Pecan Layer Cake with Praline Sauce

by Chef

Serves: 8-10Prep Time: 20-30 minutesCook Time: 30-40 minutes


For the pecan cake:

  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (or pecan meal)
  • Baking spray

For the praline sauce:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (14-ounce) sweet condensed milk
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch kosher salt

For the icing:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted



For the pecan cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy — about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

 Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the sifted flour mixture and milk alternately to sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in vanilla, oil, and then the sour cream. Do not over-mix.

 Coat the cake pans with baking spray and divide batter evenly between them. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Place a wire cooling rack over a sheet pan. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans and cool completely.

For the praline sauce: Place butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and condensed milk in a medium-size saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar — about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Remove from heat. Chill down and stir over an ice and water bath.

For the icing: Place cream in mixing bowl and beat until almost thick, about 3 minutes on high speed, and then add sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat to a firm peak. Set aside.

To assemble: Slice the tops off 2 of the 3 cakes, so the cakes are about 1-inch thick, reserving the best-looking one for the top. Divide the icing and use a spatula to spread evenly onto the 2 layers. Stack them neatly and finish with the reserved uncut top cake. Place onto wire rack over a drip pan. Pour praline sauce over cake and arrange the toasted pecans on top. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours. Slice to serve.