These cream cheese carrot cake bars have a rich cream cheese swirl, making this carrot cake dessert recipe an indulgent treat for Easter or spring parties!
There are a few special people in our family who LOVE carrot cake. It’s one of the desserts we don’t think to make often, but when we do, we remember how much we love it!
Today we’re taking two of our favorite desserts: carrot cake and cheesecake. We’re swirling them together into one delicious dessert recipe. Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Bars! These are perfect for Easter or a spring picnic.
Why are carrots associated with spring?
Nearly every grocery store stocks carrots all year long, so it can make us wonder why they’re associated with spring. A bit of Googling gives us the answer. As it turns out, carrots are in season two times each year; late spring and late fall.
In warm weather zones, spring carrots are ready for harvesting in April. This makes them perfect to use in Easter recipes! Roasted Carrots pair really well with an Easter ham or lamb. When the topic of Easter dessert comes up, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is the first thought of most people.
Since my recipe for carrot cake has already been shared here, cream cheese carrot cake bars are the next best thing!
How to Make Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Bars
My recipe for plain carrot cake bars starts with a cake mix, making them quick and easy to make. Because this is a scratch recipe, it takes a bit longer to make these cream cheese carrot cake bars. You won’t regret spending a few extra minutes, though!
These cream cheese carrot cake bars are buttery and chewy, similar to the texture of blondies. In the middle of the bars is a swirl of sweetened cream cheese, bringing creamy texture and a rich taste.
Making the batter for these bars couldn’t be easier. We’re using a simple one-bowl method.
In another bowl, you’ll combine the ingredients for the cream cheese swirl. It’s not cheesecake batter; it’s more like sweetened cream cheese. An egg yolk is added in for structure.
After you make the batter for the carrot cake bars, you’ll spread it into a baking pan. Then, you’ll place dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top. The fun part is using a knife to swirl the batters together. Then, it’s time to bake the cream cheese carrot cake bars!
Can you freeze cream cheese carrot cake bars?
As long as they are tightly wrapped, the carrot cake bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. If you won’t be freezing them, store the bars in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.
Other Carrot Cake Recipes
Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Bars
For the carrot cake bars:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded carrots
For the cream cheese swirl:
- 4 ounces cream cheese – room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare an 8x8 baking pan with non stick spray and set aside. Line the pan with parchment paper for easy removal. This is optional but makes the bars easier to cut.
Prepare the carrot cake batter:
- Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish.
- In a medium sized bowl, add the melted butter and brown sugar and mix to combine.
- Stir in the egg and vanilla.
- Add in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and stir again until completely combined.
- Fold in the shredded carrots. Set aside.
Prepare the cheesecake swirl:
- In a medium sized bowl, add in the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix until smooth and creamy.
Layering the bars:
- Pour about half of the carrot cake batter into the pan and spread it out with a spatula.
- Then take half of the cheesecake batter and drop spoonful’s over the carrot cake batter. Don’t swirl yet. Drop the remaining carrot cake batter by spoonfuls around the cheesecake batter and then finish with drops of the remaining cheesecake batter. Then, take a knife and swirl around until the two are swirled together.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes, the edges will be golden brown and there will be very little jiggle to the center.
- Cool completely before cutting. Store airtight in the refrigerator. They are delicious from the fridge!