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Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

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Craving pecan pie, but don’t want the hassle? Try this easy Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake instead! Forget about fussy pie crust. This is the shortcut to pecan pie you’ve been waiting for. It has all the hallmarks of a traditional pie – gooey brown sugar caramel, crunchy pecans, and a hint of vanilla. Serve it warm with a dollop of Chantilly Cream or a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream for a perfectly satisfying dessert.

Check out what one of our readers had to say:

5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
This was delicious. I used cake flour because that’s what I had. The cake was tender and the topping was out of this world. 10 of 10. Will make again.
overhead shot of pecan pie upside down cake on white plate with a slice turned on its side and a slice on white plate beside.

One of the very first pie recipes we ever published on our blog was our classic pecan pie (my great grandmother’s recipe with decades of tweaking and updating by my mom). We bake one every chance we get! It’s just one of those recipes that you can’t ever get enough of. But, I’ll admit, we do tend to bake our pecan pie bars more often, as we don’t always have the time to make a flakey pie crust.

Which leads us to today’s recipe. We’re ditching the electric mixers and making a super simple CAKE! Yep. Cake. We’re taking the classic pie and turning it on it’s head…literally! This pecan pie upside down cake is everything you love about the classic pie, but now made with a light, fluffy, buttery, and oh-so tender vanilla cake that’s made in ONE bowl.

What Is An Upside Down Cake?

An upside down cake is a fun twist on a traditional cake. The term, “upside down cake” comes from the cake being served…well, upside-down!

It is typically made with citrus fruits that are placed on the bottom of the pan before the cake batter is added. Once baked, the cake is turned out of the pan and…what was once on the bottom is now on the top!

For this version, we’ve swapped the citrus for a classic favorite – gooey pecan pie filling! Who can resist the irresistible combination of crunchy pecans, sweet brown sugar, and a tender vanilla cake beneath? Trust me, this upside down cake is a must-try!

slice of pecan pie upside down cake with melting chantilly cream on top with pecans, white flowers, bowl of whipped cream, and white napkin.

🎥 Watch How To Make This Cake:

YouTube video

This Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake Is:

  • Melt in your mouth delicious. It’s buttery, sweet, moist, tender…similar to our vanilla chamomile cake!
  • FULL of flavor! It’s like a delicious combination between our pecan sticky buns and pecan pie.
  • So easy. This recipe requires no electric mixers or hard-to-find ingredients.
  • A real crowd pleasing treat. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas!
  • The perfect size. This cake is conveniently baked in a 9-inch cake pan, which allows up to 12 slices!

Try it at least once. I guarantee this cake will become a repeat recipe in your kitchen for EVERY occasion.

close up of cake sliced on white plate with pecans around.

Let’s Talk Ingredients

A few notes on the topping before we get started.

  1. When we were originally developing this recipe, we found that the syrup can easily be overcooked. Heat it only until the butter and sugar melt.
  2. Don’t skip the corn syrup! This is the secret ingredient, as well as the brown sugar, to give the topping a rich caramelized flavor.
  3. The pecans needs to be roughly chopped, not finely chopped. You want the texture and flavor from the pecans! If chopped too finely, the pecans may disappear into the cake.

For The Topping:

  • Chopped Pecans – The essential ingredient! Pecans are creamy, sweet, and nutty on their own and add a wonderful flavor to this topping.
  • Brown Sugar – You can use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar for this recipe. Both work really well! Dark brown sugar will give you a slightly more caramelized, molasses-y flavor.
  • Salted Butter – Salted butter adds just the right amount of salt to help cut some of the sweetness of the syrup.
  • Dark Corn Syrup – Be sure to use a dark corn syrup for this recipe! It’s caramelized, so it has a richer flavor than white corn syrup.
  • Vanilla Extract – Just a splash to add a nice undertone to this syrup.
pecans, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and corn syrup on marble surface.

For The Cake:

  • All-Purpoe Flour – No fancy cake flours needed here! All-purpose flour gives this cake the perfect structure, texture, and crumb.
  • Granulated Sugar – While adding the perfect amount of sweetness, it also helps with the texture and structure of the cake as well as promoting browning.             
  • Baking Powder – Provides lift to this cake! Be sure to check your baking powder to see if it’s in date.
  • Salt – Just a dash to enhance the flavor and cut some of the sweetness.
  • Whole Milk – We found that whole milk gives this cake the perfect texture.
  • Vegetable Oil – The blend of milk and oil for this cake is essential! The vegetable oil also helps keep this cake moist and delicious.
  • Eggs – The binder that holds all the ingredients together, eggs also contribute structure, stability, moisture, and richness.
  • Vanilla Extract – A splash of vanilla (plus the little bit that you will most likely spill. Don’t worry. We do it, too! 😉) is the main flavor of this cake and is oh-so delicious.
flour, milk, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, oil, and eggs on marble surface.

Follow These Step-by-Step Photos To Show You Every Step

Don’t need it? Just head straight to the recipe card instead!

