banana pancakes
Chocolate Brownie Cookies


Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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A super easy Carrot Sheet Cake topped with swirly cream cheese icing and lots of nuts for texture. Save this one for all future cake-baking needs!

  • Author: margie
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 large cake 1x



For the cake

  • 300g soft light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g carrots, grated
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 50g walnuts, shelled & chopped, plus extra, to decorate
  • 50g pecans, chopped, plus extra to decorate

For Cream Cheese Icing

  • 220g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 170g (6 oz) full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature (use Philadelphia cream cheese for the best results)
  • 600g (5 cups) icing sugar
  • /2 tsp vanilla extract


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a swiss roll tin (11 x 15 inch works well) with some butter.
  2. Add the sugar, eggs and oil in a bowl and beat until it comes together. You can do this in a stand mixer with paddle attachment or with a hand mixer (or by hand even!) If it looks slightly split, don’t worry, it will come back together. Add the dry ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, salt) followed by the orange zest and vanilla extract slowly and continue to beat until well mixed.
  3. Fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts by hand, so if using a hand mixer/stand mixer, you can stop here. Pour into the greased tin and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool a little while in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing:

  1. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer. Beat together on medium-high speed until completely smooth.
  2. Mix in the icing sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom as you go. Add the vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.
  3. If the frosting is too thin, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to thicken. Otherwise, it’s ready to pipe or spread!
  4. Spread onto the cake and then I drizzled it with caramel sauce and more chopped walnuts and even some pecans.

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