Small Carrot Cake Recipe
This Small Carrot Cake recipe with pineapple and coconut is a super moist 6 inch carrot cake 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 small 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.
But it’s certainly not restricted to one holiday! For example, some people who don’t like small pumpkin pie make it as dessert for their Thanksgiving dinner for two.
Or perhaps someone’s birthday is coming up and they absolutely love carrot cake from scratch.
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.
This carrot cake for two stays incredibly moist thanks to the vegetable oil, brown sugar, buttermilk, and pineapple.
To top it all off, I decorated it with small batch 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 homemade cream cheese frosting.
If you don’t like cream cheese, you can also use my small batch buttercream.
My small carrot cake recipe is baked in a 6 inch cake pan (affiliate link), making it a carrot cake for two.
Don’t have a 6 inch pan? Make my small batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple in a muffin pan.
Ingredients For Small Carrot Cake Recipe
To make your 6 inch carrot cake recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Flour: Thickens the batter so you have a nice structured cake when baking
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove: Spices to flavor your cake
- Baking soda: Reacts with the buttermilk so the cake rises
- Salt: Ensures the cake isn’t bland
- Sugar: Adds sweetness to the batter as well as helps with browning
- Brown sugar: Using brown sugar in addition to white sugar means the carrot cake will be extra moist.
- Vegetable oil: A neutral oil used for fat. Don’t have oil? Use an equal amount of melted butter. With all of the different mix-ins going on, you won’t notice the butter flavor.
- Buttermilk: Acidity needed so the baking soda reacts. You can also substitute whole milk with lemon juice or vinegar.
- Egg: Use one standard large egg at room temperature
- Vanilla: Enhances the cake flavor
- Carrots: It isn’t carrot cake without carrots! I grated mine by hand.
- Pineapple: Use crushed pineapple found in a can
- Coconut: I used sweetened coconut flakes because that’s what’s available in most baking aisles
- Walnuts: Adds a much-needed crunchy texture to contrast the soft and tender cake. You can also use pecans. Of course if you’re allergic, leave them out.
- Raisins: Adds a nice burst of sweetness in your small carrot cake. They might even secretly be my favorite part.
Since you’ll likely have extra buttermilk, check out my leftover buttermilk recipes.
Is there pineapple in carrot cake?
For whatever reason, this carrot cake recipe 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 small carrot cake recipe 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.
How To Make Small Carrot Cake
Making your one layer carrot cake is easier than most cakes because you don’t have to worry about creaming together the butter and sugar.
Instead, here’s how you make your 6 inch carrot cake recipe:
- Beat together both sugars, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
- Gradually add your flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir in carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Transfer batter to your pan.
- Bake at 350F for 28-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Store unfrosted carrot cake at room temperature in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
If frosted, store 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 carrot cake for up to 6 months, both frosted and unfrosted.
Chill your cake in the freezer for 1 hour before wrapping (to ensure the plastic wrap doesn’t mess up the cake) then place inside a freezer bag.
More Small Cake Recipes
Looking for more? Check out these easy 6 inch cake recipes:
Small Carrot Cake Recipe
This Small Carrot Cake recipe with pineapple and coconut is a super moist 6 inch carrot cake from scratch decorated with homemade cream cheese frosting.
- 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.
- Decorate as desired with cream cheese frosting (get the recipe here).
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For best results, let the cake sit at room temperature 15-30 minutes before serving.
- Don't have a 6 inch pan? You can also make my Small Batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Check out my full list of Small Cake Recipes.
- Making this for Easter? Check out my Easter Dinner For Two menu for more recipe ideas.
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This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchase.
I love carrot cake, but my husband does not, so this is perfect! I don’t have a 6-inch cake pan, but I do have a 6-inch ramekin. Do you think that might work if I really watch it?
Make sure it’s at least 2 inches deep. The cake takes up most of the pan after it rises during baking (although baking in ceramic may affect the rise due to being a slow heat conductor). You’ll probably need to add extra baking time too, so follow as instructed then bake longer if needed. Important thing is the toothpick should be clean when you test it.
AweI’m so happy to see a recipe for a small carrot cake. My husband and I never finish all the full-size cakes or pies that I make I intend to try this this weekend thanks for the recipe
Wonderful! Let me know what you think of the recipe.
So glad you added the metrics! this recipes looks so yummy :)
Yes I’ve been adding them to my latest recipes! It’s going to take forever to add them to my past ones, but I appreciate your patience.
