Butter Pecan Cake

Serve up a slice of holiday cheer with this delicious pecan-studded layer cake.

Butter Pecan Cake
Makes 1 (8-Inch) Cake
  • 1¼ cups unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • 2½ cups chopped pecans
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • Brown Sugar Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: pecan pieces
  1. In a large skillet, melt ¼ cup butter over medium heat. Add chopped pecans, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 10 minutes. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper; spray with baking spray with flour.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugars and remaining 1 cup butter at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in 1½ cups toasted pecans. Divide among prepared pans.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  6. In another medium bowl, fold together 2 cups Brown Sugar Frosting and remaining 1 cup toasted pecans.
  7. Place 1 cooled cake layer on a cake plate, and evenly spread half of frosting mixture on top, leaving a ½-inch border around edges. Top with second cake layer, and spread remaining frosting mixture on top. Top with remaining cake layer. Reserve 2 cups Brown Sugar Frosting for piping. Spread remaining Brown Sugar Frosting on top and sides of cake. Place reserved 2 cups Brown Sugar Frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch open star piping tip. Pipe a border around top edge of cake as desired. Garnish with pecan pieces, if desired.

Brown Sugar Frosting
Makes About 7 Cups
  • 1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 8 egg whites), room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2⅔ cups unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together brown sugar, egg whites, and granulated sugar by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until sugars completely dissolve and an instant-read thermometer registers 120° to 130°.
  2. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until bowl is cool to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Add butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla and salt. Frosting will be shiny and smooth.



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