Tropical Carrot Cake

This isn’t your ordinary carrot cake. This tropical carrot cake contains pineapple and coconut!

Its already summer here in Los Angeles. I see people dressed in flip flops, sun dresses, and wide brimmed hats. I see all these people on vacation soaking up the sun and frolicking on a weekday.

You can’t help but miss the good old days of childhood when you could enjoy endless lazy days during summer vacation.

To compensate and make myself feel better, I made this tropical carrot cake. 

It’s a carrot cake on a vacation in the tropics somewhere.  

Traditional carrot cake is boring. This cake is different. Although it is a moist cake, it is not oily or dense. The addition of crushed pineapples and dark brown sugar help to add moisture without sacrificing the structural integrity of the cake.

Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Coconut

To me, anything with pineapples and coconut means a good time. It’s exotic and fun and just screams vacation.  

The lightly toasted coconut in the cake batter imparts a subtle nutty flavor without adding the walnuts commonly found in carrot cakes. The lime zest in the frosting adds a much needed kick and zing to ordinary cream cheese.

This may not be prettiest cake, but it sure is the tastiest cake I’ve ever made. I love trying out recipes that make the old new again.  

There are so many little things you can add or subtract from traditional recipes to make them modern and fresh. I see this tropical carrot cake going places.  I’m sure friends and family will be asking for this come picnic and barbecue season.

In the meantime, I’ll have my slice of cake while I pretend I’m lounging underneath the palm tree enjoying the salty ocean breeze and the warm sand between my toes.

Looking for more carrot cake recipes? Try these:

  • These carrot cake cinnamon rolls are frosted with whipped cream cheese and topped with toasted walnuts. It’s the iconic flavors of carrot cake injected into sweet rolls! 
  • This layered carrot cake lightly frosted with brown sugar cream cheese. Minimally decorated with fresh carrots, this is an easy cake everyone can make!
  • Celebrate spring with this walnut carrot cake topped with whipped honey cream cheese and decorated with fresh strawberries, candied radish, and rapini flowers. 

Tropical Carrot Cake

Yield: 8-inch cake


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste, or extract
  • 3 cups shredded carrots, about 3-4 large carrots
  • 6 oz can crushed pineapples, drained
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • zest from one lime


  • dark rum for soaking cake layers
  • unsweetened coconut flakes to garnish sides of cake


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugar, brown sugar, and oil.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.

  4. Fold in shredded carrots, crushed pineapples, and toasted coconut.  Add dry ingredients in two additions and mix until just incorporated.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.  It is best to weigh out batter so ensure even cake layers.   Bake for 30-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding.  Run a knife or a small offset around the perimeter of cake before inverting.  Let cake cool to room temperature on wire rack before frosting and assembly.

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy.  Reduce speed and gradually add in confectioners’ sugar.  Add lime zest.  Combine to beat until frosting is smooth and spreadable.


  1. Once cakes are at room temperature, unmold and make sure layers are the same height.  If necessary, cut tops of cake with a serrated cake knife.

  2. Place one cake round on cake board.  Lightly soak cake with dark rum.  Evenly spread about 1/2 cup of lime cream cheese frosting (or more if desired) on cake using an offset spatula.  Repeat soaking and spreading frosting on second layer of cake.

  3. Use remaining frosting to coat sides of the cake.  If desired, garnish with unsweetened coconut flakes

  4. Chill cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

adapted from Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw


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I absolutely love carrot cake! Hate it with walnuts and I am not a fan of raisins in it. This ones sounds a million times better. I can’t wait to make it!

    the little epicurean

    I just recently became a fan of carrot cake. I don’t really like raisins in my cake either. They belong in oatmeal raisin cookies.

Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

I love everything about this carrot cake – the lime in the frosting sounds amazing!

Mirella Camargo

OMG! I need to try this!!


An elegant carrot cake! What delightfully perfect spring dessert! The addition of lime zest in the frosting is inspired.


found you through foodgawker and defiantly going to follow you. This cake looks soo goood….. my mouth is watering
would you mind taking a look at my blog i just started out

    the little epicurean

    I’m so glad you found me! Thanks, I hope you find the time to make the carrot cake :)

    Your blog looks great! I love the quote about the cookie in each hand!

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