This old fashioned carrot cake with pineapple is the guaranteed to be the best carrot cake you make! This vintage recipe comes direct from my Granny in North Carolina. A super moist carrot cake with pineapple, coconut and walnuts. Bake as a layer cake or a carrot cake bundt - either will be delicious.
For this recipe, you'll need:
- Oil - my Granny's original recipe calls for corn oil, but I use any flavorless oil for this bake, such as a sunflower or canola oil. You could use olive oil, but olive oil (especially in the amount called for in this recipe) will impart a flavor to the bake. If you regularly use olive oil in your baking or know that you like the flavor, you can give it a go, but I'd not recommend it for this bake.
- Sugar - either superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar will work best in this recipe.
- Eggs - large eggs at room temperature for baking.
- Flour - all purpose flour or plain flour.
- Baking soda
- Ground cinnamon
- Vanilla extract
- Carrots - peeled and grated carrots. This recipe calls for 2 cups of the grated carrots, which I find usually means 2-3 average sized carrots.
- Walnuts - shelled and roughly chopped.
- Coconut - sweetened flaked coconut is my favorite in this recipe, but you can also use unsweetened or desiccated coconut.
- Pineapple - canned crushed pineapple, well drained.
How to Make Old Fashioned Carrot Cake
My vintage recipe for carrot cake is a Southern classic! It can be made either as a bundt cake or as a layer cake. I'll give a bit of guidance for baking in either pan below as well as my top tips for the recipe.
The fundamental process for the batter is the same either way!
This is a super easy one bowl carrot cake batter:
- Begin by pre-heating your oven and preparing your cake pans.
- Add your oil, sugar and eggs to a mixing bowl and whisk together until well emulsified (about 2 minutes).
- Next sift in your flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir this into the batter with a spatula, taking care to ensure all lumps of flour are mixed in.
- Add the vanilla, and then add the pineapple, grated carrots, coconut and walnuts. Stir this to distribute in the batter.
- Pour into your prepared pan(s) and bake.
Baking as a Layer Cake
To make this classic spiced carrot cake as a gorgeous layer cake, you'll want three round baking pans. I used 7.5" silicone baking pans, but you could also use 8" without significant variation.
If using traditional pans, grease and flour these well (this step is unnecessary when using silicone). Divide the batter evenly amongst the three pans and spread with a spatula.
Bake in the centre of your preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow your cakes to cool in the pans until you're able to handle these and then turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling before frosting.
I like to pair my layer cake with my No Fail Cream Cheese Frosting made with spreadable cream cheese. If using my recipe, a double batch is perfect for frosting this cake as shown in the images.
Baking in a Bundt Pan
To make this recipe in a bundt pan, you'll want a full or standard sized bundt. Be sure to grease and flour this well, getting in all the grooves! As a moist cake with added ingredients like nuts, this is prone to sticking.
When it comes to baking, the bundt will usually take about an hour. Check for a toothpick or skewer inserted into the thickest part to come out clean.
Let the cake cool for a few minutes in the pan, until you are able to handle it. Then turn this out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
An old fashioned carrot cake bundt cake goes nicely with cream cheese or vanilla glazes.
- My Granny's original recipe was intended for a bundt pan, but I've made it in anything from a brownie pan, to a round cake tin, loaf tins, or even as muffins on occasion. Timings will vary based on the type and size of the pan.
- This is a super moist bake - take care to grease and flour your baking pans well to avoid sticking.
- If using silicone baking pans (which I recommend for a layer cake), you will want to let the cake cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes and then gently unmould to avoid the bottom sticking. Conveniently, a bit of sticking can be covered up with frosting!
- This old fashioned carrot cake with pineapple, walnuts and coconut can go with many different frostings. When I was growing up, my dad did not eat cream cheese frosting. Instead, we used a classic vanilla buttercream on this cake. For the bundt version, you can use thinner glazes that will run down the sides of the cake instead of thick frostings - this will help accentuate the designs (like the glazes used on my Banana Pound Cake Bundt or Gingerbread Bundt Cake).
My Granny's super moist carrot cake will last for about 4 days.
Storage will depend a lot of how you've chosen to frost it. If using my recommended cream cheese frosting, you should keep the cake in the refrigerator is leaving for several hours or overnight.
A naked cake (when the sides are left bare) should be wrapped with plastic wrap to help avoid staling. Any parts covered in frosting will be safely locked in and won't stale from the fridge.
Yes! I've frozen this carrot cake many times, both with and without frosting. Once the cake layers are baked and cool, these can be wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminium foil (or just placed in a freezer bag) and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost at room temperature before frosting and serving.
Alternatively finish assembling/frosting before storing in the freezer. If frosting with cream cheese frosting, allow this to defrost in the fridge overnight before serving.
Absolutely not - in fact I used to never add the walnuts to this recipe. You can leave these out and it won't impact the baking process.
I'm sure there are many recipes for a carrot cake without pineapple, but my old fashioned carrot cake is a vintage carrot cake recipe with crushed pineapple included. The pineapple adds to the moisture and cannot be left out of this recipe without impacting the overall flavor and bake.
Looking for some more old fashioned bakes? Try:
Old Fashioned Carrot Cake with Pineapple
- 3 7.5" round cake pan other sized pans can be used (see note)
- 1½ cup flavorless oil sunflower oil or canola oil
- 1¾ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour or plain flour
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups peeled and grated carrots from 2-3 average sized carrots
- 1 cup walnuts shelled and roughly chopped
- ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut or desiccated coconut
- 8 oz crushed pineapple well drained to remove excess moisture
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan) and prepare your baking pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs until well combined and emulsified.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the sugar mixture and stir with a spatula to incorporate. Take care to scrape the bottom to avoid and unmixed patches of flour.
- Add the vanilla extract, stirring to combine, followed by the grated carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple. Mix together to distribute the added ingredients.
- Pour the batter into your prepared baking pans and spread evenly.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Once out of the oven, let cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before carefully flipping out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, assemble using a double batch of my Cream Cheese Frosting. (see note)