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Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

Introduction to the Delightful World of Butter Pecan Cake

Butter Pecan Cake, a dessert that whispers the tales of Southern hospitality and warmth, has been a beloved treat for generations. Its origins, deeply rooted in the American South, reflect a tradition of indulgence and comfort through food. This cake gained popularity for its rich, nutty flavor, which comes from the toasted pecans that are its hallmark. Over time, it has become a staple at family gatherings, holiday tables, and everything in between, cherished not just for its delicious taste but also for the memories it helps create. The allure of Butter Pecan Cake lies in its perfect balance of sweetness and texture, making it a favorite among dessert aficionados. Its popularity endures because it embodies the essence of home baking at its best—simple ingredients coming together to create something extraordinary.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Butter Pecan Cake

Creating the perfect Butter Pecan Cake is akin to conducting a symphony, where each ingredient plays a crucial role in the final masterpiece. The key to its irresistible flavor and texture lies in a few essential components:

  • High-Quality Pecans: The soul of the cake, pecans must be of the highest quality. Toasting these nuts is not just a step but an art, unlocking deep, nutty flavors that define the cake’s character.
  • Butter: This ingredient ensures the cake’s moistness and lends a rich, creamy backdrop to the pecans’ pronounced taste.
  • Sugars: A combination of granulated and brown sugar adds depth and a caramel-like sweetness, complementing the pecans’ earthiness.
  • Eggs and Full-Fat Dairy: Eggs, whole milk, and sour cream bring the batter together, contributing to the cake’s tender crumb and luxurious mouthfeel.

The magic of Butter Pecan Cake lies not just in the sum of its parts but in the quality of its ingredients. Opting for full-fat options where possible elevates the cake, making it a decadent, rich dessert that’s hard to resist.

Step-by-Step Guide: Preparing Your Pecans

The journey to a perfect Butter Pecan Cake begins with the pecans. Preparing them involves two key steps: toasting and buttering, followed by transforming them into homemade pecan butter. Here’s how:

  1. Toasting and Buttering: Spread your pecans on a baking sheet and toast them lightly in the oven. Midway, drizzle with melted butter, ensuring each piece is well-coated. This process not only enhances their flavor but also adds a delightful crunch.
  2. Making Pecan Butter: Once cooled, take a portion of these buttered pecans and blend them into a smooth butter. This homemade pecan butter introduces a depth of flavor and texture to the cake batter that store-bought versions simply can’t match.

By dedicating care and attention to preparing your pecans, you lay the foundation for a Butter Pecan Cake that’s rich, flavorful, and utterly unforgettable.

Crafting the Cake Batter

The journey to a perfect Butter Pecan Cake continues with the careful crafting of the batter, a process that marries the dry and wet ingredients into a harmonious mixture. Begin by whisking together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt in one bowl, ensuring these dry ingredients are well sifted to introduce air and prevent clumping. In another bowl, cream together the softened butter with granulated and brown sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy, which forms the base of the wet ingredients.

Eggs are then added one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition to emulsify the batter. The homemade pecan butter, a key ingredient, is blended into this mixture along with vanilla extract, enhancing the cake’s nutty profile and richness. Alternating between the dry ingredients and full-fat milk ensures the batter maintains a smooth consistency without overmixing, which can lead to a dense cake.


Finally, the toasted pecans are folded gently into the batter, adding texture and bursts of flavor throughout the cake. This step is crucial for distributing the pecan’s rich taste and crunchy texture evenly, making every bite a delightful experience.

Baking Tips and Techniques

Achieving the perfect bake requires attention to detail, especially regarding oven temperature and baking time. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), a moderate temperature that allows the cake to rise evenly without burning the edges. Pour the batter into prepared pans, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Testing for doneness is key; insert a toothpick into the center of the cake around the 25-minute mark. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cake is ready. Allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely, preventing the cake from becoming soggy.

Frosting and Finishing Touches

The Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting is what truly sets this cake apart. Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth, then gradually add brown sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, achieving a creamy consistency that’s spreadable yet holds its shape. This frosting not only complements the cake’s nutty flavor but also adds a silky texture that melts in your mouth.

Decorating the cake with a spatula or piping bag can add a professional touch. Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted pecans or drizzle with caramel for an extra layer of flavor and elegance. The goal is to enhance the cake’s appearance without overwhelming its inherent beauty and taste.


  • Can I use maple syrup instead of maple extract? Yes, maple syrup can be used as a substitute for maple extract, though it may slightly alter the cake’s flavor profile. Use it sparingly to avoid adding too much liquid to the batter.
  • Adjusting the recipe for different cake sizes and types? This recipe is versatile; to make cupcakes or a different sized cake, adjust the baking time accordingly. Cupcakes will bake faster, so start checking for doneness around 15-20 minutes.
  • Storage and serving suggestions? Butter Pecan Cake keeps well at room temperature for a day; for longer storage, refrigerate in an airtight container. Serve at room temperature to ensure the frosting is soft and the cake is moist

Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

This Butter Pecan Cake recipe brings the rich, nutty flavors of toasted pecans together with a moist, buttery cake, topped with a luscious brown sugar cream cheese frosting. Perfect for any occasion, from holiday gatherings to cozy family dinners, this cake is sure to impress with its depth of flavor and elegant presentation.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 10 servings
Calories 650 kcal


  • 2 9-inch cake pans
  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer
  • Spatula
  • Wire rack for cooling


For the Cake:

  • cups pecan chips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (for toasting pecans)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract or maple syrup
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup fresh light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup toasted pecan chips reserved from above


  • Prepare the Pecans: Toss pecan chips with melted butter. Bake at 350°F for 6 minutes, flipping halfway. Cool and blend ½ cup into pecan butter.
  • Make the Cake: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream sugars and butter, then add eggs and extracts. Mix in sour cream. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk to the wet, then fold in pecan butter and toasted pecans. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-28 minutes.
  • Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add brown sugar, extracts, and salt. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until creamy. Frost cooled cakes and garnish with reserved pecans.


  • Maple Extract Substitute: If using maple syrup instead of extract, reduce the milk by the amount of syrup added to maintain the batter's consistency.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to 5 days. Let it come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.
  • Decorating Tip: For an extra touch of elegance, drizzle the top with a simple caramel sauce or sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.
Keyword Butter Pecan Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting, Homemade Cake, Pecan Dessert, Southern Dessert