Pecan Praline Cake

The Pecan Praline Cake is a decadent dessert that combines the rich, moist layers of a classic yellow cake with the sweet and nutty flavors of praline and cream cheese frosting. This cake is a showstopper, perfect for special occasions or as a luxurious treat for those days when only something truly indulgent will do. Having made this cake myself, I can attest to its crowd-pleasing capabilities and its ability to evoke compliments from every corner of the room. The process involves creating a luscious praline cream cheese filling to layer between the cake layers, topped with a homemade praline that adds a delightful crunch and depth of flavor to each bite.


For the Cake:

  • Your favorite 3-layer yellow cake recipe, baked in 9-inch pans and cooled

Praline Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 8oz package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans (adjust to taste)

Praline Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups of pecan pieces
  • Extra can of evaporated milk to thin, if needed


Praline Cream Cheese Filling:

  1. Using a mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Fold in the chopped pecans. Let the filling chill slightly before using to frost the cake.

Praline Topping:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with sugar and evaporated milk. Stir well to combine.
  2. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to medium/low. Let cook for about 15 minutes without stirring.
  3. Stir the mixture after 15 minutes as it begins to thicken, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan.
  4. Continue cooking and stirring for about 10 more minutes, then add the vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
  5. Off the heat, stir in the pecan pieces. If the mixture becomes too thick, thin it with a bit of evaporated milk (about 2 tablespoons at a time). The frosting should still be somewhat warm and pourable when you use it.

Assembling the Cake:

  1. Place one layer of the cooled yellow cake on a cake board. Spread a layer of praline cream cheese filling over the top.
  2. Add the second cake layer and repeat with the filling. Let each layer of filling dry a bit before adding the next layer.
  3. After adding the third cake layer, chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Frost the sides of the cake first with the remaining praline cream cheese filling, then apply the praline topping to the top of the cake while it’s still warm.

Recipe Tips:

  • Cake Preparation: Bake the yellow cake layers a day in advance to ensure they are completely cooled before assembly.
  • Frosting Consistency: The praline topping should be warm and pourable for easy spreading. If it cools and thickens too much, gently reheat while adding a little evaporated milk to achieve the right consistency.
  • Serving Suggestion: This cake is best served at room temperature to fully appreciate the flavors and textures.
  • Storage: Keep the cake refrigerated due to the cream cheese frosting. Let it come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.

FAQ Section

  1. Can I use a box cake mix for the yellow cake?
    • Yes, a high-quality box mix can be used as a time-saving option. Prepare according to package instructions for three 9-inch layers.
  2. How can I ensure my praline topping doesn’t crystallize?
    • Stirring the sugar mixture constantly once it starts to boil and using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature can help prevent crystallization.
  3. Can I make this cake ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can bake the cake layers and prepare the fillings a day ahead. Assemble the cake on the day of serving for best results.
  4. Is there a nut-free alternative for the praline?
    • For a nut-free version, omit the pecans. The praline cream cheese frosting and topping will still be delicious without them, though you’ll miss the crunchy texture pecans provide.

Creating a Pecan Praline Cake is a labor of love that results in a dessert as visually impressive as it is delicious. Each component, from the moist layers of yellow cake to the rich praline topping, works in harmony to create a truly memorable dessert experience. Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply indulging in a sweet treat, this cake is sure to satisfy any dessert lover’s cravings.