Pecan Upside Down Cake Recipe

Pecan Upside Down Cake

Indulge in this ultra-decadent caramel pecan upside down cake made from scratch. 

A rich buttery caramel pecan topping bakes into a gooey, nutty layer topped with a moist butter pecan cake that’s secretly made from a boxed cake mix. 

With just a few simple ingredients like evaporated milk and eggs added to the mix, no one will believe this cake came from a box! The contrast of flavors and textures in each bite makes this upside down cake an over-the-top treat that’s sure to impress.

What type of cake mix works best?

You can use any flavor cake mix you’d like. Vanilla, chocolate, or other nut flavors like pecan would be delicious. Stick with moist cake mixes instead of drier ones like white or angel food.

Can I swap out the nuts?

Pecans are traditional, but you can certainly use walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc. If you use a cake mix with nuts already like pecan or almond, you may want to skip the nuts in the caramel topping.

What if my cake sticks to the pan?

Make sure to grease your pan very well with butter or nonstick spray. Also don’t wait longer than 10 minutes before inverting or the caramel can set too firmly. Gently go around the edge with a knife first too.

What can I serve with this cake?

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is the perfect pairing. A caramel or butterscotch sauce would also be divine drizzled over slices.

Caramel Pecan Topping


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the brown sugar and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until combined but not fully dissolved.
  3. Stir in the corn syrup, chopped pecans and salt until fully incorporated.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch round cake pan and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Cake Batter


  • 1 box butter pecan cake mix (or flavor of your choice)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, evaporated milk, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Fold in the sour cream until just incorporated.
  4. Pour the cake batter over the caramel pecan mixture in the prepared cake pan.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and carefully invert onto a serving plate. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Enjoy this sticky-sweet caramel pecan upside down cake! The contrast of the gooey pecan caramel topping and the moist butter pecan cake is simply divine. Let the flavors meld overnight in the fridge for best results.


  • Letting the cake sit overnight helps the flavors develop as the caramel soaks into the cake even more. Cover and refrigerate after baking and cooling.
  • Chop the nuts finely so they don’t sink to the bottom while baking. Or you can use slivered or halved nuts instead.
  • Use room temperature ingredients like eggs and butter for the cake. Cold ingredients can affect the rise.
  • Make sure not to overmix the cake batter to avoid a dense or tough texture. Be gentle!
  • If you notice the pecans getting too brown while baking, loosely tent foil over the cake pan.


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