Butter Pecan Cake with layers of tender and moist vanilla cake studded with crunchy buttery toasted pecans and frosted with rich and luscious homemade cream cheese frosting. Get rid of the boxed cake mix and enjoy the flavors of this easy, made from scratch Butter Pecan Cake recipe!
We love baking and cooking with crunchy pecans. If you would like to see other homemade recipes made with pecans, check this Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread, Pecan Pie Bars and the easiest and best Candied Pecans!
Southern Butter Pecan Cake
I love the classic rich taste of butter pecan. Whether is ice cream, syrup, cookies or cake, the buttery and nutty taste of this amazing flavor is a personal favorite.
Imagine my surprise when I was told butter pecan was an “old people flavor”. Perhaps I am not hip, cool and trendy, maybe I’m just old (or vintage), the truth is I absolutely love butter pecan flavor especially in cake form.
This Southern old-fashioned cake has an incredibly moist crumb and the nuttiness of roasted pecans. Filled and frosted with luscious cream cheese icing that balances the buttery sweetness of the cake.
Why You Should Make This Delicious Cake Recipe?
- Flavor: This retro cake, like Southern pecan praline cake is one of those cake recipes with a winning flavor combination! Cake layers of tender, moist cake are sandwiched between sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.
- Easy: You may think that making a heavenly nutty cake full of buttery goodness is hard but, before reaching for a butter pecan cake mix next time you are at a grocery store, give this cake a chance. This recipe is easy to make and tastes so much better than a cake mix.
- Beautiful Cake: This is a perfect cake to make for special occasions such as bridal showers and holidays. And I must admit that a butter pecan birthday cake always makes me happy!
What Is Butter Pecan?
Butter Pecan is a popular ice cream, cookies, syrup and cake flavor. Butter Pecan tastes like a combination of nutty toasted pecans, rich brown butter and a hint of vanilla bean flavor. It’s
Butter Pecan Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- Pecans: You need pecans for the cake batter and to decorate the cake. For the cake batter I prefer finely chopped pecans . For decorating the cake, you can choose to keep the pecans a little big larger if you prefer.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for the cake batter. If salted butter is all you have, you can reduce the amount of salt you add to the cake batter to half of what the recipe calls for. For the cream cheese frosting I use either salted or unsalted butter.
- Sugar: For the vanilla cake batter I use granulated sugar. For the buttered pecans, I prefer using brown sugar as it adds depth of flavor from molasses. I always have light brown sugar at home so that is what I use.
- Milk and Buttermilk: In this cake recipe I use a combination of both, whole milk and buttermilk. Buttermilk gives a nice tang taste to the cake while also providing structure and helping it rise. Cakes made with buttermilk have a very tender crumb as well.
- Flour: I use regular all-purpose flour.
- Eggs: I use large eggs at room temperature.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Both used as leavening agents.
- Flavorings: Vanilla extract and salt. I use sea salt or Kosher salt.
- Cream Cheese: I use full-fat cream cheese which produces full-flavored, rich and creamy frosting. Remember to take the cream cheese from the refrigerator about 45 minutes to an hour before making the frosting, that way the cream cheese softens a bit and it’s easier to mix into a smooth frosting.
- Powdered Sugar: Sold under the name confectioners’ sugar as well.
What Else Do I Need To Make This Cake
To make this butter pecan cake with cream cheese frosting you will need:
- A large skillet (10-12 inches)
- Three (9-inch) cake pans
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper to line the cake pans and the baking sheet
- A handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer.
- A cake stand, offset spatula and a piping bag and tips if you want to decorate the cake by piping the frosting.
How To Make The Best Butter Pecan Cake
- Prep: Preheat the oven and prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of the cake pans (nonstick cooking spray works too). Shake off any excess flour. Set aside.
- Make Buttery Pecans: In a small skillet over medium low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the pecans and the sugar. Cook, stirring frequently until fragrant and lightly toasted. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Cool.
- Mix Wet Ingredients: Combine the buttermilk and the milk together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: Whisk together the the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Beat Butter and Sugar: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next one.
- Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: With the mixer on low speed, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/3 of the the milk mixture. Mix until just combined. Repeat the process until all the flour mixture and milk mixture have been added.
- Add Pecans: With the help of a spatula, fold in the pecans. Mix to combine.
- Bake: Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Bake the cakes for about 25 – 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Make Cream Cheese Frosting: You can use an electric handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and gradually add the powdered sugar. Mix until fluffy and smooth.
To Assemble the Cake:
- Have the cream cheese frosting ready. After the cakes are completely cool, remove the domes from the top of the cakes with a serrated knife or cake leveler.
- Place one layer on a plate or cake stand and cover the top with about a cup of cream cheese frosting. Spread evenly with an offset spatula.
- Add the second layer of cake and top with the cream cheese frosting. Spread the frosting evenly.
- Top with the last cake and spread some frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Pipe swirls (or any other decorations) on the cake and garnish with the toasted pecans.
Does This Cake Freeze Well?
Both the tender cake and the cream cheese frosting freeze well. You can freeze the cake frosted or unfrosted.
To freeze the cake unfrosted, wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Place it in an airtight container and freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
To freeze the cream cheese frosting, store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To freeze a decorated frosted cake, place the cake unwrapped on a sheet pan then, clear your freezer and place the cake in the freezer for at least 4 hours or until frozen. After the cake is frozen solid, wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and store it in an airtight container. Freeze for 2-3 months.
How To Store Butter Pecan Cake
Making Ahead, Storing and Freezing
Making Ahead: You can bake the cakes 1-2 days in advance. Wrap the unfrosted cake layers individually with a couple of layers of plastic wrap and keep them at room temperature. You can also store the wrapped cakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep them from drying out.
The cream cheese frosting will keep in the fridge for about a week.
Storing: Because this Southern cake is filled and frosted with cream cheese frosting, I only keep it on the counter at room temperature for up to 6 – 8 hours. After that, I keep it in the fridge wrapped or in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
You can store the cake in the refrigerator, covered for 3-4 days.
Freezing: This cake freezes well for up to 3 months. Make sure to store it wrapped and/or in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
Butter Pecan cake Recipe Tips
- Use room temperature ingredients. Room temperature ingredients mix better than cold ingredients and also fluffier cakes.
- Don’t overmix the cake batter. Overmixing develops additional gluten and makes the cake dense and chewy.
- You can store the cake in the refrigerator, covered for 3-4 days.
- The cream cheese frosting will keep in the fridge for about a week.
- Butter pecan cake freezes well.
Enjoy Some Of Our Favorite Cake Recipes:
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Butter Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese frosting
For the Pecans
- 2 cups (204 gr) pecans, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp (42 gr) unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
For the Cake
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup (226 gr) butter at room temperature
- 12 oz cream cheese nearly at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 cups (620 gr) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (56 gr) pecans, chopped and lightly toasted for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of the cake pans making sure you shake off any excess flour. Set aside.
- In a small skillet over medium-low heat melt the butter. Once melted, add the pecans and the sugar. Cook, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside to cool.
- Combine the buttermilk and the milk together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next one. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- With the mixer on low speed, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/3 of the the milk mixture. Mix until just combined. Repeat the process until all the flour mixture and milk mixture have been added.
- With the help of a spatula, fold in the pecans. Mix to combine.
- Divide batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Bake the cakes for about 25 – 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pans, run a knife around the edges of the cake and invert. Place the cakes on a wire rack and allow the to cool completely before assembling.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and gradually add the powdered sugar. Mix until fluffy and smooth.
Assemble the Cake:
- To assemble the cake, with the help of a serrated knife or cake leveler, remove the domes from the top of the cool cakes so that they’re flat. Place one layer on a plate or cake stand and cover the top with about a cup of cream cheese frosting. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Add the second layer of cake and top with frosting. Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly. Top with the last cake and spread some frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Pipe swirls (or any other decorations) on the cake and garnish with the toasted pecans.
- You can store the cake in the refrigerator, covered for 3-4 days.
- The cream cheese frosting will keep in the fridge for about a week.
- This cake freezes well.
