This is the best carrot cake you will ever make! Packed with freshly grated carrots, crushed pineapple, coconut and nuts it is moist and fluffy and pairs perfectly with homemade cream cheese frosting.
This carrot cake recipe (aka: Uncle Hefe's Carrot Cake) is my brother's favorite cake in the world and for good reason!
Packed with freshly grated carrots, sweetened shredded coconut, crushed pineapple and nuts, it manages to be both incredibly moist and fluffy at the same time. Topped with homemade cream cheese frosting this cake will not disappoint!
What is loaded carrot cake?
Loaded carrot cake is typically made not only with carrots, but with coconut, pineapple, nuts and on occasion, raisins (though I personally prefer it without those).
It is more moist than traditional cakes and has a denser texture.
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- Stand mixer with paddle attachment OR electric hand mixer: I absolutely love my KitchenAid Stand Mixer and the KitchenAid Hand Mixer works great too.
- Mixing bowls: I use these Pyrex Glass Mixing bowls for most of my baking and they work wonderfully.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Two 9 inch round baking pans: To prevent sticking I recommend lining the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. If you don't feel like cutting your own circles I always have a pack of these pre-cut parchment paper circles in the kitchen.
For the Carrot Cake
- Fresh carrots
- Sweetened shredded coconut
- Crushed pineapple: No need to drain. The juice helps make the cake so moist and delicious!
- Chopped nuts: You can use walnuts or pecans interchangeably.
- Eggs: Room temperature eggs work best.
- Vegetable oil
- White granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Ground ginger
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream cheese: I recommend using full fat cream cheese at room temperature.
- Unsalted butter
- Pure vanilla extract
- Powdered Sugar
- Sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- Chopped nuts, toasted
To tell if the cake is baked through simply insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it pulls out clean then the cake is done. If it is coated with wet better then the cake will need a few more minutes of baking.
You definitely want to stick with freshly shredded carrots for this recipe. Although they require a little extra time to prepare, they add wonderful flavor and moisture to the cake.
Pre-packaged shredded or matchstick carrots simply will not give you the same result.
Yes, if you don't like nuts, don't have any or are catering to someone with a nut allergy simply omit them from the recipe and bake as directed.
Yes, if you like raisins in your carrot cake feel free to add ½ cup.
Before adding simply soak the raisins in a little warm water for about 10-15 minutes to rehydrate. Then drain, pat dry and add to the mixture with the fruit.
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Made this Carrot Cake recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments!
The Best Carrot Cake with Coconut, Pineapple and Nuts
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 9 inch round cake pans bottoms lined with parchment paper and prepared with butter and flour or baking spray
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment or mixing bowl with electric hand mixer
- Baking Sheet optional, to toast toppings
For the Carrot Cake
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2.5 cups freshly shredded carrots
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup canned crushed pineapple do not drain
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese I recommend full fat
- 1 stick of butter, 8 tbsp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- sweetened shredded coconut, toasted and cooled
- chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted and cooled
Bake the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9 inch round baking pans with parchment (if desired) and butter and flour.
- Shred the carrots then add to a medium size mixing bowl along with coconut and pineapple. Stir to combine and set aside. In another medium size mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Mix until well combined and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until very well combined. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg and oil mixture and stir to combine. Then add the remaing half and stir until no white streaks of flour remain. Add the carrots and fruit to the mixture and fold into the batter until well distributed.Then stir the chopped nuts into the batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cooled before frosting.
Make the frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl with electric hand mixer) add in room temperature cream cheese and unsalted butter. Beat on medium high heat for a couple minutes until completely combined with no remaining lumps. On medium speed, beat in 1 tsp of vanilla extract then 5-6 cups of powdered sugar, adding ½ cup at a time. Once the frosting is thickened and sweetened to your taste it is ready.
- While the cake is cooling prepare the toppings. Add a handful of sweetened shredded coconut to one side of a baking sheet. On the other side add a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans. Place in the oven.Toast the coconut and nuts at 350 degrees for around 5 minutes, checking and shaking frequently to ensure it doesn't burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before decorating the cake.
- Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting and decorate the top in a pattern of your choice with toasted nuts and coconuts.Serve and enjoy!
I love carrot cake and this is by far the best recipe I’ve tried! It comes out perfect every time and everyone raves about it.
So moist and delicious. Love the twist to a regular carrot cake . Added coconut made such a flavour difference.
Wowza, this cake is outta this world!!!! For realzzzz. It's perfectly moist and so incredibly flavorful. I'm bookmarking the recipe so I can share it with my family for Easter next year.
Once I saw this post I had to pin it. This is the kind of carrot cake I have been looking for with pineapple and coconut.
Carrot cake is my absolute favorite. I made this recipe last weekend and it was incredible!!
Amazing. So moist, flavorful and everyone loved it. Will definitely become our new birthday cake tradition.
Mary Garland Jackson
This recipe is fabulous! I made it for my son’s birthday, and everyone loved it.
Wonderful! So glad y’all enjoyed!
What size can of crushed pineapple, please?
It’s 1 cup of crushed pineapple so you’ll need to measure it out. You can get a 12 oz can and then you’ll just leave some unused. Hope you enjoy!
Can you make cup cakes with this recipe?
Hi Christine- I haven’t tested cupcakes using this recipe but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I’ll try to get a cupcake version up on the blog in the next couple months. If you end up making them please let me know how they turn out! 🙂
Loved to make this recipe, but in one pan. What size pan should I use and how long should it cook? Thank you
I’d like to three layer this recipe, any suggestions on how to modify?
This looks delicious! I’m wondering if you have thoughts for making this nut free. Do you think it can just be omitted without affecting the recipe much? Would you change anything?
I assume I could sub with sunflower seeds or pepitas but I’m not sure I’d love the different flavor that would add.
Yes, you can totally just omit the nuts if you prefer or substitute a different kind of nut and it shouldn’t affect the recipe.
Gr8 recipe my cake out perfect. Will continue to use and discard my other
carrot cake recipe. I used a round tube pan, thin icing on top with some chopped nuts. Wish I could post a pic, proud of appearance.
Wonderful carrot cake! Instead of a layer cake, can this be made in 9 x 13 pan? What would the baking time be for the 9 x 13?
Hi Carolyn, thank you! I think you could do it that way but I haven’t tried it yet so I’m not sure about the exact timing. Maybe start at 350 and check for doneness around 45/50 minutes, knowing it might take over an hour. If you make it please let me know how it turns out!
Hi Karen- Yes, there are 4 eggs as listed in the recipe ingredients. Step 3 in the instructions tells you when to add them. Let me know if you have any more questions!
We absolutely LOVE this recipe!
Fantastic with all 3 of the add ins- pineapple, coconut, and this time used pecans! Shared it with 4 others besides my hubby and I, and everyone loved it, and said it was DELICIOUS!
BTW, I also made your Minestrone with tomato pesto, and everything's LOVED IT TOO... one person texted me that it was Spectacular! So HAPPY I found your site! ????