Instant Pot Carrot Cake (with Cream Cheese Frosting)


Instant Pot Carrot Cake. A fantastic cake full of shredded carrots, fruits, nuts, and spices, with cream cheese frosting, from your Instant Pot pressure cooker. (Really! You can pressure cook a cake!)

I’ve crept into cooking cakes in my Instant Pot. Sure, I’ve cooked cheesecakes for years, but real cakes, made with flour? I was sure they wouldn’t work, and I was wrong. This carrot cake recipe is tender, moist, and fantastic.

Instant Pot Carrot Cake
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This cake shares the two key tools with my Instant Pot Cheesecake recipes: A 7-inch springform pan and a pressure cooker bakeware sling. The springform pan is the right size to fit in an Instant Pot, and the bakeware sling makes it easy to lift the pan in and out of the pot. (You can make it with a 7-inch cake pan if you have one. But if you’re an Instant Pot enthusiast, you probably have a springform pan for cheesecakes. And, If you are an Instant Pot fan who hasn’t cooked cheesecake yet, it should be next on your list…right after you finish this carrot cake. Try one of these cheesecake recipes: Instant Pot Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping, Instant Pot Chocolate Cheesecake, or Instant Pot Lemon Cheesecake. Or check out my Instant Pot Bundt cake, Instant Pot Molten Chocolate Bundt Cake.)

Ingredients for Instant Pot Carrot Cake
Ingredients

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
  • Fine sea salt
  • Carrots, grated
  • Raisins
  • Chopped pecans or walnuts

Frosting Ingredients

  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Fine sea salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Confectioners sugar

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to make Instant Pot Carrot Cake

Three bowls: chunky ingredients, dry ingredients, and springform pan with lliner
Prep the pan and ingredients

Prep the pan and ingredients

Grease a 7-inch baking pan or springform pan, add a 7-inch parchment paper circle, then grease and flour the pan. (We need to make sure the cake doesn’t stick.) In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and sea salt. In another bowl, mix the chunky ingredients: grated carrots, raisins, and pecans.

A stand mixer beating batter
Mix the Batter

Mix the batter

Beat the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light yellow and thickened, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the bowl of dry ingredients until they are combined. Add the bowl of chunky ingredients, mixing on low until they are combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

A pan of carrot cake batter on a baking sling in an Instant Pot
Cake in the pot, ready to cook

Pressure cook on Low Pressure for 40 minutes with a 15-minute Natural Release

Pour a cup of water into your Instant Pot or another pressure cooker. Put your cake pan on the baking sling and lower it into the pot. Lock the lid and pressure cook on Low Pressure for 40 minutes (Use Manual, Pressure Cook, or Pressure Cook – Custom adjusted to Low in an Instant Pot.) When the cooking time is over, let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure in the cooker.

A carrot cake on a cooling rack
Cool the cake

Cool the cake

Lift the baking sling out of the pressure cooker. Let the baking pan rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, then gently remove the cake from the pan, set it on a rack, and cool to room temperature, for about 3 hours.

Frost the cake:

While the cake is cooling, let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla, slowly add the sugar, and beat until the frosting is smooth, about 3 minutes. When the cake is done cooling, spread the frosting over it, slice it into pieces (I cut the cake into 8 pieces), and enjoy!

Equipment

Scaling

I don’t recommend scaling this recipe. A different cake pan size will change the cooking time, but I can’t say how much it will change. If you want a two-layer cake, bake each layer individually, or slice a single cake in half. (See “make ahead” and “split the cake” below.)

Make Ahead

You can make the cake ahead of time; if you want to make it way ahead, bake the cake, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 months, then thaw it out and make the frosting when you’re ready to serve.

Or, you can make and frost the cake ahead of time. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days; it is best not to leave cream cheese frosting out at room temperature. The leftover cake freezes beautifully. Wrap the individual pieces of cake and freeze them for up to 6 months.

