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. It’s a carrot cake for two which you can make for Easter, fall, birthdays, and more!

Small carrot cake on silver platter

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.

Slices of carrot cake on a tray

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.

Slice of 6 inch Carrot Cake Recipe

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.

What To Do With Leftover Buttermilk

Since you’ll likely have extra buttermilk, check out my recipes with buttermilk.

Frosted carrot cake on silver plate

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.

Slice of Small Carrot Cake Recipe

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:

  1. Beat together both sugars, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
  2. Gradually add your flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Stir in carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Transfer batter to your pan.
  4. 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.

Slices of carrot cake on a tray

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.

Carrot Cake Bundt Cake on a pewter plate

How To Make Carrot Cake Bundt Cake

Great news! This small carrot cake recipe fits in a 6 inch bundt cake without making any adjustments! Check out my small Bundt cake recipe then decorate it with my Bundt cake glaze.

Carrot cake on silver plate

Small Carrot Cake FAQ

What if I don’t have a 6 inch pan?

Use a 5×7 pan or make small batch Carrot Cake Cupcakes with pineapple in a muffin pan. Although you can use an 8×8 pan, the cake will be thin.

Do I need to refrigerate carrot cake?

You only need to refrigerate carrot cake if using cream cheese frosting, which is perishable. Unfrosted carrot cake can sit at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! Use two 6 inch cake pans then stack them together (like my carrot cake layer cake but smaller).

More Small Cake Recipes

Looking for more? Check out these easy 6 inch cake recipes:

Frosted carrot cake on silver plate

Small Carrot Cake Recipe

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

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 large 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


    1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line the bottom of one 6-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep) with parchment paper or a 6 inch bundt pan then lightly grease with cooking spray.
    2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, clove, and salt.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together on medium speed the sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
    4. 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).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.


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Originally published February 27, 2020