The BEST super moist carrot cake bars recipe (starts with a cake mix!) topped with coconut cream cheese frosting.
Let me preface this by saying that this is my quick ‘n dirty carrot cake dessert. My shortcut to carrot cake when carrot cake is needed but you’re a) pressed for time or b) lacking motivation. When you don’t want to grate carrots and you want to cut a couple of corners, this is the best simple carrot cake bars recipe. Moist and perfectly sweetened, topped with addictive cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut flakes. You cannot go wrong with these tasty bars.
Why is that preface needed? Because I have a legitimate carrot cake – three layers and all – coming your way in the next day or so and I need you to know that both of these desserts are incredible. I am going to rave about that cake, because I’m obsessed with just about every aspect about it.
It’s not difficult to make that cake, but these bars are my go-to. For potlucks and parties, for bake sales and big gatherings. For pretty much any time you don’t want to be making and serving a full-on layered carrot cake. So both recipes have a special place in my heart.
So later we’ll talk about the legit cake cake. The great big, world’s best, carrot cake to end all carrot cakes. But for today we are talking about these shortcut, start with a cake mix, great for transporting and feeding a crowd, super duper scrumptious carrot cake bars.
This simple, easy carrot cake bars recipe will deliver all of your carrot cake wishes in less than an hour with just a jelly roll pan. If you are convinced you aren’t a coconut person, you can totally leave the toasted coconut flakes off and just go with the cream cheese frosting – it stands on it’s own. And, I’ve included a little tip for making your cake extra moist if you are an extra-super-moist cake lover (you and I are friends for this reason).
Carrot Cake Bars with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 box carrot cake mix (see note)
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 3-6 tablespoons milk, as needed
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan / baking pan.
- In a large bowl combine cake mix, butter, eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix until ingredients are combined and there are no streaks of flour in the batter. Spread mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
- In a medium bowl cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add milk, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing after each, until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
- Spread frosting over cooled cake. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top. (For toasted coconut flakes, stir in a pan over medium-high heat on the stove for 3-5 minutes until golden brown (watch closely so it doesn't burn). Cut into bars and serve or store in airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days.