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Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars

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Sometimes accidents help you create beautiful things you didn’t know you needed in your life.

On OHP I made carrot cake cupcakes, it was Easter, you have to have carrot cake, but something went wrong. I don’t know what happened, I must have added too much baking powder or soda to my cake mix when I multiplied the recipe in my head. The cupcakes ended up being very airy and fragile, they crumbled when you tried to the peel the wrappers away from the cake. No way could I serve these let alone try to put frosting on them, they’d fall apart in your hands and make a giant mess. Luckily the evening I was going to serve them ended up being a bit rough and most of the student were sea sick, they didn’t even make it to dinner, so they weren’t gonna be around for dessert anyway, no one would know of my mistake but me.

With dessert a disaster I pondered what to do. I didn’t want to throw the cakes away, that would just be a waste of ingredients, but how could I repurpose it into something edible? That’s when I had the brilliant idea to make the cake into a cheesecake bar, treat the crumbly cake like graham cracker and pour cheesecake on top just like cream cheese frosting. These bars turned out great, they just needed a little tweaking to get the base to hold together tighter.

This carrot cake recipe is great on it’s own, I prefer it with a buttermilk glaze instead of gloppy, overly sweetened cream cheese frosting, but if you really want that cream cheese flavor turn them into these cheesecake bars. It’s the perfect combination and makes for a well balanced dessert bar, the best of both worlds, cake and cheesecake.


Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars

  • Yield:
    9×13" tray (12+ squares)
  • Category:


Carrot Cake

  • 1 c flour
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c walnuts, roasted and chopped
  • 1/4 c shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded (about 1 1/2 c)
  • 1/4 c buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained (4oz)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cake base

  • carrot cake, crumbled
  • 1/4 c butter, melted


  • 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Carrot Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8×8" cake pan.
  2. Mix all of the cake ingredients together, pour into the prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cake base

  1. Turn up the oven to 375F.
  2. Crumble the cooled cake into a 9×13" pan, you want small crumbles, bigger pieces prevent it from binding together and make the base crumbly.
  3. Drizzle the melted butter over the cake crumbs, toss them around to coat and then press the cake crumbs down to form the base. Use a smaller pan to help compact the crumbs.
  4. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes until brown and toasty.


  1. Turn down the oven to 325F.
  2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again.
  3. While the mixer is on add one egg at a time until fully incorporated, scrape down the sides and blend again.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Beat for 1 minute.
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooked cake base pushing it to the corners. Lightly drop the pan a few times to help pop the air bubbles.
  6. Bake at 325F for 35-45 minutes until the top is lightly browned, the edges are set and the center is still a little giggly. If the top is getting too dark, drape a piece of foil over the top to prevent it getting darker.
  7. Let cool completely and then chill for a few hours before slicing into squares.

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