There’s a type of cake that comes out of Georgia that’s chock full of pecans and coconuts and oh my… is it delightful. It’s kind of like someone left the chocolate out of a German chocolate cake and let that sticky-crunchy-sweetness from the pecan-coconut combo really shine. It’s creamy and light, a little bit chewy with a little bit of crunch, and it always leaves us feeling inspired. So we took that inspiration and made this cake, which has all of the lovely qualities of the original but is, you know, an upside down version. Which is a really great thing. Here’s why:
Upside-down cakes tend to be quite a bit simpler to make than an elaborate layer cake. There’s no frosting to deal with. No layers to stack. You just sprinkle the topping down in the bottom of the pan before pouring your batter over. And in this case, that topping is chopped pecans, sweet coconut, a touch of cinnamon and vanilla, and butter and brown sugar that melts together as it bakes. When it comes out of the oven and you invert the cake, all of that goodness oozes down into and over the cake and those crunchy, now-candied pecans rise out of the top, just begging you to dig in.
Making this as an upside-down cake means that it’s also a one-bowl cake. After the topping goes into the baking pan, the batter mixes up in one bowl, which means there aren’t a lot of dishes to wash, but there’s still a lot of moist and tender cake to go around. It’s easy enough that you’ll want to make it every day, and it’s tasty enough to justify it too. Happy baking!
Upside-Down Pecan Cake
45 minutes to prepare serves 6-8
For the topping:
2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup milk
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil, making sure it hangs over the sides a bit, then grease with non-stick spray.
Spread pecans, brown sugar and 1 cup of the coconut in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt, and drizzle with vanilla extract and melted butter.
In a medium bowl, beat together the 2/3 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Continue mixing on low, and add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, mixing until thoroughly combined.
Add baking powder and salt, mixing on low until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the flour, followed by milk, and then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition.
Pour batter over pecan mixture in prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen and let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a platter, using foil overhang as needed. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!