This is one of my favorite cakes to make but then again, butter pecan anything is one of my favorite things to eat! This cake is made up of three full layers with a sweet, indulgent vanilla buttercream layered in between and on top. Each tender bite is bursting with flavor, toasted pecans, and buttery goodness. Some of my favorite, high-quality pecans are Schermer’s Pecans which are hand selected and always fresh. This recipe calls for three cups of pecans to be toasted and included in the cake, but I’ve set aside a fourth cup to top my cake with and to snack on. You’ll want to sift your flour prior to whisking it with the other dry ingredients for this recipe to ensure that each layer is full and fluffy with no large holes throughout. I’ve listed a helpful article below explaining when and why to sift your flour in baking.
I want to mention that for this cake I’ve used three 6-inch cake pans for a taller, smaller cake but using three 9-inch cake pans will make for slightly thinner layers for a standard-sized cake. Using different pan sizes will impact baking time however I’ve used various pans for this recipe and 25 to minutes in the oven at 350 degrees is typical. I do recommend the good old-fashioned toothpick test prior to removing cakes from the oven to make sure they are fully baked.
BUTTER PECAN LAYER CAKE
3 cups chopped pecans, toasted
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
½ cups light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
For the frosting:
8 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ can (7 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread chopped pecans evenly onto a baking sheet and pour ½ stick of melted butter over pecans. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring consistently. Let cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add each egg one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and butter pecan flavoring. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating between the flour mixture and heavy cream. Mix well. Stir in chopped pecans.
Pour into greased cake pans (I used 3 6-inch pans however 3 9-inch work well). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350°. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes before removing from pans and allowing to cool completely.
For the frosting:
Cream butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together, while slowly adding sweetened condensed milk until desired texture is achieved.