Southern Pecan Praline Cake

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!

If you're looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!*bonk* *clunk* *bonk*  Back when I was a kid, we’d go visit my grandparents in upstate South Carolina every Fall, and they had a gigantic pecan tree growing in their backyard.  My grandfather had a homemade grill (made out of a metal barrel cut in half) right under that tree.  Whenever we’d visit, that’s what I’d hear.  *bonk* *clunk* *bonk* Those pecans would fall from the tree and clunk right off the metal grill.  In turn, the ground would be filled with pecans and pecan shells.  (The squirrels liked to go after those pecans before they ever ripened.  Stupid squirrels.)

If you're looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!My grandfather would send me into the backyard with an old plastic bucket to pick up pecans.  I think he paid me a quarter for every bucket I filled.  In hindsight, this was a really cheap way to keep me entertained while my parents and grandparents hung out on their huge wrap-around porch.  Once I had picked up as many pecans as I could carry, I’d haul them inside where we’d sit on the backporch cracking and picking the shells off.  We’d end up with a huge pile of pecans that my grandmother would turn into either Cajun Spiced Pecans or Sugared Pecans depending on our mood.

If you're looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!Needless to say, I grew up eating a lot of pecans.  Many years later, I moved to Louisiana after college, and I ran into this wonderful thing called a praline.  Pralines are a dessert made up of brown sugar and (optional) pecans.  They’re sweet.  But they’re also really delicious!  I made these Bourbon Pecan Pralines a few years ago, and they’re still one of my go-to holiday desserts to take to parties.  Most folks here in the northeast aren’t familiar with pralines, so they always lead to good conversations.  As far as I’m concerned, any conversation about food is a good conversation!

If you're looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!

Southern Pecan Praline Cake

So with that as a backdrop, I wanted to set out and create a cake that incorporated the flavors of pralines and chopped pecans.  And create a cake I did.  One bite of this one, and I immediately proclaimed it as one of my favorite cakes of all time.  It’s that good!  For this Southern Pecan Praline Cake, I used my go-to yellow cake as a base and added a brown sugar frosting.  Oh, and did I mention the frosting has a bunch of chopped pecans mixed in?  So good!  I know it might be frowned upon to eat an entire cake by yourself, but I really wanted to just take this plate and a fork and go sit in a dark closet somewhere.  Me, this Southern Pecan Praline Cake and nothing else.  Our secret, ok?

If you're looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!If you’re looking for a unique and delicious cake idea, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of my new favorites, and I suspect I’ll be making another one before too long.  Maybe once I teach Robbie to pick up pecans in the backyard.  (Of course, that would require me to plant a pecan tree first.  Maybe next year.)  Cheers, friends!

If you're looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!

Southern Pecan Praline Cake

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 568kcal

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • cups buttermilk or milk

For the Frosting

  • 4 cups pecans divided
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake

  • Grease and flour (3) 8” round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; set pans aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes on medium speed).
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until well combined.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract and half of the milk to the bowl; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, mixing after each addition until well combined. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed.)
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let cakes stand for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cool.

For the Frosting

  • Chop 3 cups of pecans and leave 1 cup unchopped. Spread pecans onto a sheet pan and bake at 350°F for 6-8 minutes, or until pecans are fragrant. Set pecans aside.
  • Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar together until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing completely after each addition.
  • Add milk and vanilla extract; mix until well combined. (Note: If frosting is too loose, add a couple more tbsps of powdered sugar. If frosting is too thick, add a tbsp of milk.)
  • Fold chopped pecans into the frosting. (Note: The whole pecans will be used to garnish top of cake)

To Frost Cake

  • Place one layer of cake on large platter. Spread ~1 cup of frosting on top. Repeat with 2nd and 3rd layers of cake. Use remaining frosting on top and sides of cake.
  • Garnish top of cake using the remaining whole pecans.

If you're looking for a unique and delicious cake recipe, then look no further!  This Southern Pecan Praline Cake is one of our new favorites!