I love carrot cakes but somehow the ones I made never came out that great. However, this time I followed your recipe and I loved the taste. My whole family loved it! Thanks for sharing.
Oh wonderful! Glad you enjoyed the carrot cake.
Your cake looks fabulous. I’ve never added pineapple to carrot cake, but I know I have to now. Sharing this one.
You should definitely give the pineapple a try! Let me know if you make the recipe.
Totally loving this recipe — and especially love that it’s a small batch for when you don’t need a huge cake!
Yes! You can still have cake without having to make several layers.
What a great recipe. I love the addition of the pineapple. Makes it so moist and gives it such a great flavor.
Glad you enjoyed it!
I love your recipe. Inspired to give this a try . I actually do not like baking but since the Covid started I have had to stay at home a lot more.
Let me know what you think if you try it!
Hi Carla!! My daughter is making the recipe right now. We both think the batter is too liquid. Should we worry?
How did the cake turn out? The batter will be a bit looser than most cake batters because it uses oil instead of softened butter. Also did you drain your pineapple? There shouldn’t be any extra liquid from that.
Hey Carla! If I doubled the recipe to put it into two 6 inch cake pans, would it still work the same?
Yes, it should. I don’t see why not!
I made a layer cake last night. I used 2 cake pans because I was afraid it would overflow. They both came out a little rounded at the top but no worries. It’s still delicious. And the icing was perfect.
Glad the layer cake worked out for you!
I made this today for my husband’s birthday. He loves carrot cake and I seldom make it. I actually doubled your recipe so I could make it a 2 layer cake. It was fabulous! Left out the coconut because he doesn’t like it but used all the other add ins. It was moist, tender, wonderfully flavored and not too sweet. Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe. It is going in my recipe box for special treat days.
Oh wonderful! Glad that worked out as a two layer cake.
I’ve been looking for a small cake. This was perfect. I didn’t have pineapple so a grated the same amount of apple. Other than that the only change I made was plumping the raisins. Thank you so much: this is perfect for our small household.
I like the idea of using apple! Glad that worked out for you.
I love your concept of making meals for two. It’s not only my Sweet husband and me and these meals are perfect. Don’t have a lot of leftovers and we can have something different every night. Made the carrot cake and it turned out wonderful. Will definitely make that my go to carrot cake recipe.
Wonderful! Glad you enjoyed the cake.
This recipe is pure gold!!! I made this for mother’s day and it was a HIT! It was so moist and flavourful, the cream cheese frosting was just perfect! Thanks for posting this recipe :))x
Awesome! Glad it was a huge hit.
I made this cake this evening. I am not a fan of icing so we just ate it plain with no icing. It was absolutely delicious. Great recipe!
This is one of the few cakes I enjoy without eating frosting too. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This cake is delicious!!
However My frosting split when I combined the cream cheese, any idea why? ????
I don’t bake much and had never made cream cheese frosting before!
Thank you for a yummy cake xx
Glad you enjoyed the cake, but oh no on the frosting! Usually split frosting is related to temperature (kitchen too hot, cream cheese too cold) or overbeating. Also did you use regular full-fat cream cheese or low fat/fat free? Low fat and fat free cream cheeses have a higher liquid content, so they make things more watery.
I made this carrot cake for Thanksgiving it was delicious. It was moist and the cream cheese icing was amazing. You are my go to for desserts and love the small batch recipes. I always have success with all of your recipes. Thank You.
Happy you enjoyed the cake!
Good evening. Tonight you are my life saver as I have to make a carrot cake for 4 people. Thank you for all the metrics also, it makes it so much easier. One little question, can I use this same recipe to make cupcakes also?
Glad you enjoyed the recipe! Luckily for you, I already have a cupcake recipe: https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2020/03/21/carrot-cake-cupcakes-small-batch/
Hi there how high above sea level do u live just need to see if I need to make adjustments. Thanks!
I live in Pittsburgh, PA, which looks to be 1371 feet.
January 29, 2021
I’m just getting into making 6 inch cakes & this was my best ever. Thank you for the great recipe! I did change a couple of items. I used cake flour instead of all purpose, golden raisins and replaced the three spices with All Spice. I measured all ingredients on my scale by grams. And also made the Cream Cheese frosting. Absolutely delicious, perfect texture & taste.
Happy to hear you enjoyed the carrot cake!
This little cake is amazing !!! And that frosting. Love
Thanks for the feedback!
