Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans

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Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

It’s here! It’s here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I don’t know about you, but I fall into the camp of people who really like Christmas- the lights, the music, and the wonder of it all has always captivated me in a special way, and even though things are different this year, the feeling remains the same. COVID can’t rain on this parade, and we’re going to kick off the festivities with a seriously yummy treat: brown butter cake with candied pecans.

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

I know- this site has been pecan-heavy this year. We’ve made cookies and tarts and loads of other sweets, but you can’t blame me- pecans reign supreme here in the South. Today’s recipe is a small, 6″ naked layer cake made with brown sugar layers, a brown butter buttercream, and sugared pecans throughout. Here, we have all the cuteness and festivity of a layer cake packaged in a smaller, more manageable-for-a-few-sized dessert. Let me tell you how to make it!

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

First, we start with the cake. Butter, oil, and two kinds of sugar are creamed together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Eggs and vanilla come next, followed by the dry ingredients. Bake the batter in three 6″ pans and then set aside to cool. In the meantime, you can get started on the pecans! A little butter is melted down and stirred together with Diamond of California Pecans Halves. Toss in some cinnamon and sugar and bake in the preheated oven until toasted. Allow to cool and just try not to eat them all in the meantime. Finally, with a little brown butter we whip up a frosting with powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. Voila!

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

To stack this cake, I used a piping bag outfitted with a large round tip. Squeeze rounds of buttercream all over the tops of each layer as your stack the cake, being sure to scatter in some of the chopped candied pecans as you go. If you’re like me and want a little extra frosting, you can frost this cake as you normally would. Decorate the top with extra pecans and save any leftovers for sharing with friends and family in the coming weeks.

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Many thanks to my friends at Diamond of California for sponsoring this post! They have long been my go-to brand for all things nuts, and this cake is no exception. Be sure to search “diamond” in the search tab of my site to see other recipes made with their yummy products over the years! Happy December and Happy baking, y’all!

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

If you like this brown butter cake you should try:

Cinnamon Sugar Cake
Bourbon Caramel Cake
Brown Butter Balsamic Caramel Cake
Brown Sugar Pound Cake

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Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans

Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans by Wood and Spoon blog. This is a simple brown sugar mini layer cake with brown butter buttercream and candied pecans throughout. This small batch recipe makes a small layer cake to serve just a few and makes for a festive offering for fall, winter, and holiday celebration desserts. Learn how to candy nuts and stack a naked layer cake on thewoodandspoon.com

This brown butter cake has simple fluffy layers with a brown butter whipped buttercream and candied cinnamon sugar pecans throughout!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 120
  • Yield: 78 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

Scale

For the cake:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 13/4 cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the candied pecans:

  • 21/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Diamond of California Pecan Halves

For the buttercream:

  • 11/2 cups unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon milk or heavy cream

Instructions

To prepare the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease three 6” round pans and cut out parchment paper rounds to fit into the bottom of them. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, canola oil, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth, about a minute and a half. Add the egg and yolk and stir until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in any unincorporated bits. Add half of the cake flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir on low to combine. Add ¼ cup of the milk as well as and vanilla. Stir on low. Add the remaining cake flour and milk and stir on low just until combined. Fold in any unincorporated bits. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake in the middle of the oven for about 22-25 minutes or until the cake has puffed, turned golden, and a toothpick inserted just barely comes out clean. Don’t overbake! Set aside to cool completely.

To prepare the pecans:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter and vanilla and then toss in the pecans. Add the sugar mixture and toss to evenly coat the nuts. Spread the nuts out on the baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Once dry and aromatic, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve. 

To prepare the buttercream:

  1. In a small saucepan, dice ½ cup (4 ounces) of the butter and place on medium-low heat. Allow the butter to melt, sizzle, and begin to foam, stirring regularly all the way. Once the butter begins to bubble, stay next to the pan, stirring all the while, and watch as the buttercream turns pale golden to a fragrant amber-colored mixture. Remove from heat, being sure not to burn the butter, and place in a heat-safe bowl to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add the brown butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and add in the remaining butter. Cream on medium speed until smooth, about one minute. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir to combine. Add the cream and whip for 1 minute to fluff up.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Use a serrated knife to trim the domed top off of the cakes. Chop about ¾ cup of the pecans. Add the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe rounds of frosting all over the top of the first cake and sprinkle pecans on top. Repeat this process with the remaining two layers, stacking the cake as you go. Serve and enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Brown Butter Cake with Candied Pecans”

  1. Merry Christmas., Kate!

    Love the ability to scale up/down the recipe but I noticed that the number of cake pans and size never changes. I believe the same is true for other cakes as well. Wondering if you could provide guidance about if 1x = 3 – 6” pans… what size pans for 2x and 3x. I only have 9” pans at the moment although I’m thinking I should buy some 6” pans for smaller cakes. Thanks in advance for your help.

    P.S. Please publish a cookbook!

    1. Oh, thanks for this feedback Andrea! I’ll have to check with the plugin on this one as I’m not sure how to manipulate that on my end. THat’s super helpful though! Hugs! 🙂

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