Instant Pot Carrot Cake

This Instant Pot carrot cake is very moist and is perfectly spiced. It also has a slightly more dense texture than an oven-baked cake that is comparable with a quick bread.

(Scroll through for picture tutorial.)

Slice of carrot cake on white plate with whole cake in background.

 

When growing up, carrot cake was my second favorite cake in the world. My Aunt Maxine made the best carrot cake in the family and I “ordered” one for pretty much every Thanksgiving. I loved (and still love) the taste of fall spices! And still to this day, I can eat a good cream cheese frosting by the spoonful. And I did with the leftovers.

Earlier this week, I posted a meme about putting vegetables in an Instant Pot, pressing the “cake” button, but the veggies don’t become cake. And I literally thought about carrot cake for the rest of the day. So this post and recipe are a direct result of me trying to prove that meme wrong. You can put vegetables in and get this delicious Instant Pot CARROT CAKE!

 

Two slices of carrot cake on whites plate with whole cake in background.

 

The Process

Stick of softened butter in mixing bowl with sugar on top.

Add butter and sugar to large mixing bowl.

 

Butter and sugar creamed together in mixing bowl.

Using a hand mixer, “cream” together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

 

Butter and sugar topped with 2 eggs and vanilla extract.

Then add eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.

 

Butter, sugar, and eggs mixture in mixing bowl topped with spices.

Next, add spices…

 

Butter, eggs, and sugar combined with spices in mixing bowl.

…and mix until fully combined.

 

Butter, eggs, and sugar mixture topped with finely grated carrots.

Add carrots to bowl…

 

Butter, eggs, and sugar mixture combined with grated carrots.

…and mix together with a rubber spatula. At this point, the mix will look like it has curdled, but it hasn’t.

 

Flour and rubber spatula in mixing bowl.

Add flour to bowl…

 

Carrot cake batter in mixing bowl with rubber spatula.

…and mix gently with a rubber spatula until fully combined, making sure to scrape the edges of the bowl.

 

Carrot cake batter in 7x3-inch cheesecake pan.

Spray a 7×3 cheesecake or springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and spread out as evenly as you can. Cover pan with foil to keep out condensation.

 

7-inch cheesecake pan topped with aluminum foil inside Instant Pot.

Add 3-inch trivet and 1 1/2 cups water to cooker. Place pan on top of trivet. Lock lid and cook for 60 minutes at high pressure. Once cook time is complete, allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Then quick-release remaining pressure. Remove pan from cooker and uncover. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Then allow cake to cool to room temperature before icing.

 

Cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract in mixing bowl.

Meanwhile… Add cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt to mixing bowl.

 

Butter and vanilla whipped together.

Using a had hand mixer, whip until fully combined.

 

Cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl.

Then add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending completely before adding more.

 

And the AMAZING Result…

Instant Pot carrot cake on cutting board with spatula.

 

Tips for Making this Instant Pot Carrot Cake

There’s just a couple things I would recommend when making this recipe. First thing to be mindful of is not mixing the flour with a mixer of any kind, but rather a rubber spatula. While you can definitely get away with this when baking in an oven, due to the way Instant Pots bake things, you’ll want to minimize anything that can make the texture more dense or chewy. Well, the more you mix flour, the more gluten is developed. So, for this reason, I prefer to hand mix cakes before cooking in the IP.

Secondly, this frosting is very soft! So when icing your cake, the frosting will pretty much spread itself. I didn’t even touch the sides of the cake. I simply spread the frosting over the edges and let gravity do the work. And then, once frosting was down the sides, I set the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes so that it would set and not continue spreading. Please note that I live in Florida and cooked this cake on a summer day, so you may not have that same issue; just something to be aware of.

 

FAQs

Cooking something for 60 minutes seems like a long time! Well, if you were boiling this cake in the liquid, 60 minutes would be way overboard. But with this method, the pan is sitting on top of an elevated trivet, so you’re not boiling it, you’re steaming it.

Why is the cook time so long? When “baking” in a pressure cooker, what you’re actually doing is steaming with wet heat, rather than baking with dry heat. The temperature inside of a pressure cooker will reach 212 degrees F, which is significantly lower than what you would set your oven (around 400F). 

Can I use store-bought matchstick carrots? The short answer is no. While matchstick carrots are very thin, they are not nearly fine enough for use in a carrot cake. There are few things as disappointing as eating crunchy carrots inside a carrot cake. What I recommend doing is using the smallest grater (other than a microplane) that you have. And while you can you a food processor, they often leave pieces that are not ideally small enough.

Why not just use the oven? There are many ways to answer this question (eg. I’m living in a camper, my oven is broken, it’s too hot outside, etc.). But my new favorite answer is this: because I like cooking in my pot! And I can!

 

★ Did you make this Instant Pot Carrot Cake?

Please give it a star rating below! ★

Slice of carrot cake on white plate with whole cake in background.

Instant Pot Carrot Cake

This cake is very moist and has a slightly more dense texture that an oven-baked cake, similar to a quick bread. But the really dangerous part is the cream cheese frosting!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 654kcal
Author: Gary White

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 oz. carrots finely grated
  • 2 cups self-rising flour

Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Cake

  • Add butter and sugar to large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, “cream” together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Next, add spices and mix until fully combined.
  • Add carrots to bowl and mix together with a rubber spatula. At this point, the mix will look like it has curdled, but it hasn’t.
  • Add flour to bowl and mix gently with a rubber spatula until fully combined, making sure to scrape the edges of the bowl.
  • Spray a 7×3 cheesecake or springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and spread out as evenly as you can. Cover pan with foil to keep out condensation.
  • Add 3-inch trivet and 1 1/2 cups water to cooker. Place pan on top of trivet. Lock lid and cook for 60 minutes at high pressure.
  • Once cook time is complete, allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Then quick-release remaining pressure. Remove pan from cooker and uncover. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Then allow cake to cool to room temperature before icing.

Frosting

  • Meanwhile… Add cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt to mixing bowl. Using a had hand mixer, whip until fully combined.
  • Then add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending completely before adding more.
  • When it's time to add the frosting to the cake, place big spoonfuls in the middle of the top of the cake. Then gently spread outwards. Since the frosting is so soft, you should be able just let it fall over the sides.
  • Once the cake is iced, place in the fridge for 30 minutes so that the frosting sets.

Notes

Once you add the flour, I recommend not mixing with a mixer of any kind beyond that point, but rather a rubber spatula. While you can definitely get away with this when baking in an oven, due to the way Instant Pots bake things, you'll want to minimize anything that can make the texture more dense or chewy. Well, the more you mix flour, the more gluten is developed. So, for this reason, I prefer to hand mix cakes before cooking in the IP.
This frosting is very soft! So when icing your cake, the frosting will pretty much spread itself. I didn't even touch the sides of the cake. I simply spread the frosting over the edges and let gravity do the work. And then, once frosting was down the sides, I set the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes so that it would set and not continue spreading. Please note that I live in Florida and cooked this cake on a summer day, so you may not have that same issue; just something to be aware of.

FAQs

Cooking something for 60 minutes seems like a long time! Well, if you were boiling this cake in the liquid, 60 minutes would be way overboard. But with this method, the pan is sitting on top of an elevated trivet, so you're not boiling it, you're steaming it.
Why is the cook time so long? When "baking" in a pressure cooker, what you're actually doing is steaming with wet heat, rather than baking with dry heat. The temperature inside of a pressure cooker will reach 212 degrees F, which is significantly lower than what you would set your oven (around 400F). 
Can I use store-bought matchstick carrots? No. While matchstick carrots are very thin, they are not nearly fine enough for use in a carrot cake and may yield crunchy carrots inside the cake. I recommend using the smallest grater (other than a microplane) that you have. And while you can you a food processor, they often leave larger pieces.
Why not just use the oven? There are many ways to answer this question (eg. I'm living in a camper, my oven is broken, it's too hot outside, etc.). But my new favorite answer is this: because I like cooking in my pot! And I can!

Nutrition

Calories: 654kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 440mg | Potassium: 131mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 3517IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Janice
    August 16, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    What size instant pot are you using? I have a 3 Qt. Will this recipe work?

    • Reply
      Gary White
      August 17, 2019 at 6:33 am

      We use a 6qt IP to write all of our recipes. It barely fits in there so, unfortunately, I don’t think it will work for a 3qt.

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