Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

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Today we're sharing a delicious Butter Pecan Cake recipe that is soft, moist, and sure to become a favorite! The buttered pecan pieces add a bit of crunch in every bite, and wonderful pecan flavor!

Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

We've paired this Butter Pecan Cake with a luscious whipped cream cheese filling and frosting, which is so light and creamy! This combination of flavors reminds me of an Italian Cream Cake, minus the coconut ;0) - 

How to Make Butter Pecan Cake

*You can find the full, printable cake recipe further down within this post! Here are a few highlights...

You can't have a delicious butter pecan cake without flavorful buttered pecans. Let's dive in!

HOW TO MAKE BUTTERED PECANS

Set oven to 350 degrees. Put 3 Tablespoons butter on baking sheet.  Once melted (it happens quickly) add 2 ½ cups chopped pecans and toss to coat. 

Spread out the chopped pecans and bake 6 to 8 minutes. Stir, and keep an eye on them- they roast quickly! Baking the pecans really brings out the flavor, and butter adds a nice richness too!

Butter Pecan Cake

Making the batter for the Butter Pecan Cake

This recipe uses the traditional creaming method (rather than reverse creaming method) of mixing, giving us nice and fluffy cake layers. The buttermilk in the recipe softens the strands of gluten, for a more tender cake.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour three 8x2 inch round cake pans. 
  • Next, in a medium size bowl, add these dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Use a whisk to blend, set aside.
  • In another bowl or large measuring cup, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract, set aside.
  • In the bowl for you mixer, (with the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), mix the butter until until smooth.  Gradually add the sugar and mix at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes (a bit longer if using a hand mixer) until it is lightened in color and fluffy.
  • Add the room temperature eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the yolk has blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture ( Three additions of dry, two additions of wet.) Mix just until combined.
  • Fold in the chopped pecans
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.  Let cakes cool 5 to 10 minutes then turn out.

Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

Assembling the Butter Pecan Cake

  1. Place first cake layer on your cake base or pedestal.
  2. Spread with a layer of whipped cream cheese filling, staying about ¼ inch from edge fo the cake. Sprinkle on some of the remaining chopped buttered pecans- I pushed them into the frosting with my spatula.
  3. Add second cake layer and repeat.
  4. Top with the third cake layer and frost the cake with the whipped cream cheese frosting.
Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

 

 

Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

 

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting has a much lighter texture and consistency than regular cream cheese frosting or buttercream. It is so delicious!

However, it behaves more like whipped cream. It is difficult to get the flawless smooth finish that you may be used to with regular cream cheese frostings and buttercreams.

Little air pockets are more common and make a smooth finish more difficult. So, if this is the look that you need for your cake design, you can use traditional cream cheese frosting instead! 

I often use textured buttercream frosting techniques no matter what kind of frosting I am working with and so the whipped consistency is fine with me! (The textured look is more forgiving of tiny air holes, etc.)

For instance, today we used a simple ridged frosting technique!

 

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Decorating the Butter Pecan Cake

  • To texture the frosting on the butter pecan cake, I placed the freshly frosted cake on a turntable and spun the cake while lightly applying a small offset spatula to create a ridged effect around the sides. (We have a tutorial on this simple Ridged Buttercream Effect!)
  • I piped french tip (869) stars of the whipped cream cheese frosting for a quick top border and filled in with more buttered pecans. I also added a stacked shell border using a star tip 21 around the base of the cake.
  • This cake would also work great with traditional cream cheese frosting if your cake design calls for a smoother finish.
Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

More Cake Recipes with Pecans

If you love cakes with pecans, we've made many over the years! Don't miss these other tried and true favorites- You can also find many. more pecan-filled cakes in our Cake Recipes section!

Some of our favorites are our Butter Pecan Pound Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Banana Cake , and Chocolate Pecan Pie Cake.

Here are a few more fall cake recipes or your list!

Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

This Butter Pecan Cake has so much flavor! We love these light, fluffy cake layers with whipped cream cheese frosting!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 15 servings
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Ingredients

Buttered Pecans for the Cake (Make in advance if possible- some will be used in the cake, some will be used in filling and on top.)

  • 2 ½ cups (285g) whole pecans, chopped Roast then chop, I did a rough chop
  • 3 Tablespoons (14g) unsalted butter, melted

For the Butter Pecan Cake

  • 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter, softened (Should dent easily when pressed but still cool enough to hold shape.)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature (If in a hurry, place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for five minutes.)
  • 3 cups (342g) cake flour (See Notes below for substitution if needed.)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (12g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296g) buttermilk (See Note below for substitution)
  • ¼ cup (54g) vegetable oil ( I use canola oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups chopped buttered pecans (165g)

For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 oz Cream Cheese, softened. (We use two 8 oz packages of full-fat cream cheese.)
  • 2 cups (230g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (696g) heavy whipping cream
  • *Some of the prepared buttered pecans will be sprinkled/spread into the frosting used for the filling.

