Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Tunnel Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Cake — If you like carrot cake, you’re going to LOVE this version that includes apples and a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center!! EASY, amazing, and a MUST-MAKE!!

slice of moist apple cake with cream cheese frosting on a white plate

If you’re a carrot cake fan, this is an absolutely incredible twist on carrot cake. I added apples as well as a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the cake.

This is a showstopper kind of cake in terms of the flavor it delivers. There’s lovely texture between the carrots and apples which is a great contrast to an otherwise very soft cake. I spiced the cake with plenty of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves. I hate bland carrot cake and this one is nicely flavored without being overwhelming.

The tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center of the cake is complemented by tangy cream cheese frosting that adorns the cake. I love cream cheese in desserts, in frosting, you name it, and I am never skimpy when it comes to cream cheese frosting and this cake has plenty.

apple cream cheese cake on a glass cake stand

Recipe Ingredients

To make this moist apple carrot bundt cake, you’ll need: 

  • Cream cheese
  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Canola oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Spices
  • Baking power and baking soda
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Unsalted butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

slice of apple bundt cake with cream cheese filling on a white plate

How to Make Apple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

  1. Beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
  2. Add in the dry ingredients, followed by the grated apples and carrots. 
  3. Turn half the batter out into a greased 12-cup bundt pan.
  4. Add the cream cheese layer over top, then spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese layer. 
  5. Bake until done (see notes below on bake times). Let the apple bundt cake cool completely before frosting. 
Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Cake — If you like carrot cake, you’re going to LOVE this version that includes apples and a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center!! EASY, amazing, and a MUST-MAKE!!

Notes About the Bake Time

One of the most common things readers write to me about is baking time and that their experience was different than what was written in the recipe. In any recipe, you should use the baking times the author wrote as simply a guide, not as gospel because no two sets of ingredients, environments, ovens, etc. are the same and things may not be done at exactly at the same time.

Keep an eye on it and bake until it’s done, simple as that. That goes for this cake or any other thing you’re baking.

However, for this cake, there are extra layers of variables that could effect baking time including the sheer very large size of this cake, the fact that not all apples or carrots have the same amount of natural juices, or how coarsely or finely they were grated. Then there are climate, pan, and ingredient variances so baking times could vary quite widely.

I suggest starting to check the carrot apple cake at 50 minutes and check every 5 minutes or so until the cake is done. I wouldn’t be alarmed if it took 70+ minutes to bake and fully set up. If that’s the case, you may wish to tent the pan with a sheet of foil to prevent excessive browning at the surface after 65 minutes or so.

Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Cake — If you like carrot cake, you're going to LOVE this version that includes apples and a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center!! EASY, amazing, and a MUST-MAKE!!

FAQs

Why should I grate the carrots by hand? Can I just buy them pre-shredded?

It’s important to grate the carrots on the coarsest blade of a box grater. It will take you about 5 minutes but it’s an essential step. Do not buy pre-shredded carrots in bags and do not simply dice the apples. Both need to be coarsely grated for the cake to deliver the results you’re looking for.

What type of apples should I use?

I used one large red Fuji apple and one large green Granny Smith. However, I think most any kind of apple will work.

Is the batter supposed to be thick?

This is a very thick batter by design. The carrots and apples will both release a lot of natural juices and if you started with a thinner batter, by the time they would release their juices, you’d have a runny mess.

Can I add raisins or walnuts to the cake?

I am not usually fond of walnuts in my carrot cake, but you could add them if you are. I do like raisins in my carrot cake but felt this cake already had plenty going on and didn’t need any raisins so I didn’t add any, but you could if you need raisins in your carrot cake.

Storage Instructions

Leftover cake is best fresh but will keep airtight for up to 3 days at room temperature and in the fridge for up to 1 week.

I am comfortable storing baked goods with cream cheese at room temperature, but if you aren’t, store the cake in the fridge noting it will be more prone to drying out.

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4.55 from 37 votes

Apple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

By Averie Sunshine
If you like carrot cake, you're going to LOVE this version that includes apples and a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center!!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 15
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Ingredients  

Cream Cheese Tunnel

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups coarsely grated apples, peeled (I used 1 Fuji and 1 Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrots, peeled (from about 1 extra large carrot)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • cinnamon, for garnishing

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 12-cup Bundt pan very well with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

Cream Cheese Tunnel:

  • To a medium bowl, add all ingredients and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high until smooth and well blended, about 2 to 3 minutes; set aside.

Cake:

  • To a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, oil, extract, and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  • Add the flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, baking powder, salt, cloves, baking soda and beat to just incorporate, don’t overmix.
  • Add the apples, carrots, and beat to just incorporate, don’t overmix. Batter will be very thick, this is to be desired. Turn half the batter out into the prepared pan.
  • Add the cream cheese in a smooth, even layer over the batter.
  • Top with the remaining half of the batter and bake for about 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  • Allow cake to cool in pan for about 20 minutes before inverting it onto a cake stand or serving platter. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting it so that frosting doesn’t melt.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • To a large bowl add the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt, and beat with a handheld electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Turn frosting out over the top surface of the cake, noting it will naturally fall down the sides. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Notes about baking time: due to various variables including the sheer large size of this cake, the fact that not all apples or carrots have the same amount of natural juices, how coarsely or finely they were grated, climate, pan variances, etc. baking times could vary quite widely. I suggest starting to check at 50 minutes and check every 5 minutes or so until the cake is done. I wouldn’t be alarmed if it took 70+ minutes to bake and fully set up. If that’s the case, you may wish to tent the pan with a sheet of foil to prevent excessive browning at the surface after 65 minutes or so.
  • Storage: Cake is best fresh but will keep airtight for up to 3 days at room temp and in the fridge for up to 1 week. I am comfortable storing baked goods with cream cheese at room temp, but if you aren’t, store the cake in the fridge noting it will be more prone to drying out.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 464kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 304mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 41g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Carrot Cake Recipes:

Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Bars — Dense, chewy, super moist bars that taste like carrot cake with a cream cheese topping that’s baked right in so you don’t need to worry about frosting them!!

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting!

Carrot Apple Bread – Carrot cake with apples added and baked as a bread so it’s healthier! Super moist, packed with flavor, fast and easy!

Carrot Apple Bread - Carrot cake with apples added and baked as a bread so it's healthier! Super moist, packed with flavor, fast and easy!!

The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!

The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake!! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!!

Salted Caramel Carrot Cake — Soft, tender, EASY carrot cake infused with salted caramel sauce and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting is the ULTIMATE in decadence!! 

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting — My favorite recipe for carrot cake!! It’s ridiculously moist, soft, tender, and full of cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, including an abundance of carrots and sweet, juicy raisins! 

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

    1. Thanks Judith and I am glad this is one of the best carrot cakes that you’ve tried!

  1. 5 stars
    This cake came out very moist and delicious. I didn’t use the frosting. Thank you for this easy and delicious cake recipe!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad it came out moist and delicious even without the frosting!

  2. 5 stars
    Here is mine…Delicious! Even with changes I made for not having all the specific ingredients. Thank you Averie!