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Pecan Cake with Rum Frosting

Pecan Cake with Rum Frosting is deliciously sweet, nutty, delicate, and so very delicious! - Bake or Break

I feel confident that I would enjoy just about any dessert that features pecans. In the case of this cake, finely ground pecans are the star.

This nutty cake is tall and delicate and really just lovely. It isn’t overly sweet. That’s good, because the rum frosting is sweet enough to complement it perfectly.

Pecan Cake with Rum Frosting is deliciously sweet, nutty, delicate, and so very delicious! - Bake or Break

If you don’t have rum or just don’t want to use it, you can leave it out of the frosting. Or, you could up the vanilla extract. I also think a tablespoon or so of strong brewed coffee would be appealing to you coffee lovers out there.

This feels very much like a winter cake to me. Maybe it’s the look of it or the nuttiness or the rum. Whatever the reason, these cold winter days are a perfect time for enjoying a slice.

Pecan Cake with Rum Frosting

Yield 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Take this nutty pecan cake to the next level by adding creamy rum frosting!

Pecan Cake with Rum Frosting is deliciously sweet, nutty, delicate, and so very delicious! - Bake or Break


For the cake:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Place pecans in a food processor or grinder and grind finely.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in ground pecans. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 or 4 portions, alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Then, transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat confectioners' sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in rum and vanilla. Add 2 tablespoons of cream and continue mixing. Add more cream as needed until frosting is spreadable.
  2. Spread frosting on cooled cake. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of frosting.


The cake can be made a day or two in advance. Frost the cake up to 4 hours before serving. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. 

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

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    20 Comments on “Pecan Cake with Rum Frosting”

  1. One of my all-time favorite cake recipes. I’ve made the Real Simple version many times.

  2. Do you think this would be alright baked in a springform pan…maybe with a layer of pecans pressed into the sides and the bottom? My 9″ cake pans seem like they might almost be too shallow to bake this.

  3. I love pecans, and this cake looks wonderful. I think I’d have to incorporate coconut somehow, as pecans and coconut go hand in hand for me!

  4. I’m a lover of pecans too! Looks delicious and the rum frosting is a must! 🙂

  5. Susannah, you can use a springform pan. I used a standard cake pan, and it baked up a bit taller than the pan but without spilling over.

  6. Great photos & I’m sure the pecan cake will taste the same!

  7. you are making some wonderful recipes lately?
    can I have some of your baking mojo?
    i’ve lost mine, i blame it on all the blizzards.
    does that count? lol

  8. I am a huge pecan fan myself so this cake definitely appeals to me! This is just lovely and I bet that frosting is so nice. Rum and pecans sound like such a fantastic combination. Definitely want to give this cake a try.

  9. A perfect cake for weekend coffee!

  10. Jennifer, this sounds so delicious. I immediately thought of my Papa when I saw the recipe and will have to make it for him sometime soon! He will love it.

  11. This recipe looks like it could be a favorite! I love pecans!

  12. I just made the cake! And the rum frosting is delicious!!! It makes a lovely tea time cake especially with the frosting.

    When I first made the batter, I found it extremely thick, and although I should have let my baking experience and had better judgement, I went against it and added a few tablespoons of milk! The batter still tasted delicious! But the next time I will definitely try it without adding the extra milk.

    Another note: In India, buttermilk is very different from American buttermilk — I used a substitute: Milk:Vinegar = 1cup: 1 tblsp. So for this cake, I used this substitute and it still turned out great! 🙂

  13. This cake looks sooo good. I’m obsessed with pecans. I’m definitely making this soon, thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  14. I, too (like one of your other readers), thought about my father when I read this post. He loves anything with pecans in it. The texture of the cake seems amazing – the crunch of the nuts against the smooth creamy frosting. Thank you for sharing!

  15. This cake is on my kitchen counter as I write…  Beautiful texture; nicely flavored (I used black walnuts) and, more importantly, beautifully moist a day later.  Hubby gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up!  We will enjoy this cake often.  Further, baking this cake a day before you need a dessert, is a comfortable option.  Thanks for a keeper recipe, that does not disappoint!

  16. Can I use a usual milk instead of buttermilk?

  17. No hablo ingles, como hsgo para ver tus recetas en español para poderlas hacer gracias 

  18. Si tienes problemas con las recetas, puedes utilizar Google Translate. Simplemente copie y pegue el texto de la receta en el espacio “ingresar texto”, luego dígale que lo traduzca al español. Google Translate es bastante fácil de usar y puede copiar la traducción en un programa de texto para imprimirla. Utilizo este método todo el tiempo cuando estoy en sitios que no están en inglés. Espero que esto te ayude.

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