Vanilla Wafer Cake With Butter Pecan Glaze

vanilla wafer cake with butter pecan glaze
Vanilla wafer cake with a brown sugar, butter, and pecan glaze. Diana Rattray
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 12 to 16 Servings
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This unusual vanilla wafer cake is a coconut cake made with crushed vanilla wafers instead of flour.  I'm not sure where the recipe first appeared in print, but it has been around for quite some time, and it is in many Southern cookbooks. You'll find it in many Junior League and country cookbooks. It's basically a pound cake made with crushed vanilla wafers in place of the flour.

I put the vanilla wafers in the food processor and pulse until the cookie crumbs are fine. Then I add the chopped pecans and pulse a few more times until the nuts are more finely chopped. I also cut the sugar back to about 1 1/2 cups and it was still delicious. 

I made this with the optional butter-pecan glaze; I used dark brown sugar in the glaze (pictured).

Take this unique cake along to a potluck supper or neighborhood get-together. And be sure to take a few copies of the recipe!

What You'll Need

  • 1 box/12 ounces vanilla wafers 
  • 1 cup pecans (chopped0
  • 2 sticks/8 ounces butter (softened)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs (or 5 extra-large eggs)
  • 1 bag/7 ounces coconut (sweetened flaked)
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole)
  • For the Butter-Pecan Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated milk (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed, light or dark)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Generously grease and flour a tube cake pan.
  3. Process the vanilla wafers in the food processor until the crumbs are fine or put them in a plastic food storage bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. Chop the pecans finely by hand or throw them into the food processor with the crumbs and pulse a few more times.
  4. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream ​the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend well after each addition.
  1. Add half of finely crushed vanilla wafers and blend well. Add the nuts, coconut, milk, and remaining vanilla wafer crumbs. Beat until blended.
  2. Spoon the batter into a greased and floured tube cake pan.
  3. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  4. Leave the cake in pan on a rack for10 minutes to cool slightly; invert onto a cake plate.

Optional Butter Pecan Glaze

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the milk and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the glaze mixture for 5 minutes. Stir the 1/2 cup of chopped pecans into the glaze mixture and then remove it from the heat. 
  2. Let the glaze cool slightly and then spoon it over the cooled cake.
  3. Store the cake, covered, in the refrigerator, or freeze slices for later.

Tips and Variations

  • Bake the cake in a well greased and floured Bundt cake pan.
  • Prepare the cake with half a bag (about 1 1/3 cup) of flaked coconut and 1 or 2 cups of chopped pecans.
  • Replace the pecans with chopped walnuts.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter along with the first addition of crumbs.

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