Making this Instant Pot Carrot Cake is a unique way to use your Instant Pot. It has all the deliciousness of a baked cake, but without having to use the oven. The texture is denser and packed with flavor.
I love carrot cake and have always baked it in the oven, but I’ve now made it a few times in the Instant Pot and I find it just as easy to make. The only difference is that the cake turns out a bit more dense that it might in the oven, because it’s being cooked under steam.
You can make one cake for a simple single-layer cake, or repeat the process for a 2-layer cake. If you have two silicon cake pans and a tall wire rack, you can actually cook two cakes at the same time in the Instant Pot to save time.
Equipment You’ll Need
- Stainless steel or silicon cake pan – * see below
- Trivet with handles – needed to keep the pan off the bottom of the inner pot and to easily lift it out after cooking.
For this recipe, you’ll need to have at least one cake pan that will fit inside your Instant Pot. You can use stainless steel or silicon. Glass cake pans can also be used with caution. You need to make sure the manufacturer guarantees it for cooking under pressure.
I like to use a 7″ round silicon pan for making cakes. It fits right into my 6-quart Instant Pot and it makes it very easy to get the cake out without it sticking. No need for any flouring or greasing.
Instant Pot also has two official cake pans that fit in the 6-quart. One is a springform pan and one is a regular cake pan.
Ingredients You Need
- All-purpose flour – All purpose flour is the easiest to use for this recipe. You can also use cake flour, if you wish.
- Baking soda
- Seasonings: salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice
- Eggs – Set them out 10 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature.
- White sugar / brown sugar – I use a mix of white and brown for more depth of flavor.
- Unsweetened apple sauce – The apple sauce replaces some of the oil so it’s less heavy. Be sure to use unsweetened, or you should also reduce the amount of sugar.
- Vegetable oil
- Vanilla extract
- Grated carrots – You might think you’re adding too many carrots, but it needs the carrots to be sweet and tender, so don’t skimp.
- Chopped walnuts – You can leave out the walnuts if you’re not a nut fan, or replace with slivered almonds.
- Cream cheese frosting – You can buy cream cheese frosting or make your own. I find it very easy to make your own and it tastes better, but do whatever is convenient for you.
Why Use An Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.
How to Make Instant Pot Carrot Cake
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice until well mixed.
In another bowl, beat together the eggs, white and brown sugars, apple sauce, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
Slowly incorporate the dry mix into the batter and beat until combined. Stir in the carrot and nuts.
Add the batter to a silicon baking round or non-stick springform pan.
Add a cup of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot inner pot. Place the trivet inside. Set the cake pan on the trivet.
Lock the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and cook on low pressure for 35 minutes. Allow a 10-minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure. Carefully take the lid off so as not to dump water on top of the cake. Remove the cake from the Instant Pot and cool for 10 minutes, then release it from the pan and cool completely.
For a 1-layer cake, frost the cake once completely cooled and serve. It takes about one to two hours to fully cool the cake, so keep that in mind if you’re doing two layers.
For a 2-layer cake, repeat the process. Frost and stack the layers.
How to Frost a Carrot Cake
I use cream cheese frosting to ice my carrot cake. That’s the most accepted frosting for this cake. The tart flavor of the cream cheese goes unbelievably well with the spices in the cake.
Here’s our recipe for cream cheese frosting. It turns out really light and fluffe. Mix up a batch and prepare to frost!
Some carrot cakes are built up into 2 layers with frosting between the layers. You can make two cakes by doubling the recipe below. Or just make a single cake, which is great all on its own.
Set one layer of the cake on a cake plate. Add a thick layer of cream cheese frosting to the top of the cake. Now set the second cake layer on top and press gently to make sure the two are well stuck together.
Frost the entire cake as one, making sure to smooth the frosting all around, so you can no longer see the layers. I like to add a nice smooth layer, then go back with extra frosting and make peaks all around for texture.
You can sprinkle the extra walnuts on top for garnish.
Additional Helpful Tips
- There’s no need to cover the cake with tin foil when cooking in the Instant Pot. I see a lot of cooks recommend doing it to keep the water off the top off of the cake, but I’ve never had a problem with dripping water. Just make sure you open the lid carefully and don’t tilt it over the top of the cake.
- Don’t use the “cake” preset on your Instant Pot. It’s best to set the Instant Pot on LOW pressure cook for 35 minutes. This will help it rise more and make it less dense.
- You don’t have to use apple sauce in your carrot cake. Just use 2/3 cup vegetable oil (total) instead of apple sauce and oil.
- I use slivered almonds in my carrot cake because I don’t love walnuts. You can use pecans, walnuts, almonds, or don’t put in any nuts at all. Make it how you like it.
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Instant Pot Carrot Cake
Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon all spice
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
- 2 cups cream cheese frosting
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice until well mixed.
- In another bowl, beat together the eggs, white and brown sugars, apple sauce, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
- Slowly incorporate the dry mix into the batter and beat until combined. Stir in the carrot and nuts.
- Add the batter to a silicon baking round or non-stick springform pan.
- Add a cup of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot inner pot. Place the trivet inside. Set the cake pan on the trivet.
- Lock the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and cook on low pressure for 35 minutes. Allow a 10-minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure. Carefully take the lid off so as not to dump water on top of the cake. Remove the cake from the Instant Pot and cool for 10 minutes, then release it from the pan and cool completely.
- For a 1-layer cake, frost the cake once completely cooled and serve.
- For a 2-layer cake, repeat the process.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes over at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, and you’ll find air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.