Can’t decide between carrot cake or cheesecake, get the best of both worlds with carrot cake cheesecake bars. The ultimate springtime dessert in perfect bite size squares. Great for Easter or Mother’s day brunch.
There’s nothing better than carrot cake seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice, it’s one of my favorite cakes. However, cakes are not very practical unless you have a crowd. The same goes for a cheesecake. I prefer my dessert in a more bite size form which is why carrot cake cheesecake bars are one of my favorites along with carrot cake cookies, carrot cake cupcakes and carrot cake pancakes.
Adding a layer of cream cheese filling between two thick layers of cake creates a creamy cheesecake bar that is still substantial enough to eat with your hands. The top and bottom are slightly crunchy which is a nice contrast to the cheesecake filling. Full of flavor but not overly sweet.
This carrot cake bar recipe gives you the best of both worlds but in a manageable dessert bar form that’s great for an Easter or Mother’s day brunch. They need to be refrigerated but can still sit out for several hours.
In each bite you’ll get all the flavor you love in carrot cake along with a creamy cheesecake swirl. While it has a lot of ingredients, it’s simple to make. You can double the recipe and make these in advance and freeze until you’re ready to serve.
This dessert bar recipe is different from a traditional carrot cake cheesecake in that the bottom layer is thick like a cookie or blondie batter. You will press part of it into the pan to form the crust and then add the cheesecake layer. To get swirls in the cheesecake bar, you add the remaining carrot cake mixture to the top. As it bakes, it falls into the cheesecake layer and forms amazing layers in the bars.
What you’ll need for the carrot cake
- The basics: Butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and baking soda.
- Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
- Grated carrots – I like to grate my own because the pre-grated carrots are thick.
What you’ll need for the cheesecake
- Cream cheese – Let it come to room temperature. Don’t use fat free but you can use reduced fat.
- Basics: sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla.
How do you make it
Step 1: Use a stand mixer to cream the butter and sugars, then add an egg.
Step 2: Whisk together the dry ingredients including the spices and dd to the butter mixture. Add the grated carrots.
Step 3: In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth and add sugar flour, an egg and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
Step 4: Remove 2 cups of the carrot cake dough and press it into the bottom of the pan.
Pour the cheesecake layer on top and with your fingers, crumble the remaining carrot cake dough on top.
Bake for 30 minutes until it no longer jiggles and is slightly browned on top. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely then place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cutting.
FAQs and tips
If you grate your own carrots, you get finer carrots than what comes in the pre-grated bags. The coarser carrots will alter the texture but will still taste great.
The carrot cake layer is very thick, almost like cookie dough so you will not be able to swirl the cream cheese layer, instead you’ll crumble part of the carrot cake layer on the top which forms the swirls in the cheesecake bars when baked.
Since you have a cheesecake layer, you’ll need to store these in the refrigerator. They’ll stay fresh for a few days. If you plan on serving later, freeze them in an airtight container. They do not take long to thaw.
This recipe is for an 8 x 8 inch metal pan and makes 24 bars. It can easily be doubled using a 9 x 13 inch metal pan, if doubling, it will require a little more cooking time.
More recipes for an Easter or Spring brunch
- A breakfast puff pastry is perfect for a Spring brunch
- A baked peach pancake feels decadent but is quick and easy
- Try a blueberry or strawberry buttery scone
- If you love muffins, try blueberry streusel or banana granola
- Everyone loves cinnamon rolls, try them with apples or peaches
- Throw in some sausage balls
Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars
- ¾ cups butter softened
- ¾ cups light brown sugar
- ⅔ cups sugar
- 1 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ¾ cups lightly packed grated carrot about 2 carrots
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons flour
- 1 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350º. Line an 8 x 8 metal baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes, Add an egg and beat until combined.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Gradually add flour to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Beat in carrots.
- In a separate bowl beat cream cheese with a hand mixer or the stand mixer, until smooth. Add sugar, and flour and beat. Add an egg and beat until well combined, add vanilla.
- Spread 2 cups of the carrot mixture into the prepared pan and pat down covering the entire bottom of the pan. Top with cheesecake layer. Crumble the remaining dough on the top.
- Bake until the edges are set and the center jiggles only slightly, 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Finely grate the carrots for a smoother texture.
- They will need to refrigerate at least 2 hours before cutting.
- You can easily double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.
- Store in the refrigerator for freeze.
- Bake these in a metal pan, if using glass, you will need to adjust the time.