Three towering layers of moist and fluffy Butter Pecan Cake with an irresistible cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans!
So admittedly, I am not a layer cake person. I LOVE eating layer cakes, but I do not like making them.
This probably stems back to a time long ago when I took a cake decorating class at a local Michael’s and failed miserably. Like, I was so bad and everyone was surpassing me with their gorgeous wedding-style cakes that I dropped out just before we learned how to make frosting roses.
Plus, layer cakes are usually very fussy, and fussy I am not. There’s the cake leveling crap, fondant garbage, and crumb coats, which I interpret to mean “time suck.”
But – BUT! This Butter Pecan Layer Cake is no time suck, does not require fondant, and naturally bakes pretty flat so the cake leveling – if any – is very minimal. I promise that if I can do it, you can most definitely knock this recipe out of the park. I believe in you.
This cake is made entirely from scratch and features a buttery, moist cake layer studded with toasted pecans which imparts such a wonderful flavor. Toasting the pecans really makes a difference, so don’t skip this step!
Each layer and the entire shebang is coated in a fluffy cream cheese frosting which gives the cake a nice, light tanginess which tastes great with the sweetness of the buttery cake flavor. You could totally use buttercream, but I tend to choose cream cheese over buttercream.
Not only is this cake tasty, it’s impressive, too! I am going to go out on a limb here and say it would be show-stopping for Thanksgiving dinner, so bookmark it when you’re ready to make your Thanksgiving menu plans.
Now get to baking, and thank me later!
*adapted from Taste of Home
- FOR THE TOASTED PECANS:
- 3 cups chopped pecans
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp butter extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1 cup butter (either salted or unsalted - I used salted), softened
- 10 ounces (one 8-ounce brick plus 2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 5-6 cups confectioners' sugar
- ¼ cup milk or heavy cream, if needed
- First, toast your pecans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss together the chopped pecans and melted butter and spread out evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast the nuts for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully so they do not burn. They should smell nutty and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool the pecans until cool to the touch. Meanwhile, grease three 9" round baking pans and line with parchment rounds.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and butter extracts. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, mixing well after each addition. Finish with the buttermilk.
- Fold in 1 & ¾ cups of the toasted pecans. Pour evenly among the pans. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely and if cakes are too domed on top, use a serrated knife to gently remove the dome.
- To make your frosting: In another bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together with the paddle attachment until creamy and combined, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition until frosting is light and fluffy. Only use the heavy cream/milk if frosting becomes too thick or pasty, nothing that you may not need it.
- To assemble: place a cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread with some of the frosting and top with another cake layer. Repeat. Once your layers are assembled, frost the outside of the cake as best as you can, until smooth. Sprinkle the remaining toasted pecans around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Serve!
Buttery, nutty, flavorful cake layers with a phenomenal cream cheese frosting you’ve just got to try!
Have a super sweet day!
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