This Pecan Cake is made with lightly toasted and sugared pecan pieces nestled inside a buttery soft cake. You’ll love the nutty flavor paired with the maple frosting and a cup of afternoon coffee (especially if the kids are napping.)
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Tell me all about this pecan cake
- Texture—because it’s made with gluten free flour, the cake is closer to the denseness of a coffee cake, less like a layered cake.
- Ease—I’d say this cake falls between beginner and intermediate. You’ll need to toast the pecans and make “sand” with the butter, but combining the ingredients is pretty simple.
- Baking—This cake bakes at 350°F (175°C) on the center rack of the oven.
- Prep Time—Your eggs should come to room temperature, but other than that, you can start this right off. Toasting the pecans takes about 7 minutes and the putting the cake together takes around 10 minutes.
- Bake Time—This cake bakes for 28-32 minutes (I always take mine out at 30 minutes, but every oven is different) with the oven light on so you can watch the magic happen, right?
Ingredients you need
To prep, you’ll need a 9×9 or 8×8 inch square baking pan, 1 medium skillet, a food processor and 1 large mixing bowl.
- Sugared Pecans—Chop up those pecans nice and fine in the food processor and then you’ll get them all toasted and fragrant in the skillet with some butter and dark brown sugar. This smell must already be a candle, right?
- GF Flour Blend—Or all-purpose flour if your body isn’t terrified by gluten, like mine. My favorite gluten free flour blend is King Arthur Flour Measure for Measure. You can read why here.
- Sugar, Salt & Vanilla—All add flavor and texture to the cake.
- Buttermilk—This adds a lovely flavor and texture to cake, but it gives the acid to activate the double-acting baking powder.
- Eggs—Lots of eggs for lots of moisture, structure and a perfect crumb.
- Butter—I’ve made this with both regular butter and a dairy free butter substitute and could hardly tell the difference. Both created a delicious buttery flavor and smooth texture.
- Baking Powder—Just the right amount to give plenty of rise to this pecan cake.
Looking for something else gluten free and full of fall flavors? Try our Apple Upside Down Cake.
Can’t wait to try this Pecan Cake recipe? Give these other Gluten Free cake recipes a whirl!
Soft Pecan Cake | Gluten Free
For the Sugared Pecans
- 1 C finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 C dark brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp butter divided
For the Cake
- 1 1/2 C gluten free flour blend my favorite is King Arthur Flour Measure for Measure
- 1 C granulated white sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 eggs room temp
- 1/2 C buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter room temp
- 2 C powdered sugar
- 1 tsp maple extract
- 5 Tbsp milk 2% or milk substitute, like almond milk
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 inch square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Finely chop pecans in a food processor until pieces resemble large sand. Set aside.
- In a small skillet, melt 4 Tbsp butter. Add brown sugar and stir together. Add chopped pecans and cook on medium low heat until pecans are fragrant, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Using a food processor, add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Blitz to combine.
- Add butter and blitz until mixture resembles rough sand.
- Remove mixture and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add buttermilk and vanilla, mixing on medium until fully combined.
- Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add toasted pecans, reserving 1/4 C to sprinkle on top.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until set or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set on a cooling rack.
- While cake is cooling, mix up the frosting.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a handheld mixer whisk butter for about 1 minute. Slowly add powdered sugar and maple extract.
- While whisking on high, add milk, 1 Tbsp at a time until the mixture is a spreadable consistency.
- Once cake cools, top with maple frosting and sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans.