Ultimate Carrot Cake (with Carrot Cake Jam)

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ultimate Carrot Cake with Carrot Cake Jam is a nut-free cake with pineapple, cream cheese frosting and the most amazing Carrot Cake Jam.

We love a Classic Carrot Cake covered with Cream Cheese Frosting, but this recipe takes carrot cake to a whole new level with the introduction of the best jam you will ever eat.

Ultimate Carrot Cake slice on plate with fork

Luscious (nut-free) carrot cake made with pineapple and filled with homemade Carrot Cake Jam (this may be the best thing you’ll ever put on toast) and cream cheese frosting. Instructions included for making extra layers too. This is the Ultimate Carrot Cake and a perfect holiday dessert!

If you are a fan of Carrot Cake, you’ll find this is hands down the best, most amazing, ultimate carrot cake. It’s different from the Classic Carrot Cake that you’re used to. It takes all the warm cozy spices, along with moist carrots and pineapple, and amplifies them to the max. The jam filling complements the cream cheese frosting for an additional layer of flavor that is out of this world.

This recipe is like the Carrot Cake you bake for someone but don’t want to give it to them after it is done baking. You want to keep it for yourself because you tasted the crumbs, you tasted the jam and now it’s like you’ve turned into Joey from Friends and you don’t share food anymore.

It is that good. It does require a bit more work than the classic version though, so let’s dive in.

Ultimate Carrot Cake Collage of cake preparation

Frequently Asked Questions

How many layers makes the perfect Carrot Cake?

This recipe as written will make a double layer cake. You can use three 10 inch cake pans if you double the recipe for a larger crowd. When making a single recipe you can fit it into two 8 or 9 inch cake pans quite easily.

A stand mixer is your best friend while baking, but you really don’t need it for this cake recipe, so save the extra wash and just use it for your frosting. Add to your pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the cake springs back when touched. Let the cakes cool completely.

Do I need to use buttermilk for this Carrot Cake?

Yes, there is a very unique mix of ingredients going into this recipe to create a balance of flavors. Buttermilk and cream cheese frosting are both adding tangy flavors that help to even out the flavors of sweetness in the cake, while pineapple helps to cut some of the sweetness with acidity. Buttermilk also creates a chemical reaction in the baking process that aids in creating the moist and tender texture of the cake. All of them are balanced intentionally, so any substitutions here would throw the flavors off balance. If you want to edit the ingredients please try it as written the first time. The only substitute I’d make is listed next.

Can I substitute applesauce for oil in Carrot Cake?

Yes applesauce can be used in place of the vegetable oil, but it will impact the texture of the cake. This is also true if you use half applesauce and half oil. The oil works to keep the crumb moist and tender and while applesauce does it to a degree, it will still create a drier cake.

How do I frost a layer cake with jam filling?

This cake requires a bit more attention with the frosting. Since you are adding a jam filling to the middle you’ll want to be sure you don’t ooze the jam out of the sides of the cake. To do this, pipe a circle of frosting around the perimeter of the layer to hold in the jam.
This means none of the jam comes spilling out of the sides of the cake.
In the style of a German Chocolate Cake, you’ll actually use the last third of the Carrot Cake Jam to decorate the top of the cake. It looks beautiful and festive too because the color of the jam is a gorgeous orange.

How can I make a three or four layer Carrot Cake?

If you would like to make this into a four layer cake, double the frosting recipe. Slice each baked layer into two. Add the same amount of carrot cake jam to each layer as before, and frost like normal. If you’d like this to serve a larger crowd you can also double the cake recipe and bake this in three 10 inch cake pans and bake them for 35-40 minutes. You should still double the frosting and the carrot cake jam. This could also become a six layer cake, but then you would require even more frosting.

Ultimate Carrot Cake Collage of frosting and jam layers

Tips for Making Ultimate Carrot Cake

  • Add a cup of raisins to this carrot cake recipe for extra sweetness. For this cake I’d recommend golden raisins.
  • You can make this recipe in cupcake tins, core out the center, fill with the carrot cake jam then pipe the tops with the cream cheese frosting. Just keep a little cap of the cupcake you cored out to cover the top of the jam.
  • Toasted coconut flakes would make a great decorative touch to the top of the cake.
  • Sifting dry ingredients is essential to the lightness of the cake, please don’t skip this step.
  • Many people use a food processor or a box grater to grate their carrots. If you use a handheld fine cheese grater to do it you’ll get a finer texture which allows the carrots to all but melt into your cake and it makes the cake even moister.
  • Make this cake in a bundt pan, then slice the bundt cake in half, make a small well to put the jam in, put the top half back on and frost the top.
  • As a general rule, you want to bring cakes to room temperature before serving, or they may be mistaken for stale when they’re actually just cold.
  • If you’re making this for someone with an allergy, substitute the 3 large eggs with 1 ½ mashed bananas, or ½ cup applesauce.
  • Because you’re using cream cheese in the frosting, please do not leave this cake out overnight, the cream cheese needs to be refrigerated.
  • Other decorative ideas: nuts, Whipped Cream, Caramel sauce, Buttercream, pineapple bits, crumbled cake pieces you may have trimmed to level your cake.

