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!
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 pecans- so that is the first step of our recipe!
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!
Making the batter for the Butter Pecan Cake
This recipe uses the traditional (rather than reverse creaming) method of mixing, giving us nice and fluffy cake layers. The buttermilk in the recipe softens the gluten, for a more tender cake.
Assembling the Butter Pecan 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.
- Add second cake layer and repeat.
- Top with the third cake layer and frost the cake with the whipped cream cheese frosting.
A note About Working with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting has a much lighter texture and consistency than regular cream cheese frosting or buttercream.
In fact, 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.)
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.
- 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.
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 Recipes section!
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 (285 g) whole pecans, chopped — roast then chop, I did a rough chop
- 3 Tablespoons (14g) butter, melted
For the Butter Pecan Cake
- 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups (342g) cake flour (See Note below for substitution)
- 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 (285g) of the chopped buttered pecans
For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- Two 8 ounce (423g total weight) packages cream cheese, softened. It must bee full fat, not reduced fat or cream cheese in a tub, those are too soft.
- 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar, sift then measure
- 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.
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 eggs one at a time, mixing until the yellow of the yolk disappears.
Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture ( 3 additions of dry
ingredients and 2 of wet). Mix until combined and smooth, do not mix above medium speed or mix too long.
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.
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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