I am SO making this little gem for Easter! Question: if I split it in two to make a small layer cake (because, more frosting in the middle, right?) , how much more frosting would I need? Would 1.5 x the small batch be enough ?
I think 1.5x should be enough!
Thank you! I will to snap pictures! 😘
Question: I know you said it would “keep”, but if I make the cake tomorrow, frost it, and keep it hidden in the fridge in a container until Sunday, will it still be moist and tastes fresh? I’m trying to surprise my husband for Easter, and he’s out of the house tomorrow, but the surprise factor is not worth it, if it means the cake will be dense and dry by Sunday.
I think it’ll still be fine. Just make sure you cover it really well and serve it at room temperature.
Just made it, while husband was out mowing the lawn. Weighted every ingredient, and made 1.5x frosting. The cake waited 15min in its pan, and is now inverted on a rack and cooling off, hidden away in the guest bedroom (lol). The kitchen smells incredible. I used all the add ons, and even tossed in a quarter cup of mini semi sweet chocolate chips, because, to my husband, a cake isn’t one without some chocolate in it. 🤣
I used 1.5x your small batch cream cheese frosting, with the full cup of confectionner sugar, to which I added 2 Tbsp of light brown sugar, because we love brown sugar in our cream cheese frosting. It’s kind of our thing. 😂
No issues whatsoever, except the cooking time. It took considerably longer than 28, or even 33 minutes for the center to stop wobbling and a toothpick to come out moist but clean. It must have cooked a good 10-12 extra minutes. Some of it was probably accounted by having to open the oven door 4 times to check the cake, but still. The oven was preheated to 350 for a solid half hour prior to putting the cake in, too.
I’m baking in my lower oven all the time, and never had can calibration issues, before, so I’m at a loss. I was wondering if, perhaps, you use a dark cake pan, or have a convection oven? 🤔
I will take pics and let you know how it turns out after I split it in 2 and frost it. 😊
Not using a dark pan nor convection oven. I have a regular gas oven. Ovens have a lot of variables, so it’s hard to say. Are you using an oven thermometer to ensure it’s at 350F and not just the using the knob on the oven? I bake mine in the middle of my oven, so low shelf could also be a factor.
Yes, I use an oven thermometer whenever I try a new recipe. Middle shelf as well. However, the gas oven might be what did the trick. I used to have one. When I baked bread in it, I had to increase the amount of steam significantly to get a good crispy baguette crust. Gas ovens generally bake a lot dryer. And you’re absolutely right, that every oven is its own beast!
Next time, I will not even open the door to check before 38minutes. I’ll let you know how that goes. 😘
The unfrosted, cooled, cake is now in the fridge for 30 before I split it. Crossing fingers! 😋
PS: Thank you so much for being so responsive to blog questions. It really did make a difference when you try a new recipe. ❤️
Unfortunately I don’t have access to an electric oven to test the difference, which is why I like to include how to tell when it’s done. At least it didn’t overbake? Lol Hope you enjoyed the cake!
The cake was a huuuge success! Half of it was devoured, already!
I used all the add ins, (roasted my walnuts), plus a quarter cup of Callebaut mini semi sweet chocolate chips.
Since I made 2 layers, I made 1.5x of the small cream cheese frosting, with the full cup of confectionner sugar, to which I added 2Tbsp of light brown sugar. I use Plugra European style butter, which, I personally think makes a huge taste difference. I had just enough icing for a generous filling, a thin crumb coat, and a top coat. Per-fect amount!
Thank you SO MUCH for this amazing recipe! 😘 🤗 ❤️
Wonderful! Glad the frosting worked out for the 2 layers.
I told my husband I might make this carrot cake tomorrow and he got a little pouty and said he’d eat some if I made it this afternoon. It’s so easy to throw together, so I did. What a delicious carrot cake and the frosting as well. I used 3/4 cup powdered sugar and it was just right…not too sweet. I have a gas oven that runs lower temp I think, so I baked it 35 minutes and maybe could have even gone a couple more. Still, he scarfed about a fourth of the cake as soon as it was cool and frosted. I got a 6 inch Fat Daddio cake pan just to be able to make this….and now your other small cakes. So perfect for us. What a treat! I plan to blog about it tomorrow.
Glad he enjoyed the cake! Do you own an oven thermometer you can hang inside? That way you don’t have to guess about temperature.
could you cook this cake in an air fryer ???