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30 Comments

  1. My infatuation with pralines has been lifelong. Pralines and cream was my favorite ice cream growing up and I was obsessed with making them all through high school but it’s been years since I made a batch. Instead of making candy I think I’ll just make this cake though. HOLY YUM! I wouldn’t blame you one bit for eating the whole thing yourself!

    1. Of course you loved pralines and cream ice cream growing up…because that was my favorite one, too! Now I now we’re not actually siblings b/c my sister always went to the mint chocolate chip. Nothing wrong with mint choc chip, but it’s not pralines and cream! 🙂 I’m thinking a scoop of pralines and cream ice cream + a slice of this cake is the way to go now!

  2. This looks divine —and I love your story, too! We southerners sure do love our pecans. I also had to check out your bourbon pralines—that is my favorite candy on earth, and love bourbon—that’s got to be a match made in heaven. My childhood was similar, except it was black walnuts. Both my grandmothers used us grandkids as cheap labor to get all the black walnuts out of their yards and driveways. (And to get us out of their hair, I’m sure!)We would take them in big burlap bags to the “walnut man” who had machine to get the nut neat out (they are way to hard to crack open by hand —it can be done, but it takes forever). To this day, fudge without black walnuts just doesn’t seem right.

    1. Hey Kim! Yes, pecans hold a spot near and dear to my heart…not just for the taste, but also for the memories growing up in my grandparent’s yard way out there in the country of upstate SC! Oh my goodness, I forgot about the ‘walnut man.’ For us, it was the ‘pecan man.’ The adults would pick a few by hand in the evenings, but most of the pecans went to a guy in a small cinderblock building with a huge nut cracking machine. Wow…the memories! And for the record, I agree with you about fudge and walnuts. Oh, and those bourbon pecan pralines? So good! Thanks so much, my friend!

  3. Beautiful. My mind went full-on sugar coma and thought butter pecan ice cream, which you have a recipe for as well, I see. I need to go find someone with a birthday coming up!

    1. Birthday? Psh. You don’t need a birthday to celebrate! Celebrate a half-birthday…or a quarter-birthday…or a Friday. 🙂 A scoop of butter pecan ice cream + a slice of this cake? Now that’s a party all by itself! Thanks so much, Bill!

  4. David! This cake looks A-MAZ-ING! When I was younger, I would love to go to Baskin-Robins for their Pecan Praline Ice Cream! But I have to say, this cake looks like it will be my new obsession! So yummy! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Pecan Praline ice cream has always been one of my favorites, too, Laura! This cake is pretty much the same thing…just eaten with a fork instead of a spoon. Haha. Well, I guess you could use a spoon, but that would take longer. Heck, just ditch the utensils all together and go in face-first, I say! 🙂

  5. Hi David! I like all nuts, but pecans are my favorite. I haven’t made a cake since our friend’s birthday the first of August and this just sounds too good to wait for a special occasion! Your cakes are always the best!!

    1. A month without cake makes David a grumpy boy. 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind words, my friend! And this cake? Definitely a favorite with all of the pecan + praline flavor going on in there. Yum! Thanks, Dorothy!

  6. I do love pecans. Sadly, I didn’t get to know them in my childhood. Indeed, I only had an opportunity to eat them a lot when we moved to Canada. They started to appear in some Russian gourmet supermarkets 10-15 years ago, but the price was outrageously high (like 5$ for 100 grams or so). I love most of available nuts, but there’s something special in pecans – they’re so buttery, sweet and savory at the same time, and so delicious in many ways, from a salad to a dessert. I think making pecan praline was a smart move, and this delicious cake looks stunning. I’m currently trying to watch my weight, so please ship only 2 slices this time 😉

    1. Woah…that’s insanely high for pecans! If my math (i.e. google) is correct, that would be something like $25/pound. Insane! But, yes, pecans are one of my favorite nuts. Whenever there’s a container of mixed nuts around, I always pick out the pecans first. I’ll be good and only send a couple slices of this cake your way. In fact, I think we still have some of this one in the freezer…we always freeze cakes in individual slices and then space ’em out. 🙂

  7. I would not frown on you if you ate an entire cake, Kipchumba. However, afterward you must run an entire marathon. Pralines, in my mind, are absolutely synonymous with Louisiana. Pair this cake with an ice cold hurricane, and I’m there!

