This Caramel Pecan Buttermilk Cake might just be one of the easiest and most delicious cakes you’ll ever make! The cake mixes up in less than 10 minutes and the fabulous pecan caramel topping won’t even take that long!
If you need an easy and impressive dessert in a hurry, you’ve definitely clicked yourself over to the right place. This fabulous Caramel Pecan Buttermilk Cake is one of those dessert you’ll find yourself making again and again.
I served this cake this past week for our daughter-in-law’s birthday. It was an adaptation from our French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake and our French Almond Cake so I knew it was a reliable recipe. The caramel pecan topping was an experiment, but I couldn’t be happier with the results. After birthday singing and candles we sliced the cake and served it with a dollop of whipped cream. “Oh my!”, “Amazing”, “So good!” were some of the comments and the grandchildren gave it a huge thumbs up. I knew you would love it too, so here we go!
Easy, Ridiculously Easy!
When I put together the birthday cake with my grandchildren, I knew it would have to go into our Café Ridiculously Easy collection of recipes. The children did most of the work and the cake came together so quickly.
For those of you who are new to The Café, Ridiculously Easy is actually a category of recipes. We have quite a few of them (you can see many of them in the little images that scroll across the top of this page) but a recipe has to have certain criteria to fall into this select league. If you’re interested, you can read more about our Ridiculously Easy recipes in this post.
The way I explain our Ridiculously Easy recipes, in a nutshell, is “recipes that make you look like a culinary rock star with minimal effort”. This Caramel Pecan Buttermilk Cake, checks that box!
You’ll just need one-bowl for this delicious, tender-crumbed cake, as well as a whisk or wooden spoon. There’s no heavy or long mixing involved. This is how it works:
- Combine sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in a medium-size bowl.
- Add the baking powder and salt and give things a good stir.
- Add the flours (2 types) and stir, just until incorporated.
- Pour in the oil and stir one more time.
- Transfer to a pan and bake.
- Then wait for the wonderful aromas to waft through your kitchen, permeate the house, float out the windows, hover over neighborhood and result in a lineup of pitifully longing faces at your front door, waiting, (drooling all over your sidewalk) for a piece of this amazing cake.
- Side note: You might want to firmly shut the windows before you start baking.
A delicious 5-minute topping
The topping on this Caramel Pecan Buttermilk Cake truly is the crowning glory yet it’s also SO easy to make.
How does it work? When the cake is finished, leave the oven on to toast the pecans for a few minutes. When they’re nice and crunchy, pull them out to cool while you prepare the caramel sauce.
Isn’t making caramel fussy and time-consuming? Nope! Simply combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook for 1 minute, then give it a good stir. Another minute in the microwave and you’re almost done. Just add a splash of cream (or milk) and stir until smooth. Add the pecans and you’re all set to adorn the cake.
This Caramel Pecan Buttermilk Cake would make a lovely dessert for a special occasion or holiday dinner, although it’s also easy enough to whip up for a weeknight treat. I have a feeling that once you try it, you’ll be making it again and again. I know I will, for sure (in fact I’m making it again today for a get together this evening with friends)!
Café Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Caramel Pecan Buttermilk Cake
- You’ll need a 9-inch cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches tall. Most cake pans that are made in recent years have the higher sides. If your cake pans are older, they may not have the taller sides. I love these OXO cake pans and use mine all the time for cakes, desserts, pizza, focaccia, etc. They’re heavy-gauge, nonstick and hold up well with repeated use. If you have any bakers on your gift list, these pans would make an amazing gift!
- A whisk is an essential kitchen tool. It’s the perfect way to mix up a cake like this Caramel Pecan Buttermilk Cake. I really like this simple, inexpensive but sturdy whisk.
- No buttermilk? No problem! You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a measuring cup. Fill the cup to the ¾ cup line with milk and give it a stir. Wait 5 minutes and you’re good to go. You’ll notice that the milk has thickened up a bit and there may be a little curdling. That’s the way it should be.
- You could also use Greek yogurt, regular yogurt or sour cream in lieu of the buttermilk.
- I’m a big fan of butter in cake recipes. This cake calls for oil (no butter) and I was a bit skeptical until I actually tasted the cake. Don’t be tempted to substitute butter, as the oil keeps the cake light and moist with an incredibly tender crumb.. And the flavor is wonderful!
- Any type of neutral-flavored oil works well in this recipe. I have made it with sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil and avocado oil. They all work well.
- This recipe calls for almond flour. Almond flour is simply blanched almonds (no skin) that have been finely ground. Don’t try to use almond meal which is skin-on almonds that are ground. Almond meal is too coarse for this tender crumbed cake.
- Almond flour gives this cake a really nice (I call it “fine”) flavor. However, if you don’t have almond flour and don’t want to buy it, you can substitute additional all-purpose flour for the almond flour.
- I’ve found that almond flour can be quite pricey at many grocery stores. It’s much less expensive to purchase it online. Sam’s and Costco also have it for a more reasonable price.
- I like to bake cakes like this on a sheet pan that’s covered with foil. If it’s taking a while for the cake to get done, I can bring up the foil around the sides of the pan so they don’t get too brown. I also will tent the top after 30-35 minutes if it’s getting too brown and the cake is not quite done inside.
Thought for the day:
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
All the Law and the Prophets
hang on these two commandments.”
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
Four Myths American Believe About Politics (J.D.Greear)
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup almond flour not almond meal
- ¾ cup sunflower oil or neutral flavored oil
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup brown sugar (packed) I like to use dark brown sugar, but light will also work
- 2 tablespoons clear corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons half and half or milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- flaky sea salt optional
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Spray a 9-inch round cake pan (with at least 2-inch tall sides) with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper lightly. Set aside.
In a medium-large bowl whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
Add the baking powder and salt and stir until well incorporated and no lumps of baking powder remain. Add the all-purpose flour and almond flour. Stir just until the flour disappears.
Add the oil and stir well. At first, it will seem to separate, but keep stirring till smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch in the center and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. You can also use an instant thermometer to determine if the cake is done. The temperature when done should be 205-210˚F (96-98.8C). Check the cake after 30 minutes and tent it with foil if the top is getting brown but the cake is not quite done. Leave the oven on.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Set a timer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the topping.
Place the pecans in a medium-size baking pan (I use another cake pan) and toast in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. The oven can be turned off now.
While the pecans are toasting, make the caramel sauce. Combine the butter, brown sugar and syrup in a medium-size bowl. Microwave on high power for one minute until the butter is melted. Remove from microwave, stir well then return to microwave for another minute.
Add the half and half and vanilla. Stir until smooth then microwave for another 30 seconds. Add the pecans, stir and set aside. The mixture will be quite loose at first, but it will thicken as it cools.
After a total of 30 minutes, cooling time, add the caramel pecan topping to the cake. Start with about three-quarters of it in the center of the cake and spread right to the edges. Use the remainder of the topping to cover any bare spots. (If the caramel topping seems too thick to spread, just pop it back in the microwave for 20 seconds.)
Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt, if desired. Allow the cake to cool completely (if you have the will power) then slice and enjoy!I
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and lots of extra tips.