Pecan Pie Cake Roll
This delicious pecan pie cake is made with a layer of pecan pie filling rolled up inside of a light sponge cake. It’s the perfect make-ahead holiday dessert!
We’re all about pecan pie in my family. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving (or Christmas!) without a southern pecan pie for dessert.
A few years ago I started making pecan pie filling without the crust and adding it to other desserts and now we have all sorts of pecan pie desserts to choose from during the holidays.
This awesome pecan pie cake is similar to a pumpkin roll. It’s soft, spongy butter pecan cake filled with pecan pie filling and rolled up into a delicious dessert that
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Ingredients You’ll Need
- Butter Pecan cake mix – This cake mix is sold in most grocery stores. If you are unable to find it you can substitute with yellow cake mix. If you do this we suggest adding 2 teaspoons of butter pecan flavoring to the cake batter.
- Eggs – Use large eggs for this recipe. They will whip up and add the light, springy texture to your cake roll which will allow it to be rolled and unrolled for filling.
- Fats – Between the cake batter and the pecan pie filling you will use two types of fat, vegetable oil and butter.
- Sugars – Between the cake batter and the pecan pie filling you will use three types of sugar powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and corn syrup.
- Pecans – We use pecan halves and finely chop them for the outside of the cake and roughly chop them for the filling to give it more crunch.
- Cream cheese frosting – You’ll use about half of a container of cream cheese frosting.
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract added to your pecan pie filling adds a little extra flavor.
How to Make Pecan Pie Cake Roll
This simple recipe will make 2 cake rolls. If you only need one you can wrap and freeze the second one and serve it at your next party. This is perfect if you’re making a pecan pie cake for Thanksgiving dessert and want to serve it again at Christmas!
Step 1 – Prepare the oven and pans. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 jelly roll pans with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Step 2 – Whisk the eggs. Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Using an electric mixer whisk on high for approximately 6 minutes until they are fluffy and turn a light yellow color. This step adds air to the eggs which will help make a very light, fluffy cake.
Step 3 – Make batter. Add the cake mix, water, and vegetable oil to the eggs and whisk on medium for 30 seconds then use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the eggs. Continue to whisk for 1 more minute.
Step 4 – Bake. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared jelly roll pans (approximately 15.75 ounces of batter each). Place the pans in the oven side-by-side and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cake lightly bounces back after pressing in the center.
Step 5 – Roll the cake. While the cake bakes lay out two clean dish towels and lightly dust them with the powdered sugar. This keeps the cake from sticking to the towels.
When the cake has finished baking remove the pans from the oven and very carefully flip each pan over onto the kitchen towel. Peel off the parchment paper.
Starting with a short side of the cake roll the cake up in the towel. Yes the towel gets rolled up into the cake! Let the cake cool completely like that.
Step 6 – Make the filling. While the cake roll cools, make your pecan pie filling. Instructions are in the recipe but we have included lots of extra info here including how you can make your pecan pie filling ahead of time.
Step 7 – Fill the cake. When the filling is ready gently unroll the cake. Spread the filling evenly over cake leaving a little space around the edges. You will use approximately 18 ounces of filling per cake roll. Once filled gently roll the cake back up.
Step 8 – Frost. Using approximately ½ cup of cream cheese frosting per cake roll frost all sides of the cakes. After frosting the cake rolls spread coat each with 1 cup of chopped pecans. You can do this by spreading the pecans on a clean surface and rolling the cake over them, or pressing the chopped pecans on the cake rolls with your hands.
Cut the ends off the cake to give it a neat appearance and then serve cake immediately.
Looking for More Pecan Pie Recipes?
- Puff Pastry Pecan Pies
- Pecan Pie Bread Pudding
- Southern Pecan Pie
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake Brownies
- Pecan Pie Brownies
- Pecan Slab Pie
Making Pecan Pie Filling
It’s simple to make pecan pie filling. Combine all of the ingredients and bake in the oven until it is perfectly ooey gooey.
We have lots of extra tips and information in our Pecan Pie Filling recipe including how to make it ahead of time and store it until you’re ready to use!
I’ve had lots of people ask if they have to bake it and my answer is yes. This method gets the best results. I’ve tried it on the stove top and it takes just as long and you have to stand there stirring it. It’s hard to get it to a consistent temperature and often it gets overcooked and then becomes hard.
If you do it this way you can get other things done while it bakes!
What is a Jelly Roll Pan?
Jelly roll pans are baking pans that are 15 inch x 10 inch and have 1 inch sides. This raised side allows the cake to rise without overflowing from the pan.
We suggest this jelly roll pan from Chicago Metallic. It is made with heavy duty material so it doesn’t warp in the oven when baking.
Who Makes Butter Pecan Cake Mix?
Betty Crocker makes a great butter pecan cake mix. I like the added flavor it gives the cake BUT we all know flavored cake mixes come and go so if you can’t find butter pecan cake mix don’t worry, you can use a yellow cake mix plus 2 teaspoons of butter pecan flavoring instead if needed.
