This Carrot Cake Loaf has all the things you love about a classic carrot cake in the form of quick bread, including the warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and flecks of freshly grated carrots!
Table of contents
Carrot Cake Bread
Carrot cake loaf is for you if you love a traditional carrot cake but don’t actually want to make one! Let’s call it a shortcut and believe me, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice a difference.
This recipe makes a moist quick bread thanks to the Greek yogurt and brown sugar and because it’s made without yeast it is so easy to whip up without the need for proofing, kneading, or even an electric mixer.
Enjoy it as an afternoon snack with a hot cup of tea or a delicious after-dinner dessert. Your whole family will especially love eating what is basically a carrot cake for breakfast slathered with a homemade cream cheese frosting!
- Baking staples. All-purpose flour, baking soda, brown sugar, vanilla extract, Eggs. The brown sugar adds to the moisture, but you can substitute white sugar if preferred. It will just have a slightly different texture.
- Spices. Cinnamon & nutmeg are two signature spices found in carrot cake.
- Milk. Whole milk brings the dry ingredients together into a batter. It also provides richness and moisture because of its fat content.
- Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt delivers a slightly tangy flavor. It adds moisture because of its fat content and the acid reacts with the baking soda, which helps to create a soft fluffy texture.
- Canola oil. More moisture! See, I told you this carrot cake loaf was moist 🙂 You can omit this and use more Greek yogurt if preferred.
- Carrots. Fresh carrots grated yourself. Peel and wash them first.
- Cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese, softened unsalted butter, powdered sugar, and pure vanilla extract.
How to Make this Carrot Bread
This recipe comes together in a few steps so I think I’ll make two for Easter this year. One will be devoured pretty quickly and I can freeze the other!
Step 1: To begin, you’re going to mix the wet ingredients well in a large mixing bowl. Then, you’ll add the brown sugar and mix to combine.
Step 2: In a separate medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Add about 2 tablespoon of the flour mixture to a small bowl of the shredded carrots and toss to coat. This helps them disperse evenly throughout the carrot loaf and not stick together.
Step 3: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine without overmixing. Add the shredded carrots into the batter and gently fold them in.
Step 4: Pour the batter into the prepared 9×9 loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes in a preheated oven. Once a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, remove it and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack before icing.
Step 4: To make the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. This is one time you might want to opt to use an electric mixer on low speed! Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue to blend until fluffy.
- Make this carrot cake loaf with or without icing.
- Use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. It’ll be a bit denser with a slightly more robust flavor.
Add in a ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon to the frosting.
- Add in ⅛ teaspoon of ground ginger or cloves to the bread’s dry ingredients.
- If you love adding chopped walnuts or raisins to your carrot cake, by all means, throw some in with the carrots!
- Substitute unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana, crushed pineapple, or sour cream for the Greek yogurt.
- To save some time, use store-bought shredded carrots for the freshly grated.
- Substitute freshly grated zucchini for the carrots. Squeeze out any excess water first as zucchini holds much more water than carrots do.
- Substitute softened butter or more yogurt for the oil.
- Use fat-free or low-fat milk or any non-dairy milk of choice.
- Measuring flour. Spoon and level your flour to measure correctly. The amount of flour used will affect the density of your loaf.
- Turn these into carrot cake muffins! Line a muffin tin and fill each cup up to ¾ of the way. Bake for 14 minutes and do the toothpick test just to make sure they’re ready. I have a recipe for mini carrot cake muffins too. Or for a fun twist try these inside-out carrot cake muffins!
- Make mini loaves. If you have mini loaf pans, use them. Bake them at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Once again, you’ll want to test them with a toothpick.
- Use parchment paper. Although you’re spraying the loaf pan with nonstick spray, it’s a good idea to line the bottom with parchment paper too. It won’t stick, but it also helps with transferring the loaf from one surface to another.
- Do not overwork the batter. Once the acid from the yogurt reacts with the baking soda, you want the air captured to remain intact. If you overmix you’ll lose the air creating a dense texture.
- Do not frost warm loaf. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slathering the frosting on top. Otherwise, the heat will melt the frosting making it runny.
Keep any leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you know you’ll be storing part of the loaf, don’t bother slicing it until you serve it.
Quick breads are great for making multiple loaves ahead of time and freezing a loaf or two for later. When it is completely cooled, wrap an unfrosted loaf tightly with plastic wrap. Then, wrap it in foil. This helps to prevent freezer burn. Place wrapped loaf or loaves in a freezer-friendly bag for optimal freshness and store for up to 3 months.
Easy Carrot Cake Loaf
For the Carrot Cake Loaf
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened greek yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups freshly grated carrots 3-4 large carrots
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 tablespoon butter softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Carrot Cake Loaf
- Preheat oven to 350° F and spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the the milk, canola oil, greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla and mix together well.
- Then add in the brown sugar and mix in thoroughly to combine well.
- In a separate medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk together well.
- Shred the carrots into a small bowl. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and toss to coat them well so they will more evenly blend into other ingredients and not stick together.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined, careful not to over-mix or the bread may be too dense.
- Add the shredded carrots and gently fold them into the batter.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- After baking, let the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove and place it on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add the softened cream cheese and butter to a medium sized mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and blend until fluffy.
- Spread evenly over cooled bread.