Autumn is in full swing, which means we’re pretty much going to be baking constantly until those Jenny Craig commercials come on after Christmas and we realize we should probably cut back.
Until then, nothing smells more like fall than sweet, warm caramel paired with the nutty aroma of pecans and brown butter. This rustic Brown Butter Pecan Cake with Caramel Buttercream combines all of those comforting flavours and acts as the perfect treat for a cozy fall evening.
The brown butter adds a wonderful nutty flavour to the cake while the light layer of caramel buttercream brings the decadence without being overly sweet (that’s where the caramel sauce comes in).
Brown Butter Pecan Cake with Caramel Buttercream
For the Brown Butter Pecan Cake:
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (12 ounces)
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup milk, room temperature
- 1 cup pecans, halved + 1 cup pecans, halved for decorating
- Melt butter until it gets foamy. Stir the butter until it turns into a brown or amber colour and smells nutty. Pour the melted butter into a small bowl and refrigerate until it cools.
- Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Beat the browned butter with both sugars until creamy. Add vanilla extract and 3 egg yolks (one at a time), beat in whole eggs (one at a time) until everything is well combined.
- Alternating with milk, mix in the flour and milk, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Mix in pecans and pour batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cakes cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before removing.
For the Caramel Buttercream
Click here for the full instructions. We saved about 1/4 cup of the melted brown sugar mixture from this recipe and added a splash of heavy cream to use as the caramel sauce topping for our cake.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
To Assemble the Cake
- Remove first cake layer from pan and place onto a cake plate or cake board
- Use a mechanical ice cream scoop to drop buttercream frosting on to the first bottom layer of the cake. This is a great trick to ensure you get just the right amount of frosting necessary.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the buttercream until it about 1/4 inch away from the edge of the cake layer.
- Gently place the second cake layer on top of the bottom layer and repeat the previous process, ensuring to frost the sides of your cake as well (There’s no need to stress about the neatness of your frosting if you’re going for a more rustic, simple look)
- Decoratively place the rest of your halved pecans onto the top layer of your cake. Pour the caramel sauce over the top of your cake, the pecans surrounding the edge will hold in all of that gooey caramel sauce. Serve and enjoy!
Cake recipe adapted from Food & Wine