This Pecan Upside Down Cake includes all the warm and inviting spices you want in a fall dessert. The gooey mix of pecans and sugar soaks slightly into the cake and creates a moist, crisp fall topping. Recipe comes together quickly and uses simple ingredients—just 15 minutes of hands-on time! Gotta love a fast dessert!
Use your pie plate for something new and different with this pecan cake. I tried this recipe using a cast iron skillet, but the topping would not stick to the cake. It finally came out perfect in a classic ceramic pie dish.
This recipe was inspired by our Apple Upside Down Cake, which is one of my absolute favorite ways to celebrate fall. This pecan cake pairs really well with a hot drink, like our Hot White Chocolate Mocha or our London Fog Tea Latte. Such a perfect afternoon snack cake or dessert (ok, or even breakfast, am I right?).
Using almond flour and a mix of fall spices, this cake stays light, but packs a flavor punch you'll love. See the full list of ingredients below.
- Light Corn Syrup—for added sweetness and moisture
- Light Brown Sugar—sweet and warm flavor boost
- Salted Butter - or unsalted butter + ½ teaspoon of salt
- Chopped Pecans - I buy pecans in bulk at Costco for the best price
- Finely Ground Almond Flour—this gives the cake a unique lightness you'll love
- All-Purpose Flour or Gluten Free Flour Blend—such as King Arthur Measure for Measure
- Granulated White Sugar—just a touch of sweetness in the cake
- Salt—boost all those great flavors!
- Baking Powder—lots of rise
- Baking Soda—a little more rise
- Ground Cinnamon—yum, fall flavors
- Ground Nutmeg—more fall flavor
- Unsalted Butter—in this case, keep the butter cold. Alternately, use salted butter and omit salt listed above.
- Buttermilk—or whole milk, sour cream or plain greek yogurt. Any of these can be used used to create a light and flavorful cake.
- Large Eggs—room temperature is best
- Vanilla Extract—or vanilla paste
See recipe card for quantities.
Creating this upside down cake really is easy. I love using a food processor to blitz in the cold butter. This process creates little tiny pools of melted butter in your cake and makes an especially moist cake without weighing it down.
See photos below for step-by-step instructions.
Place all dry ingredients in a food processor.
Add cold butter and blitz until mixture resembles wet sand.
Pour dry mixture into a medium bowl and add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
Gently mix wet and dry ingredients until there's no more streaks of flour.
Spread pecans topping mixture on the bottom of the pie dish.
Evenly spread cake mixture on top of the topping.
Bake cake on the center rack for 30-35 minutes, until the center springs back when touched lightly.
Wait 5 minutes (not shorter) and flip the cake onto a cake plate or serving dish. Allow cake to cool 10 minutes. Then slice and serve! Tastes fantastic when its warm or room temperature.
How to Serve Pecan Cake
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a large dollop of whip cream. A drizzle of caramel or chocolate syrup would taste amazing as well.
Hint: Do NOT leave the cake in the pie dish for longer than 5 minutes, or else the pecans might stick to the dish rather than the cake.
Make it Gluten Free
Adjusting this recipe to be gluten free is crazy easy! In fact, the cake in the pictures was made with gluten free flour and you can't tell at all. Simply swap the regular flour for your favorite gluten free flour blend.
Make it Vegan
I haven't tried it, but you can try replacing the butter with a vegan butter and replace the buttermilk with a milk substitute, or a vegan yogurt. If you make it this way, please let me know how it goes in the comments below!
The only equipment you'll need to bake this cake is a food processor and an oven. If you do not have a food processor, don't worry! Simply use your hands to work the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.
A food processor is a wonderful tool to make all sorts of recipes, including our Super Greens Pesto, Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Scones or our Pizza Drop Biscuits. If you don't have a food processor, try this one from Cuisinart with wonderful reviews!
How to Store Pecan Upside-Down Cake
Room Temperature - to store this cake at room temperature, simply cover cake tightly with foil or place under a glass cake keeper. It will last for up to 5 days, but it will taste best the first 3 days.
Refrigerator - to store cake in the refrigerator, wrap in foil and remove just to slice a piece off, the rewrap and place back in the refrigerator. Cake will stay fresh in the refrigerator up to 7 days.
Freezer - to store cake in the refrigerator, be sure cake is fully cooled. Then wrap tightly with multiple layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. The cake will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw cake for about an hour at room temperature to enjoy.
Pecan Upside Down Cake
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup finely ground almond flour
- 1 ¼ cups gluten free flour blend such as King Arthur Measure for Measure
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter cold
- ¾ cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 2 large eggs room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F (180°C). Pull out a 10 inch pie dish. Set aside.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in 30 second intervals until just melted. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and chopped pecans.
- Spread pecan mixture evenly around the bottom of the pie dish.
For the Cake
- In a food processor, add almond flour, gluten free flour blend, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Blend quickly until combined.
- Cut butter into chunks and add to food processor. Blend until mixture resembles sand (about 10 seconds).
- Pour flour mixture into a large bowl. Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Stir gently until fully combined.
- Scoop batter over pecan mixture. It will be thick, that's ok! Wet your fingers and spread mixture evenly until it covers topping completely and touches sides.
- Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until center of cake springs back when lightly touched. (It will be pretty dark, that doesn't mean it's burned, just baked!)
- Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake and flip onto a serving tray. Don't wait more than 5 minutes! You want to flip while it's hot so the topping is still gooey and warm.
- Serve immediately. I like this cake by itself, but it's also delicious with some whipped cream.
- This cake tastes great warm or cold. I like it cold for breakfast, warm for dessert. Both with a hot cup of coffee.