This 6 inch Small Carrot Cake recipe with pineapple and coconut is a super moist carrot cake for two from scratch decorated with homemade cream cheese frosting.
Hard to believe we’re getting closer to Easter! January felt like it took 24 weeks while February only took about 2 weeks.
Since you absolutely love my 6 inch cake recipes, up next on my list is this Small Carrot Cake recipe.
I often think of carrot cake as an Easter dessert because carrots = rabbits = Easter bunny.
If you serve it for Easter, check out my Easter dinner for two menu to help you with planning your dinner.
Or perhaps someone’s birthday is coming up and they absolutely love carrot cake.
Or make it on a random Tuesday because you love carrot cake that much.
Regardless of when you make it, this mini carrot cake from scratch is all decked out with pineapple, coconut, raisins, and walnuts. If I’m going to make this for dessert, I’m going to go all in.
To top it all off, I decorated the outside with cream cheese frosting. Although to be honest, I enjoyed my recipe for small carrot cake just as much without frosting.
What is carrot cake?
Carrot cake is a spice cake with grated carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove then frosted with small batch cream cheese frosting.
My small carrot cake recipe is baked in a 6 inch cake pan (affiliate link), making it acceptable as dessert for two.
Don’t have a 6 inch pan? You can also make my small batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple.
How To Make Small Carrot Cake
This cake batter is easier to make than most because you don’t have to worry about creaming the butter and sugar.
With this small carrot cake recipe, you beat together the sugar and liquid ingredients together until smooth. Then you gradually add your dry ingredients.
Once the batter is made, you add your mix-ins catered to your preference.
Your carrot cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
How do you make a carrot cake for two from scratch moist?
This carrot cake for two stays incredibly moist thanks to the vegetable oil, brown sugar, buttermilk, and pineapple.
The best oil to use in carrot cake is either vegetable or canola, which are both neutral oils.
Can I use butter instead of oil in carrot cake?
Don’t have vegetable oil? Use an equal amount of melted butter. With all of the different mix-ins going on in the batter, the flavor difference of using melted butter is negligible.
Do I have to buy buttermilk? I always throw the rest away!
My store sells a small carton of buttermilk, so I didn’t have to worry about wasting it.
However, if you do find yourself with a quart, check out my leftover buttermilk recipes.
But if you really, really don’t want to buy buttermilk, you can substitute whole milk with lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes or until the milk looks curdled.
Is there pineapple in carrot cake?
For whatever reason, carrot cake with pineapple is controversial. Personally, pineapple is one of my favorite fruit so of course I’m pro-pineapple.
Adding pineapple to carrot cake isn’t just about flavor preference; pineapple plays an important role in keeping your carrot cake moist.
No need to buy fresh pineapple! Crushed canned pineapple is perfectly acceptable. Make sure you drain out the liquid before adding to your batter.
However, if you don’t like pineapple or if you’re allergic, you can leave it out.
Is carrot cake better with walnuts or pecans?
Chopped nuts add a much-needed crunchy texture to contrast the soft and tender cake.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you use walnuts or pecans. Can’t decide? Use both!
Of course if you’re allergic to nuts, leave them out as they’re an optional mix-in.
Do I have to use raisins in my carrot cake?
I may not like raisins in my oatmeal cookies, but I do love raisins in my carrot cake!
Raisins add a nice burst of sweetness in your small carrot cake. They might even secretly be my favorite part.
As with the other mix-ins, if you don’t like raisins you can certainly leave them out.
How To Store Carrot Cake
Store unfrosted carrot cake at room temperature in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
Store frosted carrot cake in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.
Can you freeze carrot cake?
You can freeze unfrosted carrot cake for up to 6 months. Wrap it in plastic wrap first then place in a freezer bag.
More Small Cake Recipes
Looking for more? Check out these easy 6 inch cake recipes:
- 2/3 cup (84 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (26 grams) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (59 mL) vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (59 mL) buttermilk, room temperature (or substitute 1/4 cup whole milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (35 grams) grated carrots (roughly 1-2 carrots)
- 1/4 cup (48 grams) canned crushed pineapple, liquid drained
- 1/4 cup (20 grams) sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup (26 grams) chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup (33 grams) raisins
- Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line the bottom of one 6-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep) with parchment paper then lightly grease with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, clove, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together on medium speed the sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
- Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed then add in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins (do not overbeat the batter or you may end up with a tough cake).
- Transfer the batter to the cake pan then bake 28-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then invert the cake. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make the cream cheese frosting (get the recipe here).
- Place cake on a cake stand or plate. Slide pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake for easy clean up.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, sealing in the crumbs (don't use more than half of the frosting). Refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Finish covering the cake with the remaining frosting. Carefully remove the paper pieces. Refrigerate until frosting is firm. Store the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For best results, let the cake sit at room temperature 15-30 minutes before serving.
Originally published February 27, 2020