Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

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The perfect dessert…Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake! You don’t need to be a skilled baker to bake up this effortlessly gorgeous, but oh-so delicious cake. A light and fluffy vanilla cake that’s made with extra vanilla, finished with everyone’s favorite gooey pecan and brown sugar filling from the classic dessert; pecan pie! Serve warm, right out of the oven, with a dollop of Chantilly Cream or a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. It’s a delicious slice of cake for dessert or even breakfast! So simple, but SO GOOD.

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.

About The Recipe

Happy Friday, everyone! My mom and I thought it would be fun to combine some of our favorite treats into one recipe. I mean, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love cake and who doesn’t love pecan pie?

The best part? This cake is gorgeous and full of flavor…with minimal effort!

The inspiration? Well, every holiday season we always make our Pecan Pie. But this holiday season, we were SO busy making things for the blog that we just didn’t have the time to make it.

So, when we were trying to come up with recipes for this week, this idea just kind-of popped into our heads. Truthfully, we have been seeing a lot of citrus-based upside down cakes on social media lately. Which is what really lead to this idea.

The actual cake itself is a simple vanilla cake. Light, fluffy, sweet, moist…everything the perfect cake should be. But, it’s the topping that really sets this cake apart.

We took our filling from our pecan pie, adjusted it slightly to have more pecans and less liquid…because we tried it with lots of liquid and to say it didn’t work would be an understatement!

slice of pecan pie upside down cake with chantilly cream on top on small white plate with pecans and white flowers around.

Honestly, the pecan pie topping is EVERYTHING. It’s nutty, sweet, sticky, and just really makes this cake something special. Every bite leaves you wanting more.

It’s the perfect cake to enjoy with a dollop of Chantilly Cream and a cup of coffee in the mornings, or with a large scoop of ice cream and eaten as dessert!

What is an Upside Down Cake?

An upside down cake may sound like an odd thing, but trust me, it’s one of the most delicious desserts out there! 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 decided to go non-traditional and make it with a pecan pie filling. Why? Well, who doesn’t love a good pecan pie?

Reasons You Will Love This Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

  • Can be enjoyed as a decadent breakfast treat or dessert!
  • Super simple to make.
  • No specialty equipment required! Just some bowls and a whisk.
  • Ready to eat in less than an hour!

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

(Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post)

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!
  • 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!
  • 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-Purple Flour – No fancy cake flours needed here! All-purpose flour gives this cake the perfect texture. and crumb.
  • Granulated Sugar – The perfect amount to give this cake just the right amount of sweetness.
  • 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.
  • Large Eggs – You will need one large egg and one egg yolk for this cake. Be sure to set them out ahead of time to allow them to come to room temperature! It makes it easier to mix the cake.
  • Vanilla Extract – A splash of vanilla (plus the little bit that you will most likely spill. We do it, too! A little extra never hurts!) 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.

How To Make This Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

Step 1: Make the topping

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

What To Serve With This Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

If you’re looking for something a little extra special, no worries! Here’s a quick list of things we love to serve with this delicious upside down cake.

forkful of cake beside slice missing tip end on small white plate.

How To Store

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 and store in a freezer safe zip-top bag. It should keep for 2-3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight!

Substitutions

  • 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.

Looking for more recipes like this? Here are a few you may like: Southern Pecan Pie, Rum Pecan Sticky Buns, Apple Pie Coffee Cake, Apple Walnut and Raisin Breakfast Cake

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.

Expert Tips

  • When making the syrup, do not let it boil! You simply want the sugar to dissolve and butter to be melted.
  • Be careful to not 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 8-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 pf the cake should read 200℉ 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, as it will be hot!

When you make this Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake, leave a comment down below! 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.

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.

Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

Traci
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!
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 491 kcal

Ingredients
 

Topping

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

Cake

  • 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

Instructions

Topping

  • Heat oven to 350 °F.
  • 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.

Cake

  • 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.

Notes

Substitutions:
  • 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.
 
Expert Tips:
  • When making the syrup, do not let it boil! You simply want the sugar to dissolve and butter to be melted.
  • Be careful to not 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 8-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 pf the cake should read 200℉ 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, as it will be hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 491kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 6gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 310mgPotassium: 147mgFiber: 2gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 286IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 106mgIron: 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!

– Still Hungry? –

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2 Comments

  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