Carrot Cake Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Usually I’ll start a post with a story or a little tid-bit that somehow relates to the recipe I’m sharing. But not today. Nope, today we’re getting down to brass tacks, people. No time for silliness. Well, okay… maybe there will be a little time later.
But today (mostly) is all about me plainly, simply begging you to go grab the ingredients to make this. Why? Because it is the best cake I have ever made. Ever ever ever.
And, yes, I just italicized four words in the same paragraph. I mean it THAT much!
Though I haven’t made a ton of cakes in my day, I can assure you I’ve baked more carrot cakes than I can count on two hands. It’s my absolute favorite cake and, like crab cakes, I sample it everywhere I possibly can!
Then, I always try and replicate the best ones. And fail, naturally, because I’m overly excited and not paying attention. Baking, if you haven’t heard, requires attention.
But these, I cannot even explain. I’ll try though. Will you stay with me while I do?
These delicious carrot cake bars are melt-in-your-mouth amazing. They’re pillowy soft and not overly sweet, with a moist crumb and a hint of cinnamon spiciness. Shredded coconut and carrots give them a little bit of a chew, and the citrusy cream cheese frosting is decadent but light as air.
They’re also MUCH easier than a cake, but with little lemon spirals, just as cute!
Just pour your batter into a 13 x 9 pan, and it only needs 30 minutes of oven-baking-tantalizing-ness before you can burn your fingers trying to grab an edge piece to eat! (Guilty.)
Try these carrot cake bars for your next spring get together, or just to have a festive sweet treat in the house for snacking. I guarantee you’ll absolutely love them and so will whoever’s lucky enough to enjoy them with you!
Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
This recipe makes a lot of batter, but I recommend pouring half of the batter into one 13 x 9 pan and freezing or refrigerating the rest in a resealable container.
Yield: Fills 2 (13 x 9) pans // 12-15 bars per pan
Carrot Cake Bars:
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil
4 large eggs
4 cups (32 oz.) peeled and grated carrots
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting: (makes enough to frost one 13 x 9 cake)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
5 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 13 x 9 pan with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together sugar, oil and eggs on low speed until well blended. Mix in the dry ingredients just until blended. Fold in the carrots and coconut.
Pour HALF of the batter into the prepared pan*. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cake cool completely in pan before frosting with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Once frosted, refrigerate at least 1 hour. Lift cake from pan and onto a cutting board; cut into bar-sized pieces.
To make frosting: Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, vanilla and lemon extract. Beat with a hand mixer until well-blended and smooth enough to frost cake with. Avoid over-beating, which may make frosting too soft.
Cover and store leftover cake in the refrigerator.
I recommend reserving the remaining batter for another cake, or freezing/refrigerating in a resealable container for later use.
Adapted from Life as a Lofthouse via The Food Nanny