Carrot Bars with Carrot Cream Frosting

The marriage of the familiar flavors of carrot cake and zucchini bread creates these dense, cake-like bars. Firefly’s kitchen manager, Linda Harkness, came up with the concept one day when we had heaps of extra Yin Yang Carrots on hand. 

While we sacrifice a few good microbes in the baking, there are plenty of raw Yin Yang Carrots in the frosting, a zippy, gingery addition to the sweet cream cheese.

These moist and hearty bars make a great healthy dessert or snack and are totally kid- and picky eater–approved. Make them gluten-free by substituting an all-purpose gluten-free baking mix for the flours, and plan on a few extra minutes in the oven.

Photography by Charity Burggraaf

Photography by Charity Burggraaf


Makes 16 to 20 bars

  • 11⁄2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (11⁄2 sticks) butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup Yin Yang Carrots 
  • 11⁄2 cups (about 2 medium) finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 3/4 cup crushed canned pineapple, drained (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1⁄2 cup Yin Yang Carrots 
  • 8 ounces cream cheese 
  • 1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) butter 
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and thoroughly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.

In another large bowl, using an electric mixer or by hand, beat the melted butter and brown sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Add the yogurt and beat to combine. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until well combined.

Take the carrots out of the jar with a clean fork, letting any extra brine drain back into it, and add them to the batter, along with the fresh carrots, zucchini, pineapple, and walnuts.  Stir until just combined; do not overmix. Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the frosting. Take the carrots out of the jar with a clean fork, letting any extra brine drain back into it. Mince the carrots. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer or by hand, mix the carrots with the cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth and creamy.

Put the pan on a rack and let the cake thoroughly cool. When it has cooled, invert the pan over a large plate or platter. Frost the cake, and cut it into squares or rectangles. Serve the bars at room temperature.

*(c)2014 By Julie O’Brien and Richard Climenhage. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Fresh & Fermented: 85 Delicious Ways to Make Fermented Carrots, Kraut, and Kimchi Part of Every Meal by permission of Sasquatch Books.