butter pecan cake

If you think you have to be a pro pastry chef in order to successfully make this gorgeous cake, we’re here to convince you otherwise. According to chef and recipe developer Jennine Bryant of The Marshside Pantry, you’ve got this. "This recipe does have quite a few steps, but it is all fairly straightforward as long as the recipe is followed as written," she explains.

Take your time, follow the steps, and be precise, and you will be rewarded with a cake that tastes as great as it looks. "This is a great cake for so many different occasions, [though] personally, I think I’d love it as a birthday cake," Bryant says, adding, "It’s a lovely celebration cake no matter the occasion, and [it] can elevate any table spread."

As far as serving suggestions are concerned, Bryant believes it’s amazing enjoyed all on its own, but she also notes, "I think it would be incredible drizzled with some warm caramel sauce and then served with ice cream. I’d suggest something refreshing to drink with it, because it’s deliciously rich. Either a crisp white wine or Prosecco would be perfect to finish the celebratory feel, or, being British, I would suggest a nice cup of tea! Coffee would also be a lovely drink to match." Before we get to the pairings, though, we have to get through the prep, baking, and frosting — so let’s get started!

Gather your ingredients for butter pecan cake

ingredients for butter pecan cake

As noted, it takes a good number of ingredients to make this cake, and they include: pecans, both salted butter and unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, a couple large eggs, vanilla extract, natural (unflavored) yogurt, whole milk, cream cheese, and lots of powdered sugar.

Got all that? Good — then it’s time to get the prep work started.

Sauté the pecans

cooking nuts in butter

Preheat the oven to 350 F, then grease three 7-inch round cake tins with removable bases. You can also prepare a tray with a layer of baking paper, so it’s ready for the hot buttered pecans you’re about to cook.

Melt 1 ½ tablespoons of salted butter in a pan with the cup of finely chopped pecans. Sauté the mixture for three to four minutes until the pecans are slightly colored, before pouring out the mixture onto the prepared sheet of baking paper. Set them aside to cool.

Prepare the cake batter

mixing in nuts

In a stand mixer, cream together the granulated sugar and ½ cup of the unsalted butter until the mixture has lightened in color — this should take a few minutes. Then, mix in the two eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine the natural yogurt and the whole milk. In another bowl, sift together the flour and the baking powder. Then, add a third of the flour mixture to the stand mixer, and mix until just combined. Now, add half of the milk and yogurt blend to the stand mixer, combine, and then add another third of the flour mixture. Repeat with the flour and milk until all of it has been combined together in the stand mixer.

Next, gently add the buttered pecans into the batter, folding until they are just combined, before dividing the batter evenly between the three prepared cake tins.

Bake, then assemble and decorate the cake

decorating the cake

Bake the sponges in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove them from the oven, and let them cool on a wire rack. "It is so important to make sure that the cakes are properly cooled through before attempting to assemble the cake," says Bryant, adding, "I’ve definitely made that error before, and the cakes melted the frosting to the point where the sponges were sliding everywhere!"

While the layers cool, prepare the frosting. Blend together the remaining ¾ cup of unsalted butter with the cream cheese using a stand mixer, then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Next, sieve in the powdered sugar in stages until everything’s well combined.

When the cakes are completely cooled, place the first sponge on a plate or cake stand, and spoon 2 tablespoons full of the cream cheese frosting on top of the sponge. Spread it evenly across the sponge before adding the second and then the third sponges and repeating the process. Use a little more of the cream cheese frosting around the sides of the cake, and, with a piping bag, pipe some around the top for decoration. Decorate the top with whole or chopped pecans.

Serve, and enjoy! And if the cake doesn’t get entirely consumed, Bryant says, "It should ideally be stored in the fridge due to the cream cheese frosting. I would suggest taking it out of the fridge 20 minutes or so before serving to allow the sponge to warm slightly."

This butter pecan cake is a stunning dessert no matter the occasion, and it will instantly elevate any table spread.

  • 1 ½ tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • ½ cup + 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup + ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • ½ cup natural yogurt
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup pecans, for decoration (whole or chopped)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease 3 (7-inch) round cake tins with removable bases.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper, ready for the hot buttered pecans.
  4. In a pan, melt the salted butter along with the 1 cup of finely chopped pecans. Sauté the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, until the pecans are slightly colored.
  5. Pour the mixture onto the prepared sheet of baking paper, and set aside to cool.
  6. In a stand mixer, cream together the granulated sugar and ½ cup of unsalted butter, mixing until the blend has uniformly lightened in color.
  7. Mix in the eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  8. In a separate bowl, combine the natural yogurt and the whole milk.
  9. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
  10. Add ⅓ of the flour to the stand mixer, and mix until just combined.
  11. Add ½ of the milk and yogurt mixture to the stand mixer, and combine.
  12. Add another ⅓ of the flour mixture, and repeat with the flour and milk until all of it has been combined together in the stand mixer.
  13. Gently fold in the buttered pecans until just combined, then divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake tins.
  14. Bake the sponge layers in the oven for 20 minutes, until just cooked. Then, remove them from the oven, and leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  15. In the meantime, blend together the remaining ¾ cup of unsalted butter with the cream cheese in a stand mixer.
  16. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and then sieve in the powdered sugar in stages until everything is well combined.
  17. When the cakes are completely cooled, place the first sponge on a plate or cake stand, and then spoon 2 tablespoons full of the cream cheese frosting on top of the sponge.
  18. Spread the frosting evenly across the sponge before adding the second and then the third sponges, and repeating the process.
  19. Use a little more of the cream cheese frosting around the sides of the cake, and then, using a piping bag, pipe some around the top for decoration.
  20. Decorate the top either with whole or chopped pecans.