Are you looking for a moist cake that doesn’t need frosting? You have to try this buttermilk cake recipe that is topped with a delicious brown sugar praline topping for a simple and easy recipe you can make with just a few ingredients.
I came up with this fabulous buttermilk cake recipe when I wanted to use up some buttermilk before it expired. Since we were home bound, I needed to use ingredients I already had in my pantry and fridge. While ordering flour from King Arthur’s Bakery, I saw a cake recipe on their website that looked interesting and decided to play around with it.
What true Southerner doesn’t love pralines. I’ve put them in brownies but never tried topping a cake with them. This topping is better than any frosting you could add and it’s not messy so you can easily eat these with your fingers.
If the topping doesn’t have you baking yet, then the cake itself will. The buttermilk gives you the moistest cake you can imagine and the brown sugar adds a caramel like flavor. Delicious on it’s own but even better with the praline topping.
Why you’ll love this recipe for Pecan Praline Cake
- This cake has a lot of moisture in it from the buttermilk.
- The brown sugar, pecan topping is easy to put together and takes this dessert up a notch!
- This cake doesn’t have to be refrigerated and can be enjoyed over a cup of coffee or served as a dessert after dinner.
What is Buttermilk?
Buttermilk used to be what was left over after churning butter but now it’s a cultured milk, like yogurt where cultures are added to milk giving it a tangy taste and a thicker texture than milk.
What are Praline Nuts?
Praline is a topping that includes nuts covered with sugar, made into a candy like topping. Pralines are made with pecans but you could use walnuts.
What flavor is praline?
Pralines in the South are a candy like treat made with pecans and brown sugar which when caramelized forms a sugary nut confection.
Why is it called praline?
Pralines originated in France and are named after a French Diplomat whose chef created them using almonds and caramel. They became well known in the US in New Orleans where pecans were more readily available than almonds.
How do you pronounce praline?
In the South they are pronounced “pray-lean”, we like to draw everything out here!
Buttermilk Praline Cake Ingredients
- Buttermilk – buttermilk makes the cake moist, adds some flavor, and helps give the cake height.
- Brown sugar – the molasses in brown sugar adds depth to the cake
- Flour – all purpose works best for cakes
- Pantry items – eggs, vanilla, and baking soda
- Frosting – butter, sugar, milk and pecans
- You can use cream instead of milk for a richer frosting.
- Try substituting walnuts for almonds for the pecans
What can I use instead of buttermilk?
I would never just drink buttermilk but it sure makes great biscuits and is the perfect marinade to give you tender chicken. But if you’re out, then it’s easy to make your own. I’ve got three different ways to make your own buttermilk depending what ingredients you have in your pantry.
I’ll make my own buttermilk when I need to marinate chicken. For baking I try to use the real deal.
I’ve had chocolate buttermilk cake and lemon buttermilk pound cake but never a brown sugar version. This is a go-to recipe that always turns out wonderful.
How to make Buttermilk Cake with Pecan Praline
Step 1: Beat the butter and brown sugar and add eggs. Then add the dry ingredients and combine. Place in a 9 x 13 cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. How EASY is that!.
Step 2: Right before the cake is finished, melt butter in the microwave and add brown sugar, milk, pecans and salt and mix.
Step 3: Remove the cake and pour the brown sugar pecan topping over the top and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Pro tip: If you would prefer to serve this as a bundt cake, you can use a bundt cake pan. Bundt cakes need a little longer baking time, about 40-45 minutes.
These last 10 minutes is when the magic happens. The brown sugar and butter caramelize on the top and when the cake cools, it forms a praline like topping. The hardest part about this cake is waiting for it to cool so you can eat it.
This is a great dessert to take to a pot luck since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Same goes for summer cook-outs or pool parties.
How to serve this Pecan Praline Cake Recipe
It’s perfect all by itself but you could add a little whipped cream on top.
If you’re home and don’t feel like making a grocery store run, I bet you have all the ingredients you need to make this awesome cake.
Storing Buttermilk Cake
The best way to store a buttermilk cake is covered at room temperature. Since the frosting is not made of cream cheese it does not need to be refrigerated and will stay fresh for 3 days if covered on the counter. After that, freezing it will keep it the freshest.
How long does a cake with buttermilk last?
A buttermilk cake will stay fresh for about 3 days at room temperature if covered. You can freeze it to keep it fresh for several months.
Storing Buttermilk Cake
As with most cakes, a buttermilk cake freezes well. Just cut it into pieces and place in an air tight container. Once thawed it will still be a moist caramel flavored cake with a praline topping that has seeped down into the cake.
Praline Cake Recipe FAQ
The beautiful thing about buttermilk is its ability to add a tang to cake without adding a lot of fat. It’s also an acidic ingredient which helps soften or make the gluten in the cake tender so your cake turns out moist.
I prefer to bake with salted butter when baking. However, if you use salted butter, you can just omit the pinch of salt and it should be just right.
Buttermilk gives a cake moisture and also activates the baking soda to make it rise.
Buttermilk adds a unique taste to a cake that milk will not add and it actives the baking soda to help the cake rise.
The main reason bakers use buttermilk is because the acid activates the baking soda helping it rise.
Other Great Buttermilk Recipes
More POTLUCK desserts
- Chocolate cake with cheesecake
- Slab pie with pecans and chocolate
- Cake with strawberries
- Simple brownies
- Brownies topped with cookie dough
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Buttermilk Cake Recipe with Praline Topping
- ½ cup butter room temp
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 eggs room temp
- 2 cups buttermilk room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups flour
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- pinch salt
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease a 9” by 13” metal baking pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth.
- Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla so it doesn’t splash out of the mixer. Add the baking soda, salt and flour and bit until combined and there are no lumps.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. It should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean.
- 5 minutes before the cake is done, Combine the melted butter and brown sugar. Add milk, pecans and salt and stir. It should be thick but pourable. If not, place in the microwave for a few seconds.
- When the cake is done, remove and pour the topping over the top, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. The topping will be runny but will thicken as it cools.
- Let the cake cool and the topping harden before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup and fill with milk. Let sit for 10 minutes until thickened.
- This is also delicious served warm.
- Try serving with a spoonful of whipped cream.
- If you want to freeze, it let it cool completely first.
Delicious and will definitely make again. Used up my leftover buttermilk in this recipe. Didn’t have a metal baking pan this size so I used glass and lowered temp to 325, and baked 5-10 longer.
Barbara Curry says
So glad it worked for you in a glass baking dish. I’ve got some buttermilk in the fridge right now I need to use up!
Wow…Easy and delicious. Great way to use leftover buttermilk
Barbara Curry says
It’s a favorite around here.
Made this for my pecan loving hubby for his birthday and my oh my, the cake and it’s topping are just delicious!! Will definitely make again, thanks for the recipe!
Followed recipe exactly with a few extra pecans cause he loves them so much.
Barbara Curry says
More pecans is never a bad thing!
Can the cake be made without nuts?
Barbara Curry says
Yes, the frosting is delicious without the nuts.