Skip to Content

Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Cake Recipe

A delectable treat, this Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Cake is a classic Southern dessert. Toasted pecans are mixed into the batter for a delightful nutty flavor. Icing this cake is a luscious cream cheese frosting decorated with chopped and toasted pecans. This old-fashioned cake has become a crowd-pleaser at potlucks, holiday feasts, and even birthday celebrations.

Butter Pecan Cake with a slice cut and decorated with toasted pecans.

This toasted butter pecan cake is perfect for special occasions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It's also a delicious cake during the summer and is the ideal dessert for Easter.

Ingredients in Butter Pecan Cake

Simple ingredients are used to make this delicious butter pecan cake recipe. Here are the basic ingredients you will need:

Slice of butter pecan cake on white dessert plate.

Instructions to Make Butter Pecan Cake

  1. Set your oven to 350°F and prepare two 8 inch cake pans by greasing and flouring them. You can use baking spray for this step.
  2. In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on low heat. Add the chopped pecans and toast them lightly for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and let them cool.
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugars at medium speed. Add the room temperature eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add half of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk. 
  5. Fold in 2 cups of the toasted pecans to the batter. This will give the cake a more nutty flavor.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared 8-inch round baking pans.
  7. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cakes; it should come out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Allow the cake layers to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  9. When ready to frost, place one cake layer on a serving plate, spread a layer of frosting over top of the cake, and top with the remaining layer. 
  10. Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
  11. Sprinkle the top and/or sides with toasted pecans. 
  12. Slice and serve.

TIP: For a moist cake and a more tender cake, prevent overbeating the cake mix.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and continue to beat until smooth.
  3. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until well combined.
  4. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches a smooth consistency suitable for frosting the cake.

Substitutions for Butter Pecan Cake

When trying to find suitable alternatives for butter pecan cake, consider the following options when making a homemade southern butter pecan cake.

  • White cake mix: You can use a white cake mix in place of the homemade cake mix in this recipe. Keep in mind, although it will make this a more easy cake recipe, it will be a different flavor and texture than intended in this recipe. 
  • Spice cake mix: Spice cake mix can be used in place of the homemade cake mix as well. It does have additional spices included in the mix. Once again, it will change the flavor and texture of the butter pecan cake. 

Variations for Butter Pecan Cake

You can get creative with your butter pecan cake by exploring different flavor combinations and toppings. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Add spices: Enhance the flavor by adding a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the cake batter. This will give it a warm and cozy touch.
  • Try a different frosting: Swap out the traditional cream cheese frosting for a caramel or maple glaze. Or, add about ¼ cup of maple syrup to the cream cheese frosting.
Top view of butter pecan cake with a slice on a white saucer.

RELATED: Layered Angel Food Cake

Equipment Needed to Make Butter Pecan Cake

To create a delicious butter pecan cake, these kitchen tools will make it easy:

  • Mixing bowls: Having different-sized mixing bowls is a must to keep the ingredients separate until ready to make the batter.
  • Whisk: A whisk is essential for blending dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, and salt, as well as wet ingredients like buttermilk and vegetable oil.
  • Electric mixer: This will help you cream the butter and sugars together smoothly, making your batter light and fluffy.
  • Cake pans: You'll need three 8x2 inch round cake pans to create the layers for your butter pecan cake.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Having at least one measuring cup and measuring spoons is important to measure the ingredients importantly.
  • Parchment paper: Lining your cake pans with parchment paper will prevent your cake from sticking, making it easier to remove and stack the layers.
  • Cooling racks: After baking, you'll need cooling racks to let your cake layers cool before frosting and assembling.
  • Offset spatula: This tool will make frosting your cake much easier, allowing you to achieve a smooth finish.
  • Pastry brush: A pastry brush is useful for lightly brushing the cooled pecans with melted butter before adding them to your frosting.

