The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Tropical Carrot Cake

Benito's picture

Tropical Carrot Cake

So this is the big weekend where I have to have the three layer tropical carrot cake ready.  I baked the cake on Thursday, once cooled fully wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated until this morning.  Today I made the frosting and iced and decorated the cake.  The orange stuff on top is candied orange zest.  My cake carrier unfortunately is a bit to short for this decorated cake so some of the frosting at the center got smooshed.  I would increase the frosting by 50% so I’d have more than enough next time.  I also need to apply more frosting and right to if not past the edge of the cake layers between the layers.  I didn’t do this and it was a bit challenging to get more frosting between the layers to get a clean semi naked look.  Despite that, for me, this was a good bake since I have only decorated a cake with three layers once before so I’m happy with this overall.



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained about half a 540 mL can. 
  • 2 cups chopped ripe banana (might be 2-3 bananas)
  • 1 cup shredded carrot, pressed dry 
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut, plus more for garnish 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnish



  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar 453 g
  • I’d increase this by 50% so I’d have more than enough frosting. 


According to Better Homes & Gardens, the best way to soften cream cheese is by letting it sit in a warm water bath. This is a quick process, as the cream cheese shouldn't need to sit for longer than 15 minutes. Leaving the cream cheese in its foil wrapper, simply place the block in a bowl of warm water and let the softening begin. Hot water out of the tap works best because you don't want it to be boiling, Cheese Knees notes. You can simply let the block sit until it's soft, or you can flip it every few minutes -- either way, you want the whole thing to be submerged in the water (via The Pioneer Woman).



How to Make It


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla extract; whisking until fully incorporated.


Step 2

Fold in crushed pineapple, banana, carrot, coconut, and pecans. Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.


Step 3

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 1 hour.


Step 4

Prepare Cream Cheese Frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in mixer and beat until well combined. Add salt and powdered sugar, and beat on low until incorporated, then increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.


Step 5

Assemble Cake: Cut domes off cake layers to create 3 even layers. Place 1 layer on a cake stand and evenly spread 3/4 cup cream cheese frosting across the layer. Place another layer on top of that one and repeat with another 3/4 cup frosting. Add final layer, and spread remaining frosting across the top. Decorate with shredded coconut and pecans.


For the orange peel


  • 2 oranges
  • 200ml water
  • 200g caster sugar 
  • For the orange peel, carefully pare the zest from the orange (a tool like this would be helpful). Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the orange zest and remove from the heat. Let the zest sit in the sugar syrup until it has completely cooled.  Remove the peel and allow to dry on a paper towel.

Just a note here for the bake time, because I used cake strips the bake time was longer, it took 50-55 mins for the cakes to be fully baked.

My index of bakes.


Benito's picture

I used the home made cake strips again and once again they worked a charm.  The cake layers baked up perfectly flat and level and there was no need to cut off a dome.  

trailrunner's picture

Wow that’s a cake! It will definitely be a taste sensation as well as a feast for the eyes. When I look back to all the cakes I used to make in the 70’s- late 80’s they all had lots of oil and were so rich and delicious. Now I substitute applesauce and bananas 😂 to lower calories lol! 

Happy Birthday to your SO! 

Benito's picture

Thanks Caroline, I bake cakes so rarely that I just don’t worry too much about the calories LOL.  The bananas were ripe this time so they actually did improve the flavour of the cake.  


gavinc's picture

The ingredient list is sensational! What a great flavour combination, excellently executed.  Thanks for the tips. I wish I lived closer, but just over 13200 klm it'd be a worse for wear. :)


Benito's picture

Thank you Gavin, I wish you all lived closer so I could share these bakes with you, that way I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the leftovers.  The cake was a hit though, so it is tempting.


MTloaf's picture

I love carrot cake and yours is amazing. You put a lot of effort into this. The candied orange peel on top takes it to another level. At first glance I thought they might be carrots. The whole spread you made for the party is out of this world. 

Benito's picture

Thank you Don, it was a bit of effort but in the end fun to do.  We actually went to a local Italian restaurant for the main course after having the appetizers finally returning for coffee, tea and cake.  Nice evening and of course I was happy to get to do some baking and share it with friends.