A Carrot Cake Without Pineapple

Sneak Preview: This carrot cake without pineapple is a layer cake slathered with light cream cheese icing. It’s ideal for a celebration and for anybody who doesn’t like pineapple in their carrot cake.

Uncut layered Carrot cake without pineapple, decorated with chopped pecansPin

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Have you noticed how certain recipes attach themselves to one particular family member? You can’t prepare them or eat them without thinking of that person. This carrot cake is forever connected to my mom because we ate it yearly on her birthday.

This recipe is a good place to start with a carrot cake tradition. Plenty of carrots are involved with this cake, but there’s no pineapple in sight.

Happy Bakers Speak Up

“This recipe is so easy to throw together when you find out that the last can of crushed pineapple went to the food bank and your raisin jar is empty!
I just took it out of the oven and it smells delicious.”

I made this cake this past weekend and it was as delicious as it looks. It just might be one of my favorite desserts! I posted about it today. Thanks for all of the great recipes you share!“–LDH

Recipe Inspiration

The original recipe comes from my sister Kay. She’s a true Southern cook who has spent most of her adult life in Alabama. She is unafraid of a little sugar and fat to make things taste good. Her husband claims it is absolutely one of her tastiest creations.

The modifications previously mentioned are heavily influenced by Dorie Greenspan’s carrot cake as published in Baking, From My House to Yours (paid link). Changes are noted inside the parenthesis.

Do You Prefer Cream Cheese Frosting or Icing?

Because it’s not quite as rich, I prefer my cream cheese icing recipe. It’s based on a version printed in a recent Cook’s Country magazine issue. However, it doesn’t make much, so consider doubling the recipe if you’re baking a layer cake and want to frost the sides, too.

How To Down-Size This Carrot Cake Recipe

The cake pictured above is a half recipe baked in three 6-inch round pans. It’s the perfect size for our rather small family, leaving us with a piece or two for the birthday person to enjoy later.

The recipe below is for a full-size eight or nine-inch 3-layer cake. Cutting the recipe in half is fairly simple, as most ingredients call for two of whatever it is. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to email me.


Does carrot cake taste the same without carrots?

Because the spice is stronger in flavor than the carrots, so without carrots, your cake will taste like a spice cake.

Can I leave the nuts out?

Yes. No other modifications are needed.

How can I make this recipe healthier?

Be sure to read through the comments for some good ideas from my readers. I haven’t tried them, but they sound good.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

Uncut Carrot layer cake without pineapple on a pedestal dish.Pin
Yield: 16 slices

Carrot Cake Without Pineapple Recipe

This is our family recipe for carrot cake with cream cheese icing.  A lighter version of cream cheese icing made with marshmallow creme is included.
4 from 24 votes
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes



  • 2 cups (240 g) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (224 g) oil
  • 1-1/2 cups (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 (200 g) large eggs
  • 3 cups (384 g) grated carrots
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (59 g) chopped walnuts I use toasted pecans + 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries + 1 cup shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese softened
  • 1-1/2 cups (64 g) marshmallow cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (30 g) powdered sugar



  • Preheat oven to 325 °F (165˚C). Prepare 3 9-inch round cake pans or 10 x 14-inch rectangular pan by spraying with vegetable oil/flour combination such as Baker’s Joy or line the bottom of pans with wax paper or parchment paper (my preference).
  • Whisk together 2 cups (240 g) flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  • Combine 1 cup (224 g) oil and 1-1/2 cups (198 g) granulated sugar in a large mixer bowl until smooth. Add 4 (200 g) large eggs and mix until smooth. Mix in 3 cups (384 g) grated carrots and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix only until they disappear. Gently fold in 1/2 cup (59 g) chopped walnuts, if using.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes rotating pans half way through baking time. After cooling for 5 minutes, turn out onto baking rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • Beat 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese, 1-1/2 cups (64 g) marshmallow cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup (30 g) powdered sugar and beat on low until smooth.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 413mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 4261IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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4.46 from 24 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Karen Powell says:

    2 stars
    My suggestion is to try making this cake using 1 cup sour cream instead of 1 whole cup of oil. Years ago I started experimenting making carrot cake lower in fat. Some people use apple sauce but I find the texture to be kind of rubbery. Vegetable oils have 100 fat calories per tablespoon while sour cream has 33-1/3 fat calories per tablespoon and it doesn’t change the texture or flavor of the cake. I find yogurt is too runny for this cake. Sour cream works perfect. Try it and let me know how it turns out. The rest of the ingredients are excellent.

    1. Hi Karen,

      I LOVE this suggestion and will definitely try it the next time I make this recipe. All that oil bothers me, too. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it down and share it with me and my readers.

  2. Betty Harris says:

    Love carrot cake good to see recipe without pineapple

    1. Hi Betty,
      Not a pineapple lover? This recipe is especially for you. Hope you like it.

      1. Margaret L. says:

        4 stars
        This recipe is so easy to throw together when you find out that the last can of crushed pineapple went to the food bank and your raisin jar is empty!
        I just took it out of the oven and it smells delicious.
        I don’t own round pans so my trusty 9 x 14 Pyrex pan did the job. Lined the pan with parchment and baking time required an additional 10 minutes before testing done.
        We don’t like frostings so I made some buttermilk glaze and poured it over the hot cake. Perfect! Thank you so much for this great recipe.

