Reimagined Pecan Pie

One of my best friends commented the other day that he really misses pecans, since he can’t eat them anymore. He doesn’t have a nut allergy, he just shouldn’t eat them. Or so his doctors say, but diverticulosis is an odd condition, and one that thinking changes about fairly frequently. Regardless, since I love to cook, especially for people who love food, his lamentations sounded like a challenge.

This pecan pie cake has a brown sugar cake as a base with a pecan butter swirl, and pecan butter whipped cream in between the layers. Top it off with a brown sugar syrup drizzle, and you’ve got all the flavors of pecan pie, but none of the difficult-to-digest-ness.

This one has a lot of steps if you do the whole thing homemade, but you could substitute some things pretty easily without sacrificing taste too much. Caramel sauce, or even maple syrup could be used in place of the brown sugar syrup. And especially if you live in Georgia where it’s easy to come by, you could use store-bought pecan butter. I also think this cake would be awesome with a streusel topping and served with brown sugar and pecan butter ice cream. Next time!


Pecan Butter
4 cups pecan halves
peanut oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 room-temperature eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla-nut extract
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pecan butter
1/2 small can sweetened condensed milk

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup pecan butter

Brown Sugar Syrup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla-nut extract
1 tablespoon butter


Pecan Butter
Toss pecan halves and brown sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding as much peanut oil as needed to help smooth things out. You will likely have to stir and mash the pecans down several times during the process unless you have a super-awesome blender or food processor. This will take 10 – 15 minutes. You can store the finished product for about a month in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottoms and sides of two 9-inch cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and then lightly spray paper. Flour sides and bottoms lightly.
Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl regularly.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla-nut extract until incorporated.
Beat in flour mixture alternately with 3/4 cup milk on low speed until smooth, adding salt and baking powder with first flour addition. Divide evenly into pans.
Mix pecan butter and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Pour evenly across both cakes, spreading mix out as much as possible. Using a butter knife, swirl into cake mixture gently.
Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely before topping.
{cake adapted from Betty Crocker}

Whipped Cream
Pour cream into large bowl. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and then mix until semi-stiff peaks form. Stir in pecan butter on low, mixing just until well combined.
*You might try the rest of the condensed milk here. I think it would work and taste great, but I had used mine for something else!

Brown Sugar Syrup
Mix all ingredients except butter in small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Turn heat down and simmer until reduced by half. Turn off heat and add butter. Let cool before using.

Putting It All Together
Cut rounded top off of one of the cakes. Place on serving dish and drizzle with a bit of the syrup. Spread about half of the whipped cream onto this layer. Top with other cake. Spread rest of whipping cream on top, and then drizzle with more syrup.

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