Pecan Cream Cake

  • Serves

    serves 8-10


Packed with coconut and pecans and covered in cream cheese frosting, this cake is a specialty of Georgia home cook Cile Ellis. It first appeared in our November 2013 issue with Wendell Brock's story Southern Belle.


For the Cake

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 12 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 14 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

For the Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 12 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 14 cup roughly chopped pecans, toasted


Step 1

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 8" cake pans; set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. Cream butter, shortening, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high, and beat until batter is smooth, 5–10 seconds. Whip egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites, coconut, and pecans into batter. Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth top with a rubber spatula; drop pans lightly on a counter to expel large air bubbles. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 20–22 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks and let cool completely.

Step 2

Make the frosting: Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Step 3

To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand and spread with 1⁄3 cup frosting; top with another layer and spread with 1⁄3 cup frosting. Top with remaining layer. Cover top and sides with remaining frosting and sprinkle top with pecans; chill cake 1 hour until frosting is firm.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.