Bern’s Carrot Cake Brownies with Toasted Pecan Frosting

In the Tampa Bay area, there is a name that can evoke a response of “Mmmmm!” and “My favorite!” and “Legendary!” and that name is Bern. That’s Bern of Bern’s Steak House, of course, and the outwardly unassuming steak house is a landmark in Tampa Bay because of the unique atmosphere, famed steaks, French onion soup, and of course, the wine cellar that seems more impressive every time I take a stroll through. But, if you really want to hit the sweet spot with Tampa residents, all you have to do is bring up the Harry Waugh Dessert Room at Bern’s. I’ll spare all the details of an evening spent sampling all the decadence that is the Harry Waugh Dessert Room menu, but if you are ever in the area and have not visited Bern’s and the Dessert Room, it is worth a trip every time! As Bern’s is usually saved for special occasions, I was tickled to come across a recipe for Bern’s Carrot Cake Brownies with Toasted Pecan Frosting in The Junior League of Tampa’s Capture the Coast cookbook.

Berns Carrot Cake 2

With Easter right around the corner and the spring weather already here in Tampa, carrot cake just strikes a chord for this time of year. Now, I’ll admit, seeing “Bern’s” as part of the title certainly intimidated me, but I think you’ll find, as I did, that the simplicity of this recipe is what makes the true magic. Bern’s chefs originally created this recipe for Super Bowl XLII, which was held in Tampa, and it is based off the famous King Midas dessert that is served in the Harry Waugh Dessert Room at Bern’s Steak House. The toasted pecan frosting was an addition just for the Junior League cookbook by Executive Pastry Chef Kim Yelvington.

The recipe could not get easier than most any other cake or brownie mix, and the results are just divine!

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon peach schnapps
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded (about 1 ¾ cups)

Toasted Pecan Frosting Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted


For the brownies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. Beat the butter and sugar at low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and schnapps at a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the side of the bowl occasionally. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Stir in the pecans and carrots. Spoon into a buttered 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the edges pull from the side of the pan. Remove from the oven to cool.

For the frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until soft and creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Fold in Pecans with a spatula. Spread over the cool brownies.

Yield: 24 servings

Berns Carrot Cake 3


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s