Moist Carrot Cake with Pineapple

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This is by far the best carrot cake I’ve ever had! The addition of pineapple to this from-scratch cake makes it incredibly moist. I love adding spices, coconut flakes, nuts and raisins to the recipe as well, but all of those are optional. Of course, I top the cake with decadent cream cheese frosting!

Two layer carrot cake on a cake stand

This recipe yields a two-layer cake. If you prefer, you could make it as two single layer cakes or even as carrot cake cupcakes!

No matter how you make it, this is a must-try carrot cake!


I like my carrot cake loaded with different textures and flavors. I highly recommend using all of the optional ingredients in this recipe, but it’s fine to leave them off if you don’t like any of them.

Carrot cake almost always has cinnamon, but I also like to add cardamom to my carrot cake. Cardamom gives the cake more depth of flavor.

Adding spices to carrot cake batter

Shredded coconut adds some texture to the cake and gives it a tropical flavor. I buy unsweetened shredded coconut, but both sweetened and unsweetened will work.

Shredded coconut being added to carrot cake batter

Nuts and raisins also add texture to the carrot cake. I find that chopped pecans work really well. Walnuts are another great choice.

Nuts and raisins in carrot cake batter

The other secret to making a really moist carrot cake is using oil.

I opt for unrefined coconut oil as it’s a healthy oil and I love the mild coconut flavor. If you don’t like coconut, you can switch out the coconut oil for a different kind of oil.

Note that the recipe also has butter. I prefer to not use all oil as I love the taste of butter!

How to Prep Carrots for a Carrot Cake

The easiest way to prep carrots for a carrot cake is to use a food processor.

  • First, wash the carrots and peel them.
  • Then, chop the ends off of the carrots, cut them into a few pieces and food process them until them finely diced – as small as couscous.

Tip: If you buy organic carrots, you don’t need to peel them first. Do make sure that you wash them thoroughly!

Carrots being adding to carrot cake batter

Preparing the Pineapple

There are two camps in the world of carrot cake – pro-pineapple and anti-pineapple. I am 100% team pineapple. Pineapple in carrot cake doesn’t make the cake taste like pineapple; rather, it adds more moisture.

Slice of carrot cake

Use crushed canned pineapple and drain the liquid before adding it to the batter. Even after draining, there will still be some liquid remaining. Don’t stress about removing every last drop of liquid – just remove the juice that the pineapple is sitting in inside the can.

Adding pineapple to carrot cake batter

How It’s Made

Preparing the Cakes

This recipe is really easy to make. Combine all cake ingredients except for oil, butter, eggs, and flour in a large bowl.

Add oil and butter and stir to combine.

Adding coconut oil to carrot cake batter

Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.

Add flour in 2 batches, mixing until just combined.

Divide into two 8″ round pans and bake at 350 F until done.

How to Decorate Carrot Cake

Cream cheese frosting is a must for carrot cake. I think the crowds would revolt if it were served any other way.

Use an offset spatula to spread a thick layer of frosting between the cake layers.

Spreading cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake

Either spread more frosting on top of the cake or use a piping bag and pipe the frosting onto the cake. I used a star tip and piped rosettes.

Carrot cake on a cake stand

Beyond that, it is traditional to top carrot cake with decorative carrots. Handle the heat has a fantastic tutorial on how to make decorative carrots. You can see the different styles she uses below.

Cupcakes topped with three different types of carrots
Image from Handle the Heat

I prefer to decorate carrot cake with candied carrot curls. The pile of color (no food coloring needed) on top of the cake looks wonderful and tastes great, too! Add the carrot curls just before serving to keep them from getting soggy.

Candied carrot curls pouring out of a container

Expert Tips and FAQs

Slice of carrot cake in front of the whole cake
How do I make a moist cake?

Always use pineapple to make the cake nice and moist. Plus, its acidity really goes well with all of the other ingredients.

Why do you suggest adding spices, coconut, nuts, and raisins?

These ingredients, while optional, elevate the flavor of the cake to perfection!

How do I get the cakes to release properly?

Line the baking pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with cooking spray to help the cakes release well.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!
Carrot cake with pineapple
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4.50 from 4 votes

Carrot Cake with Pineapple

This is the BEST from-scratch carrot cake recipe! Pineapple makes it SO moist and it’s topped with decadent cream cheese frosting.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 697kcal
Author Stefani


Carrot Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups finely chopped carrots about 2 large carrots, food processed until the size of couscous
  • 2 cups drained crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups shredded coconut optional
  • 1 cup raisins optional
  • 1 cup chopped pecans optional
  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Cake Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a large bowl, combine everything but oil, butter, eggs, and flour.
  • Add oil and butter and stir vigorously to combine.
  • Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.
  • Add flour in 2 batches, mixing until just combined.
  • Divide evenly between two 8″ round pans lined with parchment paper and greased on the sides.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
  • Set on a cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions

  • Use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese and butter until creamy and light, about three minutes on high speed.
  • Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time. You can add more or less to get your desired consistency.
  • Mix in vanilla until fully integrated.
  • Release cakes from pans, making sure to remove any parchment paper that may have stuck to the bottoms of the cakes.
  • Use an offset spatula to spread a thick layer of frosting on top of one cake.
  • Top with the second cake.
  • Spread the remaining frosting on  top of the cake or use a star tip in a piping bag to pipe rosettes onto the cake. 
  • Leave at room temperature for up to three days or refrigerate for up to one week.


  • Line the baking pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with cooking spray to help the cakes release well.
  • You can use this recipe to make two single layer cakes if you prefer.
  • Leave off any of the optional ingredients.
  • Swap out a different kind of oil if you don’t like coconut oil.


Calories: 697kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 426mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 3505IU | Vitamin C: 8.3mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 2.1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. Maria Keegansays:

    Can I make these into cupcakes? How many will the batter make? And what temperature should I bake them? How long? Thanks! Can’t wait these!

  2. wilhelminasays:

    5 stars
    I love the addition of pineapple to this moist and delicious cake!

  3. Allisonsays:

    5 stars
    I love the addition of cardamom – it really sets this recipe apart. Beautiful presentation, too.

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