Step 1: Make the topping

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Stir in the vanilla.

Step 2: Pour into pan

Place chopped pecans into the bottom of a greased cake pan. Pour syrup over pecans. Set side.

Step 3: Make the cake batter

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add milk, oil, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Step 4: Bake

Pour over top of pecan mixture. Bake for 45 minutes, or until done.

Step 5: Serve

While the cake is still warm, invert the cake onto lipped cake plate or serving plate. Gently lift the cake pan away from the cake and serve!

pecan pie cake turned out onto white plate.


Do I need any special equipment to make this cake?

Nope. You just need a couple of mixing bowls, a whisk, and a cake pan. That’s it!

Can I make this cake ahead of time? 

Yes, you can! The cake will keep really well in the fridge for 2-3 days. Or if you are planning way ahead, it can be frozen, well wrapped, for 2-3 months. To do this, place cooled cake on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer overnight. Wrap well in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, or store in a freezer safe zip top bag. Don’t forget to let it thaw overnight in the fridge before serving

Do I need to grease the pan before adding the pecan pie topping?

Yes. You should spray the bottom and sides of your pan with baking spray.

I cooked my cake for the time stated in the recipe, and it is under/over done. Why?

Every oven cooks differently. The times stated in the recipe are how long it takes in our oven. Ensure you are cooking at the proper temperature by using an oven thermometer. If you are unsure about the degree of doneness, you can use a thermometer to check. When inserted into the middle of the cake (not all the way through and touching the topping), the thermometer should read 200℉-210℉. The cake should also be pulling away from the edges of the pan.

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cropped close up of sliced pecan pie upside down cake with a slice turned on it's side with slice of cake on white plate beside and a cake knife with pecans around.

When you make this Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake, be sure to leave a comment down below and leave a 5-star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

Happy Baking!
x, Caylie

overhead shot of pecan pie upside down cake on white plate with a slice turned on its side and a slice on white plate beside.
4.88 from 8 votes

Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

Never find yourself wondering if you should bake a cake or a pie again with this delicious Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake! A simple to make (one bowl!) vanilla cake, finished with a pecan pie filling-inspired topping. Every bite just melts in your mouth!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8



  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • ¼ cup dark corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • cups all purpose flour*
  • cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract



  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Spray a 9 inch round pan with baking spray.
  • Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
  • Heat and stir over low heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Spread pecans evenly in bottom of pan.
  • Pour syrup over top of pecans. Set aside.


  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add milk, oil, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Slowly ladle cake batter over top of pecan mixture.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until done.
  • While the cake is still warm, invert the cake onto lipped cake plate or serving plate.
  • Remove cake pan and serve.

Watch How To Make This Recipe Below!

YouTube video

Notes + Tips!

*This recipe was written using an average of the dip and sweep method for measuring flour and the spoon and level method. If you are using a scale, you will need to add 3/4 oz or 22 g  to the measurement for each cup of flour.
Storage Instructions:
Got leftovers? This cake store’s really well covered and in the fridge for 3-5 days. If you want it to last a little longer (or simply are planning ahead!), this cake freezes really well!
Once the cake is baked and cooled, place the cake on a lined sheet pan and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours (or until frozen solid). Once frozen, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer safe zip-top bag. It should keep for 2-3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight!
  • Not a fan of pecans? Walnuts are an easy substitute and taste absolutely delicious with this cake!
  • To make this recipe dairy-free, you can use your favorite non-dairy butter and plant-based milk.
  • This recipe can also be made vegan by using non-dairy butter, your favorite unsweetened plant-based milk, and a vegan egg. We personally prefer using aquafaba!
  • This cake can be made gluten free by using a measure for measure (also known as 1:1 or cup for cup) gluten free flour.
Our Best Tips For Success:
  • When making the syrup, do not let it boil! You simply want the sugar to dissolve and butter to be melted.
  • Be careful not to over-mix your cake.
  • It’s best to slowly ladle the cake batter over the pecan topping, making sure that it’s level and even, especially around the edges!
  • This cake needs to be baked in an 9-inch round by 3-inch tall cake pan, as it does rise quite a bit while baking. Place a sheet pan underneath the cake pan in the oven just to be sure that if any cooks over the pan, it doesn’t go into your oven!
  • Sometimes with this cake, it can be difficult to tell when it’s done by using a cake-tester or toothpick. If you have an instant read thermometer, it’s best to use that! The internal temperature of the cake should read 200℉-210℉ when fully baked.
  • If any of the pecan topping sticks after you turn the cake out, no worries! Simply spoon it out and place it back onto the cake. Just be very careful. It will be hot!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 491kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 286IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I used cake flour because that’s what I had. The cake was tender and the topping was out of this world. 10 of 10. Will make again.

    1. Hi Jude! We’re so glad to hear you loved this cake 🥰 It’s definitely one of our favorites, too! We hope you find a lot more recipes to love on our blog 🫶 x, Caylie