This recipe for Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls is an easy Easter brunch recipe filled with raisins, carrots, and cinnamon and topped with cream cheese frosting
Easter means carrot cake season but since my family’s favorite Easter dessert is my grandma’s coconut cake I have to get my carrot cake fix somewhere else. How does carrot cake for breakfast sound? A little too much? How about these amazing carrot cake cinnamon rolls?! These easy carrot cake cinnamon rolls start with a box of carrot cake mix and turn into the perfect way to serve carrot cake for Easter brunch!
I’ve made homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch for years but I first tried making a specialty flavored cinnamon roll when Melinda and I made our Red Velvet Sweet Rolls for Valentine’s Day. I started the recipe off with a box of red velvet cake mix and I loved how easy it made getting that red velvet cake flavor into the cinnamon rolls. When I decided I wanted to try my hand at carrot cake cinnamon rolls I figured it worked once why not try it again? The carrot cake box mix is filled with raisins, carrots, and walnuts already but I added more because I think those are the best part of the carrot cake…along with the cream cheese frosting of course.
Cinnamon rolls take a little time to make and they can get a little messy but the are always totally worth it and these carrot cake cinnamon rolls are no exception. They start with a little yeast activated with warm water and to that you add a box of carrot cake mix, a little salt and about 5 cups of all purpose flour. All of that comes together to make a dough. Place the dough ball in a large bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and let it sit somewhere warm to rise until it doubles in size (about an hour). Since my house tends to be cold I sometimes turn preheat the oven to 150 degrees F and then turn it off and let it cool with the door open while I mix up my dough. then it has cooled down but is still around 80 degrees F by the time I’m ready to let me dough rise. I stick it in the oven, close the door and let the magic that is yeast dough happen. After it has doubled in size take the dough out, knead it back into a ball and let it rise for another hour.
When the dough has risen for a second time it’s time to roll it out. Sprinkle your counter top with a little extra flour and lay your dough ball on it. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a nice rectangle. Don’t hesitate to use a little more flour on the dough and on your rolling pin I usually wind up working in about half a cup to a whole cup more flour by the time I’m done.
Once the dough is rolled out drizzle melted butter over it and then sugar, cinnamon, raisins, shredded carrots, and walnuts. Starting on one long end gently, but as tightly as you can, roll the dough up into a long snake-like roll of carrot cake cinnamon roll goodness. Cut 1 1/2 -inch thick slices of the cinnamon roll and place them in a greased pan. Then let them rise for about 30 minutes before placing them in a 350 degree F oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
What’s carrot cake without cream cheese frosting? Right? While the cinnamon rolls bake mix up a cream cheese frosting spread and when they rolls come out of the oven let them cool for about 10 minutes then spread the cream cheese frosting over them so it oozes into those cinnamon roll spirals. then try to resist eating them all before your guests arrive!
- 2 packets Active dry yeast
- 2½ c warm water
- 1 box Carrot Cake mix
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Salt
- 5 c + 1 c All-purpose flour
- 1 c melted butter, unsalted
- 1½ c Sugar
- ¼ c Cinnamon
- 1 c Walnuts, chopped
- ½ c Raisins
- ½ c Carrots, shredded
- 1 stick Butter, softened
- 2 c Powdered Sugar
- 6 oz. Cream cheese, softened
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Add luke warm water to a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast packets over it.
- Let yeast sit for 5 minutes.
- When the yeast becomes foamy add the Carrot cake mix, vanilla and salt.
- Stir mixture together and then slowly begin adding the 5 cups of flour, one cup at a time.
- Use your hands to knead the dough into a round ball.
- Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel and place in a warm spot to let the dough rise for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has risen, knead it back into a ball, and cover it once again to let it rise for another hour.
- When the dough is ready use that last cup of flour to lightly dust your work surface with flour. You may also need to add some flour to the dough if it is sticky. You want to be able to work with it without it sticking to your hands.
- Roll the dough into a rough rectangle, about ¼ inch thick.
- Pour melted butter over the dough , leaving a little space around the edges.
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter.
- Sprinkle the walnuts, raisins, and shredded carrots over the cinnamon sugar.
- Starting from the long edge furthest from you, roll the dough toward you. Make sure to keep the roll as tight as possible.
- Once it is rolled up pinch along the seam to seal it.
- Use a knife to mark the roll at 1½ inch intervals. Then cut the dough into rolls.
- Place the rolls in a buttered 9" x 13" baking dish, and a buttered 8" x 8" baking dish. (you can use two 9 x 13 inch dishes if you'd like it just won't fill the second one completely)
- Place the baking dish in a warm place and let the rolls rise for about 20 minutes.
- While they are rising preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Once rolls have risen place them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- When they have finished baking let them cool for about 10 minutes and then frost them with the cream cheese frosting.
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
So what do you think? An awesome way to make cake for breakfast right?! If you’re looking for a few more delicious Easter recipes make sure you check out these!