Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake

This Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake is perfect for smaller gatherings for Easter!  The 6-Inch cake is moist, full of fresh carrots, and sweetened with diced pineapple.  The cake is finished with a light cream cheese frosting and a candied nut topping.

Top of mini carrot cake with a slice cut out

Easy Pineapple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

First things first – I have seen that pineapple is a controversial ingredient in carrot cake.  Because I happen to like pineapple in my carrot cake (it’s a childhood thing), it only seemed fitting my recipe included it.  However, the tropical fruit can be omitted.  But, we’ll talk about that more later.

Where did Carrot Cake come from?

Did Carrot Cake become a ‘thing’ for Easter because bunnies like carrots?  That’s silly, I know. 

Though, it does make sense that it likely originated as an ‘European Pudding’ – which is what the British often refer to desserts as.  And the cake included dried fruits, nuts, and carrots served as the sweetener.  Feel free to expand your Carrot Cake knowledge here

So, the inclusion of pineapple was likely a swap bakers made over time to add a little more sweetness, flavor, or spark controversy on whether or not it should be on the list of ingredients.  

Regardless of what side of the pineapple fence you are on, this Mini Carrot Cake is incredibly easy to make.  Not to mention, it has a velvety smooth cream cheese frosting – that may just make you forget about the whole pineapple debate!

Frosted Easter cake with a slice cut on a platter

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Mini Easter Cake for Two

Smaller-portion desserts have gained some popularity over the last year.  Would seem fitting since we are participating and hosting smaller gatherings for celebrations and holiday’s.  And with Easter and other Spring celebrations, we still want (and deserve) delicious desserts!

That said, even if you are not socially distancing, maybe you just want a smaller cake for you and a cake buddy to celebrate Easter.  This Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake will fit the bill!

Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake Features:

  • 6-Inch Mini Cake – Even though the cake is small, it packs mighty flavor!  The cake serves two people, though it can easily serve 4 – 6 people depending on how big you want your slice.  In my house of two, we usually get 6 slices out of the mini cakes.
  • Easy – Aside from grating some carrots and making candied nuts, the cake comes together easily.  You can even save a bowl by sifting your dry ingredients right over the top of the cake.  This is how I make my small batches:
    1. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl of wet ingredients.
    2. Pour the dry ingredients into the strainer.
    3. Shake the strainer over the bowl of wet ingredients, then fold everything together.   
  • Moist – The grated carrots, pineapple, and oil keep this cake moist.  The texture of the cake is tender and soft.  Yet the cake is sturdy enough to support the delicious cream cheese frosting (or icing – depending on what you like to call the yumminess on top of a cake! 🙂 ).
  • Bright Flavor – Fresh carrots are the way to go.  And I mean regular sized carrots.  Not the baby carrots that come in a bag.  There is a sweetness in carrots that is reminiscent of all the bright Spring flavors.  Which may be another reason why we love Carrot Cake for Easter!
  • Light Cream Cheese Frosting – This is a decadent cream cheese frosting.  But we lighten it up slightly by using canned coconut cream instead of butter.  A can of coconut cream or milk (not carton) has smooth coconut solids.  I use it to make Whipped Cream and Frosting.  It adds to the velvety texture of the frosting without being too heavy. 
A single slice of carrot cake on a platter

What You Need To Make Pineapple Carrot Cake

Cake Ingredients

  1. Fresh Carrots – At least 2 medium size carrots.
  2. Pineapple – Canned or fresh – Omit if you prefer. 
  3. All-Purpose Flour
  4. Baking Powder and Baking Soda – We need both for rise and work with the acidity in the pineapple.
  5. Salt
  6. Ground Cinnamon, Ginger, and Nutmeg
  7. Granulated Sugar
  8. Light Brown Sugar – I recommend light because dark brown sugar may bring more molasses flavor than we want.
  9. Neutral Oil – I use canola oil or melted coconut oil.  But any neutral tasting oil will work (i.e. grapeseed or vegetable).
  10. Vanilla Extract
  11. Egg

Frosting Ingredients

  1. Cream Cheese
  2. Unsweetened Canned Coconut Cream or MilkNative Forest has small cans of coconut cream but any unsweetened can of coconut milk or cream could work. Just not carton coconut milk – it is not the same thing or texture.
  3. Powdered Sugar
  4. Vanilla Extract