Tips and Tricks

Cook with low pressure

I rarely use the low pressure setting on my Instant Pot; I’m usually in a hurry, and why wait? But in this case, the cakes came out better when I used low pressure. The high pressure cakes all had a big dome on top, and the low pressure cakes came out slightly fluffier. These are subtle differences; if you want to cook at high pressure, cut the pressure cooking time back to 35 minutes.

Slice off the domed top for a flat cake

Cooking with low pressure usually keeps the cake from having a dome on top, but not always. When the cake is for a celebration, I slice the dome off the cake with a bread knife to flatten the top. Once you frost the cake, no one will know. Then I dice up the dome into bite-sized pieces for a chef’s treat.

Split the cake in half for a two-layer cake

If you like the look of a two-layer cake or want an excuse for extra frosting, cut the cake in half to make two layers. After letting the cake cool, carefully use a bread knife to cut it in half, so it has a top and a bottom piece. Spread a good layer of frosting on top of the bottom piece, set the top piece on it, and frost as usual.

Shredding carrots

The quickest way to shred the carrots is with a food processor with a fine shredding disk. I’ve also used a box grater, and the results were good (but it took a fair amount of grating.) Don’t use pre-shredded carrots unless you’re desperate; freshly shredded carrots taste much better.

Greasing, Flouring, and Parchment round

I use a three-layer approach to ensure the cake does not stick to the pan. First, I coat the inside of the pan with regular cooking spray. Then I put in a 7-inch parchment paper round, and finally spray on a layer of baking spray (cooking spray with flour in it). The cake will easily come out of the pan, and I can peel off the parchment round without any rips or tears in my cake.

Cook the cake uncovered

I don’t cover my pan with foil when making this cake. The uncovered cake doesn’t come out soggy. (It’s a pretty moist cake anyhow). Covering the pan with foil adds a lot of cooking time. I kept increasing the cooking time, but the covered cake had a doughy, raw center. I gave up after a few tries because of how well the uncovered cake pan worked.

Adapted from: King Arthur’s Carrot Cake, KingArthurBaking.com

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A piece of carrot cake on a purple plate

Instant Pot Carrot Cake (with Cream Cheese Frosting)


  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices of cake 1x

Description

Instant Pot Carrot Cake. A fantastic cake full of shredded carrots, fruits, nuts, and spices, with cream cheese frosting, from your Instant Pot pressure cooker. (Really! You can pressure cook a cake!)

 


Cake

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ pound carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, room temp
  • ⅛ teaspoon (pinch) fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners sugar

Instructions

  1. Prep the pan and ingredients: Grease a 7-inch baking pan or springform pan (I use nonstick spray). Line the bottom with parchment, then grease and flour the pan and liner (I use baking spray). In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and sea salt. In another bowl, mix the chunky ingredients: grated carrots, raisins, and pecans.
  2. Mix the batter: Put the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a mixing bowl, and beat on medium-high speed until light yellow and thickened about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the bowl of dry ingredients until they are combined. Add the bowl of chunky ingredients, mixing on low until they are combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, then set the pan on a baking sling.
  3. Pressure cook on Low Pressure for 40 minutes with a 15-minute Natural Release: Put a cup of water in the Instant Pot, gently lower the pan into the pot with the baking sling, and lock the lid. Pressure Cook on Low Pressure for 40 minutes (Manual, Pressure Cook, or Pressure Cook-Custom adjusted to low pressure in an Instant Pot). Let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  4. Cool the cake: Lift the baking sling out of the pressure cooker. Let the baking pan rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, then gently remove the cake from the pan, set it on a rack, and cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.
  5. Frost the cake: While the cake is cooling, let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla, slowly add the sugar, and beat until the frosting is smooth, about 3 minutes. When the cake is done cooling, spread the frosting over it, slice it into pieces (I cut the cake into 8 pieces), and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Carrot Cake, Pressure Cooker Carrot Cake

My other Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes

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