12 Store-Bought Carrot Cakes, From Worst To First - The Daily Meal (2024)


12 Store-Bought Carrot Cakes, From Worst To First - The Daily Meal (1)

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ByTrevor Carlson|

When you think about it, the idea of making a dessert out of carrots is pretty bonkers. Considering their woody earthiness, transforming carrots into a sweet treat feels like an unlikely proposition. But the reality is that carrot cake is perhaps the most alluring form of this bright orange root vegetable.

Carrots have a sweetness to them that allows them to be incorporated well beyond savory dishes, into sweet applications. They also have a nice crunch, which can bring an exciting texture to the dishes they're included in. Carrot cake capitalizes on these advantages, showcasing the delicious complexity of the humble carrot in all of its glory. Carrot cake is typically made with ingredients like grated carrots, brown sugar, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The cake is often accentuated with crumbles of walnuts, pecans, or raisins. Carrot cake is slathered with cream cheese icing, which adds a luscious, tangy twist to its spiced sweetness.

Tasty and rewarding as it is, making carrot cake from scratch — or just about any cake, for that matter — is fairly time-consuming. It's definitely way easier to just score a store-bought carrot cake and dig in when a craving hits. The problem is that there can be huge differences between store-bought cakes. The consistency of the cake, the sweetness of the icing, and the overall balance of flavors are some of the factors at play. Read on to see which store-bought carrot cakes to steer clear of, and which ones are worth every penny.

12. Walmart

Walmart is a massive grocery store chain with thousands of locations across the country.Well-known for its affordable prices, Walmart is also highly accessible to many shoppers. Each day, the companyserves approximately 40 million shoppers and rakes in more than $1.5 billion.Walmart's huge inventory extends into its bakery section,where customers can find everything from blueberry muffins to cinnamon rolls to cheesecake. The store also carries slices of carrot cake.

The chain's carrot cake is sliced into a square and weighs just over seven ounces. This is enough to share with another person, in our opinion. Like most of Walmart's products, this carrot cake is very reasonably priced. Its low cost is pretty much the best thing about it.

One Walmart customer summed it up by saying, "Not my favorite carrot cake. Looks nice, but the taste is very 'store-bought cake' and has a kind of chemical, processed taste." This makes sense when you take a peek at this carrot cake's lengthy list of ingredients. That said, you get what you pay for — and this carrot cake is dirt cheap. The truth is that if you're craving sweets on a tight budget, then it's hard to beat a good deal like this. But if you have a few more bucks to spare, then you can easily score a carrot cake that's lightyears better than this.

11. Kowalski's

With 11 locations scattered around the area of Minneapolis, Kowalski's is a humble regional chain of grocery stores that first opened its doors back in the 1980s.The company smartly added a bakery hub in 1991 in order to provide its stores with fresh baked goods. This focus on delivering high-quality carries on in its stores today. Kowalski's even offers cooking classes and dinner parties with chefs.

Kowalski's bakery department offers everything from seven-layer bars and ginger cookies to different kinds of brownies. The store also whips up its own carrot cake, which is made with carrots, walnuts, raisins, and a hint of pineapple for some extra fruity sweetness. It's also topped with cream cheese icing. This carrot cake certainly has its strengths, starting with its visual appeal. The crumbled nuts sprinkled around the base of the cake give it some decorative charm, while a dollop of orange icing on top adds some beautiful color. If you don't want a whole cake, you can also get individual slices to go.

At the end of the day, what really matters here is the taste of the cake. While we certainly expect some level of sweetness in carrot cake, Kowalski's carrot cake is a bit too heavy on sugar. If the frosting were a little less sweet, perhaps this would taste more balanced. The good news is that there are better carrot cakes sold at different grocery stores.

10. Target

Favorite Day is a Target brand that makes a wide range of sweet treats and baked goods.These products include everything from ice cream sandwiches and apple pies to chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes. Favorite Day also makes a carrot cake that's made with two tiers.

This double-layered carrot cake is made with ingredients that include sugar, carrots, and cream cheese. We like that this carrot cake has two layers since the frosting in the middle makes this cake extra moist and creamy. The cake itself is also fairly thick and filling. The issue here is the taste of the carrot cake itself, which is a bit one-note, and a look at the ingredients tells us why. According to the ingredient label, there isn't any ginger, brown sugar, or nutmeg used in this carrot cake. The absence of spices in this carrot cake mix creates a rather bland-tasting experience.

There are also no nuts in the recipe, which detracts from the texture of this carrot cake. At the same time, this could be a good option for those who actually prefer the smoother texture of a carrot cake without any nuts. It's nice that Target has a whole carrot cake ready to go like this, which can come in handy when you have a sweet tooth. However, it still leaves much to be desired.

9. Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter is a chain of over 250 grocery stores that's now owned by Kroger. The company's locations are mostly scattered around the Southeast in Virginia and the Carolinas. Harris Teeter is well-known for its VIC card that offers customers special deals and discounts. The grocery store is also known to have a fairly good carrot cake that comes in a variety of sizes.

Harris Teeter's carrot cake has a long list of ingredients, including sugar, cream cheese, carrots, cinnamon, and raisins. There are also a couple of different types of nuts, including walnuts and pecans. Most of the time, carrot cakes either have one or the other, so we appreciate the inclusion of both in this recipe. Together, they add some additional texture and flavor complexity to the cake that makes it extra tasty. The pecans, with their naturally sweet and buttery flavor, truly give the carrot cake a delicious boost.

Tasty as it is, this carrot cake is almost exceedingly sweet, though. One single slice is nearly 70% of the daily recommended sugar intake. We understand that this dessert is supposed to have some level of sweetness, but we have to admit that this feels a bit excessive. Even so, there's no denying a slice is a surefire way to satisfy your sweet tooth, and we love that it comes in three different sizes. At Harris Teeter, you can score a whole carrot cake, a half portion, or just a single slice.

8. Fred Meyer

Fred Meyer is a chain of grocery stores with nearly 150 locations that are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest. The company has an impressive bakery department with a wide range of baked goods to pick from. Some of these offerings include donuts and danishes along with cakes like red velvet cake and pineapple upside-down cake. The store also makes carrot cake,which is available in whole cakes and smaller portions in the form of slices. There are a few things about this carrot cake that nudge it ahead of some of its competitors.

One of the best things about this carrot cake is the frosting. While the other carrot cakes ranked lower on this list have overly sweet frosting, this carrot cake doesn't make the same mistake. Sure, the cream cheese frosting on this cake contains some sugar, but it's not so heavy-handed that it overpowers the tanginess of the cream cheese. Instead, the sugar feels more balanced, which allows the other flavors of the cake to shine through with more clarity. The nutmeg and cinnamon in this carrot cake also come through, which gives this carrot cake a deeper level of flavor. Overall, while there's nothing about this carrot cake that makes it truly exceptional, it's still a solid store-bought carrot cake that's very easy to enjoy.

7. Albertsons

Albertsons has close to 400 grocery stores mostly located in and around the West Coast. The company offers various types of carrot cake that have different recipes, depending on which one you buy. There is a whole cake and there are also single-serving slices.

The single-serving slice of carrot cake at Albertsons is cut into a small square and has a shorter list of ingredients. Some of these ingredients include sugar, cream cheese, and crushed pineapple. The crushed pineapple adds some extra moisture to the cake, while also imparting a hint of fruity sweetness. There are little flecks of carrots and bits of walnuts visible in the cake, which both add some nice texture to contrast the cake's bounciness.

The whole carrot cake has a much longer list of ingredients. One of the most noticeable differences in the whole carrot cake is the addition of raisins and coconut. These ingredients give the carrot cake more depth and texture, making it tastier than a single slice of cake. At the same time, raisins can be particularly divisive, since their flavor is often either loved or despised, so it's nice to have a choice in the matter.Overall, we'd recommend the whole cake over a single slice of it.

6. Two-Bite

Carrot cake is delicious, but sometimes you want to enjoy the taste without having to splurge on a whole cake. Cupcakes are the perfect solution to this dilemma, and Two-Bite Cupcakes offers up one of the tastiest options on the market. You can find Two-Bite carrot cake cupcakes at many other grocery stores across the country, too, including Sam's,Albertsons, and Kroger.

There's a lot to appreciate about these carrot cake cupcakes. For starters, they're the perfect size for a little snack — hence the name, Two-Bite Cupcakes. It's easy to have one of these cupcakes and get your fix without feeling too indulgent. They also come with a graham cookie crumble that makes a wonderful pairing with the flavor of carrot cake. These cupcakes are moist with just the right amount of carrots, and the cream cheese frosting is an exquisite blend of sweet and tangy. There are no nuts in this treat, making them lack that extra crunch, but they are a great option for those with nut allergies. All in all, these carrot cake cupcakes are some of the best store-bought versions of carrot cake we've come across.

5. Whole Foods

Since opening its first store in 1980, Whole Foods has bloomed into a large, well-known chain with a lot to offer.With over 500 locations across the country, Whole Foods has a sprawling presence on the market along with a massive inventory. The company is popular for its high-quality products, including top-notch produce, meat, and baked goods. At Whole Foods, you can expect to find everything from butter croissants and organic maple syrup to creamy peanut butter and marinated olives.

