Carrot Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Bread | cake | Cakes & Cupcakes | Savory

Carrot Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

By Tessa Arias
March 27th, 2017
4.42 from 12 votes
4.42 from 12 votes

Carrot Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese frosting is simple, moist, tender, and delicious. It's the perfect sweet recipe for spring!

Yield: 1 loaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

The PERFECT recipe for spring baking! Even carrot haters love this! It's moist, tender, and bursting with flavor. Perfect for gifting, too!

This post is sponsored by The California Walnut Board. All opinions provided are my own. Thanks for supporting me in working with brands I love to bring you new recipes!

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Like carrot cake, but not as overly sweet as most grocery store carrot cakes! Texture: Moist and tender with that luscious cream cheese frosting on top. Ease: Very easy, especially if you use a food processor to grate the carrots! Pros: Perfect spring recipe. Cons: None! Would I make this again? Absolutely, this loaf makes a great gift for neighbors, teachers, or friends!

Carrot Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese frosting is simple, moist, tender, and delicious. It's the perfect sweet recipe for spring!

still can’t believe it’s officially spring. This year has FLOWN by, in the best of ways.

I’ve been knee deep in spring cleaning this past week. Cleaning out and organizing my pantry alone took almost a whole afternoon. It was pretty embarrassing to find THREE opened bottles of red wine vinegar.

I’ve cleared out a lot so it’s easier to see what we have. We even installed those little battery operated touch lights since our pantry is so deep and dark. Hopefully this means less waste and over-purchasing!

The PERFECT recipe for spring baking! Even carrot haters love this! It's moist, tender, and bursting with flavor. Perfect for gifting, too!

But actually, spring cleaning is exactly how this recipe came to be…

You guys know my partner California Walnuts? Well they’re hosting a Fridge-A-Dare challenge this month and I joined in for the fun!

I was challenged to come up with a delicious walnut recipe using ingredients I already had in my fridge. It was the perfect way to clear some room and make good use of food before it goes bad!

Carrot Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese frosting is simple, moist, tender, and delicious. It's the perfect sweet recipe for spring!

So what did I have?

  • A bag of carrots (I accidentally bought a 2-pound instead of a 1-pound so I had way too much)
  • Cream cheese (from shooting this video on The Best Cream Cheese Frosting)
  • Eggs & butter, of course! My fridge feels naked without those baking staples.

Some sort of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting seemed like the obvious recipe choice! Especially since Easter is just around the corner. And you know what? Even carrot haters love this loaf!

4.42 from 12 votes

How to make
Carrot Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Carrot Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese frosting is simple, moist, tender, and delicious. It's the perfect sweet recipe for spring!


For the loaf:

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (300 grams) shredded carrots (about 6 to 7 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) California walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
  • 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • Chopped California walnuts, for garnish


Make the loaf:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and eggs. Stir in the vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 65 to 75 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. At this point the loaf can be wrapped well and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Make the cream cheese frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light, creamy, and smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy.
  2. Spread evenly over the loaf. Sprinkle with walnuts. Slice and serve, or cover and leave at room temperature for up to 8 hours, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Janet — April 30, 2022 at 7:17 am

    Preheat oven at what temperature. Can you freeze loaf of bread

    • #
      Emily — May 12, 2022 at 9:51 am

      Hi Janet, you will preheat your oven to 350°F as stated in the first sentence in the recipe 🙂 We haven’t tried freezing this loaf, but I don’t see why you couldn’t! Just wrap well in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. We recommend thawing in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!

  2. #
    Sharon — April 16, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    A bit disappointed. Recipe makes a giant loaf. It tasted good but was very dry. The yummy frosting saved it.

  3. #
    Penny — April 9, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Made this recipe, was surprised it said a 8×4 loaf pan. Put it in filled it right to the top, thought ok maybe it raises up and not out. It is in my oven right now making a big fat mess! I should have listened to my baker instinct and put it in a 9 inch pan. Can’t believe the mess I have!

  4. #
    Charlotte — February 3, 2022 at 8:18 am

    Can this be made in a 9 x 5 loaf pan? If so, what would the cooking time be?

