Upside-Down Pecan Cake

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins

If you like, once you have zested the orange for the batter, you could cut the fruit into sections to serve alongside the moist and crunchy cake.


  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves (about 5 ounces)

  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet; toast until crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop 1/2 cup pecans. Set remaining aside.

  2. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a 9-inch round cake pan; heat in the oven until melted, about 3 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over butter. Scatter chopped nuts over sugar; set aside.

  3. In a food processor, process reserved pecans and flour until nuts are very finely ground. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter and remaining cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.

  4. In a small bowl, combine flour mixture, baking powder, and salt; fold into egg mixture. Stir in zest. Pour into prepared pan, smoothing top.

  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan; invert onto a rack to cool completely, bottom side up so the butter-pecan layer is on top.

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