It’s one of my favorite things to experiment with new flavors and recipes, especially when it comes to cakes. When people think of layer cakes they usually think of white, yellow, and/or chocolate. Sometimes carrot or lemon come to mind. There are so many great recipes out there for different cakes. This past February I made a Cherry Layer Cake and it was simply incredible! AND of course, this particular cake here, Toasted Butter Pecan, well… let’s just say if you’re a fan of pecans, you won’t be disappointed.
What gives this cake that signature “Butter Pecan” flavor is toasting the pecans in a skillet with some melted butter. It smells AMAZING! Just like the ice cream. That is the very first step to this cake since you want to set your pecans aside to cool. It’s vital that you do this or else you may create cooked portions of cake batter upon adding hot nuts. Not ideal.
The cake batter itself seems to be based off the old-fashioned 1-2-3-4 cake (1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs). That is if you don’t count the extra 1/4 cup of butter used to toast the nuts. I’ve never made a 1-2-3-4 cake before. I wasn’t completely impressed with it, but I didn’t think it was bad (kind of dry). I will say though, if you have a favorite white or yellow cake recipe, you should use that instead (this is mine) and then follow the same step for making the toasted butter pecans, add them in, and absolutely use this frosting recipe. If you want to use your own 2 layer recipe instead of a 3, then you’ll need to use less pecans, maybe just 1 1/4 cups would be perfect.
I really thought this cake was just lovely. Just so old-fashioned in nature, I was completely impressed. I chose to keep it simple with the decoration. I am not big on fancy piping of cakes, simply because I haven’t done it enough to be any good at it. So I decided to press finely chopped pecans into the side of the cake and then just fluff and swirl the top of the cake with a small offset spatula to give it a pretty appearance.
Oh and before I forget to mention- the frosting. If you like to have plenty of frosting when frosting your cake, you may want to use 1 1/2 times the given recipe. I had just enough for the 3 layers with this cake. It made me a little nervous. If you decide to make your own 2 layer cake recipe, then you will have plenty, but for the 3 layer I highly recommend making more frosting especially if you are planing on piping. And I should also mention that the frosting recipe is SOOOOO delicious! : D
- 1¼ cup butter, softened, divided
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 pkg (2 lbs) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 Tb milk, as necessary
- extra chopped pecans for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9″ round cake pans.
- In a medium heavy skillet, melt ¼ butter over medium heat. Add pecans; cook until toasted and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Spread across sheet of foil to cool.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine; set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
- Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour (flour in 3 parts, milk in 2). Fold in toasted pecans.
- Divide between cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pans. Cool completely.
- FOR FROSTING: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla. Beat in enough milk, as necessary, to achieve spreading consistency. Frost cake. Store in refrigerator.
NOTE: The cake batter itself seems to be based off the old-fashioned 1-2-3-4 cake (1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs). That is if you don’t count the extra ¼ cup of butter used to toast the nuts. I wasn’t completely impressed with it, but I didn’t think it was bad (a tad dry). I will say though, if you have a favorite white or yellow cake recipe, you should use that instead and then follow the same step for making the toasted butter pecans, add them in, and absolutely use this frosting recipe. If you want to use your own TWO layer recipe instead of a three, then you’ll need to use less pecans, maybe just 1¼ cups would be perfect.