If you’re a fan of butter pecan ice cream, then you will love this cake as much as I do. I created it to have all of the same flavor notes as the ice cream, sweet vanilla with buttery pecans. It’s an extra special cake for the holidays because it’s just rich enough to be holiday worthy but not too heavy that you can’t enjoy it after eating a big holiday meal. You can even serve it instead of the usual pecan pie.
Butter Pecan Cake
One recipe of our Butter Vanilla Cake
One recipe of your favorite vanilla frosting or buttercream, or use our Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
One batch of buttered pecans – recipe below
Bake Butter Vanilla Cake according to the directions.
While the cake cools in the freezer…
Make your Frosting: We use our Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream that is silky and creamy. If you’d like our recipe with tips and techniques, just leave us a comment and let us know. If we get enough interest, I’ll post the recipe!
Make your Buttered Pecans:
1 stick unsalted butter, 1 2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans, pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
Melt the butter and pinch of salt in a saucepan and then add in the pecans. Cook until the butter is slightly browned and bubbly about 3-4 minutes. Butter will start to foam up and cover the pecans and that’s when they’re ready.
Transfer the pecans to a plate covered with two layers of paper towels and drain. Scoop pecans into a bowl, toss with a tablespoon of maple syrup and set aside to cool completely. Stir nuts periodically while cooling.
Assemble the cake:
Remove the cakes from the freezer and unwrap the first cake layer (leave the rest wrapped until ready to use). If cakes are frozen all the way through, let them defrost a bit first while still wrapped. Cakes are best trimmed and stacked in a semi-frozen state.
Trim the tops of a cake with a long, sharp, serrated knife (such as a bread knife).
Begin stacking the cakes by placing the first layer, trimmed side up, on the cake stand or cake round. If using a cake round, spread a small amount of frosting or ganache on first to “glue” the cake to the cake round.
Brush the top of the cake layer with simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled and cooled with vanilla extract or other flavorings), if desired. This will keep the cake moist if it wont be eaten right away.
Spread or pipe an even layer of frosting on top of the cake…
Place a handful or so of the cooled pecans onto the frosting, staying away from the very edge. Gently press the pecans down into the frosting…
Place the next cake layer, trimmed side up onto the frosting. Gently press down on the cake to adhere the layers to each other. Repeat the steps above.
Place the final cake layer on, trimmed side down and press gently.
Using a cake spatula or large butter knife, spread more frosting in between the layers so that there are no air pockets showing. Smooth with the spatula…
Using the plastic wrap you set aside from earlier, wrap the entire cake, pressing the plastic down smooth around the sides and top of the cake to cover completely. Let the cake rest and settle for at least 30 minutes…
Unwrap the cake. Spread an even thin layer of frosting all over the cake to “crumb coat.” There will still be lots of cake showing through…
Place the cake into the fridge for 15 minutes or until the frosting has hardened a bit and “set.” Spread another layer of frosting on, this time covering all of the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth just yet. Place cake back into the fridge for another 10-15 minutes.
Spread on one more layer of frosting, filling in any gaps, or low spaces. Be generous with the frosting as you will be scraping most of it back off as you smooth in the next step.
Using a bench scraper, smooth around the side of the cake, removing any excess frosting. Smooth the top of the cake as well until you are happy with it and it looks even and level…
You can either leave the cake as is, or you can pipe a border around the top and bottom edge as we have done here. This is a “ruffle” edge using an open star tip and a wavy shell technique to create buttercream “ruffles.”
Carefully place remaining pecans into the center of the cake, and it’s done!