Butter Pecan Caramel Cake
Ever since I got my December issue of Taste of the South magazine, the cover of it sparked unimaginable salivating cravings. I mean, pecans are my thing, y’all.
I love pecans so much that when I purchase them for a recipe, I always buy double than what I actually need – because I know I’m just gonna be snacking on them. They’re just SO good!
So, since I couldn’t stop salivating over the cake on the front of the magazine, I just knew that I had to whip up my own version. I adapted it just a little from the original version, and I fell head over heals in love with the finished product. I feel like cuddling with that cake more than my actual husband right now… just don’t tell him that. 😉
Now, I know you’ve gotta be salivating over this cake too – and if you’re not…. Bless your heart. 😉 (kidding! maybe…)
Now, don’t let this overwhelm you. I’m going to break this down for you step by step, with pictures. Even you novice cooks can put this gorgeous cake on the table & wow everyone including yourself!
Here’s what you need for the cake part:
In an electric mixer (I love my stand mixer!) – beat the butter & sugar until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of the bowl. I have this neat scraping beater attachment for my KitchenAid, so it scrapes the bowl for me as I go.. LOVE!
Add 3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks (save the 2 whites for a later use if you want), one at a time – beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, & vanilla extract.
With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture & milk mixture – alternating in between them in batches. A cup of flour, plus a 1/4 of the liquid mixture & so on until both substances are mixed in well.
Beat just until blended. Your cake batter will be luscious, creamy, & thick… try to resist eating it raw. I know; it’s difficult.
This makes a 3 layer cake, so you need 3 round cake pans. Spray the bottom of each one with nonstick cooking spray with flour already added (like Baker’s Joy) – or a little regular non-stick spray with a sprinkling of flour on top. Place a piece of parchment paper cut to fit into the bottom of each pan, and spray with the Baker’s Joy again (or nonstick cooking spray with a sprinkling of flour). This is how I cut my parchment paper to fit… by tracing the bottom of my pan on the parchment paper, and then following the line I made to cut out.
Divide the batter between the 3 pans. Add 3 level cups per pan, & smooth the tops with a spatula.
Look, I made a Mickey Mouse with my cake pans! I’m so creative… 😉
Bake in a 350 degree oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Trip tops of layers to level, if necessary.
Now, for the frosting & buttered pecans – my favorite part! Here’s what you need for that:
While the cakes are cooling, let’s get these buttered pecans done. On a rimmed baking sheet, place pecans & diced butter – sprinkle with salt.
Bake until toasted at 350 degrees, approximately 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven, let cool completely.
Let’s finish that frosting!
In a large heavy saucepan, bring the dark brown sugar, butter, cream, corn syrup, & salt to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, and pour into a large heatproof mixing bowl. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, apple cider vinegar, & vanilla – beating a medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
Let the frosting cool until it begins to thicken slightly. Meanwhile, chop up 1 cup of the cooled roasted pecans. Reserve the rest of the pecans (left unchopped) for later.
Stir the chopped pecans into the frosting + 1/4 cup of milk.
On a cake stand, place one cake layer; top with 3/4 cup to 1 cup of frosting, leaving a small unfrosted barrier at the edge of the cake layer.
Repeat with the second & third layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake, taking your time – and working in sections. Let cake stand for 10 minutes for the frosting to ‘set’ (this is called a crumb coating).
Spread the rest of the frosting around the entire cake. If the frosting has thickened up too much, then add a splash more milk & stir well to finish the frosting process.
Garnish the top with the remaining unchopped pecan halves.
This cake is absolute perfection. It’s beautiful & delicious… heck, it’s just FABULOUS!
Butter Pecan Caramel Cake
- For the cake:
- 1 ½ cups butter softened
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 cups self rising flour or sub all purpose flour + 1 tbsp baking powder & 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- For the buttered pecans:
- 3 cups pecan halves
- 3 tablespoons butter diced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- For the frosting:
- 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup chilled butter sliced
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups confectioners sugar sifted
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup milk
- For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 9inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour (like Baker's Joy) or spray with regular nonstick cooking spray and dust lightly with flour. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper cut to fit; spray with nonstick baking spray with flour (or alternate method above).
- In a large bowl, beat the butter & sugar until fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs & egg yolks one at a time, beating well after the addition of each one. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the milk, sour cream, & vanilla. With mixer on low speed add flour & milk/sour cream mixture a little at a time, alternating between each one. I like to do this in fourths, such as 1 cup of the flour + ¼ of the milk mixture, repeating until both substances are gone. Mix until just blended.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans; 3 level cups worth per pan. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once cakes are done, cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then remove cakes from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the butter pecans:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, place pecan halves & diced butter. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven; cool completely. Chop 1 cup's worth of the pecans into small pieces, and set aside for the frosting.
- For the frosting:
- In a large heavy saucepan, bring dark brown sugar, butter, heavy cream, syrup, & salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 5 minutes – stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and transfer mixture to a large heatproof bowl. Gradually add confectioners sugar, apple cider vinegar, & vanilla – beating at a medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chopped 1 cup of pecans along with ¼ cup of milk.
- Frost & assemble the cake:
- On a cake stand, place on layer; top with ¾ to 1 cup's worth of frosting – spreading with a spatula over the cake layer, leaving a small unfrosted area near the very edge. Repeat with the remaining 2 layers of cake. Spread a thin layer of frosting carefully around the sides of the cake, working in small sections. Let the cake sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the frosting to 'set' a little, this is called a crumb coating and you should not expect your cake to look very pretty as this point. After you've allowed the cake to set for 10-15 minutes, use the rest of the remaining frosting to frost the rest of the cake, working in sections. If you find your frosting has gotten a little too thick to frost, add a little splash of milk and stir well to mix thoroughly. Garnish the cake with the remaining unchopped pecan halves.