More #FallFlavors Recipes Below:
Appetizers and Snacks
- Fall Charcuterie Board from The Fresh Cooky
Breakfast and Baked Goods
- Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes from SueBee Homemaker
- Pecan Butter Bread with Apple Cider Butter from That Recipe
Soups and Salads
- Gullah Chicken Stew from Family Around The Table
- Autumn Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner from Jen around the world
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Cipollini Onion Taco With Hatch Chili Cream from Magical Ingredients
- Apple Cider Caramel Dip from The Spiffy Cookie
- Chewy Pecan Butter Cookies from Soulfully Made
- Chocolate Chip Pecan Truffles from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Fresh Peach Pie from Hostess At Heart
- Honeybun Cake from House of Nash Eats
- Pecan Sandies from Eat Move Make
Welcome to #FallFlavors where more than 25 food bloggers are sharing recipes with favorite Fall flavors. Our sponsors, Millican Pecan, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Nairn’s, and Republic of Tea, have furnished participating bloggers with complimentary product to use in their recipe creations that they will be sharing this week. These same sponsors have generously offered prizes for our giveaway so be sure to enter and share with your friends so they can enter too. Be sure to follow our Fall Flavors Pinterest account for more inspiration.
Prize 1: Texas Pecan Candy Basket from Millican Pecan
The Millican Pecan Texas Pecan Candy Basket is loaded with a variety of pecan gifts. Includes 6 Milk Chocolate Pecan Clusters, 6 Milk Chocolate Caramillicans (similar to Turtles), 6 White Chocolate Caramillicans, 6 Pecan Pralines, and a 1/2 lb. Bag of Flavored Pecans! Every bit DELICIOUS! A $75 value.
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Perfect for the occasional baker, our entry-level collection features a sturdy nonstick silicone coating at a great value. Aluminized steel, the material of choice for professional bakers, provides excellent heat transfer for even baking, so food turns out beautifully and releases easily, every time. 6-Piece Set includes: Half-sheet pan, 12-cup muffin pan, round cake pan, square cake pan, rectangular cake pan, loaf pan. An $80 value.
Prize 3: 3 Month Melissa’s Produce Gift Subscription
A stunning selection of the most delicious produce will be delivered once a month for 3 months. At Melissa’s, the produce is selected at their peak of perfection and packed by hand to ensure safe arrival. A $124 value.
Prize 4: A Red Dancing Leaves Teapot and a tin of Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea
Let the aroma of fresh apple and mulled cider spices envelop you as you sip this golden infusion. The crisp, lingering finish will leave you wanting more! A naturally-caffeine free blend of apples, cinnamon cloves and ginger. Reminiscent of apple cider, with the luscious aroma of cinnamon and cloves, make this cup the perfect accompaniment to the colors of the harvest season.
Embossed, windswept leaves whirl across this 20 oz ceramic teapot. Includes a stainless steel infuser. An exclusive design by The Republic of Tea. A $44 value
Prize 5: A selection of six flavors of Oat Crackers from Nairn’s
One winner will receive a box of each Nairn’s Original, Chocolate Chip, Stem Ginger Oat Grahams, Caramelized Onions, Rosemary & Sea Salt Flatbreads, and Oat Cracker. Nairn’s has been baking oats since 1896. They use simple, natural, and wholesome ingredients in their products. Minimum $25 value
Prize 6: A Selection of extracts from Taylor and Colledge.
One winner will receive a selection of extracts to include vanilla bean, almond, lemon, and lavender. In 1897, Taylor & Colledge won its first award for excellence in vanilla. Since then, the Taylor & Colledge commitment for unsurpassed quality has earned its reputation as one of the world’s finest producers of vanilla. Minimum of $25 value
Six (6) winners will be randomly selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. Bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners have 24 hours to respond once notified by email, or they forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. The #FallFlavors bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members living in the household cannot enter or win the giveaway. Entries will be verified. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter giveaway and the contest is open only to US residents. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #FallFlavors posts or entries. Thank you to our sponsors Millican Pecan Company, Dixie Crystals, Melissa’s Produce, Taylor & Colledge, Republic of Tea, and Nairn’s for providing prizes.