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5 from 5 votes

Brown Butter Pecan Sheet Cake Recipe

This brown butter pecan sheet cake recipe with spiced cream cheese frosting is a festive holiday cake perfect for a crowd.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Decorating15 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Christmas, Holiday
Keyword: brown butter pecan, butter pecan, butter pecan cake, carrot sheet cake
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 472kcal
Cost: $10


  • 1 (9x13) cake pan


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 kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil or grape seed oil)
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher 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 20 to 22 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.


Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 186mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 578IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1mg