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Butter Pecan Cake

Butter Pecan Cake is a rich vanilla layer cake loaded with buttered pecans and covered in buttercream frosting.

Who let December sneak in? Weren’t we having Labor Day fun a few minutes ago? Or perhaps I’m trying to erase some parts of October and November. Both months I went on fantastic trips. Those are memories I want to keep. Both months brought the sadness of losing my hounds. Tiger passed on right before Halloween and Lexie the day before Thanksgiving. I went for the comfort of food and specifically Butter Pecan Cake.

Finding comfort in food is fleeting. Time is what will really heal the heart and soul. Yet an instant of distraction is sometimes necessary. I found it with frosting and butter and pecans. Plus baking a cake kept me occupied and got my mind off things. The simple acts of mixing, stirring, and spreading brings comfort too.

My mom fell and broke her hip too. It happened the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Her surgery was the same day we said goodbye to Lexie. It was really rough day for sure. Obviously the holiday was put on hold. Hospital food for Thanksgiving is not exactly a tasty feast. At least bringing some homemade cake to her a few days later helped.

Butter Pecan Cake | Magnolia Days

The recipe is one I’ve had for years. I got it from a lady I met at work way back in 1983. Back then I was working for an alarm company and she was across the hall at an insurance company. We had similar jobs sitting at a desk answering the phone all day. Most of the time it was only the two of us in the building because the reps at both places were out working with clients. Anyway, one day she brought in a Butter Pecan cake and shared it with me. It was so good I, of course, got the recipe.

How is the cake? Think butter pecan ice cream in cake form. It is a rich layer cake loaded with buttery toasted pecans in both the cake and frosting. The cake layers are airy and held together with thick buttercream frosting. Each bite has airiness, richness, creaminess, and crunchiness. It’s pure comfort to me.

Butter Pecan Cake is a rich vanilla layer cake loaded with buttered pecans and covered in buttercream frosting.

What is your favorite comfort food? Is it sweet or savoy? I go for sweet first. Then savory cravings come along. A hearty bowl of Beef Goulash or Pinto Beans with Cornbread are what works for me. Meanwhile I’m hoping things get better as December progresses. Soon it will be a brand new year. Fingers crossed it brings health and happiness to all.

Butter Pecan Cake | Magnolia Days
4.11 from 19 votes

Butter Pecan Cake

Butter Pecan Cake is a rich vanilla layer cake loaded with buttered pecans and covered in buttercream frosting. It's a special dessert for any occasion.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 to 16 servings
Author Renee Dobbs


For the butter pecans:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 2/3 cups chopped pecans

For the cake:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half or whole milk at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter pecans

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar sifted
  • 5 tablespoons half-and-half plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup butter pecans


For the butter pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir together melted butter and pecans in a small bowl. Spread pecans evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Beat butter in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at at time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with half-and-half, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating each addition until just combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla and 1 cup butter pecans.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Batter will be thick so spread evenly in the pans.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting:

  1. Beat butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add confectioners sugar, 5 tablespoons half-and-half, and vanilla.
  2. Beat on medium-low speed until combined and smooth. Add more half-and-half as needed to reach desired spreading consistency.
  3. Stir in remaining 2/3 cup butter pecans.
  4. Spread frosting between cake layers, on top, and sides of cake.
  5. Keep cake chilled when not serving.

Recipe Notes

Butter Pecan Cake is a rich vanilla layer cake loaded with buttered pecans and covered in buttercream frosting. It's a special dessert for any occasion.


Recipe Rating


Saturday 15th of October 2022

Made this for our church luncheon today. Pecans were nicely distributed throughout the cake. It was a major hit! Great recipe! For those who have had issue with pecans settling to the bottom, you may have added extra pecans. I did not flour mine before adding. Thanks for sharing!

Cindy lyons

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

My layers are flat!!! Looks more like a pancake than a cake....haven't tasted it yet but I am disappointed!!!

Katie Moseman

Thursday 15th of August 2019

Oh no! I'm sorry it didn't turn out. I have had that happen to me when my baking powder has lost its "oomph."


Monday 13th of June 2016

Don't cook layers but 20-25 minutes.My layers were dry but icing was to die for! Will take to a church or family function.


Tuesday 7th of June 2016

How do you keep the pecans from going to the bottom?


Monday 13th of June 2016

My pecans did not sink to the bottom because I folded them in instead of mix with mixer!! Try that next time and see if it works for you.


Wednesday 8th of June 2016

The cake batter is thick and it holds up the pecans.


Monday 6th of June 2016

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. When I was little my grandmother made a delicious pecan cake. Unfortunately non of the family had the recipe. I'm hoping this one comes close. Happy cooking, Ann