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!!
Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Cake Recipe
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.
It’s one of the best renditions of carrot cake I’ve ever made or had and will be making this recipe every fall when apples are in season and in the spring and Easter time when carrot cake is on my mind.
This is a showstopper kind of cake in terms of the flavor it delivers. My family and I felt that it skews more towards the carrot cake spectrum than apple, but you can still taste the apples.
It’s supremely moist from the natural juices that the carrots and apples release. Additionally I made the cake using oil rather than butter which keeps cakes softer and moister longer.
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.
What’s in This Easy Apple Cake?
To make this moist apple cake with cream cheese frosting, you’ll need:
- Cream cheese
- Granulated sugar
- Canola oil
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking power and baking soda
- Unsalted butter
- Confectioners’ sugar
How to Make Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Cake
To make the apple cinnamon cake batter, you’ll first need to beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract. Add in the dry ingredients, followed by the grated apples and carrots.
Turn half the batter out into a greased 12-cup bundt pan. Add the cream cheese layer over top, then spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese layer.
Bake until done (see notes below on bake times). Let the apple bundt cake cool completely before frosting.
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 apple 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 apple cream cheese 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.
Tips for Making This Carrot Apple Bundt Cake
It’s important to grate the carrots and apples, by hand, 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.
I used one extra large carrot, one large red Fuji apple, and one large green Granny Smith. However, I think most any kind of apple will work.
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.
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.
Cream Cheese Tunnel
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 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
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 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
- 1/4 cup (half of 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- cinnamon, for garnishing
- 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.
- 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 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 304mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 5g
More Fall Dessert Recipes:
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Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, moist carrot cake that’s baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting – My favorite foolproof recipe for soft, moist, flavorful carrot cake cupcakes!
Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies – Tons of texture and so moist with zero cakiness. Eat your vegetables by way of healthy cookies!
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Apple Cinnamon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – An EASY, one-bowl, no-mixer apple cake that’s to-die-for!! Loaded with juicy apples in every bite, perfectly spiced, and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting! So DELISH!!
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