Carrot Pecan Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting; L’ Auberge Español

We were invited to an Auberge Español last week, at the home of some new French friends.

Auberge Español is French for potluck – at least in our area.

Why a potluck is called a ‘Spanish Inn’ I have no idea… I think it has something to do with a 2002 movie of that name about a French student in Barcelona.

It’s one of many French words / phrases that we just accept as is and go on.

I was asked to bring a cake.

Why I, who am an avowed non-baker, was asked to bake a cake…..

Oh, wait, I know the answer to that one. Last summer, at another Auberge Español, I made my Orange Cake. My new French friend was there and liked it so much that she asked for the recipe. I duly translated it from English to French and cups to grams. She has since made it often, even going so far as to turn it into a layer cake with orange filling.

I cannot compete with that.

I also could not make a new, untried cake for this occasion with so much pressure riding on my weak shoulders.

I decided on making a Carrot Cake for 2 reasons:

  1. Everyone that I have ever known loves Carrot Cake, especially if it has lots of Cream Cheese Frosting.
  2. My wonderful belle-soeur and beau-frère, (sister-in-law and brother-in-law) who live in Hawaii, sent my a huge bag of pecans for Christmas. (I may have mentioned that they are expensive and sometimes hard to find here.)

I had originally posted this in 2013 but decided to re-post it.

It didn’t have the print option and (gasp) I found an error.

Both issues are now corrected.

I was positively giddy with delight with all the pecans and may have gone a bit crazy with the finish.

Or not….

Carrot Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Total time: 75 minutes


  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups grated carrot, packed
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 10oz (300gr) cream cheese, softened
  • 8oz (240gr) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole pecans for finishing
  • extra butter and flour for pan

Carrot Pecan Cake


  • Butter and flour a 10″ (25cm) tube pan
  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
  • Cream oil and brown sugar.
  • Add yogurt, vanilla, and mix well.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
  • Combine dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients, folding in with a spatula.
  • Add carrots and chopped pecans, folding gently.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake, 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes away clean. Start testing after 40 minutes.
  • Remove and cool for 20 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and sugar and whip until smooth.
  • Add more powdered sugar if too thin / a dollop of milk if too thick.
  • Frost cake, then arrange whole pecans.on top.

Print Recipe

Everyone was very happy with the cake.

Actually, it was the only time there was silence at the table.

There were 10 of us: 4 British, 2 Belgian, 2 American and 2 French. There were lively conversations going on all around the table in a mixture of French and English with the occasional side conversation in Flemish.

People were talking, waving hands, cutlery and duck legs (our hostess made Peking Duck and it was wonderful!) and having a fantastic time.

But it was eerily quiet after the cake was served, while everyone ate.

I assume it was the silence of approval.

Especially since people were anxious to divide up the leftover cake to take home for breakfast,

We were left with 2 little slivers….

Good thing I took the photo before we left.

Last update on January 24, 2018

10 thoughts on “Carrot Pecan Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting; L’ Auberge Español”

  1. I would have been concerned that the silence around one of my foods was the studious devotion to finishing the plate out of politeness instead of enjoyment! Your cake was an obvious hit.

    • Dan, I decided they were quiet to get the maximum pleasure out of each bite – And I will continue to believe that, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. But they did fight over the leftover bits lol

  2. Lucky you to get those pecans!!! But, what? No currants in the cake? Still, it’s clear from the “only two slivers” left that nobody minded that the currants were missing.

    I really admire how much frosting you put on the cake. Some people are a bit cheese-paring (no pun intended) with it. We’ve never added yoghurt to our carrot cake. Now we will have to try that!

    • Elizabeth, I had a traumatic experience as a child… Bit into what I thought was a chocolate chip cookie and discovered, to my horror, it was raisin. I have never recovered and, thus, never put raisins or currents into anything. I do, however, like cream cheese frosting 😉

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