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, 1/3-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 1/2 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!
You can subscribe to receive my latest recipe newsletters or follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for even more delicious food.
Blue Ribbon Carrot Sheet Cake
- 9×13 pan
Carrot Sheet Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 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
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/4 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 9×13-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 1/2 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.
Did You Make This Recipe?
Share it with me on Instagram @i_heart_eating and follow on Youtube @katedean and Pinterest @katedean for more!
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.
Love this recipe?
Share your thoughts below and let’s chat! Make sure to connect with me on your favorite social platform below and show me what you made!
Comments & Reviews
Caroline Nguyen says
I made this cake to celebrate my own birthday. My family loves it! My 2 year old, 9 year old, and 11 year old, had seconds and thirds. I brought some in to the office to share and we all thought it was the best carrot cake we ever had! Thank you!
Happy birthday!! I’m glad that you and your family liked the cake! Thank you for taking the time to come back and comment! =)
Love, love, LOVE this carrot cake recipe!!!
I’ve made this several times and always a hit. Can it be made into cupcakes?
Yay!! I’m so glad! I’m not sure how it would work with the glaze, but if you try it, I’d love to hear how it works out.
Seems a fantastic recipe. What can I use instead of buttermilk. I think I never seen it in the stores in here
Thank you! I have instructions for making a buttermilk substitute here. Hope that helps! =)
Excellent recipe, i did it for my cousin birthday and everybody like. Thanks
Thank you! I’m glad that it was a hit! =) Thanks for taking the time to come back and comment!
Jean Anne says
Instead of brushing the liquid on the cake I treated this like a Poke Cake and took the handle of my wooden spoon and poked holes in the cake and then poured the liquid over the top to fill in holes. I let it sit and just before serving I warm the cake a little and then put cream cheese icing on it. Avery good vanilla ice cream works well as a side to cut the very sweet and delicious cake.
Thank you for your notes! You’re the second person to mention poking the cake. I’m glad that you liked the cake, and thank you for taking the time to come back and comment! =)
Roz J says
I have been making this cake for over 20 years! I punch holes in the cake with a skewer so the glaze soaks in!
Thanks for the tip! I haven’t tried that. =)
Can this be made as a layer cake (using 9″ round cake tins)?
I tried making this as a layer cake once, and I wasn’t thrilled with the results. The cake is so moist that it didn’t hold the weight of a layer cake well, and it wanted to fall apart. I’m not sure if it would work better if it was made without the buttermilk glaze or not. Hope that helps!
Anna W says
We have nut allergies in the family. Can we get away without using coconut and pecans? Any substitutes for those (ie raisins)?
Hi! You can! You can omit the coconut and use an equal amount of raisins or seeds (sunflower or pumpkin) in place of the nuts. Hope that helps! =)
If the nuts are left out, would any adjustments need to be made? Thank you.
No, you can just omit the nuts. Hope that helps! =)
This cake was a huge hit at my house. My husband said this cake is the only carrot cake I can bake from now on. Thanks for the recipe! It’s a keeper.
This says sheet cake, but lists 9×13: ??
Yep! A sheet cake is just a flat, rectangular cake (as opposed to, say, a layer cake). Hope that helps! =)
Ginney Regan says
I made two today. I didn’t read everything through and didn’t realize until the cakes had cooled that I should have put the glaze on when it was warm. Ileftthst part out. Do you think it will still taste wonderful? I’ll for sure remember that next time.
The cake should still taste good. The glaze just helps to add extra flavor and moisture to the cake, but it is still delicious without it. =)
I made this carrot cake and it was the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. It was so moist and not at all greasy. Thank you for the recipe!
Thank you so much! It’s my favorite carrot cake, and I love to hear that other people are enjoying it, too. Thanks for commenting! =)
Maria Sofia says
If I double the cake any ideas how long to bake?
It’s going to depend on what you use to bake it. What type of pan are you going to use?
Can I bake this on Rimmed cookie shet for a crowd?.what temp?
I haven’t tried to bake this cake on a rimmed cookie sheet, so I’m not sure what temperature or time it would need. My sheet cakes that bake in a rimmed cookie sheet bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F, so maybe that would be a good place to start. Good luck!
This looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try it! If I need to leave out the pineapple and coconut, do you K think this recipe will still work? Do you think I should make any substitutions? Thank you!
Thanks! It might! If I were going to sub the pineapple and coconut, I’d increase the amount of carrot by 1 cup and then add extra nuts (maybe 1/3-1/2) cup. Hope that helps!
My daughter made this cake for Mothers Day – it was pure heaven, we will be making this again, the best carrot cake ever.
Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it! =)
Karizma Dillard says
How did you get the carrots and pineapple like that what tools/machine did you use
I grated the carrots with a box grater, and the crushed pineapple comes in a can.
Aimee Mars says
Well, this just looks dreamy! I so love Carrot Cake. I’ve never actually made a sheet cake before, but I’m thinking that needs to change ASAP!
Thank you!! I love how simple sheet cakes are to make. =)
If there was a 24k gold ribbon, I think this carrot cake would take that too. Seriously, this looks amazing!! NEED to try it ASAP!
Thanks so much, Karly!!
We had it for Mothers Day and yes it is fantastic