These Carrot Cake Bars are absolutely amazing. You’d never guess the secret ingredient in them is carrot baby food! They’re topped with delicious cream cheese frosting which makes them absolutely irresistible! They are equally delicious made gluten free.
You guys, Easter is just around the corner and I have the perfect dessert for your Easter dinner. . . Carrot Cake Bars with cream cheese frosting.
I can’t even begin to tell you how good these are.
These bars are so simple to make and the best part is, you don’t have to shred any carrots!! I know it might seem weird that there is baby carrot food in these, but just trust me, it works.
The list of ingredients is simple, and the only thing you might not have in your pantry is the baby carrot food.
Let’s talk gluten free for a minute.
When I found this recipe over on the Cookie Rookie, she’d made them with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 baking flour gluten free. Since I have a bag of that in my freezer and because I have several friends who have to eat gluten free, that’s what I used the first time I made them.
Holy moly, I was blown away! I would never have guessed they were gluten free. All my gluten free friends that I took some to couldn’t believe it either. My friend Julie said it was THE best gluten free cake she’s ever eaten.
The great thing about that particular gluten free flour is you can just swap it straight across, you don’t have to change a recipe to make it work.I made a batch of these bars a few days later and used all purpose flour just to see the difference and they were amazing too. So ridiculously delicious!
I’ll let you in on a little secret though, I think I actually liked the gluten free version just a tiny bit better. I don’t even know why. Maybe it was a texture thing because they were a little more dense and I happen to love a good moist, flavorful, dense cake.
Plus, they’re the perfect carrot cake recipes for all those picky eaters who don’t like shredded veggies in their desserts, or nuts, or raisins (bleh!!) or pineapple or coconut, etc.
I’d love to hear what you think of these.
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all purpose flour (or 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 baking Flour)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup carrot baby food
- 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a jelly roll pan with cooking spray (15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in.) and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat eggs, oil and vanilla for 2 minutes. (You can also do this in a large bowl, using a hand held mixer.)
Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the egg mixture and mix until well combined.
Add baby food and applesauce and mix well. Stir in pecans (if using).
Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Give the pan a couple gentle taps on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Frost bars and cut into desired size. Store in the refrigerator.
I bought a bag of the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour at Costco that I keep in my freezer so it stays fresh. I love it because it can be swapped out straight across for all purpose flour. You don't have to add any xanthum gum or anything else. I don't have to bake/cook gluten free at my house, but I have several friends who do so I am always on the look out for yummy gluten free recipes to try and share with them. I've included a link on Amazon just so you can see what the bag looks like. You can buy this flour several places online.
Recipe Source: Adapted slightly from The Cookie Rookie