Butter Pecan Cake

Butter Pecan Cake features beautiful, delicious cake layers made with white chocolate. And it’s all topped with an incredible frosting filled with buttery pecans!

Butter Pecan Cake on a marble cake stand

I have a serious weakness for butter pecan. I am not likely to pass up anything labeled butter pecan – ice cream, cookies, and maybe especially this Butter Pecan Cake.

Not only does this cake celebrate all things butter pecan, but there’s also some white chocolate here, too. Mixed into the cake batter is a good dose of melted white chocolate. I’ll readily admit that white chocolate isn’t my favorite flavor, but it works SO well here with the other flavors.

overhead view of a slice of Butter Pecan Cake on a beige plate

I don’t find the white chocolate flavor to be overpowering. Rather, it serves to complement the other flavors in this fantastic cake. Be sure to choose a good quality white chocolate for the best results.

The cake itself has such a nice texture. It’s fluffy and moist, yet still sturdy enough to stand up to layering and frosting. Cake flour really makes a difference here, as does the extra step to whip the egg whites.

Tips for Success

  • Use light-colored, non-reflective, metal pans. Dark pans tend to over-bake the edges and potentially lead to under-baked centers. Glass pans conduct heat differently than metal pans, so I generally don’t recommend using them for most baking recipes.
  • Sift the confectioners’ sugar for a smooth frosting. While it’s not absolutely necessary, you’ll have a much smoother and prettier frosting if you take the time to sift the sugar.
  • Use a good quality white chocolate. Choose one that tastes good out of hand and that melts well. Be sure that you’re using white chocolate. Cocoa butter should be the primary ingredient. Be cautious of products labeled “white baking chips” or something similar. If the label doesn’t call it white chocolate, it’s not white chocolate, and it will affect the flavor and texture of the cake.
  • Don’t use self-rising cake flour. There are many brands of cake flour that are self-rising, meaning that they contain leavening agents. If you use that, then you’re adding extra leavening to the cake, which can cause it to be tough or dry. If you’re not sure if your cake flour has these added ingredients, just check the ingredients on the package.
  • Measure accurately. Use a scale if at all possible, especially for the flour. Otherwise, spoon and sweep! (Read more here: How to Measure Flour.)
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. Too much mixing means a tough texture. Be especially cautious to mix only as much as needed when adding the egg whites.
  • Make more frosting if you like. This amount of frosting won’t be overly thick between the layers and on the outside of the cake. I tend to prefer a moderate amount of frosting on cakes, but I know we all have different tastes. Take a look at these photos to see if it looks like enough for you. Simply scale the recipe if you think you’d like more frosting.
  • Keep the cake refrigerated. It should keep for at least a few days tightly covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature for serving.

slice of Butter Pecan Cake on a beige plate with the remaining cake on a marble cake stand

The first time I made this cake, I proclaimed it to be one of my all-time favorite cakes. And it has certainly lived up to that distinction. The flavor, the texture, the frosting… It really is pretty darn fabulous!

And this lovely Butter Pecan Cake is just as delicious as it is beautiful. It’s a wonderful dessert for a special occasion or to make an everyday occasion special!

Visit the Recipe Index for more cake recipes.

More Butter Pecan Desserts

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Butter Pecan Cake

Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes

Plenty of nuts and white chocolate make this Butter Pecan Cake a delicious, irresistible dessert.

Butter Pecan Cake on a marble cake stand

Ingredients

For the frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (150g) coarsely chopped pecans
  • 11 ounces (311g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 ounces (454g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the cake:

  • 6 ounces (170g) white chocolate, chopped (or white chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups (360g) sifted cake flour
  • toasted pecan halves and pieces, for garnish

Instructions

To make the frosting:

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add the pecans and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the buttered pecans and vanilla. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

To make the cake:

  1. Place the white chocolate in a bowl and pour boiling water over it, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment or wax paper. Grease and flour the paper.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating well. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the melted white chocolate and vanilla.
  4. Combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Add the flour to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Begin and end with the flour. Mix at low speed after each addition just until blended.
  5. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold into the batter, making sure not to over-mix. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then, remove the cake layers from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. Spread the frosting between the layers and on the top and sides of the cooled cake. Garnish, if desired, with toasted pecans. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from Christmas with Southern Living 2005.

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