Triple Chocolate Pecan Pie Cake

Caramel cake layers baked on a shortbread crust, with a triple chocolate pecan filling, drizzled dark, milk and white chocolate, and covered in a caramel buttercream. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword Thanksgiving Cake, Triple Chocolate Pecan Pie Cake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 18
Author cakebycourtney


For the Shortbread Crust

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Caramel Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 cups dulce de leche
  • 7 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Triple Chocolate Pecan Filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans 4 oz, toasted and broken into small pieces
  • 2 oz each of dark semi sweet and white chocolate

For the Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 2 cups unsalted butter slightly chilled

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 2 oz. dark chocolate
  • 2 oz. milk chocolate
  • 2 oz. white chocolate


For the Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line each pan with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes until creamy. Stir in the flour. If the mixture is too crumbly, you can add another tablespoon of butter.
  3. Evenly divide the shortbread cookie crumbs into each cake pan. Using the back of a spoon, press the shortbread cookie crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top.

For the Caramel Cake

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Scape down the sides of the bowl, add the dulce de leche, and beat on high for another 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium-high for one minute after each addition. After you add the last egg, beat on high for 4 more minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
  5. On medium-high speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla very slowly. This process should take 3 to 4 minutes to add. Don't rush the process. You're basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn't want to make room for that liquid. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid and the mixture should look smooth and not curdled. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnant of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you see any lumps of cake flour in there while you're scraping, mix for another 30 to 45 seconds.
  7. Evenly distribute the cake batter in the three pans with the shortbread crust, about 16 to 18 ounces of batter in each.
  8. Bake the cake for 23 to 25 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. To check if it's done, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger. The cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 minutes it if doesn't pass this test.
  9. Let cool completely before using.
  10. Can be made ahead of time and wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen until ready to use. Let thaw for 60 minutes before decorating.

For the Triple Chocolate Pecan Filling

  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F. Spray a 9x9 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat.
  3. Add in the sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until butter is absorbed. With a hand mixer, beat in the eggs.
  4. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and mix for another 20 seconds or so.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and stir the mixture until it is shiny and reaches 130 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans.
  6. Pour mixture into the pan and then scatter the chocolate pieces over the pecan mixture. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely before using in the cake.

  7. Can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

For the Salted Caramel Frosting

  1. Mix sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan
  2. Bring the water and sugar mixture to boil over medium heat, but DO NOT STIR. (Stirring encourages crystallization). Let the mixture cook until it caramelizes into a golden brown color (as seen in the photo above). It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.
  3. Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Pour in just a tiny bit at a time, especially at the beginning, and mix to combine. You can start adding more and more as you go along.
  4. Mix in salt and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Set the caramel sauce to the side and let cool completely before making the frosting.
  6. Once the caramel sauce is cooled completely, divide it in half and reserve one half of the caramel for the drip. Use the other half for the frosting.
  7. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the softened butter, powdered sugar and half of the caramel together in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth.


  1. Spread a small dollop of frosting on your cake board. Place the first cake layer on the board, with the shortbread cookie crust on the bottom.
  2. Spread about 3/4 cup caramel frosting on the cake layer. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure it is level.
  3. Break up the chocolate pecan filling into pieces and cover the frosting with the filling. Drizzle half of each of the chocolate drizzles over the pecan filling.
  4. Place the second cake layer, shortbread cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the pecan filling and chocolate drizzle. Repeat step 3.
  5. Place the final cake layer, shortbread cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the second layer of frosting and filling.
  6. You'll then spread a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake to lock in any crumbs. This is called the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure the crumbs get locked into this coat of frosting. After the frosting is set, continue to frost the cake with the remaining caramel frosting.