Instructions

Preparing the Buttered Pecans

  • Set oven to 350 degrees. Put 3 Tablespoons butter on baking sheet.  When melted, (melts quickly) add 2 ½ cups pecans and toss to coat.  Spread out  pecans and bake 6 to 8 minutes, Stir, they roast quickly. Cool and chop

For the Butter Pecan Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour three 8x2 inch round cake pans. 
  • In a medium size bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Use a whisk to blend, set aside.
  • In another bowl or 4 cup measuring cup add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla, set aside.
  • In the bowl for you mixer, mix the butter until til smooth.  Gradually add the sugar and mix at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes (a bit longer if using a hand mixer) until it is lightened in color and fluffy.
  • Add the room temperature eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the yolk has blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture ( Three additions of dry, two additions of wet.) Mix just until combined.
  • Fold in the chopped pecans
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.  Let cakes cool 5 to 10 minutes then turn out.

For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Freeze your mixing bowl and beaters 15 minutes before whipping the cream (30 minutes if chilling in the refrigerator. 
  • Use the whisk attachment for a stand mixer, beaters on your hand mixer.  Beat the cream until stiff peaks form.  This can happen very quickly so don't walk away from the mixer.  You are at the stiff peak stage when you lift the beater and the cream stands straight up forming a peak. Keep in the refrigerator while completing the next step.  
  • In another bowl combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat until very smooth.  Fold this into the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate.  If you are piping this frosting and it becomes too soft, just refrigerate the filled piping bag for a short while.  

Assembly of Cake

  • Place first cake layer on your cake base or pedestal.
  • Spread with a layer of whipped cream cheese filling, staying about ¼ inch from edge fo the cake. Sprinkle on some of the remaining chopped buttered pecans- I pushed them into the frosting with my spatula. (You should have a cup of remaining butter pecans to divide between the filling and topping)
  • Add second cake layer and repeat.
  • Top with the third cake layer and frost the cake with the whipped cream cheese frosting.
  • **Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting has a much lighter texture and consistency than regular cream cheese frosting or buttercream. It is more difficult to get a completely smooth finish to the frosting which is why I added texture to mine by pressing my small offset spatula into the sides of the frosted cake as I rotated it on the turntable.
  • I piped french tip (869) stars of the whipped cream cheese frosting for a quick top border and filled in with more buttered pecans. I also added a stacked shell border using a star tip 21 around the base of the cake.
  • This cake would also work great with traditional cream cheese frosting if your cake design calls for a smoother finish.

Notes

Makes 7 ½ cups batter
Substitution  for cake flour:  For this recipe, measure out 3 cups all purpose flour (plain in the UK).  Remove 6 Tablespoons (48g) flour and replace with 6 Tablespoons (48g) cornstarch (corn flour in the UK). Whisk to blend.
Substitution for buttermilk:  Put 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (14g) vinegar into measuring cup fill to 1 ¼ cup mark (310g) . Stir and  let sit for 5 minutes before using.

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15 Comments

  1. Hello I have only two 8 inch pans. Can I divide the batter into these for taller layers? Did you use baking strips for flat layers? I’m not sure that both my pans will fit in the oven at the same time. Can 1 pan sit and wait for the other to finish baking?

  2. Hi Chandra, Eight inch round pans, 2 inches deep will hold 3 cups batter. This recipe makes 7 1/2 cups batter. If you cannot put both pans in the oven at the same time, fill both pans, bake one pan and keep the other pan in the refrigerator until the oven is free. You may need to bake a bit longer because this pan will be cole. You will have 1 1/2 cups extra that you could make a few cupcakes. I hope you will enjoy the recipe.

    1. Hi I’m sorry I should have mentioned that my pans are 3 inch deep. Also do you use baking strips with your recipes? Do you recommend for this one? Thank you!!

  3. Hi! I’ve made the vanilla cake several times. This recipe has 2.5 tsps of baking powder (vs 2 tsps in vanilla recipe). I wanted to confirm this is correct. Thank you!

  4. Hi Val, I am sorry but we don't bake in 5x 3 inch round pans, possibly there is a chart online regarding baking time. I think I would bake at the same temp (325 degrees F) the entire baking time. Just keep an eye on it.

  5. Thank you for this recipe! I am going to add some butter pecan extract to the cake for added flavor! I was actually working on a pecan cake for my customer and I am planning on using your idea for butter pecans!

    TY!