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Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

I love my moist carrot cake recipe and this carrot cake sheet cake is just as delicious!

Just like my carrot cake layer cake recipe, this carrot sheet cake recipe does not include shredded coconut, chopped walnuts or pecans, raisins or crushed pineapple.

image of a slice of moist carrot cake sheet cake on a plate.

While a lot of classic or Southern carrot cake recipes include these items, I prefer my carrot cake without them.

I also never have those ingredients on hand and I think this recipe is a lot easier to make without them.

What Ingredients Really Give Carrot Cake Its Flavor?

Those add-ins aren’t what really make carrot cake so great anyways! Most of the delicious flavor we associate with carrot cake comes from the spices that are added into the batter.

Ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and cinnamon are the dominant flavors in this carrot cake recipe.

image of ingredients laid out to make a carrot sheet cake

My recipe also uses some brown sugar, which pairs so well with these warm spices.

Getting the Texture Right in this Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

Now onto the texture of this carrot cake sheet cake! I really prefer my carrot cake to have the taste and texture similar to a spice cake, so I don’t like adding in nuts or raisins.

The texture of this sheet cake is also based on the grated carrots!

image of carrots being grated on a microplane grater for carrot cake recipe

I really hate seeing big chunks of shredded carrots in my carrot cake. To avoid that, I actually use a microplane grater to grate my carrots. It’s a bit more work but I think it’s totally worth it.

It gives the cake an incredibly tender texture because it allows the carrots to seamlessly bake into the layers.

You could also shred the carrots with a food processor or a KitchenAid attachment if you’re short on time.

How to Properly Line a Sheet Cake Pan

To ensure your sheet cake easily pops out of your pan, I highly recommend lining it with parchment paper.

I like to clip the overhanging parchment paper to the sides of my cake pan with metal binder clips. This helps it stay in place while I pour the batter and while the cake bakes.

Another trick I love to use when I make sheet cakes is to use flower nails as heating cores.

These are usually used to make it easier to pipe buttercream flowers, but they work great as a heating core too!

image of sheet cake pan with flower nails being used as heating cores to help the cake bake more quickly and evenly

Just flip them upside down and they’ll help conduct heat from the bottom of the pan into the center of the cake.

This helps the sheet cake bake up more evenly and quickly.

I order mine on Amazon and a pair of them is $6. They last forever! I’ve had mine for over five years now.

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake – Swaps & Substitutions

While I love making this sheet cake exactly like the recipe calls for below, I know that some of you might want to make substitutions or not have all these ingredients on hand.

image of a slice of carrot cake sheet cake on a plate

Buttermilk

You can use full fat yogurt or sour cream in place of the buttermilk in this recipe.

Or if you want to make your own buttermilk, you can use whole milk plus a bit of vinegar or lemon juice! Add 1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice into a 1/2 cup measure then fill the rest up with whole milk.

Vegetable Oil

If you don’t have vegetable oil on hand, you can use any flavorless oil in its place! Canola or grapeseed oil would work great. You could even use olive oil if that’s all you have on hand.

Melted butter can also be used in place of the oil, but the texture of the cake will be less fluffy! It will still taste great though.

Brown Sugar

This recipe calls for brown sugar and you can use light or dark!

If you don’t have any on hand, you can use an additional cup of granulated sugar in place of the brown sugar.

Unsalted Butter

Salted butter can be used in place of the unsalted butter to make the cream cheese frosting in this recipe. The frosting will taste a tiny bit saltier, but it will still taste great. Just be sure to omit the salt that the frosting recipe calls for.

Adding in Nuts or Raisins

If you’re a huge fan of walnuts or raisins in your carrot cake, I won’t judge you for adding them in!

You can fold 1/2 cup of raisins and/or 1 cup of chopped walnuts into the batter with the shredded carrots.

image of a bite of carrot cake sheet cake on a fork with the slice behind it

Tips for Making the Best Carrot Cake:

  • Line your sheet pan with parchment paper to easily remove your cake once it’s baked.
  • Use flower nails to help your sheet cake bake more evenly and quickly.
  • Use a microplane grater to shred your carrots into super fine pieces. It’s a bit more work but it gives the cake an amazing texture.
  • Mix the cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This ensures the cake layers are tender and fluffy.
  • Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Color leftover frosting green and orange and decorate your cake with some frosting carrots.
image of carrot cake sheet cake that's been frosted with cream cheese buttercream

Making This Carrot Cake Sheet Cake in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make this sheet cake in advance and freeze it. This breaks the process up and makes it more approachable. An unfrosted sheet cake can be wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to a month.
  • Make the frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • This cake can sit out at room temp for a few hours or be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Making this Carrot Sheet Cake in Different Sizes

You can also use this recipe to bake a 12×17 in sheet cake, but the layer will bake up a lot shorter. Bake time will also be shorter! Bake for about 20 minutes at 325 F / 162 C.