Whole Foods is a step up compared to a lot of other grocery store chains, thanks to its elevated line of healthier, fresher products. The company's aim to offer high-quality goods also crosses over into its bakery department.The companyhas banned the use of more than 260 preservatives and other additives in its baked goods. This health-conscious choice leads to fresher quality and better taste, which gives its carrot cake a boost of flavor.

On top of that, when someone on Reddit asked the internet what dessert they prefer at Whole Foods, many people recommended the carrot cake. Whole Foods' carrot cake is made with ingredients that include the usual suspects: carrots, shredded coconut, crushed pineapple, walnuts, cream cheese frosting, and vanilla. The cake is moist and sweet, and the flavor of coconut and pineapple complements the carrots. All in all, there's no doubt that this is a delicious carrot cake. That said, it's not exactly cheap — but you get what you pay for.

4. Kroger

Boasting over 1,200 locations that span 16 states, Kroger is another large-scale grocery store chain with a lot to offer. Simple Truth is a private label by Kroger, and the brand is aimed at providing higher-quality products for affordable prices. Many products in the Simple Truth line are known for being fair trade, organic, and free from artificial preservatives. Luckily for us, Simple Truth also happens to make a carrot cake.

One of the things that makes Simple Truth's carrot cake exceptional is the ingredients. If you take a peek at what's listed, you'll notice that there aren't many weird-sounding chemicals or artificial ingredients — which can't be said for a lot of the other carrots cakes on the lower end of this ranking. Instead, as the brand's namesake suggests, the ingredients are simple. This cake is made with straightforward ingredients, including carrots, sugar, cream cheese, coconut, cinnamon, and buttermilk.

Decoratively, this cake definitely doesn't have much going on for it. But how much does that really matter? At the end of the day, what we're really after is a delicious carrot cake. Plain as it looks, this is still seriously tasty — and you can rest easy knowing that it's made with simple ingredients.

3. The Fresh Market

If you love carrot cake, shopping at The Fresh Market is a good move. The grocery store has been known to carry three different types of carrot cake,including an eight-inch carrot cake, a carrot bar cake, and a carrot cake Napoleon. The grocery even generously provides a carrot cake recipe for customers interested in making a fresh batch from scratch at home.

The first ingredient in Fresh Market's eight-inch carrot cake is carrots. That shouldn't seem like such a big deal, but it's actually a refreshing change since so many other recipes start with sugar. Because carrots are so prominent in the recipe, you can really taste the earthiness of the carrots in this cake, which is truly delightful. The brown sugar adds notes of toasty sweetness, while the pineapple juice infuses a pleasing hint of tropical tartness.

The carrot bar cake is shaped like a thick rectangle and comes with three layers. The three layers of cake in this carrot bar cake give it an extra luxurious feel, as your fork moves through continuous layers of frosting. The carrot bar cake also has a hint of sweetened dried cranberries, which provides a surprising and tasty twist. The addition of cranberries in this carrot cake gives it a deliciously creative edge that helps it beat out most of its competitors.

2. Wegmans

12 Store-Bought Carrot Cakes, From Worst To First - The Daily Meal (12)


With more than 100 stores open for business around the Northeast, Wegmans has created a good reputation for itself over the years. The company is known for its excellent customer service, wide selection, and its own brand of products that tend to be of a much higher caliber compared to other generic store brands.

The store's bakery department is seriously impressive for a chain grocery store, offering everything from triple chocolate mousse cakes to creamy banana pudding. Among these sweet treats, you'll find carrot cake in the form of whole cakes or single slices.The good news is that, unlike some of the other carrot cake entries on this list, the whole cakes and single slices have the same recipe, so you won't be thrown through a loop after trying both. Each of them tastes exactly alike.

Wegmans' carrot cake has a moist stickiness that gives it an ultra-decadent consistency. Made with cinnamon and nutmeg, this carrot cake features a sparkle of spice that's irresistibly delicious. There are also chopped raisins and walnuts inside of it that pair perfectly with the cake and frosting. Wegmans isn't stingy with the cream cheese frosting either, laying it on nice and thick. When a craving for carrot cake strikes and you want to conveniently pick one up real quick from a grocery store, there's no doubt that Wegmans beats out most of the competition.

1. Publix

Publix takes the cake, earning the top slot for a variety of reasons. The company's carrot bar cake uses real carrots, which you can easily see and taste in the cake. It's also generous with the cinnamon, which gives the cake a bolder, richer flavor. The cream cheese icing is sweet and tangy, yet thick enough to stick to the cake without being overly dense. In fact, people often say that this carrot cake is the best they've ever had.