How to Store Toasted Butter Pecan Cake

To ensure your toasted butter pecan cake remains fresh and delicious, follow these storage tips:

  1. Allow the cake to cool - Make sure the frosted butter pecan cake is cooled completely before covering and storing. This helps prevent the build-up of condensation inside the storage container.
  2. Choose an airtight container - Use an airtight container such as a cake carrier that's big enough to accommodate your cake to prevent smashing the cake or frosting.
  3. Add a layer of protection - To prevent the cake from drying out, you can place a piece of plastic wrap around the cake surface. Keep in mind, this may smear the frosting.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze for longer storage - If you plan to store the cake for more than two to three days, place it in the refrigerator. The fridge can keep the cake fresh for up to a week. To freeze this cake for longer storage, wrap the cake slices individually, and place them in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. 

TIP: Place a label on the container with the freeze date to take the guesswork out of when you place it in the freezer later.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make sure my cake layers are even?

To make sure your cake layers are even, use a cake leveler or a serrated knife to trim any domed or uneven parts of the cake. You can also use a ruler or toothpicks to measure and mark the cake layers before trimming.

How do I prevent my cake from sticking to the pan? 

To prevent your cake from sticking to the pan, grease the pans with butter or cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. You can also dust the pans with flour or cocoa powder to help release the cake from the pan.

Toasting Pecans for Your Cake

To easily toast pecans, add two tablespoons of butter to a skillet over low heat and allow the butter to melt.  Add the chopped pecans and stir occasionally for about 3 minutes. The pecans will let off a nutty aroma and they will lightly toast. Remove from the heat and put them in a heat-proof bowl and allow them to cool. 

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pan. If this step is rushed the cake can stick and fall apart.

📖 Recipe

Yield: 12 slices

Butter Pecan Cake

slice of butter pecan cake with pecans

A southern delight - this butter pecan cake has toasted pecans and made from scratch with cream cheese frosting.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 cup butter, unsalted, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter, unsalted

Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease and flour (2) 8" inch round pans. I use baking spray.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoon of butter over low heat in a skillet until melted.
  3. Add the chopped pecans to the skillet and lightly toast. Stir occasionally, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and the sugars together.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Stir in the vanilla.
  8. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  9. Mix in half of the flour, then half of the milk.
  10. Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk.
  11. Stir in 2 cups of the toasted pecans.
  12. Pour half of the batter into one of the 8-inch rounds and repeat with the other 8-inch round pan.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Check the center of the cakes with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
  15. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting to prevent the icing from sliding and melting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  3. Slowly beat in the confectioner's sugar.
  4. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting is smooth and the right consistency to frost the cake.


When frosting the cake, make sure both of the cakes are completely cool.  Start by frosting the top of one of the 8 inch cakes and then lay the unfrosted layer on top.  Frost the top and sides.  Garnish with toasted pecans. 

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 761Total Fat: 30.6gSaturated Fat: 16.9gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 237mgCarbohydrates: 115.3gFiber: 1.6gSugar: 88.7gProtein: 9.2g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook


Monday 9th of October 2023

How long would you cook for cupcakes?


Friday 25th of March 2022

This cake was so fluffy and delicious that we all had to have two slices! I made it for my friend's birthday and it disappeared the same day! I'll definitely make it again next time I need a cake for something.


Friday 25th of March 2022

This cake looks so pretty! I love your presentation of it! It also sounds delicious! I love a good pecan pie, so definitely need to try this recipe for cake!


Saturday 12th of June 2021

Wow I just realized I forgot to add milk🤦🏼‍♀️ I’m sure the cake would’ve been perfect if I would’ve added it, please disregard my previous review. Amazing recipe though, even with my mistake it was a hit!!!!


Saturday 12th of June 2021

Hi Naomi!

Thank you so much for your review and for commenting again to share your mistake, that means a lot! I'm glad that you enjoyed the recipe!! I sure have mistakenly left out ingredients myself quite a bit, lol!


Saturday 12th of June 2021

I tried the recipe and the taste turned out amazing, only complaint is that it was a bit on the dry and dense side. I followed the recipe exactly, next time I’ll change some of it up.

Skip to Recipe