Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake

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This Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake is a moist carrot cake with a cheesecake swirl running through it! It’s a fun twist on carrot cake and a great dessert for Easter!

Looking for a classic carrot cake recipe? Try my recipe for the best carrot cake!

Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake

So after posting my Carrot Cake Cheesecake last week, I debated whether or not to share this one too. At first glance, they seem pretty similar and in some ways they are. I mean, they both have carrot cake and cheesecake in them. However, after trying both of them, I realized that they are actually different enough that they deserve to both be shared. The cheesecake from last week really is more of a true cheesecake than this one. It tastes much more like eating a cheesecake that has some carrot cake in it.

This Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake, however, is much more like eating a carrot cake with a little cheesecake in it. I’m truly in love with it! I love love love my easy Carrot Cake Recipe, and that’s the base of this cake. It’s all baked into one pan though, so it’s more dense than the layer cake (which I actually really enjoyed!). When you combine the dense, moist and tasty carrot cake with a thin ribbon of cheesecake going through it, it’s just so darn good.

And to make it even better, it’s frosted with a light whipped cream cheese frosting. The perfect way to finish off what is a dense and amazing cake!

Overhead view of a full Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake on a white cake stand

How to make Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake

So to make this cake, you’ll start with the carrot cake batter. A unique thing about this cake batter is that in addition to the typical grated carrots, it also uses pureed carrots. While it takes a little more effort, I promise the results are totally worth it! SO much flavor and so moist in the cake!

Just steam the carrots and puree them in a food processor or blender and you’re ready to go.

From there, the rest of the cake batter is fairly straightforward. You’ll cream the butter and sugars together until you see it get light in color and fluffy in texture. Don’t skimp here. It adds air to the batter that helps it rise.

Then you’ll add in your eggs one at a time. And then alternate adding the dry ingredients with the carrot puree.

The last part of the cake batter is to add your mix ins. I love the addition of crushed pineapple and coconut, but you can also add some pecans or walnuts, or even raisins. Set the batter aside while you work on the cheesecake part.

A slice of Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake with a bite taken out on a white plate with a fork

Cheesecake Swirl

This is basically a simple modified cheesecake filling. You’ll combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour and mix those all together. Then you’ll add the sour cream and vanilla extract. The final thing is to add the egg. Easy peasy!!

To layer your cake batter with the cheesecake swirl, add about a third of the cake batter to your cake pan and spread evenly. Add about half of the cheesecake filling to the top and spread it evenly.

Add another third of the cake batter by dropping spoonfuls of it over top of the cheesecake. Try to cover the cheesecake filling as best you can and gently spread it evenly.

Add another layer of cheesecake and then the final layer of cake batter. Again, drop spoonfuls of the batter over the cheesecake and do your best to cover it completely.

Side view of a full Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake on a white cake stand

Do I Need to Use a Water Bath?

This cake is made in a 9 inch cake pan and doesn’t use a water bath. Because it’s such a thick cake, it takes quite a while to bake (much like a cheesecake) so I did consider the water bath. I actually tried it both ways and preferred it without the water bath.

With a water bath, it was much harder to tell when it was done baking and there was almost too much moisture. I preferred the way it turned out without it. That said, it does crack a little either way, which is fine since we frost it. Without the water bath, it also browns a little around the edges, but it wasn’t an issue. You truly didn’t even notice it.

I did use a slower cooling process with this cake though, which is similar to a cheesecake as well. The center of the cake needs a little more time to cook, but you don’t want to cook the outside too much. So I baked the cake for about an hour, until it was pretty well set but a touch jiggly, then turned off the oven and left the door closed for another 30 minutes.

Finally, let it cool on the counter for about an hour before popping it in the fridge to cool completely.

Once the cake is cool and ready, it’s frosted with a light whipped cream frosting. The perfect finishing touch!

A Perfect Easter Dessert Idea

The final Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake is a must-try! I totally fell in love with it at first bite and it was hard to stop eating it. The flavors and textures are just so perfect together. I really hope you give it a try. It’d be perfect for Easter!

A slice of Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake on a white plate with a fork

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Read transcript

More Great Easter Desserts

The Best Carrot Cake Recipe
Hummingbird Cake
Easter Bunny Cake
Carrot Cake Cheesecake Swirl Cupcakes
Resurrection Cake
Best Angel Food Cake Recipe
Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake

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A slice of Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake on a white plate with a fork

Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Cake is a moist carrot cake with a cheesecake swirl running through it! It’s a fun twist on carrot cake and a great dessert for Easter!


