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.
When I told my kids that I was making a carrot cake, they thought that it sounded gross.
By the time the cake was finished, I had trouble keeping them away from it long enough to take pictures. They absolutely loved it!
How to make carrot cake
Mix the buttermilk, oil, and sugar together until well-combined.
Stir in the eggs until combined, and then stir in the vanilla extract.
Add the pineapple and carrots, and stir in just until incorporated.
Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined.
Add the nuts and coconut, and stir in. The batter will be wet.
Pour into prepared baking pan.
After the cake has finished baking, remove from oven.
Pour the buttermilk glaze over the cake, and let the glaze soak in.
Let the cake cool to room temperature, uncovered, before frosting with the cream cheese frosting.
How to make buttermilk glaze
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.
Bring to a boil, and boil for 4 minutes.
Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. You should have about ½ cup of glaze at this point.
How to make cream cheese frosting
To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until well-combined.
Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until combined.
Spices: I don't add a lot of spices to this cake because I want it to taste like a carrot cake, not a spice cake. If you like more spice in your carrot cake, feel free to add additional spices.
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.
This is one of those cakes that tastes even better the day after it's made.
Just cover and chill after frosting.
How long will this cake keep?
This cake will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
How much spice is there in this cake?
I didn't add a lot of additional spice to the recipe. I like my carrot cake to taste good, but I don't want it to taste like a spice cake that happens to have carrot in it.
If you like a more heavily spiced cake, feel free to play around with that part.
How sweet is the frosting?
Not that sweet. There really is only 1 cup of sugar in the frosting.
The cake is sweet and the glaze is sweet, so I wanted the frosting to have more of the cream cheese bite to it to keep the cake from being crazy sweet.
Does the cake need the glaze?
Please don't skip the glaze! It's a little extra work, but it really makes this carrot cake something special.
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
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: I don't add a lot of spices to this cake because I want it to taste like a carrot cake, not a spice cake. If you like more spice in your carrot cake, feel free to add additional spices.
- 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 facts are estimates.
Published 3/13/17. Updated with new photos, tips, and video 2/23/19.