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. ┬áIt’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


  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Melissa @ Bless this Mess: I too adore the stuff but who needs a three layer cake sitting around! This is SUCH a good idea… March 13, 2013 at 7:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Melissa =)! March 14, 2013 at 4:12pm Reply

  • Tessa: You definitely aren’t the only one who has a problem deciding when it’s enough with carrot cake. I’m right there with you.

    What a great idea to use browned butter in the frosting. Traditional carrot cake is always good. This looks fabulous! March 14, 2013 at 4:04pm Reply

  • Maria: I SO wish I had a bar in front of me right now! Yum! March 14, 2013 at 5:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Me too, mine are gone, so sad when that happens =). Thanks for your comment Maria! March 16, 2013 at 8:35am Reply

  • Angus McGrubur: Thanks for this recipe, my kid’s can’t get enough. only slight niggle is that sometimes it’s too thick March 15, 2013 at 2:37am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome glad your kids enjoyed! =) As far as the thickness goes if you are referring to the frosting I would just recommend using a little less powdered sugar next time. March 16, 2013 at 9:48pm Reply

  • Kaylin: I plan on making these for a party that is scheduled tomorrow. How well do you think these will hold up? Should I store them in the refrigerator and then let them sit at room temperature before serving? Also does salted butter make a big difference versus unsalted butter for the frosting? Thanks for the recipe, I look forward to making it. March 15, 2013 at 9:28am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Kaylin – yes you can refrigerate them in an airtight container overnight and then bring them to room temperature before serving. Mine held up really well to the next day and I actually left mine out covered at room temperature. I like to use salted butter in frosting most of the time to balance out the sweetness, I would recommend that you just add a bit of salt to taste if using unsalted butter. I hope you enjoy! March 16, 2013 at 8:31am Reply

  • Laura Dembowski: Those look amazing! Love carrot cake and it sounds so easy to make it in bar form instead of a layer cake. March 16, 2013 at 11:49am Reply

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes: This looks amazing! I might do this for Easter March 16, 2013 at 2:16pm Reply

  • Curry and Comfort: I love carrot cake… these bars look fantastic. :) I love your little mini cake pedestal too. :) March 17, 2013 at 4:58am Reply

  • Vera Zecevic-Cupcakes Garden: These bars must be so tasty, and they are very pretty. Cute decoration, look awesome! March 17, 2013 at 2:44pm Reply

  • This and That | Two Peas & Their Pod: […] 6. Looking for another way to eat your veggies? How about Carrot Cake Bars […] March 21, 2013 at 12:03am Reply

  • Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks: This carrot cake is absolutely beautiful! I adore the way you frosted it, and the addition of brown butter! March 21, 2013 at 6:23am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Jessica! I adore your blog, so I really appreciate the compliment. March 21, 2013 at 10:48pm Reply

  • 25 Carrot Creations: […] Carrot Cake Bars from Cooking Classy […] March 21, 2013 at 1:59pm Reply

  • M. Smith: Made this tonight! The frosting absolutely took the cake!!! Haha! Appx how many servings does this make? Actual servings since mine are probably too big! March 21, 2013 at 4:26pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Haha =), glad you thought so! I think I got 12, I hate when I forget to write it down and add it =). I always make up the servings though anyway just my best guess as to what I’d consider a serving to be. March 23, 2013 at 11:57pm Reply

  • Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen: Oh yum, your cake bars look so good and brown butter cream cheese frosting sounds amazing! March 22, 2013 at 5:39am Reply

  • Kate @ Kate from Scratch: These bars are just gorgeous! They’re the perfect treat for this time of year too. Wonderful recipe. March 22, 2013 at 9:33am Reply

  • Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen: The minute I saw these on Foodgawker I knew they were yours. :) And that’s a good thing — they are gorgeous! Happy Spring! :) March 22, 2013 at 11:57am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks:)! And Happy Spring to you too Monique! March 22, 2013 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Chyenne: Do these have a different texture than carrot cake does or is it just carrot cake cut into bar shapes? March 22, 2013 at 12:24pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s basically the same texture as carrot cake it’s just cut into bars, it may be just slightly more dense. March 22, 2013 at 1:22pm Reply

  • TidyMom: oh my word!! the Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting sold me!! I pinned and shared on my FB page!! have a wonderful weekend! March 22, 2013 at 3:13pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the comment Cheryl! I love your website! March 23, 2013 at 9:19pm Reply

  • DeeandDan: Me and my boyfriend made this last night and it is THE BEST carrot cake EVER!!!! He’s already had it for breakfast and lunch! Lol I’m going to make it again for his family! Thanks for the amazing recipe! March 26, 2013 at 10:10am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you think so! That’s great to hear you and your boyfriend enjoyed this! Thanks so much for your comment =). March 26, 2013 at 11:53am Reply

  • Cassy: Hi! I’m a french student and your siteweb is my Bible. I never eat a carrot cake in my whole life but yesterday I tried for my parents and wow!

    It’s not something we usually eat in France but it had a huge success and I’m actually cooking new bars with the carrot leftovers! I just think the frosting have too much butter in it but it’s because we don’t do it like this.

