Carrot Cake Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting


It is true that I have too many favorite kinds of cake to ever pick just one, but carrot cake is most definitely on my list of top 10 favorites, and yes somewhere near the top of the list. The spices, the sweetness and moisture from the carrots, its pleasant texture, the aroma… it’s all just perfect. I’ve made carrot cake more times than I could ever be able to count. When I was little I wasn’t fond of carrot cake. Quite possibly it could have something to do with its name and the fact it contained a vegetable in it and also it may have been from tasting the wrong carrot cakes, but once you’ve had a really good carrot cake, you will be hooked. For life. And you will never look back, and why should you? My problem with carrot cake is always knowing when and how to stop.  It’s just too good!

carrot cake bars

I decided to add a ritzy twist to these carrot cake bars, simply because browned butter is basically my absolute favorite thing in the world =). If it didn’t have so many calories I could literally sit down and eat it by the spoonful and spread it over nearly every and any meal. Mmmm yes these are the things I refer to as the finer things in life. Not designer shoes, expensive and ridiculously fast cars or lavish parties, but browned butter and carrot cake. All it takes is good food to keep me happy =).

If you’d like to add the carrot hearts on top of the bars, add them just before serving as they will begin to break down and become watery if the rest on top of the frosting too long. For the carrot heart how-to you can check out this link at Sophistimom. Enjoy!


carrot cake bars2


Carrot Cake Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (or an additional 1/3 cup vegetable oil)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg for 30 seconds, set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon, blend together brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil and applesauce until smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Pour in half of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, then add remaining dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in grated carrots. Pour into a buttered 13 by 9-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 30 - 32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.
  2. For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
  3. Brown butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (for how to brown butter see link here. Be sure to brown it long enough to get the good brown butter flavor). Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof airtight container, cover with lid and chill in refrigerator until butter has cooled (if it's too cold when you go to prepare the frosting you will have to let it rest at room temperature for several minutes until soft enough to blend. The butter should be soft like room temperature butter). Scoop butter into a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer whip butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and mix until well combined, Mix in an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar to thicken if desired.
  4. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Rachel @ Bakerita: This looks amazing, and the way you frosted the bars is gorgeous!! And brown butter is all it takes to make me happy in life too :) March 13, 2013 at 7:33pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Rachel! It’s actually so easy to do I posted a link in these comments if you ever want to try it. March 16, 2013 at 8:41am Reply

  • Taylor: QQ – Do you have a tutorial on how you frosted your STUNNING cake? Can’t wait to make this!!!! March 13, 2013 at 12:03pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi Taylor – I learned from How Does She last year and I’ve used the tutorial countless times ever since… Here is the link: This time around I just did the lines closer together. It is actually really easy to do. I totally messed up that middle bar in the photo when I cut them, I should have gone a little slower I guess =) (I’m also not sure why I put the ugliest one smack in the middle =). March 14, 2013 at 4:08pm Reply

  • Jessica@AKitchenAddiction: Carrot cake is my favorite! I love the addition of brown butter in the cream cheese frosting! March 13, 2013 at 11:26am Reply

  • Mimi @ Culinary Couture: Your frosting came out so pretty! I can’t wait to try these! March 13, 2013 at 9:29am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Mimi! I hope you enjoy! March 16, 2013 at 8:42am Reply

  • Mykheladeyemo: I love ur cooking March 13, 2013 at 4:30am Reply

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: Delish! I love carrot cake and last month posted my first recipe in 4 yrs of blogging for it. What was I waiting for? Yours is beautiful and I bet that browned butter frosting just takes the cake. Literally! March 13, 2013 at 3:52am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Averie =)! March 14, 2013 at 4:13pm Reply

  • Kimberley: All of your carrot cake recipes are so delicious and I am sure this one is no exception! I have always loved carrot cake since as long as I can remember, it reminds me of when I was a little girl and spending the day with my Grandma….carrot cake was always on the menu at tea time :) March 12, 2013 at 11:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: What a fun memory Kimberely, thanks for sharing! I hope I can create those kind of memories with my kids and grand kids. We always use play food and do a pretend tea time, but why not just use the real thing. I think my daughter is finally old enough that she would simply LOVE it =). Thanks for the idea! March 14, 2013 at 4:16pm Reply

  • Jaime {sophistimom}: Oh, I’m so glad you were able to use my carrot tutorial!!

    I love the way you did your frosting. Brilliant. March 12, 2013 at 11:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the tutorial Jaime! I remember seeing it last year on foodgawker and haven’t forgotten about it since =). I just adore your blog! It is always so classy and everything you make looks amazing! March 13, 2013 at 8:50am Reply

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