Brown Butter Pecan Snacking Sheet Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Cakes, Desserts, Holiday, The Holidays

As of yesterday, I’m almost (not yet tho!) done with work for the year. I cannot even tell you how happy this makes me. I’m celebrating by creating more stuff for this blog and I know that’s technically work but when it comes to holiday stuff, it feels more like fun. I really want to make a yule log with my friend Hourie. We made one years ago and it was SO fun and it ended up being beautiful.

I’m also obsessed with The Big Family Cooking Showdown on Netflix because it’s like The Great British Baking Show but with family drama–how fun! I’m also super excited to sit in bed tomorrow and watch The Crown!!

Okay let’s talk about this cake. I think it’s safe to say that 2017 was the year that I fell in love with the art of “the sheet cake.”

I first made this strawberry-rhubarb version. Then I moved on to this chocolate one (which btw would be perfect for the holidays, too). And then, in October, there was a pumpkin sheet cake with brown butter frosting. It immediately became the most popular recipe this year!! Crazy!

I’m closing the year out with this sheet snacking cake. What makes it snacking cake? The crumb is a bit different. The crumb is larger, not as tight, as the other cakes but still SO GOOD.

The butter cooks with the chopped pecans until the butter gets all nutty and delicious. The frosting is perfectly tart. Perfectly spiced and fluffy AF.

Let’s talk about the cookies on top! I used the corgi chai sugar cookie recipe.

And I used these punch out cookie cutters that I was super skeptical about—I was convinced that the dough wouldn’t come out. But they worked great. Here are some tips:

1. I think the trick is to press the dough into the punch snowflake cookie cutters.

2. And then pressing them out onto a baking sheet. This way you don’t have to transport the cookies because they’re quite fragile.

3. The smaller ones will need to be baked on their own. They bake very quickly (maybe 5 minutes) and the rest bake in about 10 minutes.

4. Do not move them until they’re completely cooled.

5. For royal icing, I always, always use Wilton’s meringue powder and just added a few more teaspoons or water to get it to the perfect consistency.

6. Ok I think that’s it!

Happy holidays, friends!


Brown Butter Pecan Sheet Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serving Size: 1 (9x13-inch) cake


Brown Butter Pecan Mixture:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at VERY room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Corgi Chai Cookies, for the topping (optional)


To make the brown butter mixture:

  • To a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add the butter. Once it’s melted, it will begin to foam up and bubble a bit. Allow it to cook until you begin to see very lightly browned specks beginning to form. Add the pecans; toss the pecans until they’re evenly coated. Give it a stir and cook until it’s browned, about an additional 1 minute. Allow to stand until room temperature.

To make the cake batter:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside. I also like to line my cake pan with a sheet of parchment because I don’t like anything to stick!
  • In the a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer (or a large bowl using an electric mixer), using the paddle attachment, whisk the vegetable oil and sugar together, until combined about 1 minute. Then, add the reserved pecan/butter mixture and beat for an additional minute. Add the eggs, along with the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining milk; mix until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and smooth it out using an offset spatula or butter knife. Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then invert it onto a cooling rack. BE CAREFUL IT'S A BIG CAKE.

To make the frosting:

  • To a bowl of a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment (OR a medium bowl using an electric mixer), add the butter, cream cheese, spices and vanilla. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar in increments of about 1 cup (just so it doesn’t make a mess when you start your machine). Repeat until you’ve worked your way through the powdered sugar.
  • Lastly, add the heavy cream and beat the frosting for about 3 minutes. The fluffiness from the heavy cream really lightens up this frosting so be sure to beat it for the full 3 minutes.

To Assemble the Cake:

  • Pour all of the frosting on the cooled sheet cake and spread it around, creating cute swoops as you go. Top it with whatever you like! I added lil’ cookies. Cake will stay moist for about 3 days when wrapped properly.


If you're looking for a shortcut and you'd like to skip making cookie dough (for the topping), you're welcome to buy cookies!
Nestle also makes prepared gingerbread cookie dough at places like Walmart and Target.

Products used:
1. Snowflake Cookie Cutter Set
2. Large Snowflake Set
3. Wilton Meringue Powder (perfect for Royal Icing)
4. USA Sheet Cake Pan that is 9×13

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Avatar
    Reply Chloe (Musings on Dinner) December 8, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Pinning the heck out of this – I just love the decoration and how it looks beautifully pared-down. I love garish Christmas stuff like anyone else but this is so soothing and pleasing on the eye

  • Avatar
    Reply fatimah December 8, 2017 at 7:28 am

    this is so pretty! also lots of sheet cake inspo, i should probably just go ahead and make one already!

  • Avatar
    Reply Abby @ Heart of a Baker December 8, 2017 at 9:09 am

    YES to cookies on a cake. Why am I not doing this?! Also, congrats to almost being done with work for the year! It’s such a good feeling to start on a clean slate for the year!

  • Avatar
    Reply Louise - Cooking with kids December 8, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    This cake looks beautiful . I’ve never cooked a sheet bake (we call them tray bakes in the UK), I might have to put this on my to do list.

  • Avatar
    Reply Mimi December 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    This is the prettiest darn cake i’ve Ever seen!

  • Avatar
    Reply Debra December 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    You have a few confusing parts to the recipe. One is there is no amount for the baking soda. And sugar is added to dry and wet ingredients for the cake. Could you clarify? Thank you!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 8, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Hi! Sorry for the confusion. It’s all fixed now. The sugar and the oil should be beaten together. Sorry about that!

  • Avatar
    Reply Katie December 11, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I’ve made the pumpkin sheet cake twice so far to rave reviews from friends and family. This one sounds amazing too… I think it will need to be my 30th birthday cake in a few weeks.

  • Avatar
    Reply Adriana December 20, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Lovely cake! I baked it tonight, and it was delicious! I did however noticed a metallic aftertaste. Do you think it might have anything to do with the baking powder amount? Would I be able to reduce it?
    Thank you!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme December 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      do you use aluminum free baking powder?

      • Avatar
        Reply Adriana December 22, 2017 at 6:58 pm

        Oh my, I didn’t even know that existed! I’ll definitely try that next time. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Peach Pie January 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    This is some of the most horrible writing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been a TA for middle school. Wow…

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme January 28, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      If you don’t like the writing here, the solution is super simple: don’t visit my blog.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lilcee December 6, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful post! The pumpkin cake was a crowd pleaser and was going to message you if you had any recipe recommendations for a Christmas version of the sheet cake. I cannot wait to make this! Amazing!

  • Avatar
    Reply Melissa December 31, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    5 stars
    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I made it over the weekend, and it turned out really well. I loved the pumpkin version too. Brown butter in a cake is a great idea. I made the chai cookies and tried the cookie cutters. The plungers on mine got stuck after one cookie, but I just switched to regular cut out cookies. They were delicious. I love your blog and just bought your book too. All the best from cozy Michigan!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme January 1, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Ahh so glad this was delicious. Thanks so much! 🙂

    Leave a Reply