easy winter cake with homemade pecan caramel

To be honest I was never a Christmas person, neither crazy about Christmas decorations nor about tons of Christmas baking. Especially last couple years when we lost interest in cakes, desserts and other baked sweet goods. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good cake from time to time, and won’t say “no” to a delicious cheesecake or meringue (or a Christmas panettone). Sometimes I look with a bit of jealousy at others beautiful Christmas cakes, muffins and Christmas desserts, but I know they won’t find a place on my table and it would simply get wasted.

But I like simple and easy cakes that you can make with your eyes closed and almost no effort on the day when your sweet-tooth craves a homemade cake. I’m also not a fan of caramel. I don’t like it, it’s too sweet for me, and tastes nothing like sugar. But.

If you add pecans to caramel that’s a different story. Pecans adds a this bitterness that the caramel needs. And without this caramel pecan goodness this cake would be quite boring to be honest. Pecans and caramel add this “wow” to that simple cake. Recipe for the cake is inspired by Davina McCall – wholemeal spelt flour and chopped prunes – I stole them both from her recipe. Prunes adds some sweetness to that cake and they are nice and moist.

You can swap sugar with any other sweet option: honey, molasses, sugar substitutes like xylitol or stevia. You can add chopped soft figs or mixed nuts instead of prunes.

That’s a simple cake that doesn’t require much attention for lazy bakers like me 🙂 Something you can make last minute on Christmas Eve and enjoy with a big hot cup of coffee on the Christmas Morning.

winter cake

with homemade pecan caramel

NOTE: my measuring cup is 250 ml glass


  • 2 cups of spelt flour
  • 225 g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 handfuls of soft prunes
  • if needed: some milk

INGREDIENTS for topping:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 handfuls of pecan nuts
  • thin slice of butter


Start from chopping prunes and pecans. And melt the butter. Preheat the oven to 160°C with fan (180°C without fan).

Combine together all the dry ingredients: spelt flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cacao powder. Add chopped prunes and mix with a spoon. Whisk the eggs and add to cake ingredients, add melted butter and mix. Cake mix should be quite thick, not runny. But if it’s too thick and difficult to mix properly with a spoon add a little bit of milk (any milk you like).

Prepare square baking dish and grease it with some butter or place a sheet of baking paper. Transfer cake mix into the baking dish and spread it evenly. Bake about 25 minutes (everything depends of your oven). Use wooden skewer to check if cake is ready – simply prick the cake with a skewer up to the bottom, if it’s dry means that cake is ready. If you see bits of wet cake mix on the skewer – it means your cake needs couple more minutes.

In the meantime prepare caramel. Heat a small saucepan adding 1/2 cup of sugar. Melt the sugar on a small heat stirring frequently, be very careful melted sugar is extremely hot so never try to put your finger in it (even though it’s tempting). It will take a couple minutes to melt the sugar, but keep the heat low to medium – it’s very easy to burn the sugar quickly. When all the sugar is liquid and brownish add chopped pecans. It will make the sugar set again but don’t worry it will melt again. After 1-2 minutes add double cream. Sugar will set again, but be patient it will melt again with the temperature. When it’s melted and creamy add thin slice of butter and combine.

Remove cake from the oven. Pour over the pecan caramel and spread it evenly over the cake. Let the cake cool down completely. Cut in squares and serve.

The best is to keep the cake in the fridge. Caramel might change the taste when stored in the room temperature.


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