Carrot Cake

  • 2 lbs raw carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp (211g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (52g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz (about 200g) crushed pineapple, drained, optional
  • 3/4 cup (54g) sweetened coconut flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
  • 6 tbsp raisins, optional

Cheesecake Filling

  • 12 ounces (339g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (104g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (16g) flour
  • 1/2 cup (115g) sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


1. To make the carrot cake batter, peel the carrots, then grate them just until you have 2 1/2 cups (250g) of grated carrots. Cover the grated carrot and set in the fridge.
2. Chop the remaining raw carrots (about 375g) into pieces small enough to go into a food processor or blender. Put chopped carrots in a steamer basket (or a colander, if you don’t have a steamer basket) set over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam the carrots until very tender, about 10-15 minutes.
3. Put the warm carrots into a food processor or blender and puree (do not add the water used to steam the carrots, JUST the carrots). The puree will be thick. You should end up with about 1 1/4 cups (312g) of carrot puree. Set aside to cool while you make the cake batter.
4. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper circle in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
5. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
6. Add the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla extract to and large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time, but do not over mix either.
7. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
8. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
9. Add the carrot puree (it can be room temperature or cold) and mix until well combined.
10. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined. Do not over mix the batter.
11. Stir in the grated carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and raisins (if using them all). Do not over mix. Set aside.
12. To make the cheesecake filling, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and flour in a large mixer bowl until smooth and combined (Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
13. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until well combined.
14. Add the egg and beat on low speed to combine.
15. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
16. Add about 1/3 of the carrot cake batter and spread evenly, then add about half of the cheesecake filling.
17. Drop spoonfuls of another 1/3 of the carrot cake batter over the cheesecake filling and gently spread into an even layer.
18. Add the remaining cheesecake filling and spread into an even layer.
19. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining 1/3 of the carrot cake batter over the cheesecake filling and gently spread into an even layer.
20. Bake for 60 minutes or until the center of the cake is pretty well set, but still a touch jiggly.
21. Turn off the oven, but leave the oven door closed for 30 minutes.
22. Allow to cool on the counter for about 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold and firm. The top may crack a little bit, but that’s ok.
23. To make the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until well combined. Set aside.
24. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to a large mixer bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.
25. Gently fold about half of the whipped cream into the cream cheese and butter mixture. Once mostly combined, add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold together until well combined.
26. Remove the cold and firm cake from the springform pan and place on a platter. Frost the cake with the frosting, then press chopped pecans into the sides and top the rim with some grated carrots, if desired.
27. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Serve cold. Cakes is best when stored well covered for 3-4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 552
  • Sugar: 35.1 g
  • Sodium: 508.9 mg
  • Fat: 35.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54 g
  • Protein: 7.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 119.5 mg


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  1. Bec

    I’ve made this many times it’s a favorite around here! Wondering how long the frosting and cake can be made in advance. Thinking ahead for the holiday. If I do it on Sunday will it be ok on Thursday? or should I make and freeze the cake and frost later? Assuming frosting is NOT stable enough for the freezer… Thoughts?

    1. Lindsay

      So glad you’ve enjoyed it! The frosting is definitely ok for the freezer. Making Sunday for Thursday is quite a while, and I’d be more likely to recommend waiting until at least Monday, but if you frost it (which would help insulate it), it would probably be ok. I haven’t tried freezing it, but that should be fine. Just thaw it in the fridge.

  2. Becky

    Could you make this as cupcakes? Would I change the oven temps or times?

    I’ve made this as a cake multiple times and everyone loves it! It’s not super sweet and that’s a good thing

  3. Kristen Delaney

    I was wondering if this could be made into a layer cake using same process or would it better to torte it? TIA! Looking forward to make this! Looks delicious!

  4. Bec

    I love this recipe!! I upped the salt to 1tsp on my second try and it’s perfect. I used all optional ingredients the first time and the second time left out the coconut. I prefer no coconut but my friends prefer with. Try it you’ll like it 🙂

  5. Emma

    Good evening Lindsay, I’m curious about your cheesecake swirl carrot cake. In the recipe it states 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temp but in the video, I see you cream 3 sticks of butter with the brown sugar. Was hoping for some clarification please. Thank you so much.

  6. Stephanie Hopkins

    I made this for Easter, being a big lover of Cheesecake Factory’ s carrot cake version. It was straightforward to make but I just think the sugar measurement is off. It just doesn’t taste very sweet which makes it then taste bland. I would definitely do again but go with one cup white sugar as you would in a normal carrot cake.

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Stephanie – the sugar measurement is exactly the same as my regular carrot cake, the recipe is just cut by a third for all the ingredients. It seems very strange that it would seem not sweet enough (that would certainly be one I haven’t heard before since my stuff tends to be on the sweet side, lol). Perhaps you left out the salt? I find that blandness is often because of a lack of salt.

  7. dkny

    Carrot cake is my son’s favorite birthday cake and I always make a classic one with a cream cheese frosting. Instead of shredding my carrots, I use a technique from a Cuisinart food processor recipe book from 40 years ago (when I bought my DLC-7 that is still going strong!) I make the entire batter in the Cuisinart and it starts with adding the carrot chunks to the ‘creamed’ sugar and oil from the recipe. I drop the cubes through the chute while the machine is going and then I add the rest of the ingredients. It’s a lot easier than using a shredder and then a mixer for the cake batter. The cake is a gorgeous orange color and is so delicious. Do you think this method would work for your recipe or do you think baby jar carrots could be used for the pureed steamed carrots?

    1. Lindsay

      Having not ever tried that method on this cake, I really have no idea how it would turn out. As for the jarred carrots, I imagine it would be OK. I haven’t tried it so I don’t know if it change the flavor at all.

  8. Erin

    Looks delicious! I love cheesecake, and I love carrot cake, and I love cream cheese anything with carrot cake, so this cake is a winner!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29