Tropical Carrot Cake

Loaded with delicious flavors of pineapple and shredded coconut, this Tropical Carrot Cake is amazing. Further, enjoy the ease of starting with a spice cake mix, then doctoring it with freshly shredded carrots, orange juice, and chopped pecans. The cream cheese frosting is perfectly sweet, smooth, and creamy. This is one deliciously moist cake that you’ll be proud to serve.

Cream cheese frosting on a doctored spice cake featuring pineapple, orange juice, and fresh carrots.

Seriously, this cake is moist and delicious.

The spice cake alone is scrumptious, but add the shredded carrots and the tropical flavors in this recipe and WOW! It’s a whole new game.

The ease of starting with a boxed cake takes away a lot of measuring, time, and mess, plus cake mixes have really been perfected.

Tropical Carrot Cake

Making Tropical Carrot Cake

Cake Mixes

For this recipe, I grabbed a Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Spice Cake Mix. The quantity of water, eggs, and oil are based on this mix.

If you use a different cake mix, for instance a store brand, that’s not a problem. Specifically, follow their directions only substitute orange juice for half the water.

In a large bowl, add the water, orange juice, eggs, and oil. Stir these together first, then add the dry cake mix. Scrape the sides, as you already know to do.

After that, add in the crushed pineapple and coconut. Make sure the pineapple has been drained. I put mine in a strainer and press down to remove more of the juice.

Shredded Carrots

One time I bought pre-shredded carrots to save time. Ugh! I’ll never do that again. They were really dry.

The best part of freshly shredded carrots is their juice.

I know, I know…I just took out all the pineapple juice, now I want the carrot juice. What can I say?

Also, I didn’t shred the carrots on the smallest grate, I used the larger size. It only takes a minute.

Stir in the chopped pecans and it’s time to bake.

Shredded carrots next to a cheese grater.

Preparing Cake Pans

I wish I could remember who I got this tip from, but either way, I want to share it with you.

Coffee filters. Yes, I said coffee filters. You need 2 of them, or 1 for each cake pan.

Spray the sides and bottom of each cake pan. Turn a coffee filter upside down and press it into the bottom of the greased cake pan.

The filter will try to pop back to it’s original shape, but press down on it a few times and it’ll be fine. Spray a little on the top side of the filter, too.

When you pour the cake batter into the cake pan, the filter flattens out nicely.

Tropical Carrot Cake

Bake the Tropical Carrot Cake, but don’t follow the box instructions

Ok then, in a preheated 350° oven, bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Specifically, the timing here is different than on the cake box.

Why? All that moisture and the extra ingredients requires you to bake it longer.

Definitely check this one with toothpicks. If batter is sticking to the toothpick, keep it in the oven.

If you’re not sure what this looks like, do an experiment. Half way through the baking time, stick a toothpick into the cake.

See the batter stuck on the toothpick? Too raw yet, needs to keep baking.

When the cake is done, the toothpick should come out clean.

Cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake featuring orange juice, shredded carrots, and pineapple.

When you remove the cake from the oven, let them sit in their pans for about 5 minutes. Now remember, that coffee filter is on the bottom and that cake is going to release pretty easily.

Best bet is to place a wire rack over one cake pan at a time. Using hot pads, flip them over carefully, as the pan will still be hot. As a result, the cake should drop out.

Before, I use to turn the cake pan over and pray it would come out of the pan. Using a coffee filter makes a huge difference.

Don’t forget to peel off the coffee filter. If you try this method you’ll notice that the filter all but disappears into the cake, like it becomes transparent. Peel it off right away to help the cake cool, plus it comes off easier when it’s still warm.

Cream Cheese Frosting

I love this recipe. It’s so sweet and creamy and so perfect with this Tropical Carrot Cake.

First, you need an electric mixer for this. Also, the cream cheese and butter should be softened, or room temperature.

Second, beat the cream cheese and butter until they become light and fluffy.

Third, add the powdered sugar in batches. This spares you the “powdered sugar cloud” that can sometimes form over the bowl and descend onto everything.

Scrap the sides and add in the vanilla.

This should be a great consistency for frosting the cake, but this recipe makes enough to decorate, too.

Lastly, frost the cake, then add more powdered sugar if you plan on piping some flowers or other pattern. In other words, it might be too creamy to hold a shape, so add more powdered sugar to stiffen it up.

Let There Be Cake!

A cake lover? Me, too. Check out these other great recipes:

Or, visit the Cake Category section of my blog for other great cake recipes that come in different sizes.

A 13 x 9″ cake is great for traveling to a potluck, and an 8 x 8″ is sometimes just the right size.

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4.20 from 10 votes

Tropical Carrot Cake

A spice cake with added pineapple, carrots, coconut, and pecans frosted with cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: boxed cake, coconut, cream cheese, pecans, pineapple
Servings: 18
Calories: 392kcal
Author: Sweet Ordeal



  • 1 box spice cake mix (Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease sides and bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans. (See Notes for non-stick TIP.)


  • Make spice cake according to directions on box, (water, eggs, oil) except substitute orange juice for half the water. Mix until thoroughly blended.
  • Add pineapple and coconut. Stir. Add in carrots and pecans until mixed.
  • Pour evenly into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


  • Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar in batches. Scrape sides, add vanilla. Keep adding powdered sugar until desired consistency.
  • Makes enough frosting for a 2-layer 9" cake, plus extra for decorating. Extra powdered sugar may be needed if piping.


Non-stick TIP: Spray the sides and bottom of cake pans, then spread out a coffee filter on the bottom of each pan. Spray more on the top of the filter. The filter may want to pop back to it's original shape, but it flattens out when you pour the cake batter over it. Once the cake is baked, remove from oven and place a wire rack over the pans -- one at a time. Flip them over carefully, the pan is hot. The cake will release easily.


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 296mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 1869IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @sweetordeal or tag #sweetordeal!

Tropical Carrot Cake

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I love seeing how everyone decorates their cakes — y’all are so clever!

Also, let everyone know what you thought of the recipe. Below is an area where you can rate the recipe and leave a comment.

In short, each of you inspire me to keep searching for that next great recipe that I have to share.

Happy baking and have a super blessed day.

A carrot cake featuring coconut, pineapple, and orange juice.Tropical Carrot CakeCopyright © Sweet Ordeal. All content and images are copyright protected. Do not use any images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, make sure to re-write the recipe in your own words and only list ingredients making sure to link back to this post for the original recipe and directions.

4.20 from 10 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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    1. Hi Natalie: Great question, and yes, the cake can be frozen. Here’s what I would do — bake the cake and wrap the layers individually with wax paper. Then tightly seal them in something (Tupperware, or a bag). When you want to serve it, defrost the cake and then make your frosting. I don’t recommend you frosting the cake before freezing, because cream cheese can change texture when freezing. I hope this helps.