Have your carrot cake AND cheesecake and eat it, too, with these simple and super delicious swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars! Holy cow, they are tasty (and so pretty!).
Ok, where are all my carrot cake and cheesecake lovers at??
Today’s dessert is for YOU! These swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars are incredible! So easy and so stunning, they bring together ultra tender carrot cake and creamy cheesecake in a combination that is irresistible.
I don’t know what it is about the spring weather (and upcoming Easter season), but I start thinking about carrot cake and can’t stop. I love it! Love it. Carrot cake is one of my absolute favorite desserts ever. This best-ever carrot cake recipe is my all-time favorite. I rarely, rarely stray from it when I want a fabulous classic carrot cake. Which is, like, every day February through June.
Because carrot cake pairs so naturally with light and fluffy cream cheese frosting, it’s a no brainer to transition the frosting to cheesecake batter and combine the two desserts. Carrot cake + cheesecake. Love, love. The combo is so fantastic.
I posted this beautiful carrot cake cheesecake recipe years ago, and it’s a further testament that the two “cakes” belong together. But…in honor of making an even simpler combo of carrot cake and cheesecake (that doesn’t require a special springform or bundt pan), today it’s all about swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars.
They are easy, elegant, and amazingly delicious.
It’s as simple as whipping up a quick carrot cake batter (yes, taken from that favorite carrot cake recipe, always), getting a simple cheesecake batter ready to go, and spreading, dolloping, swirling, and baking. See? Easy!
The result is a whirly, swirly pan of carrot cake cheesecake bars with tender, moist carrot cake dancing in and around the luscious river of cheesecake. The cheesecake flavor and swirls are definitely prominent in this recipe – perfect for the cheesecake lover in your life!
This recipe definitely benefits from cooling completely and then chilling. And like any good cheesecake recipe, I think the flavor gets better with time, which makes it a perfect make-ahead dessert! (I have a strong suspicion the baked bars cut into squares would freeze great, too.)
I’m already loosely planning our Easter dinner menu (ok, ok, I have a spreadsheet dedicated to the cause), and these swirled carrot cake cheesecake bars will be there. How can I not? They are so easy and so, so tasty.
And since it helps me sleep better at night, here’s a few of my other favorite carrot cake recipes! Sharing is caring.
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9X13-inch pan of bars
1 hour 20 minutes
- 1 1/4 cups (6.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (like vegetable, canola, grapeseed, etc)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 pound carrots, finely shredded (about 2 cups)
- 2 packages (16 ounces total) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan (I use a metal pan) with parchment paper with overhanging edges to make it easier to lift and cut the bars. Lightly grease the bottom and sides with cooking spray and set aside.
- For the carrot cake batter, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until very well-combined and lighter in color, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients and then the carrots and mix until no dry streaks remain (don’t over mix).
- For the cheesecake batter, whip the cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer) until smooth and well-combined, 1-2 minutes. Add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla and mix for another minute or so until evenly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Spread half of the carrot cake batter in a thin layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the cheesecake batter and remaining carrot cake batter over the top, alternating heaping dollops so there’s an even amount of batter across the bars.
- Use a knife to lightly swirl the batter together (see pictures in the post). Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes until the top springs back lightly to the touch. Let cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled (these bars can be made 1-2 days ahead of time; refrigerate until serving).
You can replace half of the oil with applesauce with good results. Full fat cream cheese works better than light cream cheese in this recipe (light cream cheese is runnier and doesn’t produce as sturdy of a cream cheese swirl/layer). Take care not to over mix either the carrot cake or cheesecake batter.
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Recipe Source: adapted and inspired by this favorite carrot cake recipe