Carrot Cake Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings: 20
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cool Time 2 hours
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
  5. 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). 
  6. 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).
  7.  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.