Discover the decadent delight of Butter Pecan Cake, a rich dessert infused with the warm, nutty flavors of toasted pecans and creamy butter. This recipe promises layers of moist cake generously filled and frosted with a luscious pecan-studded buttercream. Perfect for any occasion, from birthdays to holidays, this cake is sure to impress with its irresistible blend of flavors and textures. Enjoy the process of baking and indulging in this classic favorite!


  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2-2/3 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs

For the Frosting:

  • 8 to 8-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened


Toasting Pecans:

  1. Prepare the Pecans: Place chopped pecans and 1/4 cup butter in a baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently until toasted. Set aside.
  2. Cake Batter Preparation: In a large bowl, cream together sugar and the remaining softened butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Dry Ingredients Mixture: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add this mixture to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, alternating with milk. Beat well after each addition.
  4. Incorporating Pecans: Stir in 1-1/3 cups of the toasted pecans into the batter.
  5. Baking the Cake: Pour the batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

  1. Creaming Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
  2. Adding Flavor: Add evaporated milk and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Incorporating Pecans: Stir in the remaining toasted pecans into the frosting.
  4. Frosting the Cake: Spread frosting between the layers and over the top and sides of the cooled cakes.

Yield: 12-16 servings

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Presentation: Serve slices of Butter Pecan Cake on dessert plates garnished with a sprinkle of chopped pecans or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar for an elegant touch.
  2. Accompaniments: Pair each slice with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to complement the rich flavors of the cake.
  3. Warm or Cold: Enjoy the cake at room temperature for its full flavor profile, or briefly warm individual slices in the microwave for a comforting treat.
  4. Tea or Coffee: Serve slices with a hot beverage such as tea or coffee to enhance the cake’s nutty and sweet notes.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store leftover Butter Pecan Cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days to maintain freshness.
  2. Freezing: To freeze, wrap individual slices tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil or place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  3. Frosting Care: Due to the butter content, the frosting may firm up when chilled. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving to allow the frosting to soften.
  4. Avoid Moisture: Keep the cake away from direct sunlight and moisture to prevent the frosting from melting or becoming sticky.

Enjoy your Butter Pecan Cake freshly served or stored with these tips to ensure every bite is as delightful as the first!


  1. Chocolate Butter Pecan Cake: Add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder to the cake batter for a chocolate twist. Use chocolate frosting or ganache between layers and on top.
  2. Maple Butter Pecan Cake: Substitute some of the sugar in the cake batter with maple syrup. Use a maple-flavored frosting and sprinkle with additional toasted pecans.
  3. Coconut Butter Pecan Cake: Add 1 cup of shredded coconut to the cake batter and use coconut milk instead of regular milk. Top with coconut flakes in the frosting.
  4. Caramel Butter Pecan Cake: Drizzle each layer of the cake with caramel sauce before frosting. Use a caramel-flavored frosting and garnish with caramel drizzle and pecans.
  5. Spiced Butter Pecan Cake: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to the cake batter. Use a cream cheese frosting flavored with cinnamon.
  6. Lemon Butter Pecan Cake: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to the cake batter and use lemon juice instead of vanilla extract. Frost with a lemon-flavored frosting and garnish with lemon slices.
  7. Almond Butter Pecan Cake: Substitute almond extract for the vanilla extract in the cake batter. Use an almond-flavored frosting and sprinkle with toasted almond slices.
  8. Gluten-Free Butter Pecan Cake: Use gluten-free all-purpose flour instead of regular flour. Ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free, including baking powder and vanilla extract.
  9. Vegan Butter Pecan Cake: Replace butter with vegan butter or coconut oil, use almond milk instead of regular milk, and replace eggs with flaxseed meal or applesauce. Use a vegan-friendly frosting recipe.
  10. Nut-Free Butter Pecan Cake: Substitute pecans with chopped sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option. Ensure all ingredients and the frosting are free from nuts.

These variations offer diverse flavors and dietary options to customize your Butter Pecan Cake according to your preferences and needs. Enjoy experimenting with these delicious ideas!


  1. Can I use margarine instead of butter in this recipe?
    • Yes, you can substitute margarine for butter in both the cake and frosting. However, the flavor and texture may vary slightly.
  2. How can I prevent my pecans from burning when toasting them?
    • Stir the pecans frequently while toasting and keep a close eye on them, as they can quickly go from toasted to burnt. Remove them from the oven as soon as they turn golden brown and fragrant.
  3. Can I use a different type of nut instead of pecans?
    • Yes, you can substitute pecans with walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts in this recipe. Adjust the toasting time accordingly based on the nut you choose.
  4. What should I do if my cake layers stick to the pans after baking?
    • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before attempting to remove them. Gently run a knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them from the pans before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. How do I know when the cake layers are done baking?
    • Insert a toothpick into the center of each cake layer; if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cakes are done. Avoid overbaking to keep the cake moist.
  6. Can I make this cake ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can bake the cake layers in advance. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 1 month. Frost the cake the day you plan to serve it for the best freshness.
  7. How should I store leftover cake?
    • Store leftover Butter Pecan Cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving for the best texture.
  8. Can I omit the frosting and serve the cake plain?
    • Yes, you can serve the cake without frosting if desired. Dust the top with powdered sugar or serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  9. How can I make the frosting less sweet?
    • Gradually reduce the amount of confectioners’ sugar in the frosting recipe until you reach your desired level of sweetness. Adding a pinch of salt can also balance out the sweetness.
  10. Is there a way to make this cake gluten-free?
    • Yes, you can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend in place of regular flour. Ensure all other ingredients, including baking powder and vanilla extract, are certified gluten-free.

These FAQs provide essential tips and answers to common queries to help you successfully bake and enjoy a perfect Butter Pecan Cake every time. Enjoy the baking process and the delicious results!

Enjoy this decadent Butter Pecan Cake with its rich flavors and delightful crunch of toasted pecans. Perfect for any occasion, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser!