Perfect Carrot Cake Bars with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting are the ultimate spring dessert bar! Brown butter makes this cream cheese frosting absolutely irresistible.
Every year around this time, I get a craving for really good carrot cake. In the past years I’ve made Carrot Bundt Cake, Healthy Carrot Cake Bars, and classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. This year, I’m going back to the bars, and I topped it with one of the best frostings I’ve ever had – brown butter cream cheese frosting.
While the carrot cake bars in this recipe is tender, moist, and perfectly spiced, I think the star of the show is that frosting. I mean, how can you go wrong with brown butter and cream cheese?!
Ingredients in Carrot Cake Bars
Melted Butter – a lot of carrot cake recipes call for oil, but I love the buttery flavor that comes from using melted butter.
Sugar – I had intended to use a combination of brown sugar and white sugar but my brown sugar was hard as a rock.
Grated Carrots – 2 whole cups! I love using my food processor to easily grate/shred carrots.
Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt
Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cloves – for that special carrot cake flavor
Brown Butter, Cream Cheese, Powdered Sugar, and Milk – for the frosting!
How to Make Carrot Cake Bars
This carrot cake bar recipe is simple to whip up. Simply whisk together the butter, sugar, egg and egg yolk, vanilla, and carrots for the wet ingredients. Next, add in the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until combined. Easy!
The bars get baked in a 9×13″ pan and while they are baking, you can make the frosting.
With the brown butter, you’ll want to do this while the bars are baking because you will melt/brown the butter and then it needs to cool off. This will make it easier to combine with the cream cheese. I stuck mine in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes so it was cooled off but not completely hardened.
Then you just beat the brown butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a splash of milk for the frosting. And try not to eat the whole bowl – it’s hard not to!!
Like this recipe? Check these out, too!
Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Frosting from Our Happy Mess
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 -2 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9x13" baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla, whisking well to combine.
- Add the grated carrots, stirring well to combine.
- Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and mix in with a spatula.
- Finally, add the flour, mixing until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
- Cool completely.
Make the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Melt the butter and continue to cook it until brown specks form on the bottom. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately. Transfer the butter to a heatproof container and then cool in the refrigerator until cooled, about 15 minutes. It shouldn't be completely hard/set up...more like room temperature butter.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the browned butter and cream cheese.
- Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
- Finally, add in the milk as needed for desired consistency.
- Frost the cooled carrot cake bars.
- Cut, serve, and enjoy!