Bourbon Butter Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Maple Frosting
Course: Baked Desserts, Cakes, Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine: American, North American
Keyword: Birthday Cakes, Brown Butter, Buttercream Frosting, Cake, Maple syrup, Pecan Cake, Pecans, Thanksgiving
Prep Time: 2hours35minutes
Cook Time: 1hour15minutes
Overnight chilling / resting: 10hours30minutes
This Spiced Bourbon Butter Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Maple Frosting is an autumn-worthy cake that's perfect for your Thanksgiving spread. The sweet, nutty, creamy, spiced flavors of a pecan pie in a gorgeous cake!INTERMEDIATE - This cake recipe has several components and should be made over two days to make the process easier. However, the recipe should be quite easy for regular cake bakers. US based cup, teaspoon, tablespoon measurements. Common Measurement Conversions. Weight measurements are recommended for accurate results.Please note that there is an overnight inactive chilling step in this recipe.
283gAP flour10 oz / 2 ¼ cups, measured by spoon and level method
Brown Butter Maple Frosting
340gunsalted butter1½ cups / 3 sticks. This is to make brown butter
226gunsalted butter1 cup / 2 sticks
455gconfectioner’s sugar1 lb / 4 cups, spooned and leveled
120mLmaple syrup½ cup
Makes: 8inch8 x 8inch round
Butter Pecan Cake
Day one - preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Spread the chopped pecans in a sheet pan. Roast the nuts for 10 - 15 minutes, until the pecans are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and let it cool down.
226 g chopped pecans
Divide the nuts into 3 oz (85 g) and 5 oz (141 g) portions. Place the 3 oz of the pecans in a food processor and process until they are finely ground. Set aside. (see the post for the consistency of the pecans)
Butter and line two 8 inch round pans with parchment paper.
Place the butter, both types of sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk well to combine.
340 g unsalted butter, 226 g brown sugar, 170 g white sugar, ¼ tsp sea salt
Add the eggs, milk, vanilla and the ground pecans. Whisk together until you have a smooth mix.
226 g chopped pecans, 120 mL milk, 1 ½ tsp vanilla, 4 large eggs
In a separate bowl, sieve the AP flour, cinnamon and baking powder together. Add the flour mix, and the chopped pecans into the wet ingredients and fold in the flour gently until well combined. Make sure not to over-mix to prevent a rubbery cake.
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 283 g AP flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 226 g chopped pecans
Divide the batter between the two pans. You can either do this by weight, OR you can use an ice cream or cookie scoop to evenly divide the batter.
Bake the cakes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the cake surface is springy to the touch - about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it cool down slightly. Turn the cakes out onto a cake rack to cool down completely. Once cooled, wrap each cake layer with plastic wrap. Chill the cake in the fridge overnight. Chilling the cake will make it easier to slice it as well.
Day one or two - place the sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Stir frequently. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil.
120 mL water, 100 g sugar
Remove from the heat and add the bourbon. Let the syrup cool down completely. You can pour the syrup into a squeeze bottle if you have one, or you can just use a spoon to spread the syrup on the cake.
60 mL bourbon
Brown Butter Maple Frosting
Day one - Make the brown butter. Place the 340 g of butter in a saucepan. Heat the butter until it’s melted. Keep cooking the butter while stirring frequently until the butter stops foaming, and the milk solids turn dark golden brown in color. See my how to make brown butter post for more details.
340 g unsalted butter
Remove from the heat immediately and pour the butter and milk solids into a bowl. Let the butter cool down completely to room temperature (you can leave this at room temp. overnight, or chill it in the fridge).
Day two - if you chilled the brown butter in the fridge, keep it outside to soften to room temperature.
Place the brown butter, unsalted butter and the salt in the mixing bowl of your mixer and whisk until creamy and fluffy.
340 g unsalted butter, 226 g unsalted butter, 1 tsp sea salt
Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar in 3 additions, alternating with the maple syrup. Add the vanilla. Whisk until you have a light, soft and fluffy frosting. Do not overbeat. Make sure to scrape down the bowl to ensure the butter is incorporating properly.
455 g confectioner’s sugar, 120 mL maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla
Slice each chilled cake layer in half, carefully, to create two layers (total 4 layers).
Coat each layer generously with the bourbon syrup.
Place 1 layer on a cake plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting (a generous ½ cup), and top with another cake layer. Repeat with the frosting and the cake, until you place the final cake layer on top (place the final layer on top so that the flat, bottom side is facing up).
Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of crumb coating. Chill the cake for about an hour (until the crumb coating is set).
Spread frosting over the whole cake, and use a cake scraper to smoothen the surface. Place the rest of the frosting in a pastry bag with an open star tip. Pipe swirls on the top of the cake and top each swirl with pecan halves (see pictures in the post). Chill the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
NOTES ON MEASUREMENTSTo guarantee consistent results when it comes to baking, I prefer using weight measurements using an inexpensive kitchen scale - so ounces and grams predominantly for baking recipes. These measurements are universal and give the most accurate and consistent results. However, you're welcome to use cup measurements, but please note that the values given here are the best approximates that I can provide, and that it would be difficult to guarantee accurate results with volume measurements. You can use the measurements conversion chart here as well.