carrot cake with pineapple

More Delicious Cake Recipes

Ultimate Carrot Cake slice on plate with fork

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Ultimate Carrot Cake

Ultimate Carrot Cake with Carrot Cake Jam is a nut-free cake with pineapple, cream cheese frosting and the most amazing Carrot Cake Jam.
Yield 12
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Ultimate Carrot Cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple with juice , (1 8-ounce can, undrained)

Carrot Cake Jam

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese , softened (2 packages)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Ultimate Carrot Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 8 inch cake pans with baking spray.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, carrots, pineapple and vanilla then whisk in the flour mixture, pour it into the two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, then let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Add the cream cheese and butter to your stand mixer on medium speed and beat until fluffy, about 30 seconds.
  • Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until fluffy, 1-2 minutes.

To Assemble Cake:

  • Start with a cake layer and add a thin layer of frosting to the bottom then add ⅓ cup of the Carrot Cake Jam to each layer and spread evenly.
  • Pipe ⅓ of your frosting to the perimeter of layer, then add the next layer of your cake and frost with the remaining frosting and spread on a second helping of the carrot cake jam.



Uses the Carrot Cake Jam recipe.


Calories: 612kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 412mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 6190IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Ultimate Carrot Cake Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

carrot cake with carrot cake jam
carrot cake layer
ultimate carrot cake step by step
Luscious (nut free) carrot cake made with pineapple and filled with homemade carrot cake jam and cream cheese frosting. Instructions included for making extra layers too. This is the ultimate in carrot cakes and a perfect holiday dessert!
Luscious (nut free) carrot cake made with pineapple and filled with homemade carrot cake jam and cream cheese frosting. Instructions included for making extra layers too. This is the ultimate in carrot cakes and a perfect holiday dessert!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I love to bake but have never liked carrot cake. It seems to be everyone else’s favorite. I have made many recipes for family and friends and this is by far the one they love. I have made it many times!

  2. INSANE! This is the BEST cake I have ever eaten! I made this for a friends birthday and it was devoured by ALL. Then I made another for “Friendsgiving” and again, devoured. The carrot jam just puts it over the top. I have turned carrot cake haters in to diehard carrot cake fans. Moist, flavorful, not too sweet and just overall amazing.

    1. Omg, this recipe is an often overlooked one on the site, but this is my FAVORITE cake recipe too. I am so glad you enjoyed it! You made my day.

  3. This cake looks amazing! The jam sounds incredible. I had a question about the crushed pineapple. Does this pineapple flavor come through very strongly? I’m not a huge fan, so was considering leaving it out, but realize it must be balancing out the recipe.

    Thanks so much!!

  4. I am so excited I found this recipe. I love carrot cake, but not a fan of nuts in my baked goods. The jam filling sounds awesome. Cant wait to make for Easter. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  5. Carrot cake is one of my favorite things in this world and you make it look so good! I absolutely have to try this recipe

  6. hi….I do plan on trying your recipe…But firstly I would like to cover my cake in fondant with your awesome carrot jam recipe as a cake filler.

    Does the CAKE recipe sustain a fondant quoting.

    The jam idea is amazing.

    1. Yes, the cake should support a fondant covering. Just make sure to pipe a ring of icing between the layers on the outside before filling the middle with jam! 🙂

  7. That cake is calling my name! It looks so yummy. Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes, so I’m definitely trying this.

  8. I just love a good carrot cake. I have never tried a recipe with jam filling but I bet it makes it extra moist. I will have to try it!

  9. My mother’s favorite dessert is carrot cake. I’ve never made it for her. I’ll have to try your recipe… it sounds so good!

    1. I mentioned it in the post. I made a double recipe for my husband’s office. So doubling it worked in 3 10″ pans. If you do the single recipe, use two 8 or 9 inch cake pans 🙂

  10. Love all these creative uses for jam lately! My husband is always asking for us to keep jam in the house – I’m excited to use it for more than just sandwiches 😀

    1. Yup, I make something once and I just think about all the ways I can use it. I think I just feel this need to use every last bit of things, haha.

  11. This looks good. My kiddo would love this (he loves Carrot Cake!) That jam looks awesome to try. I am all about trying new things so this would be right up my alley!

  12. You put carrot jam in the middle of a carrot cake? Winner, winner, carrot cake dinner! And I’m serious about that. I would eat it for dinner.

  13. What a unique and awesome idea! I’ve never seen carrot cake jam before but I’m so intrigued. Heading over to check out that recipe, too.

  14. I am a HUGE carrot cake fan too and this cake looks like perfection! That carrot jam sounds out of this world.