Candied Nut Topping Ingredients

  1. Walnuts and Pecans – Or any nuts you prefer
  2. Granulated Sugar

Baking Equipment

Tips For Making A Mini Carrot Cake

  • Use fresh carrots – I can’t imagine the small packaged or pre-shredded carrots will impart any flavor.
  • Pineapple – I used canned pineapple, but fresh pineapple would be equally delicious.
  • Don’t overmix the batter – Over-mixing the batter will likely make the cake tough.  Just mix ingredients until they are just incorporated.
  • Watch the bake time – Every oven is different and your cake may not take the same amount of time as mine.  The cake is usually done when:
    1. It is springy to the touch. 
    2. The cake has started to separate from the sides of the pan.  
    3. A toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. 
  • High altitude – I typically do not need to make any ingredient adjustments for my small batch recipes.  The only thing to watch is the bake time.  Baking at higher altitude may not take as long as lower altitudes.
  • Bring the cream cheese to room temp – Cold cream cheese is hard to mix to smooth.  
  • Sweeten the frosting to taste – You may decide you want more or less sweetness in your frosting.  I found 1/4 for this batch just right.
  • Be careful while making the candied nuts – Hot sugar is well, hot.  Use a silicone spatula to mix the nuts and sugar and don’t touch the hot sugar!
  • Storing the cake – If you have leftover, I recommend covering the cake with a cake dome or plastic wrap and refrigerating because of the cream cheese frosting.

More Spring and Easter Cake Recipes

Frosted carrot cake on a serving platter
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Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake

This Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake is perfect for smaller gatherings for Easter!  The 6-Inch cake is moist, full of fresh carrots, and sweetened with diced pineapple.  The cake is finished with a light cream cheese frosting and a candied nut topping.
Prep15 mins
Cook25 mins
Total40 mins
Servings: 1 6-Inch Cake
Author: Erin | Butter and Bliss

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 2/3 cup fresh carrots, grated - about 2 medium carrots
  • 1/3 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained well and diced small - optional
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil - or any neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk or cream - only the solids from the can; see Notes
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar - more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Candied Nut Topping

  • 2 ounces pecans and walnuts - or any nut
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Instructions

Carrot Cake

  • Use a box grater to grate the carrots. Drain the canned pineapple.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan. Lightly grease and flour the cake pan and parchment. I use Pam cooking spray with flour.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the sugars, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Add the egg and whisk until incorporated.
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no dry streaks remain. Add the grated carrots and diced pineapple and stir until just incorporated.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top with the spatula. Bake the cake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Note – High altitude bakers – your cake may not take the full time to bake. Start checking at 25 minutes.
  • Cool the cake in the pan set on a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Then, invert the cake onto the wire rack and carefully remove the parchment if it stuck to the cake. Flip right side up and allow the cake to cool completely on the rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • While the cake is baking and cooling, make the frosting and candied nuts.
  • In a small mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and coconut cream solids. See Notes for details on the canned coconut cream. Use a hand held mixer and beat on medium speed until the mix is creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar (sweeten to taste) and vanilla extract. Beat for 1 – 2 more minutes until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting is fluffy and smooth.
  • I recommend refrigerating the frosting until ready to frost the cake.

Candied Nut Topping

  • Line a small baking sheet with a silicone mat or piece of parchment paper.
  • In a small skillet/frying pan, add the whole nuts and sugar. Over medium heat, use a silicone spatula to constantly stir and coat the nuts with the sugar as it melts. This should only take about 2 – 3 minutes. Do not over cook as the sugar and nuts can burn.
  • Carefully pour the candied nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and use the spatula to spread the nuts into a single layer. Cool completely. As the nuts cool, the sugar with harden and coat the nuts like candy. You can leave the nut whole, or rough chop them.
  • Assemble the cake – Place your cooled cake on a serving dish. Spread the Cream Cheese Frosting evenly over the top of the cake, then sprinkle the top with the Candied Nuts. Enjoy!

Notes

Pineapple

  • The pineapple is optional.  

Canned Coconut Cream or Milk

  • I used coconut milk solids instead of butter for the frosting.  You can swap in butter 1:1 if you prefer. 
  • I used a small can (5.4 ounces) for this recipe.  Native Forest sells small cans of coconut cream at Whole Foods, Amazon, or other online grocery retailers.  Otherwise, use a regular size can and the leftovers can be used in smoothies. 
  • Refrigerate the can of coconut cream overnight.  This allows the coconut solids and liquid to separate.  We are only using the coconut solids.  
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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