Where to Find Butter Pecan Flavoring
The easiest place to find butter pecan flavoring is online. Amazon sells it here but you can also look for various spice stores that can ship it to you. Michaels stores or specialty cake or baking stores in your area may also carry it.
Make It Ahead of Time
You can make a cake roll ahead of time. Just follow all of the instructions in the recipe and then, when it is done, wrap it in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When you are ready to serve the cake remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit out on a platter on the counter for 1 hour to come to room temperature.
If you have frozen your cake you’ll want to let it thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator and then let it sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
How to Store It
Once baked, filled, and frosted you can let the pecan cake sit out for up to 4 hours. After that it should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy your leftovers. You can also freeze any leftover cake if you prefer.
Refrigerator – Wrap the cake in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
Freezer – Wrap the cake in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
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Pecan Pie Cake Roll
- 6 large eggs
- 15.25 ounce Butter Pecan cake mix, see note 1
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
- 8 ounces Cream cheese frosting
Pecan Pie Filling:
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Corn syrup
- 4 large Eggs
- 1/4 cups Butter, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 2 cups Pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line 2 jelly roll pans with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Using an electric mixer whisk on high for approximately 6 minutes until they are fluffy and turn a light yellow color.
- Add the cake mix, water, and vegetable oil to the eggs and whisk on medium for 30 seconds then use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the eggs. Continue to whisk for 1 more minute. (See note 2)
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared jelly roll pans (approximately 15.75 ounces of batter each).
- Place the pans in the oven side-by-side and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cake lightly bounces back after pressing in the center.
- While the cake bakes lay out two clean dish towels and lightly dust them with the powdered sugar. This keeps the cake from sticking to the towels.
- When the cake has finished baking remove the pans from the oven and very carefully flip each pan over onto the kitchen towel. Peel off the parchment paper.
- Starting with a short side of the cake roll the cake up in the towel. Let the cake cool completely like that.
- While the cake roll cools, make your pecan pie filling.
- When the filling is ready gently unroll the cake. Spread the filling evenly over cake leaving a little space around the edges. You will use approximately 18 ounces of filling per cake roll.
- Once filled gently roll the cake back up.
- Using approximately ½ cup of cream cheese frosting per cake roll frost all sides of the cakes.
- After frosting the cake rolls spread coat each with 1 cup of chopped pecans. You can do this by spreading the pecans on a clean surface and rolling the cake over them, or pressing the chopped pecans on the cake rolls with your hands.
- Cut the ends off of the cake to give it a neat appearance and then serve cake immediately.
Pecan Pie Filling:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly spray a 8″x8″ (2 quart) glass baking dish OR a 9-inch pie dish with non-stick spray.
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and stir until they are well mixed. Then pour into your greased dish.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Use a spoon to stir the filling every 15 minutes as it bakes.
- When the timer goes off remove the filling from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes before using. You want the filling to have a consistency similar to a thick jam. Thick enough that it doesn’t run off of your spoon but still spreadable.
- You can substitute with yellow cake mix if you can’t find butter pecan cake mix. If you do this we suggest adding 2 teaspoons of butter pecan flavoring.
- If you are adding pecan pecan flavoring to a yellow cake mix you can add it when you add the cake mix, water, and vegetable oil.
Ok what can I use if I cannot find vanilla butter nut flavoring? Please let me know by e-mailing me a response
You can use vanilla extract.
How did you get the pecans to stick to the outside of the roll? I’m making this for thanksgiving next week!
Hi Michelle, I sprinkle the pecans over the batter before I place it in the oven and the pecans stick to it. Some come off when you roll it but it works pretty well.
The directions say to out the pecans on half way through baking. This should be edited because they do not stick. Putting them on the raw batter would be better.
Hi Kat, I’ve made sponge cakes before but I have always whipped eggs whites only. So, my question is, am I whipping the yolk with the whites? Thx.
Yes in this recipe you whip egg whites and egg yolks.
I could not find butternut flavoring, but did find on Utube a recipe to make your own. 1/3 teaspoon good vanilla, 1/3 teaspoon butter flavor, and 1/3 teaspoon almond extract. They recommend the company, Adams Best, for the flavorings. I have not made the cake roll yet, will make it in the morning.
I hope you liked it! You can also use vanilla extract if you need to.
Can you make this cake the night before, leaving it rolled up? Then make your filling the next morning and fill?
I would worry that the cake may stiffen too much overnight to unroll without cracking. This cake is fine to make from start to finish a day in advance though if that helps!
Thank you. That will give me an extra hour of sleep on Thanksgiving morning!
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you love it as much as my family did!
What size of jelly roll pan did you use? Making in the morning so excited
Hi, would I be able to make the pecan pie filling on the stove top to thicken it up instead of the oven?
Definitely! I have done it both ways. When I do it on the stove top I just cook it until the liquid coats the back of a spoon. It thickens up even more as it cools
I made this for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. The cake did crack a bit but nothing too noticeable. The filling was my problem child. I followed the recipe as directed and baked it in my 9″ pie plate…what a mess!! I stirred it every 10 minutes but it still boiled over. I would try it on the stovetop or in a 9×9 pan just to avoid scraping the bottom of my oven again. My husband is a pecan pie freak and he loved it! It’s a bit sweet for me but it was still good. I used vanilla extract instead of the butter nut and added a pinch of cinnamon to the filling. Hopefully the family likes it!!
