Southern Upside-Down Pecan Cake

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Y’all, this Southern Upside-Down Pecan Cake is absolutely Delicious! It is decadent enough to make it ideal for any holiday. This homemade cake is very easy to make and always comes out moist and perfect.

Southern Upside-Down Pecan Cake

Upside-Down Pecan Cake

We’ve shared similar moist cakes like our Homemade Hummingbird Cake and our Cinnamon Apple Cake , but this one is extra special here in Georgia. Us Southerns love our pecans! By the way…do you say Puh-cahn or Pee-can?

This is such a tender, moist, and flavorful homemade yellow cake that is topped with a caramelized topping with a bit of crunch. It’s about as close to perfection as I could imagine.

Upside-down cakes tend to a lot easier to make than a traditional layered cake. There real beauty is not having to frost the cake. You just sprinkle the topping on the bottom of the pan before pouring your batter and this will create your delicious topping. This topping includes chopped pecans, a bit of sweet coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, butter and brown sugar that melts together into a caramelized topping as it bakes. When it comes out of the oven and you flip the cake, all of that goodness oozes on top and around the edges of the cake.

A few tips:

  • Pecans can be a luxury. For the recipe I call for chopped pecans. I used these Georgia pecans. They’re affordable and delicious. You can also buy pecans already chopped to save you a bit of time when making this recipe.
  • We uses a 12×17 inch jelly roll pan, but you can also use a 9×13 if that is all you have. Just keep an eye on your cake while baking to adjust the cooking time.
  • You want to keep all of the wet ingredients at room temperature.
Southern Upside-Down Pecan Cake
5 from 4 votes

Upside Down Pecan Cake

This moist, nutty cake is always a crowd-pleaser!
Servings: 25 servings
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk

Topping ingredients

  • 2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). line a 12x17-inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, making sure it hangs over the sides a bit, then grease with non-stick spray.
  • Mix the pecans, brown sugar and 3/4 cup of the coconut in a small bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt and stir. Spread the pecan mixture in the lined pan and drizzle with vanilla extract and melted butter.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the softened butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugars and beat on high speed for 3 full minutes until creamed together fairly well. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition until both are mixed in. Beat in the vanilla extract and sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternating with the milk. Mix each addition just until incorporated. Make sure not overmix the batter.
  • Spread the cake batter over the pecan mixture. Smooth it out into a thin, even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen and invert the cake onto a platter, using foil overhang as needed. Let cool 10-20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 385IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg


Southern Upside-Down Pecan Cake

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14 comments on “Southern Upside-Down Pecan Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    I wish to make this today. Sounds and looks delicious.
    Is it possible to use yellow cake mix?
    I only have self rising flour.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Ruth — looks like you could just omit the coconut. I like it, but my family does not. If I make this, I will just omit the coconut and not substitute anything.

    1. 5 stars
      Yes. The carmelization will be richer. My favorite way to bake a carelized upside down cakes.

    1. Teresa Hesselbein

      This Southern Upside Down Pecan cake sounds good but to me directions are confusing. Like the coconut ingredients say 3/4 cup . an directions say 1 cup. Butter,brown sugar ,butter, salt all mentioned twice but hard to tell which is cake mix an which is topping .

    2. Hi Teresa, I fixed this sorry. I didn’t separate the topping ingredients from the cake in the ingredients. Thanks.

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