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
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 mixed into the cake batter. 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.
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! As delicious as it is beautiful, this Butter Pecan Cake is a wonderful dessert for a special occasion or to make an everyday occasion special!
What You’ll Need
For the frosting:
- Unsalted butter – You’ll need a little butter for toasting the pecans as well as softened butter for the frosting.
- Pecans – Chop these coarsely so they’ll mix well into the frosting.
- Cream cheese – Bring the cream cheese to room temperature for a smooth texture.
- Confectioners’ sugar – Sift for the best texture.
- Vanilla extract
For the cake:
- 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.
- Unsalted butter – Set out the butter about half an hour before baking so it can soften properly.
- Granulated sugar
- Eggs – They’re more easily separated when they’re cold, so do that when you first get them out of the refrigerator. Then you can let them come to room temperature.
- Vanilla extract
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk works best, but you can use a substitute in a pinch.
- Baking soda
- Cake flour – Measure by weight if possible. Otherwise, spoon and sweep. Sift the flour for the best texture.
- More pecans – Garnish the cake with more pecan halves and pieces.
How to Make Butter Pecan Cake
Make the frosting:
Toast the pecans. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add the pecans, and cook over medium heat until toasted. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Mix the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Once that mixture is creamy, gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and cooled pecans.
Refrigerate. Cover the frosting and chill for at least an hour.
Make the cake:
Mix the white chocolate and water. Pour boiling water over the white chocolate. Stir until smooth; then allow it cool.
Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and grease and flour the paper.
Mix the wet ingredients. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it’s creamy. Add the sugar gradually, and mix well. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time. Then stir in the melted white chocolate and vanilla.
Add the flour and buttermilk. Combine the buttermilk and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of the buttermilk mixture.
Add the egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter, being careful not to over-mix.
Bake the cakes. Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake 22 to 25 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes. Place the cake pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and place them on wire racks to cool completely.
Frost the cake. Spread the frosting on the tops and sides of the cooled cake. If you like, garnish the frosted cake with more pecans.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
How to Store Butter Pecan Cake
Keep the cake refrigerated. The cake should keep for up to 3 days tightly covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature for serving.
Can Butter Pecan Cake Be Frozen?
Yes! First, place the cake or individual slices in the freezer until the frosting is solid. Next, wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap. Finally, wrap the cake again in aluminum foil or place in a freezer-safe container. Properly stored, the cake should keep in the freezer up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.