I have not tested this in an air fryer. My guess is you’ll get it cooked through but I have no idea how it’ll affect texture and taste.
Made this cake over 10 times and every single time it’s amazing. The best carrot cake I’ve ever made and always get compliments when I make it. Thanks so much for sharing!!
Wow definitely a huge compliment! Glad you love the cake recipe.
Ohhh! I made this today for my daughter’s visit. Since my only pineapple on hand was rings, I made it into a pineapple upside down carrot cake. It was wonderful. I used about half of the amounts of spices, though and that was plenty for me. I heated the raisins in pineapple juice while I was making it and then used pineapple juice instead of buttermilk, as I knew it was acidic. It was divine. I am going to post it on your Facebook page.
Loving the upside down pineapple twist to it! Glad you were able to make the recipe work for what you had on hand.
Just made it, and it didn’t rise…I questioned why there was no baking powder in the ingredients. Very disappointing.
Because baking powder isn’t required. What kind of milk did you use?
Buttermilk. I followed the recipe as written .
Hmm ok. The reason I asked is the acid would react to the baking soda to make it rise, so I wanted to make sure you kept the acid part in. Check to make sure your ingredients aren’t expired and are measured in US measurements (I see you’re from Canada). Did you make any changes to the ingredients or directions? Were your ingredients especially the egg at room temperature? A cold egg won’t rise as much. Did you make the batter with an electric mixer or by hand? If it’s by hand, there may be less air incorporated. Do you use an oven thermometer? Sometimes the knobs on the oven aren’t accurate, so maybe your oven was colder than 350F.
My recipe was really wet – is that normal?
I cooked at 160 because fan forced oven and usually recipes reduce temp. Was that wrong?
Cooked about 36 min.
Does higher heat help to hold up the heavy ingredients?
Recipe is amazing for two thank you.
I’ve never used a fan forced oven, so I don’t know how to adjust. Baking the cake at a lower temperature does mess it up, so I’m assuming that’s what happened here.
Hi. If I leave out the crashed pineapple will it affect the cake? Do I need to adjust the other ingredients?
It’ll be slightly less moist, but the cake should still be plenty moist without it! No need to adjust anything else.
I said I wasn’t going to do this but could you come up with a recipe for a small spice cake? I used to make it when my girls were still at home. It looks their favorite and strawberry cake.
Thank you and God bless
I can certainly add it to my list!
Was wondering if I can use the same measurements for a round 7 inch pan ?
I haven’t personally tried it but I think you’ll be ok. It’ll be a bit thinner so keep an eye on bake time so you don’t overbake it.
What a great recipe! I did make some modifications and they seemed to work well. I replaced all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour, sugar with monkfruit sugar and one tablespoon maple syrup for the two tablespoons brown sugar. As a diabetic I’m always looking for baked desserts I can share with my husband. Next time I’ll add a bit of flaxseed or bran to up the fiber content.
Glad the changes worked out for you!
I have a 6-cup Bundt pan. Would it be sufficient for this single layer cake?
I don’t have a 6 cup Bundt pan, so I’m not sure. I’d guess this batter probably makes between 2-3 cups (never actually measured it but a 6 inch pan holds 4 cups and the batter doesn’t fill the whole pan). If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
Hey! After baking this cake dozens of times for friends and family, I always think of you when I find good recipes so I thought I would mention this one to you if you want a challenge.
I discovered a lemon, ricotta, blueberries cake from an italian friend. Of course the recipe I have is for a 23cm cake pan. Do you think you can look into making it for a 6inch cake? Would love to hear your thoughts on it.
I can take a look. Do you have a link or recipe you can send me?
My Husband doesn’t like pineapple, do you have any suggestions…? I was thinking maybe Granny smith apple. Would I use the same amount as if I was using crushed pineapple?
Thank you for any advance you can give.
Love the recipes.
Sorry for the late reply as I’ve been out of town! You can leave it out.
Hello! I am pre-diabetic and watching carbs and sugar. Do you think this recipe would work with superfine almond flour and Swerve granular and brown sugar? Also, I’d have to make it in my 7 inch springform pan.
This recipe has not been tested with almond flour or sugar substitutes, so I honestly don’t know. As far as the 7 inch springform pan goes, the cake will be a little thinner, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the bake time. Also it’s possible the batter may leak through your springform pan, so you’ll need to be aware of that as well. You can try wrapping the outside of your pan with foil to contain the mess.