    • #
      Emily — February 3, 2022 at 10:13 am

      Hi Charlotte! We haven’t tried that, but it should be fine! You’ll want to watch the baking time, reducing by about 5 minutes or so. Let us know how it goes!

  5. #
    Denise Parlett — December 12, 2021 at 8:28 am

    I substituted Spends Brown Sugar for the brown sugar and it was delicious! I didn’t frost it, but spread the slice with fluffy cream cheese! Everyone loves it!

  6. #
    Vicki — November 25, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Can coconut be added?

    • #
      Emily — November 29, 2021 at 4:13 pm

      We haven’t tried that, though it sounds delicious! Let us know how it goes if you give it a try 🙂

  7. #
    Roxana — October 23, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Lovely recipe! Just tried it tonight and it came out perfectly. I didn’t add all the amount of sugar mentioned but that’s a personal choice.
    Thank you!

    • #
      Haley Wehner — October 25, 2021 at 9:44 am

      I’m so happy you tried this recipe out!

  8. #
    Angelina — October 6, 2021 at 3:25 am

    What would be the baking time if i halve the recipe?

    • #
      Emily — October 6, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Hi Angelina, we can’t say for sure as it completely depends on the size of pan you use to bake it in. Good luck!

  9. #
    Danielle Shurley — April 22, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    The loaf itself is not sweet like a carrot cake. It is just a very plain carrot walnut loaf. It was not moist enough for my liking either. It’s not nasty but not the greatest. Only the best recipes make it into my collected book of recipes. I personally will be on the hunt for another carrot cake loaf. Being my favorite kind of cake and all.

  10. #
    Ann Ustrnul — January 22, 2021 at 5:15 am

    Very tasty & I turned the recipe into muffins, which were light and fluffy.

    • #
      Tessa — January 22, 2021 at 11:49 am

      That’s wonderful to hear!

  11. #
    Hajrah — January 21, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    I just made this loaf today and it’s AMAZING.
    It was so light, the frosting tasted great and the overall taste was just yum.

    • #
      Tessa — January 22, 2021 at 11:44 am

      Hooray! Glad you enjoyed!

  12. #
    Kirsten — March 29, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    I am pretty bummed about this recipe. I decided to make it, but the top and sides came out burnt and the middle wasn’t cooked at all. I think this would’ve been super yummy if it had turned out. The frosting was amazing tho!

    • #
      Tessa — March 31, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      Sounds like a problem with the baking pan, what kind did you use?

  13. #
    Lillian — March 14, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Best carrot cake recipe ever. I did how ever use half cream cheese and half mascarpone to make the frosting. It was rated the best overall bake this year.

  14. #
    Elizabeth — February 6, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Great recipe!! It was fun and easy to make. Unfortunately I was not able to take a picture of it because as soon as I finished it, I made the mistake of leaving the kitchen only to come back to find my teens around the cake taking their piece of the loaf. The loaf did not even last a day, so I guess it was delicious too!!

  15. #
    Corinne — January 30, 2020 at 3:22 am

    Regarding the 1/4 tsp cloves. Sorry if I sound naive, but what is this a clove of?
    This looks amazing and I’m looking forward to baking it.

    • #
      Tessa — January 31, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Cloves are a variety of spice ground up and sold at supermarkets 🙂

  16. #
    Susan — January 11, 2020 at 7:17 am

    What’s the nutritional information and can pecans be used instead of walnuts

  17. #
    Elaine Taylor — October 13, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Tastes delicious. Too much mixture for a loaf tin ( size you recommended) overflowed all over oven Will definitely make again maybe as a traybake .

  18. #
    Jennifer — October 8, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Are you able to freeze after baking ?

  19. #
    Temara — February 10, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Is this more so a carrot cake or is it a actual loaf of bread?

  20. #
    LeAnna — October 17, 2017 at 10:48 am


  21. #
    Janet — September 24, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Do you know how many calories are in the carrot loaf?

