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carrot cake bar topped with cream cheese frosting on a white plate
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Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot cake bars are a simple way to enjoy all the flavors of classic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in a fun and casual way! Enjoy a soft, moist, and perfectly spiced bar for a quick snack, a breakfast treat, or an easy dessert!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16 bars
Calories 334kcal

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded carrots

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Orange and green food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper (or spray with nonstick cooking spray)
  • n a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and nutmeg and stir to combine.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, add the butter, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and beat just mixed in.
  • Add half the dry flour mixture and beat until combined. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until flour is mixed in. (careful not to over-mix or cake will become more dense)
  • Add in the shredded carrots and gently stir them into the cake batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Making the frosting

  • After the cake has completely cooled, add the softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla to a medium mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until combined.
  • Add one cup of powdered sugar and beat until just combined. Then add in another cup of powdered sugar and beat until combined, continue adding one cup at a time and beating between each until creamy.
  • If decorating the tops, spoon about ½ cup of frosting into 2 small bowls and add 2-3 drops of orange food coloring to one and 2-3 drops green food coloring to the other. (more until desired color is reached). Mix until the color is completely mixed in and then transfer to a piping bag or plastic zip closure bag with a corner snipped off.
  • Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the entire cake and cut the bars into 16 slices.
  • Decorate the top of each cake bar with a carrot using the orange frosting and green frosting for the carrot leaves. You can do the squiggly lines like shown here or draw a carrot shape and fill in the center with frosting. Be as creative as you wish!

Notes

Shredding your own carrots is the preferred method over buying already shredded carrots. Use a food processor with a grater attachment or a box grater.
Add ½ cup of raisins to the batter if desired.
Add ½ cup of chopped pecans or chopped walnuts to the batter if desired. Or sprinkle on top of the frosting in place of decorating if preferred.
Substitute ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce for the butter for a healthier lower calorie alternative.
Substitute gluten-free flour if preferred. (Like Bob's Red Mill One-to-One flour)
Use all white sugar if preferred.
Use a 9x13 baking pan and reduce the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 1731IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg