Have a hard time choosing between carrot cake and cheesecake? With these cheesecake carrot bars, you can have both! They are so easy to make, and taste amazing!
A sweet and spicy carrot cake base swirled with a tangy cream cheese filling. I don’t know how anyone could resist one of these scrumptious cream cheese dessert bars!
A few days ago I was in need of a treat for book club, and we had a huge bag of carrots that needed to be used. Looking through my pinterest board, I found this carrot bar recipe at Tastes of Lizzy T, and thought it sounded delicious.
Since I love cheesecake, I decided to up the amount of cream cheese filling. Glad I made that change, I thought it was the perfect ratio of cake to cheesecake. Seriously, so yummy!
REASONS WE LOVE THESE CARROT CAKE BARS:
- They are super quick and easy to make.
- The tangy cream cheese filling is simply luscious!
- Swirls on top make them so pretty.
- The carrot cake base is extra moist and delicious.
- Grated carrots ad moisture, and also make them perfect for spring and Easter.
- Ground cinnamon adds a perfect amount of spice, and makes them perfect for fall.
- Because they are best chilled, they can be made ahead of time for any occasion.
To see the detailed, printable recipe card, simply scroll to the bottom of the post.
HOW TO MAKE CARROT CAKE BARS
- butter – I used salted butter, if you use unsalted butter you may want to add 1/4 tsp of additional salt to the batter.
- brown sugar – I used light, but you can also use dark brown sugar if you prefer.
- eggs – Always use large eggs for baking unless the recipe directs otherwise. You will need one egg for the batter and one for the filling.
- vanilla extract – Use your favorite brand, even if it’s the cheap stuff. I won’t judge.
- flour – Regular all purpose flour is all you need for this recipe. If you don’t bake very often, it is always a good idea to whisk or sift your flour before using so that it isn’t too compacted. Compacted flour results in tough, dry baked goods.
- cinnamon – I don’t think you can have a good carrot cake without ground cinnamon. 🙂
- baking powder – To tell if yours is fresh, simply add some to a bit of water. If it bubbles, it’s good.
- salt – Salt in baked goods enhances the flavor and balances out the sweetness.
- grated carrots – I like to peel my carrots first, but you can just give them a good scrub.
- cream cheese – This recipe works best with full fat cream cheese. To avoid lumps, let it soften at room temperature for a few hours.
- granulated sugar – You will need a bit of sugar to sweeten the cream cheese filling.
- PREP WORK: Grate the carrots, spray your baking dish, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, melt your butter.
- FILLING: Beat cream cheese with a hand mixer till smooth, beat in sugar, then egg and vanilla.
- BATTER: With a whisk, blend the melted butter and brown sugar. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients, then fold in the shredded carrots.
- ASSEMBLE: Spread about 2/3 of the batter in your prepared pan. Pour the filling over the top.
- Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over the filling. Swirl with a butter knife.
- BAKE at 350° for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The center may be a little jiggly, but it will set up as the bars cool.
- COOL: Let the bars cool in the pan, then chill before slicing for best results. They will puff up while baking, but sink as they cool.
You can serve the bars at room temperature, but I still suggest chilling them first. They are so much easier to cut! You can let them come back to room temperature before you serve them.
Make sure you store any leftovers covered tightly in the fridge. They will last up to a week.
CAN I FREEZE THESE CARROT CAKE BARS?
I haven’t actually tried it, but I think they would freeze just fine. Make sure you wrap them well and place them in an airtight container or heavy duty ziplock bag. They should last 2-3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge.
PRO TIPS FOR MAKING CARROT BARS:
- Make sure your cream cheese is completely softened to room temperature. It’s best to let it sit out on the counter for several hours. Trying to soften in the microwave often leaves lumps, and you don’t want that!
- Full fat cream cheese will give you a more firm cheesecake filling. You can try light cream cheese, but although the flavor will be the same, they won’t set up as nicely.
- For easier cutting and cleanup, line your pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. When the bars are cooled, simply lift the whole thing out with the edges of the foil and place on a cutting board.
- I know it’s tempting to dig right in, but the bars cut much easier when they are cold, and we think they test better that way as well! (I actually had to cut into mine before they were ready, so the slices aren’t as smooth and pretty.)
CAN YOU MAKE CARROT CAKE BARS THE NIGHT BEFORE? Absolutely! They store really well, and since they are best after being chilled, just cover them and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Cut them just before serving.
Looking for another great carrot dessert? You can always try my carrot cake with orange cream cheese frosting, or my carrot cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting. They are both out of this world!
MORE LUSCIOUS BAR COOKIES:
- Golden Graham Bars
- Churro Cheesecake Bars
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Recipe
- Dutch Cookies
- Mixed Nut Bars
- Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars
- Smores Bars
- Lemon Brownies
- Sugar Cookie Bars
CARROT CAKE BARS RECIPE
Cream cheese filling:
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated carrots
- Line a 8x8" baking dish with foil or parchment paper, spray with non stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese till smooth and creamy. Beat in the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times with a rubber spatula.
- Add the egg and vanilla, beat till just blended. Set aside
- For batter: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk till well combined.
- Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir into the wet ingredients.
- Fold in the grated carrots.
- Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan.
- Pour the filling over the top of the batter. Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over the filling. Swirl with a butter knife.
- Bake in preheated oven at 350° for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely, then cover and chill for at least an hour. Cut into squares.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a small amount from your purchase, no cost to you.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 249mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 29gProtein: 4g