Sometimes I get cracks sometimes I don’t. Depends on how good of a baking day I’m having ;). Sorry about the pie filling mess. It definitely works on the stove top too. I hope everyone likes it and you have a very happy Thanksgiving!
Oh my goodness, this looks like heaven, I will be trying it, thanks for posting
I hope you like it! Stop back in and let me know how it turns out.
Hi! This looks delish! Wondering if anyone has tried making this with gluten free flour??
Hi Diane, I don’t have any experience with gluten free baking but hopefully someone who does will chime in.
I really like your website your recipes look so inviting an I can’t wait to try them. Thank you for letting me be a part of your cooking club.
I don’t use the recipe for the cake, I did cheat..
I did use the recipe for the felling and also and it is awesome.. My question is I made a cream cheese frosting for the inside and on top of the cake. Will it make it to sweet?
That filling is pretty sweet so frosting might make it too sweet for some people.
Thank you for getting back to me.. I thought it would be dry and putting the cream cheese frosting on top would help it from not being dry.. would love too hear your thoughts..
Could a box cake mix be used and if so what flavor/brand?
Brett, to tell you the truth I’m not sure a cake mix would work. Cake rolls are made with whipped egg that make the cake light and spongy so it will roll up. I don’t think a cake mix cake would be flexible enough. BUT if you don’t care about it being a roll you could totally add the pecan pie filling between two layers of yellow cake and it would be delicious! 🙂
I make cake rolls every year using a box mix. I don’t follow the box directions, but it is doable.
How would I make a pie with this filling
Could I make this one month early and freeze it until the date I need to use it? I have to make about 5 of them. Plus candy, cookies…
Hi Karen, I have no experience with freezing this so I can’t be certain but I don’t see any reason it couldn’t be made ahead of time and frozen. It would just need to thaw completely before being served. If you try it please let us know how it worked so we can share with our readers.
Made this cake today and it was a big hit. Everyone really enjoyed it.
Is your jelly roll pan a 9×13
It is 15×10.
For the pecan pie cake do you have to use unbleached flour ?
No, you can use any all-purpose flour.
Thank you so much for your reply !
Can you use a GF flour for the recipes if so which ones
I’ve never tried a gluten free flour for this recipe but Bob’s Red Mill does make a GF flour. I’m not sure if you’d need to make any changes to recipe to make it work though.
Has anyone tried freezing this?
My friend make several pumpkin rolls in November for Christmas gift giving. They freeze well.
Can this cake can be make 1or 2 days before and keep in the refrigerator, thanks
Yes, I do suggest taking out and letting it come to room temperature before serving though.
Can’t wait to try the pecan pie roll.
Can you freeze this
Can a less experienced Baker make this ok? 😁
Has anyone tried this recipe using an angle food cake mix? I frequently make cake rolls with store bought angle food cake mix.
I haven’t tried it but if you have made a cake roll that way before I say go for it!
Denise, do you use 1 cake mix , Dunkin Hines for example, for a 15” jelly pan roll?
This pecan pie roll is delicious. I did crush the nuts a little more and I added them before baking. This roll turned out great. I will definitely make it again.
Is the filling supposed to be baked or cooked on the stove? The directions for the filling starts off with it in the oven but the second half of the directions has it on the stove.
Just a bit confused too say the least.
This is cooked in the oven. Bake it , stirring every 10 minutes then remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before spreading it on the cake.
I found the cake part a little too dry. Do you have a suggestion for that? It was baked at the temp and time suggested.
What size jelly roll pan please??
It is a 15 inch jelly roll pan.
My goodness was making the filling in the oven A COMPLETE MESS!!!! Why was the option of making it on the stove not mentioned??? Why do I only find this buried in the comments section!!! Regardless of how it ends up tasting I am already left with a bad taste in my mouth and a burnt disgusting mess in the bottom of my oven!!!!
I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience. I’ve never had my filling bubble up and boil over in the oven so I can’t imagine why that happened to you. Were you stirring every 10 minutes? You can make it on the stove top but I find the results are better with the oven method which is why those are the instructions I chose to include in the recipe.
I followed the directions to a tee. I used a 9 inch pie dish as per the instructions and had more than a cup extra. Was it expected that a deep dish pie dish be used? Is so, why not part of the instructions? I must admit, after scrubbing the bottom of the oven and letting the smell of burnt sugar leave the house, I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was – so much so (God help me) I am going to make this again tonight for Thanksgiving tomorrow hopefully using the lessons learned from the last attempt.
I’m so glad there was a happy ending! I am going to look into adding directions for making this on the stove top to avoid others having this issue. I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving!
CAN I USE REGULAR UN BLEACHED FLOUR FOR THIS RECIPE ? OR DOES IT HAVE TO BE ORGANIC ?
Yes you can use regular unbleached flour.