  22. #
    Morgan — April 24, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Made this as written in two round cake pans, it took 50minutes on the middle rack before the internal temp reached 205 degrees. Perfect texture, moistness and taste. So glad I have a bottle of vanilla paste (swoon) as this was the crowning glory of Tessa’s frosting. I will make this monthly, thank you Tessa ❤️

    • #
      Tessa — April 27, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Wonderful, Morgan! I’m so pleased to hear that 🙂

  23. #
    Rae Ru — April 4, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    This looks amazing! First time I’ve ever heard of a carrot loaf.. I’ve always been making it in cake form, but this looks so much easier to do (and store in the fridge!)

    I was wondering if the baking times & temperature would be different if my loaf pans were glass/ceramic? C:

    • #
      Tessa — April 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Exactly! And easier to gift too 🙂 This recipe may take slightly longer to bake in a glass or ceramic pan, but I would start checking at the time indicated in the recipe. The good news is the cake tester tells you one way or the other if the loaf is done baking.

  24. #
    Stick War — April 4, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Great tips as always, Thanks- LOVE your recipes and of course you’re “helpful tips”

  25. #
    Suaad — March 31, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Can I substitute the vegetable oil for butter? I don’t really like using oil and if it can be substituted for butter than better. 😉 Thank you!

    • #
      Tessa — April 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      I haven’t tried!

      • #
        Margaret — October 11, 2021 at 8:30 am

        I used coconut oil instead of oil in recipe and it is gorgeous

        • #
          Emily — October 11, 2021 at 9:34 am

          So happy you loved this recipe, Margaret!

  26. #
    Gina @Running to the Kitchen — March 31, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    This looks TO. DIE. FOR!! Mmmmm!

  27. #
    Deb — March 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Uh oh! This looks dangerous

  28. #
    Sanse — March 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    just baked this carrot loaf cake and made the cream cheese icing__Wow, the best recipe ever! Thank you for sharing.

    • #
      Tessa — March 31, 2017 at 8:27 am

      I’m so happy to hear that!!

  29. #
    Poppy — March 28, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Tessa! Can I use fresh ginger and omit the cloves? Because I have fresh ginger on hand and I don’t really like the taste of cloves. Thank you!

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Of course!

  30. #
    Ginger — March 28, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I really want to make this but was wondering what all i would have to do to make it in a 10×13 pan for a large group of people that i would be feeding this too. I can’t wait to try it.

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Hi Ginger! This recipe was specifically formulated to be a loaf, so I’m not sure how it would work in a pan that size. If you give it a shot, let us know how it goes!

      • #
        Sharon Bray — April 8, 2020 at 7:35 pm

        I do this recipe in a round spring sided tin and it is perfect. My family can’t get enough and I love that it looks so perfect. Proud mum moment.

        • #
          Susan — June 1, 2021 at 1:36 pm

          What temp and how long in round spring form pan?

          • #
            Tessa — June 1, 2021 at 3:59 pm

            I haven’t tried this in a springform pan, so I can’t say for sure, sorry!

  31. #
    Claudette — March 28, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Can this loaf cake be frozen with the frosting on it..I bake & sell a lot of loaf cakes at a craft show every year & because I have to start a month early I freeze them all. An’t wait to make this..carrot cake in a loaf pan..yummy

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:43 am

      The loaf and the frosting can be frozen separately. The cream cheese frosting will need to be re-whipped once it’s defrosted.

  32. #
    Carolyn — March 28, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Loaf…cake…loaf…cake. If I say loaf, it sounds less decadent. But oh my that looks gorgeous!

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:43 am

      I like the way you think 😉

  33. #
    sue | theviewfromgreatisland — March 27, 2017 at 10:34 am

    This is my FAVORITE kind of dessert, I happen to love carrot cake, ADORE walnuts, and that mountain of frosting doesn’t hurt either!

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:45 am

      <3 <3

  34. #
    Jenny from — March 27, 2017 at 10:26 am

    What a wonderful challenge! I love the idea! And this bread looks great, thanks.

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Thank you!

  35. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles — March 27, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I love the idea of carrot cake in loaf form. Beautiful, beautiful!

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Thank you, Brenda!

  36. #
    Rebecca {foodie with family} — March 27, 2017 at 8:16 am

    This carrot walnut loaf is straight up luscious looking. Oh my goodness.

    • #
      Tessa — March 29, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Thank you so much!

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