If you want to make carrot cake cupcakes, I recommend using my carrot cake cupcake recipe.

If you want to make a carrot cake layer cake, I recommend using my layered carrot cake recipe.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try my carrot cake sheet cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂

Also please tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 30

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

image of a slice of moist carrot cake sheet cake on a plate.

This carrot cake recipe is so easy to make and bakes up incredibly moist! One batch makes a 9x13" sheet cake that's frosted with decadent cream cheese buttercream!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake

  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (200g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 1 cup canola oil, or any flavorless oil (225g)
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature (280g)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (312g)
  • 2 tsp baking soda (12g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (4g)
  • 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon (7g)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (1g)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (< 1g)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (120g)
  • 2 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (400g or roughly 1 lb.)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (113g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (440g or a 1 lb. box)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream or whipping cream (15g)
  • green and orange gel food coloring (optional)

Decorations and Tools:

Instructions

Carrot Cake Sheet Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F / 162°C. Line a 9- x 13-inch (quarter sheet) pan with parchment paper. Place two or three flower nails in the center of the pan with the flat side resting flat against the cake pan. Make sure they are a few inches apart. Spray the flower nails with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup oil until combined.
  3. Whisk in 5 large eggs. Mix until the batter is smooth.
  4. Sift 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground cloves into a large bowl.
  5. Add half the dry ingredients into the egg/sugar mixture. Mix until combined.
  6. Add in 1/2 cup buttermilk and mix until combined.
  7. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  8. Then fold in 2 1/2 cups of finely grated carrots.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and re-center to flower nails. Make sure they're pressed all the way down against the pan. If you don't have flower nails, the bake time will be slightly longer.
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  11. Leave the cake in its pan and place on a wire rack to cool. You can also pop the entire pan into the freezer for 45 minutes to accelerate the cooling process.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the carrot sheet cake bakes and cools, make the cream cheese frosting.
  2. Beat 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth.
  3. Add in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. Gradually mix in 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp heavy cream on a low speed.
  5. If the frosting seems too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  6. Cover the cream cheese frosting with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming until you're ready to use it.

Decorating This Carrot Cake Sheet Cake:

  1. Let the cake cool completely, then carefully flip it and remove the flower nails from the cake.
  2. Spread an even layer of cream cheese buttercream on top of the cake and make swirls with an offset spatula.
  3. Decorate as desired, then use a sharp knife to cut the cake into 30 squares.

Notes

Making This Carrot Cake Sheet Cake in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make this sheet cake in advance and freeze it. This breaks the process up and makes it more approachable. An unfrosted sheet cake can be wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to a month.
  • Make the frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • This cake can sit out at room temp for a few hours or be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Different Sized Sheet Pan

You can also use this recipe to bake a 12x17 in sheet cake, but the layer will bake up a lot shorter. Bake time will also be shorter! Bake for about 20 minutes at 325 F / 162 C.

Cupcakes

If you want to make carrot cake cupcakes, I recommend using my carrot cake cupcake recipe.

Layered Carrot Cake

If you want to make a layered carrot cake, I recommend using my layered carrot cake recipe.

Nutrition Information

Yield

30

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 272Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 45mgSodium 258mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 1gSugar 26gProtein 3g

Marie

Wednesday 28th of September 2022

I would like to try this cake in a 12x18 pan. Should I double the recipe and how long should I bake it for? Sounds devine

Megacakes

Thursday 15th of September 2022

I absolutely love his recipe! I've been making it every few weeks for the Soup Kitchen my husband volunteers at, and they love it too. I use this exact recipe to fill a pretty big pan - 15" x 11" and it's perfectly sized to take away in a napkin. I get 32 slices per pan. Yes, as others have said, the fine grating is a pain, but so, so worth it, and as I detest nuts in cake, this is perfect. A definite keeper!

Chelsweets

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Oh that is nice!! I'm so happy you're putting this recipe to such good use!! And I totally agree, the fine grating is the worst but absolutely worth it! Thank you so much for sharing :)

Mel G.

Wednesday 4th of May 2022

Hi... This looks so yummy! Can I double this recipe to bake in my 12”x18”x3” rectangular pan? I need to feed 50-60 people. If yes, how long should I bake and at what temperature? TIA ?

Katie R

Saturday 16th of April 2022

I just want to double confirm that there shouldn’t be vanilla extract in the cake batter?

Missy

Saturday 28th of August 2021

Just made this gluten free by swapping the AP flour for KA gluten free measure for measure flour. I followed your instructions for your other gluten free cakes and it turned out amazing!

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