Blue Ribbon Carrot Sheet Cake is a moist carrot sheet cake recipe. The cake is topped with both a buttermilk glaze and rich cream cheese frosting for maximum flavor!
Carrot cake is one of my favorite kinds of cake.
When it's done right, it has plenty of flavor and is super moist. Too often, though, it's dry or greasy and completely lacks any flavor.
I found the original recipe for this cake in an old church cookbook, and I made several changes to the original recipe.
I ended up with this Blue Ribbon Sheet Cake that is crazy moist and full of yummy ingredients like coconut and pineapple that work together to make this cake oh so tasty.
Why you'll love this carrot sheet cake
- It's moist! The cake has ingredients, like buttermilk, that help to make it super moist.
- It's tasty! Between the cake, the glaze, and the cream cheese frosting, this cake has loads of flavor.
- It keeps well! This cake tastes even better after it's had a chance to chill in the fridge.
- Ground cinnamon: This is a more carrot-forward cake. If you'd like more spice flavor, feel free to add additional ground cinnamon.
- Low-fat buttermilk: You can make a quick substitute with this buttermilk substitute recipe. Feel free to use regular or low-fat buttermilk.
- Vegetable oil: Another neutral oil will work. You can also substitute in melted coconut oil.
- Crushed pineapple: The pineapple should be drained, but there's no need to squeeze the pineapple dry.
- Shredded coconut: Feel free to use unsweetened shredded coconut if you'd prefer.
- Chopped pecans or walnuts: The nuts are optional. No changes need to be made to the recipe if they're omitted.
- Butter: I use salted butter. If using unsalted butter, add a couple of pinches of salt to the glaze. The salt helps to keep the glaze from tasting flat.
Cream cheese frosting
- Cream cheese: Full-fat cream cheese works best. However, ⅓-less fat cream cheese will also work. I don't' recommend using fat-free cream cheese.
- Butter: I use salted butter. If using unsalted butter, add a couple of pinches of salt to the frosting. The salt helps to keep the frosting from tasting flat.
How to make carrot sheet cake
Step 1: Mix the buttermilk, oil, and sugar together until well-combined. Stir in the eggs until combined, and then stir in the vanilla extract.
Step 2: Add the pineapple and carrots, and stir in just until incorporated.
Step 3: Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. The batter will be wet.
Step 4: Add the nuts and coconut, and stir in.
Step 5: Pour into prepared baking pan.
Step 6: After the cake has finished baking, remove from oven.
How to make the buttermilk glaze
Step 7: Combine the sugar, buttermilk, butter, and baking soda in a large saucepan. The glaze will foam up as it cooks, so allow enough room for that.
Step 8: Bring to a boil, and boil for 4 minutes.
Step 9: Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. You should have about ½ cup of glaze at this point.
Step 10: Pour the buttermilk glaze over the cake, and let the glaze soak in.
Step 11: Let the cake cool to room temperature, uncovered, before frosting with the cream cheese frosting.
How to make the cream cheese frosting
Step 12: To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until well-combined.
Step 13: Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until combined.
Step 14: Spread the cream cheese frosting over the cooled cake.
Greasing the pan: I use either nonstick baking spray with flour or pan release to grease the pan. You could also line the pan with parchment paper to help easily remove the cake after baking.
Glazing the cake: There may still be a layer of glaze on the cake when you frost it. I've found that it soaks into the cake completely if I chill the cake.
If you're worried about frosting the cake with that layer of glaze still there, just cover the cake, and let it chill for a bit. Then, frost as you normally would.
You can! Carrot cake tastes even better the day after it was made. Just make as directed, cover, and chill until ready to serve.
This is a carrot cake with some spice, not a spice cake with carrot in it. So, the spice flavor is more of a compliment to the carrot flavor rather than the main flavor.
Sure! Feel free to increase the spices if you'd like more of a spice cake flavor.
The frosting only has 1 cup of sugar in it, so it isn't as sweet as a traditional cream cheese frosting. This lets more of the cream cheese flavor come through and helps to offset some of the sweetness of the glaze.
The glaze adds moisture and flavor to the cake. It's still a good cake without the glaze, but the glaze definitely helps to make the cake something special.
This cake should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator. It will will keep for up to 5 days when properly stored.
More Easter recipes!
If you’ve tried this blue ribbon carrot cake recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who've made my recipes!
Blue Ribbon Carrot Sheet Cake
- 9x13 pan
Carrot Sheet Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup low-fat buttermilk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple drained*
- 2 cups finely grated carrot
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts optional
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
To make the carrot cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan. I use a nonstick baking spray with flour in it.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together buttermilk, oil, and sugar until well-combined.
- Mix in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Add pineapple and carrots; stir until just incorporated.
- Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
- Add coconut and nuts, if using. Stir until just combined. Batter will be wet.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan, smoothing as necessary.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
To make the buttermilk glaze
- While the cake is baking, prepare the buttermilk glaze.
- In a saucepan, combine, sugar, buttermilk, butter, and baking soda. Use a large enough saucepan to allow mixture to bubble up as it cooks.
- Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Boil for 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. You should have ½ cup of buttermilk glaze.
- When the cake is finished baking, remove from oven.
- Immediately brush buttermilk glaze over hot cake.
- Let cake cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature.
To make the cream cheese frosting
- Beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
- Turn mixer up to high and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Drop spoonfuls of frosting over the cake.
- Carefully spread the spoonfuls together to cover the cake. Spreading in one direction will help to prevent the cake from coming up into the frosting.
- Store any leftover cake covered in the refrigerator.
- Spices: Feel free to add additional spices if would like.
- Buttermilk: You can make a quick substitute with this recipe. Feel free to use regular or low-fat buttermilk.
- Oil: Another neutral oil will work. You can also substitute in melted coconut oil.
- Pineapple: I pour the juice off, but I don't squeeze the pineapple dry.
- Butter: I use salted butter. If you use unsalted butter, add a pinch or two of salt to taste.
- Glazing the cake: There may still be a layer of glaze on the cake when you frost it. I've found that it soaks into the cake completely if I chill the cake. If you're worried about frosting the cake with that layer of glaze still there, just cover the cake, and let it chill for a bit. Then, frost as you normally would.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
Published 3/13/17. Updated with new photos, tips, and video 2/23/19. Updated again on 3/3/22 with new photos and FAQs.