Add Pecans To Pound Cake For A Rich, Southern Flair

Fall is the most wonderful time of year for rich baked goods with warm flavors, and one of the best ingredients to boost the autumnal appeal of any dessert is, of course, pecans. From sweet and salty salted caramel almond pecan pralines to a super rich chocolate and coffee pecan pie, we're going absolutely nuts for pecans.

Pecan dessert recipes have Southern roots, so it's no surprise that adding pecans to pound cake is also a Southern culinary tradition. Named for the amount of each of its ingredients, pound cake came to the United States from England, and Southern bakers made it their own with a few key additions, namely pecans and a little booze. The beauty of plain old pound cake lies in its simplicity — not only does the even ratio of ingredients make the recipe easy to remember, but its sweet, basic flavor profile invites tons of customization, which brings us to pecans.

To whip up your own Southern-style pecan pound cake, start with your preferred, buttery pound cake recipe, and add about a cup of chopped pecans, depending on if you want the nuts to dominate the dessert, or be a gentle accent of texture and flavor. You can even grind up some pecans to mix into the batter for additional density, place halved pecans on top of the cake for decoration, or dice pecans into a crumbly cake topping for a tasty, Southern-inspired twist — the pecan-ssibilities are endless!

Sweet Southern flavor

Bursting with warm, fall flavors, pecans add the perfect crunch to any dessert, especially ones with Southern heritage. Native to North America, pecans were a part of people's diets long before the popularization of widely published recipes, but pecans began appearing in Southern American cookbooks as early as the 1870s and 1880s. An old dessert as well, pound cake originated in England as a dense bake that could feed a lot of people. Today's pound cakes often include more modern additions to enhance the texture, flavor, and appearance, like baking powder to help leaven the cake, or extra ingredients, like pecans, to add some flair to the simple dessert.

Nuts can add both crunch and body to a pastry, but with decadently dense pound cake, you don't have to worry about weighing down or overpowering a light and fluffy texture with lots of heavy nuts. You can purchase pre-chopped pecans for a quick and easy preparation process, or chop about a cup of pecans by hand. If you want to add even more flavor to your Southern pound cake, try treating the pecans before adding them to the cake batter. For a wonderfully buttery pecan cake, soak your chopped pecans in melted butter. For extra warm and sweet flavor, toast candied pecans. These little tricks give your pecan pound cake an extra depth of Southern flavor.