Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting

THE Moistest Carrot Cake ever to Exist with a Luscious Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting. The Perfect Balance of Sweet and Tang with a Hint of Vanilla and Buttery Notes Making This Cake an Unforgettable One.

Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting | URBAN BAKES

It’s now my understanding what pumpkin is to Autumn, carrot is that to Spring. Took some time or a few years to grasp that notion, but now I get it. Ha!

I think the reason I never understood the hype on carrot sheet cake is because I never had a REALLY good piece. I tried it in restaurants, bakeries, the prepackaged kind in grocers, none of it was ever satisfying. More of a disappointment than anything else, I began to avoid carrot cake completely.

Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting | URBAN BAKES

As with many foods we may have disliked in our earlier years, I began to think, with the science of baking learned overtime, maybe there is something I can do to make carrot cake more flavorful, more meaningful and simply unforgettable. I want a cake that when you finish a bite and walk away, you find yourself gravitating back towards it, wanting another piece. You don’t why, but you keep coming back for more.

I got it! Did it with this one. I am utterly shocked at how much I LOVE THIS CAKE! Maybe everyone’s had that special one and that is why they love it. But for me, I always felt others were too dry, or had raisins in it or the spice was off. No. Not this one. This one is perfect! I shared this sheet cake with 3 others who are carrot cake fanatics and it was very reassuring they loved it and asked for more. A total tug on my heartstrings right there!

Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Here are 4 tips to keep this Carrot Cake moist.

  • Oil or butter?  Cakes that call for only butter may have a better flavor but can also be more on the dry end of the spectrum.  Whereas, cakes that call for oil, lean towards a more even and tender crumb which has a far superior texture than those with only butter. This carrot cake uses oil and leaves the spices and carrot to give the flavor.
  • Keep the juice.  Some recipes call to squeeze out the water content of the carrots, for example: in cookies to prevent spread.  In cakes, you want to keep the juice to add moisture and not have dry specks of carrot.
  • Add the brown.  White sugar is dryer than brown sugar because it lacks the touch of molasses giving the brown sugar its darker color.  The molasses adds a syrup-flavor depth and naturally increases moisture. You want to use a combination of both white (dry) and brown (wet) sugar to add sweetness without overkill on the moisture level to prevent a collapsed cake. 
  • Add the cream.  If there is one ingredient I’ve seen many cakes go without, don’t skip this one.  This is the magic! The true master of moisture in cakes, the sour cream! Some use pudding or yogurt but I prefer sour cream because of its creamy density that puddings and some yogurts lack. During baking it has a neutral flavor and is an ingredient used in many other recipes aside from desserts therefore, highly likely to already be in your fridge. Sour cream takes the cake to the next level of moistness not on just day 1 of the baked cake but even days after!
Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Let’s get to this frosting!

If you’ve tried cream cheese frosting, chances are, at some point you may have tasted one that was too sweet or too tangy. It’s rare and many times tricky to achieve the right balance between sweet and tang in this type of frosting without it becoming too thick or thin.

The trick here is to use buttermilk powder. Not the liquid but the powder found in the baking isle of most grocers. It’s been a very long time since I bought a pint of buttermilk. Many times, it would go to waste because a recipe would call for a small amount and the expiration date was often too soon. The powder on the other hand, can last for a year in the fridge and you use it on an as needed basis.

This frosting has the right balance between sweet and tang with a hint of vanilla and buttery scent from the buttermilk powder with a smooth mouthfeel. It has the perfect spreadable consistency and can also be piped onto cupcakes if piped on slightly chilled. Definitely a must try!

Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting | URBAN BAKES

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Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Carrot Sheet Cake

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  • Author: URBAN BAKES
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 9x13 sheet cake 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


THE Moistest Carrot Cake ever to Exist with a Luscious Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting. The Perfect Balance of Sweet and Tang with a Hint of Vanilla and Buttery Notes Making This Cake an Unforgettable One.




  • 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (2.5 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (240 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • 3 large eggs (165 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (330 grams) carrots (5 medium), shredded
  • 1 cup (150 grams) walnuts or pecans, chopped and toasted


  • 3 cups (345 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (60 grams) buttermilk powder
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) Neufchâtel cheese or cream cheese, sliced into 12 pieces
  • 1 cup (150 grams) walnuts or pecans, chopped and toasted


  1. Heat oven to 350°F (180°C).  Evenly spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with baking spray with flour; set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves; set aside. 
  3. In a bowl fitted to an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat on low to medium speed granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, sour cream, eggs and vanilla until just combined and no lumps remain. 
  4. Slowly add in the flour mixture and continue to mix on low to medium speed until just combined.  Add carrots and nuts about 1 cup at a time and continue to mix until evenly incorporated into the batter. 
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry with a few crumbs.  Leave the cake in the pan to rest for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile, in another large bowl attached to an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low to medium speed, mix powdered sugar and butter until light in color and creamy. 
  7. Slowly mix in buttermilk powder, vanilla and salt.  Continue to mix until smooth.  Add in 1 piece of cheese at a time while continuing to mix on medium speed. Halfway through adding cheese, stop the mixer and scrape down sides of bowl and continue to mix until frosting is smooth and no lumps of cheese remain.
  8. Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, evenly spread frosting over the top.  Sprinkle nuts, slice and ENJOY!


To toast nuts, heat oven at 275°F (135°C). Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Evenly spread chopped nuts and bake for 7 to 8 mins. Nuts should be dry, crisp and give a nutty aroma.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Cuisine: American

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2 thoughts on “Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Trying to make this recipe and confused by the amount of shredded carrots to use… Is it 3 cups or 330g? I don’t want to overdo the carrots but I am buying shredded instead of whole carrots and want the right equivalent

    1. Hi Henre,
      The amount of shredded carrots to use should be equivalent to 3 cups or around 330 grams. Both measurements are listed for those who prefer either metric or imperial system. But feel free to use whichever measurement you’re most comfortable with. Hope this helps and that you enjoy this cake!

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