Last year I made this Banana Split Bundt Cake that turned my childhood love of banana splits into a delicious cake, and so I thought I was long overdue for another ice cream turned cake situation on the blog. It just seems like the appropriate time for this, and the right thing to do. These Butter Pecan Mini Cakes taste like that classic Southern ice cream flavor we all know and love, complete with a browned butter butterscotch frosting and then rolled around in finely chopped pecans and toffee bits. It’s a dream come true, if your dream just happens to be decadent cakes that are inspired by beloved ice cream flavors. It is right? Good, because those are what my dreams are as well, and right now my dreams are filled with these mini cakes and something tells me soon yours will be too.
We’re going to start by making the frosting first. It takes a bit because we’re essentially making a caramel which will then become the most delicious frosting you’ll ever eat. Melt the butter in a saucepan, over low heat, until the milk solids have browned.
**Note: You want to melt the butter slowly and swirl it often so that it browns properly and doesn’t burn. If you don’t keep an eye on it the butter will burn fast.**
Remove the browned butter from the stove and stir in the brown sugar, cream, corn syrup, salt and rum. Return to the heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on low until the mixture cools down, about 8 to 10 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat on low until well combined.
Continue to beat the mixture until it has thickened and is spreadable, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining butter, a tablespoon at a time, beating it until incorporated. Cover the frosting with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until ready to use.
**Tip: The frosting can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge, covered, until ready to use. Just let it come to room temperature before frosting the cakes!**
To make the cake batter, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract. Then add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry.
**Tip: Whenever I make cake, I always use buttermilk, even when the recipe calls for whole milk, just because I find that buttermilk makes the cakes moist and gives it a tender crumb. I highly recommend it!**
Carefully fold in the finely chopped toasted pecans and toffee bits until they are evenly distributed among the batter.
**Tip: You can also fold in butterscotch chips if you’d like or have some on hand. If you don’t, the toffee and pecans are great. At the same time, if you can’t find toffee bits, the pecans alone would be great!**
Divide the batter between two jumbo muffin pans that have been greased and floured. This will ensure that the cakes come out of the pans cleanly and don’t stick to them.
To decorate the mini cakes, frost the sides with the butterscotch frosting from earlier and then roll around in a mixture of finely chopped toasted pecans and toffee bits. Place the cakes on a baking sheet or wire rack.
Once the sides have been frosted and coated, frost the tops of each cake either by frosting with a spatula or by using a piping bag with a round tip.
If you want to cut through some of the sweetness from the cakes, you can sprinkle the tops with a bit of flaky sea salt. The cakes are best served at room temperature, but any leftovers should be stored in the fridge, covered, for about 2 days. Just let the cakes come to room temperature before eating.
I love these mini cakes because they’re a rich treat and so a mini cake is the perfect amount, but it can easily be transformed into a large layered cake for special occasions, or into cupcakes that are simply frosted and sprinkled with the pecans and toffee bits, if you want to make them even faster. Either way, it’s the perfect Fall time treat and so I hope you’ll give them a try soon!
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1½ teaspoons dark rum
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
- ½ cup toffee bits
- 1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
- ½ cup toffee bits
- Start by making the frosting: Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a deep, heavy-duty saucepan over low. Continue to cook, slowly, until the butter stops splattering and the milk solids have browned, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and stir in brown sugar, cream, syrup, salt, and rum.
- Return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until it is lukewarm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat on low until combined after each addition. Beat until frosting is completely cool and consistency is thick, creamy and spreadable, 6 to 10 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons and beat on medium speed until fully incorporated. Cover frosting until ready to use.
- To make the cakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two jumbo muffin pans, set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat together the sugar and butter until light and creamy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Make sure to blend until just combined after each addition. You don't want to over-mix at this point. Fold in the chopped pecans and toffee bits. Divide batter among the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto wire rack and let cool completely.
- To decorate the cakes, frost the sides of each and roll around in the chopped pecans and toffee bits. Then frost the tops with a knife or a piping bag and decorative tip. Serve immediately or cover in plastic and store in fridge for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before eating. Enjoy!