    1. Hmmm, I don’t run, Jeff. Like at all. We bike in the mornings, but running? No thank you very much. I guess that means I won’t be able to eat this entire cake in one sitting. Hah. And you’re right about pecans + Louisiana. In fact, Abita Beer makes a pecan ale (and a pecan pie soda) that’s pretty tasty!

    1. The chopped pecans in the frosting made such a difference here, Neil! I loved the texture, and this cake totally took me back to my days growing up in the south when I’d pick up pecans in my grandparent’s backyard! 🙂

  8. What a sweet memory growing up! And this cake is the best way to bring those good memories come to live. Now can I get a big slice please….

    1. Yes, I will gladly share a big piece of this cake with you, Linda! Actually, tell you what. I’ll trade a slice of this cake for one of those chicken satay bowls. Deal? 🙂

  9. Haha – yup, I can totally understand your need to sit in a dark closet with this cake! Your secret is safe with me as I’d do the same!
    Wait – is this the cake you told me you were going to be baking? Dude, if I had known, I’d have taken a flight up to steal me a slice or three of this! Heck I might have ended up in a dark bathroom on the flight back trying to eat this whole thing! 🙂 I was first introduced to pralines in Savannah and hot diggity dog are they droolicious! Using elements of pralines in this – why, my mind’s blown! Also, gosh, how did you manage to spread that frosting on this cake and not eat it with a spoon! Stunning – simply stunning!

    1. Haha, nope that was another cake, Shashi! Cakes galore up here in New York right now. That means I have cakes galore stashed in the freezer…the perfect time to come up and visit, right? 🙂

      I had fun turning those southern pralines into a frosting form, and you’re right about eating it with a spoon. I might’ve scraped the frosting bowl right into my mouth when I was done. Might have. Haha! Thanks so much, my friend!

  10. Lucky you to have the opportunity to have pecans that close and that fresh! They’re up there with one of my faves! This cake looks super good, David. I’ve been itching to bake a cake lately (hubby and I have been watching The Great British Baking Show and that always inspires me). The cake looks so fluffy and love all the pecans on top 🙂

    1. Well, to be fair, that pecan tree is now 1,000 miles away, and my grandparents have both passed away. But maybe I should plant a pecan tree in our yard! I’m sure Laura wouldn’t mind that one bit. Haha. This cake totally turned out quite well, but we were good and stashed (most of) it in the freezer for future weekend evenings. Happy baking, my friend!

    1. I’d love to have a pecan tree in my backyard, too, Dawn! It reminds me of growing up in upstate South Carolina. Maybe I’ll just have to plant one! But first maybe I should see if pecan trees even grow in the northeast…haha. Thanks so much, my friend! 🙂

  11. I like all nuts, but pecans are my favorite. I haven’t made a cake since our friend’s birthday the first of August and this just sounds too good to wait for a special occasion! Your cakes are always the best!!general store

  12. Both my grandmothers used us grandkids as cheap labor to get all the black walnuts out of their yards and driveways. (And to get us out of their hair, I’m sure!)We would take them in big burlap bags to the “walnut man” who had machine to get the nut neat out (they ar

    1. You know, I think you’re right, Laura! We were cheap labor to clean up the driveway and backyard, but hey that cheap labor totally created memories. I wish I could go back to those days now! We totally took the walnuts in big sacks to the nut man, too. He had a little cinder-block shack on the side of the road about 10 minutes from the house. Man, it’s crazy what we remember, right?? Thanks so much for stopping and leaving a comment!

  13. I haven’t made a cake since our friend’s birthday on the first of August and this just sounds too good to wait for a special occasion. Your cakes are always the best. They’re up there with one of my faves. This cake looks super good, David. I’ve been itching to bake a cake lately.

    1. Ah, this cake is a good one! I love using pecans in cakes. I haven’t made this cake in a while now, and I’m thinking I might need to make it again soon. Either way, happy baking!

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