This carrot cake is also very affordable, which makes it especially tempting to scoop one up on a regular basis. Let's face it — no one wants to break the bank over the fleeting frenzy of devouring a slice of cake. Even though it may not contain particularly fancy ingredients, this carrot cake is absolutely delicious. It strikes that ever-elusive balance of sweetness and tanginess with miraculous accuracy.

It's also the perfect portion. Sometimes, scoring a whole cake is just too much. But this bar of carrot cake is enough to easily split with someone else and still have your fill without feeling overly indulgent. The container that it comes in also makes it easy to seal and lock in the cake's freshness, which means you can take your time pecking at this with a fork without fear of it drying out. All things considered, Publix's carrot bar cake is the one that we always reach for.

12 Store-Bought Carrot Cakes, From Worst To First - The Daily Meal (2024)


How many calories are in a store bought carrot cake? ›

The number of calories in a slice of carrot cake varies based on brand, the size of the slice and how it's made. However, commercial brands can range between 350 and 500 calories per 100-gram serving.

Does carrot cake count as one of your 5 a day? ›

NHS guidelines state that three heaped tablespoons of cooked carrots counts as a portion, which is about 60g. This suggests that a whole cake contains more than eight portions of carrots, so a largish slice ought to count as one of your five-a-day.

Is carrot cake unhealthy? ›

Carrot cake is one of those sneaky little desserts that make you believe you're being virtuous (it's got carrots!), but it can be quite high in sugar and calories. One generous slice of traditional carrot cake with cream cheese frosting has around 650 calories.

Is Publix carrot cake good? ›

The Publix Carrot Cake is the closest thing to our Best Carrot Cake you'll get, without any of the work. Frosted with cream cheese frosting and decorated with cute carrots, it's a favorite of many Southerners come springtime.

What happens if I eat 5 carrots a day? ›

Eating carrots in moderation is good for your health. Eating carrots in excess, however, can cause a condition called carotenemia. This refers to yellowish discoloration of the skin because of the deposition of a substance called beta-carotene that is present in carrots.

What is the healthiest fruit in the world? ›

Blueberries take the title of healthiest fruit. Blueberries' stunning hue comes from their anthocyanins — an antioxidant believed to be responsible for their numerous health benefits. Long-term studies suggest that including blueberries in your regular lineup may lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Which foods do not count as the 5 A Day? ›

When eaten as part of a meal, potatoes are generally used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, pasta or rice. Because of this, they don't count towards your 5 A Day. Other vegetables that don't count towards your 5 A Day are yams, cassava and plantain.

What is the most unhealthiest cake in the world? ›

Unhealthiest: Cheesecake

Depending on where you order or buy your cheesecake, one slice can have anywhere between 300 and 1,000 calories!

Why does my carrot cake taste weird? ›

There are a few reasons why your carrot cake might taste bitter. Too much baking soda: Baking soda is a leavening agent that helps to make cakes rise. However, too much baking soda can give a cake a bitter taste. If you are using a recipe that calls for baking soda, be sure to measure it carefully.

Why is Publix carrot cake so good? ›

Carrot cake is a recipe Publix Bakery does very well—and, in a few forms, including bar cakes and whole cakes reserved for special occasions or celebrations. “The Publix's Carrot Cake is moist and generously spiced, made and filled with grated carrots and pecans, and topped with a cream cheese icing,” Best says.

Does Aldi have carrot cake? ›

It was not too sweet. We got another one for Easter." A review from the Aldi Reviewer even went as far as to claim this carrot cake as "one of the best cakes" ever purchased at the store, thanks to its "moist cake and rich cream cheese frosting" that tastes just as good as it looks.

Why do people eat carrot cake? ›

Carrot cake isn't just a delightful treat; it's also packed with nutrients that contribute to overall health. Contrary to what one might expect, this cake offers more than just flavour; it includes carrots which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

How many calories are in a Walmart carrot cake? ›

Walmart Inc Carrot Cake, with Rich Cream Cheese Icing (1 cake) contains 39g total carbs, 38.5g net carbs, 22g fat, 2g protein, and 360 calories.

Is carrot cake healthier than regular cake? ›

The Calorie Content of Carrot Cake vs.

However, even though carrot cake has a higher fat content, it can bit a healthier choice compared to regular cakes especially because carrot cake is made with whole wheat flour, which is a healthier choice of flour, unlike white flour.

Why is carrot cake so calorie dense? ›

Carrot cake usually contains more saturated fat than fruit cake thanks to the frosting, which is typically made from cream cheese. The higher fat content also means it's higher in calories. Carrot cake is lower in fibre, so may not be as filling.


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