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Molasses Pecan Stack Cake Recipe

Social gatherings in Appalachia oftentimes included stack cake. Each family would bring a single layer of cake. The layers would be stacked one atop the others to form a single multi-layered cake of different flavors. If the gathering was a large one, several stack cakes would be assembled. This cake recipe makes a single layer for a stack cake or can be enjoyed as a single-layer cake. It is made with molasses and spices and topped with a brown sugar pecan glaze. Either way it’s a treat!

Adapted from Mountain Molasses Stack Cake in Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly: Recipes from Southern Appalachia by Joan E. Aller

Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 20-25 minutes | Serves: 8

Molasses Pecan Stack Cake



  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut an 8-inch circle of parchment paper and place in the bottom of an 8-inch round pan. Lightly grease and flour the parchment bottom and sides of pan.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar together. Beat in the egg, then the molasses, buttermilk and vanilla.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking power, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack to cool.
  5. When cake is cool, place on a parchment lined plate if using as a layer for a stack cake. Otherwise, place the layer on a serving plate.
  6. Glaze Add water, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens to a light syrup consistency. Stir in pecans. Allow the glaze to cook for 5 minutes. Spoon the glaze over the cake layer. Allow glaze to cool completely before serving.
  7. To add as a layer on a stack cake, slide the cake carefully off the parchment lined plate to position over cake layers; or serve as a single layer cake.

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