A Southern Butter Pecan Cake Made For True  Pecan Lovers

Visual learner? Watch me make this Southern Butter Pecan from start to finish!

Ditch the box cake mix and make this Southern Butter Pecan Cake from scratch! My days of thinking buttered pecan is an old person’s flavor is long gone! Ok, maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I like to think of it as my taste buds becoming more….. refined if you will.

Now I love all things butter pecan, but only if it’s made right!  This homemade Southern butter pecan cake fits the bill!! It’s so dadgum moist and soft. It’s that stick to the back of the fork-type softness which I love! Not to mention it’s frosted with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting that compliments it so well!

butter pecan cake

What is a Southern Butter Pecan Cake?

If you’ve never had a butter pecan cake think of a vanilla brown sugar type cake full of toasted buttered pecans!  Yeah…it’s holiday-dessert-table worthy! This old-fashioned cake tastes awesome the first day you make it but gets even better once it’s had a chance to sit for a day and that nutty pecan flavor becomes perfectly balanced throughout!

The Secret Ingredient

HOMEMADE PECAN BUTTER!!!! Anytime I’m making a nut-flavored cake the best way to get the most authentic nutty flavor is to grind up the nuts into a creamy butter texture. It really ups the pecan flavor even more so that you don’t have to use artificial nut flavorings!

southern butter pecan cake

How to butter & toast pecans for Butter Pecan Cake

Making homemade butter pecans are simple. You can simply toast them in a skillet with butter or bake them in the oven. I prefer the oven method.  To make butter pecans toss the pecan chips with melted butter and a bit of cinnamon. The cinnamon is optional but heck, why not!

Next, spread the pecans out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes (may need more or less time), flipping halfway. You want your pecans to absorb the butter and have a slight crunch. They will get crunchier as they cool so don’t overcook them. Burnt pecans will NOT taste good!

How to make the BEST Southern Butter Pecan Cake

  1. Use full-fat ingredients. I know it may be tempting to use ingredients that are low-fat or fat-free but this cake shines in all her glory when she is allowed to be herself aka fat and happy!!
  2. Toast the pecans. Of course, you can just dump the pecans in right out of the package but to get an amazing butter pecan you want to add butter and toast them! When it doubt, butter makes it better every time!
  3.  Don’t skip the extracts! Adding vanilla and maple is like the perfect duo for this Southern butter pecan cake. They are subtle yet lend such a well-rounded flavor.

from-scratch southern butter pecan cake

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting!

When it comes to frosting a butter pecan cake there are many options from simple vanilla or cinnamon buttercream frosting to plain cream cheese frosting!  For this cake, I’m going with brown sugar cream cheese frosting with some butter pecans in the mix! Since this cake is lightly sweetened with a bold pecan flavor this sweet frosting with hints of vanilla and maple compliments it so well!

Tip: To make the BEST brown sugar cream cheese frosting make sure to use fresh, soft brown sugar. None of that clumpy, old stuff ok?  That will allow the brown sugar to melt and mix into the frosting ingredients without being grainy.

I hope you guys enjoy this Southen Pecan Cake as much as we do!

from-scratch southern butter pecan cake

Get the Recipe: Southern Butter Pecan Cake

4.53 from 119 ratings
Moist Southern Butter Pecan Cake loaded with pecans and frosted with a pecan brown sugar cream cheese frosting!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 10 people



  • cup pecan chips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup fresh light brown sugar, (soft, with no lumps)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract
  • salt, pinch
  • cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup buttered pecan chips


  • Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease 2 9-inch cake pans with shortening and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Prepare the Pecans

  • In a large bowl, toss pecan chips with melted butter and cinnamon.
  • Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 6 minutes, flipping halfway. Pecans should be fragrant & slightly crunchy when removed from the oven. They will become crunchier as they cool.
  • Let pecans cool on the pan once cooled, removed 1/2 cup of pecans, and blend in a food processor until creamy. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the cake!

  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter.
  • Mix in eggs and egg yolk.
  • Mix in vanilla extract, maple extract, and sour cream.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  • Once batter is combined and fluffy, stir in the pecan butter and 1/2 cup of the butter pecan chips (reserve the other 1/2 cup for the frosting)
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (may need more or less time so check on it at the 25-minute mark)
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pan until the pans are cool enough to touch, and then carefully, remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Make The Frosting

  • In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese, and butter.
  • Add brown sugar and mix until fluffy and light. (The brown sugar should be completely mixed in and creamy without a gritty texture)
  • Mix in vanilla extract, maple extract, and a pinch of salt.
  • Gradually mix in powdered sugar until frosting is smooth and creamy.
  • Frost cooled cakes.


Cuisine: American, southern
Course: cake, Dessert
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.