Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

carrot cake roll 2

So, I mentioned awhile back that last year for Easter I made like the best carrot cake ever. EVER.

And it’s pretty much been on my mind every day since.  I know, I know–I could make carrot cake any time of the year, but for some reason, I think of it as a springtime yummy.  Sooooooo, I’m taking full advantage of our fabulous spring weather, and I have an entire week of carrot cake recipes lined up for me you.

Interestingly enough, none of the recipes actually require making a carrot cake from scratch.

In fact, I’m not even going to give you a recipe for an actual carrot cake.

Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t really call this “Carrot Cake Week.”  But work with me, here.  Hopefully you won’t be disappointed.

I’m starting the week off with cinnamon rolls, because really, who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls?  Even the Tall Boy loves them, and he doesn’t typically go for sweets at breakfast–or any other time, for that matter.

I know it looks like this recipe has a million steps and is labor intensive, but it really isn’t!  Trust me, I’m not the most patient person in the kitchen, and these were really easy to make.  And if you haven’t tried making cinnamon rolls from scratch before, now is the time to try–these would be perfect for an Easter brunch.  The rolls themselves were not overly sweet,  but I corrected that post-haste by adding a huge gob of frosting on top.

What?  It’s not a cinnamon roll without frosting, is it?  Also, whoever came up with the idea of making cinnamon roll “breakfast food” ought to be sainted.

carrot cake roll 1


Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls
For the Rolls:
  • 1 cup milk, heated in the microwave for 1 minute or until it reaches around 100°F
  • 2¼ tsp (or 1 – 0.25 oz packet) active dry yeast, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
  • ½ packed cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup golden raisins
For the Frosting:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Scatter yeast over warmed milk and allow to activate for about 10-15 minutes, or until frothy.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and melted butter. Set aside.
  5. When yeast and milk mixture is bubbly, stir in the applesauce and grated carrots. Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until incorporated. Transfer dough onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, adding enough extra all-purpose flour (up to 3 tablespoons) to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Lightly flour work surface again and roll dough out to about ¼-inch thickness, about a 12-inch x 9-inch rectangle.
  7. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the perimeter.
  8. Scatter raisins & nuts evenly over the top and gently push into dough.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  10. Starting at a short end, carefully & tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style, making sure the filling doesn’t come out at the sides. Gently pinch seam closed. Cut the roll into 8 even pieces and place in prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  11. If you're making this ahead, go ahead and refrigerate now, up to overnight. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
  12. Remove the towel and brush the ½ tablespoon melted butter over the tops of the rolls. Bake rolls at 350°degrees for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden on top.
  13. While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, beat all glaze ingredients together with an electric mixer until well-combined and smooth.
  14. Remove rolls from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Drizzle with glaze and serve warm.
just barely adapted from Healthy Food For Living


I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, and Weekend Potluck!


  1. Hayley

    I swear, you and only you make carrot cake look appealing to me, the girl with the carrot-cake loving deficiency. And in cinnamon roll form? Giiiiirl, you know me too well!

    • Ashley

      If only you were here to eat them with me!

  2. Shirley

    I like carrot cake, but I don’t LOVE it. These rolls on the other hand looks like true LOVE to me. If I were to make cinnamon rolls, these would be the one.

    • Ashley

      We love cinnamon rolls around here. These turned out really well–the Tall Boy loved ’em! =)

  3. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Oh my goodness gracious. Carrot cake is my favorite cake ever, and cinnamon rolls are my vice. What a great combination! I bet these just melted in your mouth!

    • Ashley

      I’m fairly partial to carrot cake myself, Georgia, and I really liked how these turned out. So yummy!

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Chandra! Come spend the weekend with us, and I’ll make ’em for you!

  4. Nancy

    These sound right down my alley. I love a good cinnamon roll. Are they all gone? I will have to give them a try.

    • Ashley

      Sorry, they’re all gone. =( The Tall Boy and I pretty much ate the entire pan of them in one sitting!

  5. BruCrew Life

    You are speaking my language…I love carrot cake so much!!! And you just put it in a cinnamon roll? I should saint you:-) These sound amazing!!! You can just mail me all your extras:-)

    • Ashley

      Hmm, Saint Ashley…that doesn’t sound half bad! =)

    • Ashley

      Thank you so much, Amy! Can’t wait to see your cookies tomorrow!

  6. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    I love carrot cake too. My husband is the true lover, however. I love tantalizing him with desserts that he’ll love and these are definitely one that he would not be able to resist!

  7. Terrell

    These did turn out wonderful, but I had to add much more flour than the recipe calls for to get it to a point where it could be kneaded. Just curious if the 1.5 cups of flour is accurate? BTW, I incorporated the raisins into the dough and it really worked out very nicely.



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Interestingly enough, I didn’t grow up with an interest in cooking.  In fact, I informed my mother on multiple occasions that I was not getting an advanced education so I could spend my evenings preparing meals.

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