A fun twist on a seasonal classic – Pineapple Carrot Cake! Using whole grain flour, greek yogurt, pineapple and a delicious cream cheese frosting. Perfect for the carrot cake lovers in your life.
The Ultimate Carrot Cake with Pineapple
Does anyone else think carrot cake is underrated?
It might not be chocolate, but there is something about how all of the ingredients come together in this pineapple carrot cake that is unlike any other.
Anytime I share this cake with others, they are always surprised that it is actually a lightened up version of carrot cake. It’s honestly one of my favorite cake recipes.
Why You’ll Love This Cake
In this healthy carrot cake recipe we’ve got:
- Whole grains, but no one will be able to tell.
- Greek yogurt, for a perfectly moist carrot cake recipe.
- Pineapple, for extra sweetness and flavor.
- A balanced cream cheese frosting, with Greek yogurt.
I’m fairly certain that carrot cake without a creamy frosting is against the rules, right?
To make this carrot cake recipe you need some basic pantry ingredients and some extras like the crushed pineapple, carrots and walnuts.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- whole wheat pastry flour – You can also use half whole wheat flour with half all-purpose flour. A 1:1 baking gluten-free flour is another good substitute.
- baking soda & fine sea salt – the leavening agent and salt balances flavor. I always use kosher salt or fine sea salt when baking.
- carrot cake spices – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves.
- brown sugar – brown sugar provides moisture and a stronger flavor than white sugar.
- oil – for added moisture and keeps the cake soft. You can use avocado, coconut oil (melted/cooled), or olive oil works too.
- Greek yogurt – this replaces some of the oil but also plays a part in keeping the cake moist. We’re also using it in the cream cheese frosting! You can also make this cake recipe using Skry (Icelandic yogurt).
- large eggs – a staple in many cake recipes. They add structure and stability.
- crushed pineapple – a delicious addition to this carrot cake. Adds sweetness as well as some moisture.
- grated carrots – I like grated carrots here for little bits that blend well into the batter.
- chopped walnuts – walnuts in carrot cake is essentially an unwritten rule.
- cream cheese & confectioners sugar – for the frosting, of course.
You can make this cake by hand!
This cake comes together very easily by hand – you don’t need an electric mixer or a food processor to make the cake batter.
And the cake bakes fairly quickly too, less than 40 minutes using a 9×13 baking pan.
Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to make this carrot cake, with detailed instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.
Step 1 – dry ingredients
In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, flour through spices. Set aside.
Step 2 – wet ingredients
In a large bowl whisk together sugar and oil until combined, then whisk in yogurt until combined. Add eggs one at a time until fully combined.
Step 3 – combine
Gently fold flour mixture into large bowl of wet ingredients, until just combined. Then add in crushed pineapple, grated carrots, and lastly crushed walnuts, gently stirring until everything comes together.
Step 4 – bake
Pour carrot cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes in a preheated oven. Watch your oven to make sure you don’t over-bake. Check for doneness with inserted toothpick in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If the toothpick has wet batter, your cake needs a few more minutes.
Frosting the Cake
Make sure to allow the cake to cool completely before preparing the cream cheese frosting.
To make the frosting, it’s easiest to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.
In large bowl using beaters or paddle attachment on stand mixer, beat together softened cream cheese and yogurt, then gently add in powdered sugar a little at a time, until light and fluffy. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker the frosting will be.
Once the frosting is ready and the cake has cooled, spread on the creamy goodness and chill until ready to dive in.
Helpful Baking Tips
HAND MIXING VS ELECTRIC – This carrot cake recipe can be stirred together by hand, or easily made in a stand mixer. I’ve made this cake both ways and the batter comes together easily whichever route you choose.
GRATED CARROTS – I will say I would suggest using freshly grated carrots compared to store-bought–they just have a much softer texture. And use the fine side of a box grater for finely shredded carrots that easily blend in with every bite.
COOLING TIME – Once the cake has done it’s thing in the oven, it takes about an hour total to cool before you should frost it. Feel free to make the cake a day in advance, wrap and chill in fridge if you need to. The spices and flavor will amplify as the cake chills – so good.
I haven’t tried that myself yet, but you could try baking the cake in two 8-9″ round cake pans, and watch the baking time after 20 minutes. You may want to double the frosting so you have plenty for the middle and outside.
Yes – You can make the whole cake a day in advance, just wrap and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
You can use a dairy-free greek yogurt if you’d like, just make sure it’s thick like greek yogurt. If dairy isn’t a concern, sour cream works too.
More Carrot Cake Recipes to Try
- Carrot Cake Cookies
- Carrot Cake Muffins
- Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
- Carrot Cake Scones
If you make this pineapple carrot cake recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below! I love hearing from you and it helps others learn more about the recipe too. Xx Ashley
Whole Grain Greek Yogurt Pineapple Carrot Cake
A healthier take on a seasonal classic–Whole Grain Greek Yogurt Pineapple Carrot Cake. Your guests will not believe this is made healthier. Moist, perfectly spiced and loaded with shredded carrots, crushed pineapple and walnuts.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 24 1x
- Category: dessert
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour*
- 2 teaspoongs baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1/3 cup oil (avocado, sunflower or olive oil preferably)
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or Skyr (0%, lowfat or full fat all work)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup canned crushed pineapple (lightly drained)
- 2 cups grated carrots (about 3/4 lb)
- 1 cup crushed walnuts
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter or oil, set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients: In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, flour through spices. Set aside.
- Mix wet ingredients: In a large bowl whisk together sugar and oil until combined, then whisk in yogurt until combined. Add eggs one at a time until fully combined. This can also be done in stand mixer with paddle attachment
- Combine: Gently fold dry ingredients to large bowl of wet ingredients, until just combined. Then add in crushed pineapple, grated carrots, and lastly crushed walnuts, gently stirring until everything comes together.
- Bake: Pour carrot cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Watch your oven to make sure you don’t over-bake. Cover with foil if edges brown too fast. Check for doneness with inserted toothpick coming out with little to no crumbs. Allow cake to cool for a full hour before frosting. (Can also cool in fridge for 30-45 minutes.)
- Prepare the frosting after the cake has cooled: In large bowl using beaters or paddle stand mixer attachment, beat together softened cream cheese and yogurt, then gently add in powdered sugar a little at a time, until light and fluffy. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker the frosting will be.
- Frost & Cut: Once the frosting is ready and the cake has cooled, spread on the creamy goodness. Chill cake for 30 minutes before cutting into and serving. Enjoy!
*could likely sub a 1:1 all-purpose GF baking flour if needed. My go-to for this is Bob’s Red Mill. Or sub with half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour.
When draining the pineapple, just remove about 1-2 tablespoons of liquid.
Cake can be made one day in advance.
Store cake in fridge and enjoy within four to five days.
Prep time includes cooling time
- Serving Size: 1/24th
- Calories: 195
- Sugar: 15g
- Sodium: 208mg
- Fat: 10g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 4g
- Cholesterol: 33mg
Keywords: carrot cake with pineapple, moist carrot cake, healthy carrot cake