Sheet pan carrot cake bars are made with a surprise ingredient that makes them so moist, soft, and easy to make – carrot baby food! No shredding and peeling carrots needed for these delicious carrot cake bars that feed a crowd. Top them with a whipped cream cheese frosting and garnish with chopped walnuts for the best carrot cake dessert.
The other day we had two showings within two hours of each other. Which may seem easy but my 1 and 3 year old can pretty much destroy the house in seconds. I made the mistake of coming home between the two because the thought of being out and about with those two for that long basically gave me a mini panic attack 🙂
I sent the 3 year old downstairs to watch t.v, thinking that the t.v would keep her occupied…. boy was I wrong. She very quietly managed to open all 40 eggs that we had stuffed the day before with candy for her preschool egg hunt. Not only opened the eggs, but opened all the candy and put it all in a bowl.
I came downstairs to candy wrappers and egg halves all over downstairs. With about 5 minutes before we had to get out of the house we managed to get most of it cleaned up. I love the Holidays but I could do without all the candy and sugar comas that come along with them.
Something that I definitely could not do without around Easter is carrot cake. I love carrot cake! For me, it’s like pumpkin. I love pumpkin but only in the Fall. I love carrot cake but only at Easter.
Carrot cake has such a warm and sweet spice to it and then top it with some tangy cram cheese frosting and it’s pure heaven. I am not a big frosting lover but cream cheese frosting is something I can tolerate because it’s not overly sweet and has the perfect tang that pairs nicely with the sweet and moist carrot cake.
Don’t let the baby food turn you off to these bars because they are seriously amazing and you would never even know that there is baby food in them! I have to admit that I don’t mind baby food at all. It’s like pureed fruit and I’d be lying if I said I have never licked the baby spoon after feeing my kids…… 🙂
The baby food acts like applesauce in these bars. It provides softness and richness with a lower fat ingredient.
The carrot cake bars cook up in a sheet pan which is perfect around Eater because it can serve a crowd, and they can be made ahead of time too. I always make these the day before and then frost them the next day and let it sit in the fridge until I need it. I love these bars refrigerated but they can also be eaten at room temperature.
I always like my desserts to look pretty so if you’re the same then garnish with some crushed walnuts and cute carrot décor. I found these edible carrot decorations at Target. They are completely not needed so don’t think you have to run out and by some. I just saw them and knew they would look adorable on top of these bars.
How to make these sheet pan carrot cake bars
- Combine sugar, oil, eggs, and carrot baby food puree. Add in your dry ingredients and mix together.
- Pour the batter into a cookie sheet with sides and bake in the oven.
- Once the bars have cooled completely you can frost them with a whipped cream cheese frosting.
- Serve these carrot cake bars at room temperature or cold. I prefer them cold.
Tips for making sheet pan carrot cake bars
- Make sure you spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray to prevent any sticking.
- To make clean knife cuts in the bars, wet the knife with warm water and then wipe it dry between cuts. This helps the knife cuts be clean and precise.
- The most important thing is to let the bars cool completely before frosting. They cannot even be a little but warm when frosted. I always make these bars the day before and leave them out on the counter overnight. I frost them the next day and then leave them in the fridge until I need them. I prefer them cold from the fridge.
- If you really, really, really love frosting then feel free to double the frosting recipe (or 1 1/2 x the recipe). I use the recipe as directed and think it’s enough frosting.
Sheet pan carrot cake bars are made with a surprise ingredient that makes them so moist, soft, and easy to make - carrot baby food! No shredding and peeling carrots needed for these delicious carrot cake bars that feed a crowd. Top them with a whipped cream cheese frosting and garnish with chopped walnuts for the best carrot cake dessert.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 12 ounces carrot baby food ( 3 4-oz jars)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 5 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon full-fat sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with sides(12"x18") by spraying with cooking spray.
In large bowl, add sugar, oil, eggs, and carrot baby food. Beat together with a handheld blender until combined together and smooth.
Add in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Blend together just until combined and no flour streaks remain.
Pour batter into the prepared cookie sheet and make sure it's spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Edges should be slightly pulled away form sides, the top will be a golden brown and then center should not be wet and jiggly. A toothpick inserted should come out clean or with moist crumbs.
Let cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting: beat together the butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl until combined and smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla extract, heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. If wanted, add more or less milk depending on the consistency wanted.
Depending on how big or small you want these bars, you may get more or less than serving suggestion. I cut them rather big for the pictures but normally would cut them into smaller pieces so I would end up with about 30 servings.