        1. Hi Margaret,
          I think your version sounds terrific. That buttermilk glaze speaks to me. Thanks so much taking the time to share your version.

  3. persiangemini says:

    This looks great. So did you divide all these amounts by 2, to make it in a 6 inch pan? I am making a cake in a 6 inch pan and 4 inch depth and looking to see how I need to modify the ingredients that I have for a 9 inch pan to 6 inch pan. Any tips will be appreciated.

    1. No coconut are you trying to kill me

  4. Corrie Anne says:

    Hooray! My fiance is going to love that one! I can’t wait to try it out!

  5. Hi again Paula,
    I was looking at your recipe for carrot cake. I was wondering if you had ever heard of chia seeds. You can take 1 T chia seeds add to 9T water, let sit for 5 mins and it becomes like a gel. With that gel you can substitute 1/2 of any baking recipe for the oil. So your carrot cake recipe that calls for 11/2c. of oil can be as good using 3/4c. oil and 3/4c. of chia gel. Try it out ! It is amazing. There are also other good benefits for using chia seeds. Added to yogurt it is amazing!

    1. Nadine, I have never tried chia seed. Do they add a certain texture? Kinda like flax seeds? Well, I will certainly give them a try. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I’ve only gotten into carrot cakes recently and have been searching for the best recipe, which so far is Cook’s Illustrated’s 2003 version. However, no matter what recipe I’m using, I always cut the oil in half and use buttermilk for the other half. No one can tell the difference and you automatically cut 1/2 the oil calories. The buttermilk has the added advantage of tenderizing the cake. Reducing fat wherever I can, adding fiber with whole grains, and subbing Nu Naturals stevia for part of the sugar are some of my skinny secrets. I’m the same size that I was in high school but it takes a lot more work now, as I’m 70.

    1. Judy, you are my hero. The same size as in high school at 70–WOW! I’m finding it more work at 56 than just 5 years ago but doing a food blog might have something to do with it too. Love your hints for cutting calories in carrot cake. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thelma Archer says:

    O MY GOSH! I want to eat the whole cake! I love carrot cake, it is one of my favorites, I can’t wait to try this recipie. I can’t believe the cake image it looks like I could cut myself a slice or TWO! Thanks.

  8. Hi Paula!

    I made this cake this past weekend and it was as delicious as it looks. It just might be one of my favorite desserts! I posted about it today. Thanks for all of the great recipes you share!

    Kindly, ldh

  9. Madam Chow says:

    That looks incredible. My mouth is watering.

  10. Gorgeous birthday cake!

  11. That cake looks fantastic and delicious. And yay for your mom!

  12. Carrot cake is a fav in this house. especially on Hub’s birthday. Yours looks pefect. Love the smaller size. Just right.

  13. UrMomCooks says:

    Happy bday to ur mom!!! U are very blessed! (awesome reminder on the wonderfulness of carrot cake! looks fantastic!)

  14. Happy Birthday to your mom! Great photo. Carrot cake was my mom’s favorite cake too. Your cake looks fabulous. I haven’t made a cream cheese frosting with marshmallow cream before, but it sound great.

  15. Happy belated birthday to your amazing Mom! 93…Wow! What an awesome lady.

    The carrot cake looks scrumptious!

  16. Lovely cake, I really like carrot cake too. Congratulations on your mother’s 93rd birthday that’s wonderful to still have your parents!

  17. A perfect birthday cake that must be as good as it looks! Sending Happy Birthday wishes to you mom!

  18. What a beautiful cake, and a wonderful tribute to your mother. Happy birthday to her!

  19. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    Happy birthday to your mom! That’s a great looking cake- carrot cake is one of my favorites!

  20. What wonderful pictures!!! That carrot cake just jumps right out at you and the picture of your mom is great. You have great Daughter-in-laws that love your mom and I can’t wait to hear about the menu. Love to you all.

  21. Other Sis says:

    Ah, yes–carrot cake! It is my husband’s favorite, so I’ve made a lot of them over the years. Here at altitude (in Denver), I’ve had to make a few changes–and the biggest one is that my layers always flop so I always make the cake in a 9″X13″ pan.

    Specifically, I don’t add any baking powder (just the 2 teaspoons soda), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1-1/2 cups sugar. Also, just in case one “messes up” and throws everything in the mixing bowl at once…the cake comes out just fine that way, too. And, we use pecans here instead of walnuts.

    Great picture of Mother–and thanks for highlighting this great and long-time family favorite!

  22. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Carrot cake is my favorite cake, too! You did a beautiful job, and happy birthday to your lovely mom!

  23. Wow, your presentation looks better than my cakes ever look. :+)
    I specialize in lop sided layers. Looks like I will be forced to make one in the new few days. It looks sooooo good.

  24. I love the picture of Grandma!
    And I could eat the whole bowl of cream cheese icing!!!