    Thank you so very much for that recipe! <3 April 9, 2013 at 4:38am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome! Thanks for your nice comment:). I’m so happy you enjoy my blog Cassy! April 22, 2013 at 6:25pm Reply

  • Mimi @ Culinary Couture: I could make these into cupcakes right? May 2, 2013 at 6:46pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes you should be able to. Mmm wish I had one now :). May 2, 2013 at 8:14pm Reply

  • Bea Long: I love your frosting. I never use more than 2 cups of powdered sugar. I am glad you don’t either. Do you happen to know how to stabilize whipped cream? I use whipped cream for icing and I have never had a problem but someone asked me how I stabilized it and I have no idea what they are talking about? Thanks for you help!

    Bea May 28, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes I make stablized whipped cream for cakes sometimes or a recipe where I need the whipped cream to hold without breaking down within a few hours, it is just whipping cream with gelatin basically. Here is a recipe that is just like the one I make:
      My grandma also taught me a little bit of corn syrup can improve the strength of whipped cream (not quite as well as gelatin but it works better than just sugar) here is a recipe (which you would probably want to add more powdered sugar to): June 1, 2013 at 9:52am Reply

  • Rebecca: I just pulled mine out of the oven… They smell cinnamonely divine! Can’t wait to eat them! <3 July 23, 2013 at 8:32am Reply

    • Rebecca: Yep, I confirm. DELICIOUS!! <3
      I don't really like frostings, other than being out of butter, so they're plain, but next time I'll put sugar on the top at mid-baking, so it will become golden and crunchy! :) July 23, 2013 at 9:17am Reply

  • nafeeza: Could you use this mixture to make cupcakes? September 22, 2013 at 9:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yeah I think that would be fine. September 23, 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

  • Susan: Do you think these could be frozen? Usually cream cheese frosting freezes well but I don’t know how the browned butter would impact that chemistry? March 26, 2014 at 2:59am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think they should still be fine to be frozen. I hope you love them! March 26, 2014 at 9:26am Reply

  • Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen: I just love everything about these! Can’t wait to try them. April 7, 2014 at 7:23am Reply

  • Jasmine: I just made this for work tomorrow. I of course had to try them and they are so good, now I’m not sure I want to share. Thanks for the recipe! April 13, 2014 at 6:41pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear you liked them Jasmine! Thanks for leaving a review! April 13, 2014 at 9:10pm Reply

  • Boni: Holy yum!! I made these for Easter and they were a hit. I have fallen in love with brown butter, it was the first time I have made it. Thank you for this fabulous recipe! I cant wait to make it again. April 22, 2014 at 8:21am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome Boni! So glad you liked them! May 6, 2014 at 6:29pm Reply

  • Linda: Thank you, thank you! I was merely looking for the simplest of recipes. No fancy ingredients, and a recipe not intended to feed 25. Hahaha. Perfect for a single person or couple. Everything called for is basic pantry stuff.
    I used to use a similar recipe, but I prefer to use only nutmeg. No cinnamon or ginger. The carrot flavor stands out more that way.
    Nutmeg incidentally, is about the only flavoring used in onion soup, besides salt. After you caramelize sliced onions in butter & on low for an hour, add heaping teaspoon of nutmeg & stir in. Then add beef bullion and simmer another 20 minutes. That’s it. You’d never guess it’s in there. Tee-hee. September 12, 2014 at 10:42am Reply

    • Linda: Sliced, pre-steamed carrots sauteed in brown sugar, butter & a pinch of garlic…is pretty awesome too. September 12, 2014 at 10:44am Reply

  • Jennifer Terry: Do you think it would be possible to replace the carrots with pumpkin or would that be too wet? September 13, 2014 at 1:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You would probably be able to do it I just don’t know what amount would be best. October 15, 2014 at 10:28pm Reply

  • Samantha: Would this recipe work in a sheet cake pan? September 30, 2014 at 9:17pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Probably just depending on how thin you want them to be. October 21, 2014 at 7:08pm Reply

  • Donna: I made these for Easter and they were delicious! Do you think this recipe would work for cupcakes? November 18, 2014 at 6:07pm Reply

  • Jocelyn: These are so good! I have been looking for a fabulous carrot cake recipe without pineapple, raisins, and nuts; this is it! Of course, my kids would be happy just eating the frosting.

    Thanks so much. March 21, 2015 at 8:38pm Reply

  • Michelle Hobbs: Would adding nuts change it at all? I’ve tried many of your recipes and they always turn out awesome this site is my go to never fail me site March 23, 2016 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That would be just fine. I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed my recipes Michelle, thanks for letting me know :)! March 23, 2016 at 5:15pm Reply

  • Michelle Hobbs: Made these today made four batches first was gone in 7 min everyone loved them March 24, 2016 at 5:16pm Reply

  • Alexa: OH my Gosh, I’ve made these carrot cake bars yesterday and they are soo damn delicious. My parents really loved them too. the brown butter cheese frosting is everything, ate half of it before I could put it on the cake haha April 1, 2016 at 6:14am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad your family liked them Alexa :)! April 1, 2016 at 10:08am Reply

  • Dan: Hi Jaclyn
    Do you think this recipe work as a layer cake?
    I’m wanting to make a 2 layer carrot cake, and was thinking of trying this in two 8 inch rounds. April 7, 2016 at 7:07pm Reply

  • Dan: Hi Jaclyn:
    Would this recipe work if I use 8 or 9 inch rounds for a layer cake instead of a 9×13? April 8, 2016 at 10:09am Reply

  • Asma: Hi Jaclyn can i add nuts to this recipe and if so how much please. Love your recipe and I can’t wait to bake it. January 30, 2018 at 1:25am Reply

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