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!! So much EASIER than making carrot cake but with similar flavors you will LOVE!!
Best Ever Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Bars
These carrot cake bars are super moist and robustly spiced — just how I think proper carrot cake should be.
The cream cheese layer is baked into the bars so you don’t need to worry about frosting later. Score!
They’re a very dense bar and if you like light and airy desserts, this is not the one for you. If you like something you can really sink your teeth into with tons of texture, then you’ve come to the right place.
Ingredients in Carrot Cake Bars
This is a fast and easy carrot dessert recipe to whip up with very common ingredients, which is great. You’ll need:
- Egg + yolk
- Brown sugar
- Ground ginger
- Vanilla extract
- Cream cheese
- Granulated sugar
How to Make Carrot Cake Bars
This is a quick and straightforward recipe for carrot bars. As I mentioned above, the cream cheese “frosting” is baked into the bars — it’s almost like a layer of cheesecake on top!
Here’s an overview of how the bars come together:
- Melt the butter, add the egg, stir in the brown sugar and spices, add the vanilla, flour and salt, and stir in the carrots.
- Transfer to a lined 8×8-inch baking pan.
- Beat the cream cheese with the egg yolk, granulated sugar, and spread the cream cheese mixture over the batter and bake until done.
- Let the bars cool completely before slicing. The cream cheese layer needs time to cool and set completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re a nuts or raisin person, feel free to add about 1/2 cup of one OR the other.
Yes! Because the bars are so moist, they still taste amazing a day after making them. Feel free to make these in advance of a family gathering or holiday.
I am comfortable storing baked desserts with cream cheese in them at room temp for a few days. If you are not, store them in the fridge, simple as that.
They taste good both ways. If you like chilled carrot cake (or chilled brownies) these will hit the spot for you served chilled.
Tips for the Best Carrot Bars
I recommend using whole, peeled carrots that you grate yourself on a box grater.
The texture is better for baking because they incorporate better into the batter than pre-shredded carrots you can buy in a bag do. Save those for a curry because they tend to be coarser and firmer than if you grate them by hand.
You’ll probably only need 1 jumbo or two average-sized carrots for these easy carrot cake blondies.
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- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 cup grated carrots, loosely packed
- 4 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temp (use full fat for best results)
- 1 egg yolk (discard white or save for another use)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F, line an 8x8-inch pan with heavy duty non-stick aluminum foil for easier cleanup if desired, and spray with cooking spray.
- To a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute. Allow the melted butter to cool so you don’t scramble the egg.
- Add the egg, brown sugar, all spices, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and stir to combine; don't overmix.
- Add the carrots and stir to combine. Note - I recommend grating the carrots on the coarsest blade of a box grater for best results. I don't advise using pre-shredded carrots in bags that you can buy because the texture is much firmer and harder.
- Turn the batter out into prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula; set aside.
- To a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and beat on high with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Turn the cream cheese out over the carrot batter using the blade of a butter knife or the tip of a spatula, and lightly swirl the cream cheese into the carrot batter. It won't swirl in very deeply but just a bit is all you need.
- Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the blondies to cool, uncovered in the pan, at room temp, for at least 2 hours (overnight is preferred) before slicing and serving.
Spice level: Please note that the blondies are robustly spiced because that's what I like so they don't taste bland. If you like your desserts to be more mildly spiced, then reduce all of the spice quantities by half.
Raisins / nuts: If you like raisins and/or nuts in your carrot cake, feel free to add 1/2 cup of either when you're stirring in the carrots.
Storage: I store my blondies at room temp for up to 3 days but you can store them in the fridge if you're more comfortable for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 137mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 3g
More Carrot Cake Desserts:
Spiced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting!
Salted Caramel Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, tender carrot cake infused with salted caramel sauce and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting is the ULTIMATE in decadence!! Calling all carrot cake fans, you will LOVE this version!!
Cream Cheese Carrot 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 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!
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!
Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze – Super soft bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good & a must-make!