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carrot cake bars with icing on parchment paper

Nut-Free Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot cake bars are less fussy than making a layered carrot cake and they are filled with vitamin-packed carrots...so it's a healthy dessert (wink wink). 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 26 minutes
Cooling time before glaze 30 minutes
Total Time 41 minutes
Servings 9 bars
Calories 288kcal


For the bars

  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil, melted (sub. vegetable oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground
  • 1 cup grated carrots (~1-2 large carrots)
  • 3/4 cup raisins or walnuts (optional mix-ins)

For the glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8X8-inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray; set aside.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. (Cover so it doesn't splatter). Let slightly cool for ~5 minutes.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk the butter, egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla extract together. Whisk until combined. 
  • In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices together.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir until just combined; don't over mix.
  • Add carrots and any other mix-ins (raisins or walnuts). Stir to combine. (Batter will be thick).
  • Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  • Bake for ~26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Don't over bake - they will be dry. Allow bars to cool in pan for about 30 minutes before cutting and glazing.


  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand held mixer to beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until combined. Add in the vanilla extract and milk and beat again until smooth. This makes a lot of frosting which we love, but feel free to cut the recipe in half if you only want a little!



Add in nuts or raisins if desired. (~ 3/4 cup)


Serving: 1bar | Calories: 288kcal