Roasted Pecan Pound Cake with Sorghum Streusel

Recipe Development and Food Styling by Ben Mims

If plain pound cake is your pair of everyday sneakers, then this pound cake by Ben Mims is your special- occasion stilettos. Roasted pecans are finely ground with sugar and then whipped with butter into a nutty batter enriched with sour cream. The crumbly cake is topped with a streusel imbued with fragrant sorghum syrup. Sorghum, a cereal grain that grows abundantly and is a popular ingredient in Southern cuisine, complements the pecans with its signature bitter, leathery taste. We love to serve thick slabs of the cake drizzled with an extra shot of sorghum on the corner so you can dip or smear your bites with as much extra syrup as you want.

Roasted Pecan Pound Cake with Sorghum Streusel
Makes 2 (9x5-inch) loaves
  • 2 cups (284 grams) whole pecans
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) vegetable oil
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar,divided
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter,room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams),room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites (60 grams),room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (120 grams) sour cream,room temperature
  • Sorghum Streusel (recipe follows)
  • Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling
  • Sorghum syrup, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans. Line pans with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pans. Butter and flour parchment.
  2. Place pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and toss with your hands until evenly coated. Spread pecans in a single layer on baking sheet.
  3. Bake until toasted and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely on pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (170°C).
  4. In the work bowl of a food processor, place cooled roasted pecans and 1 cup (200 grams) sugar; pulse until pecans are very finely ground and mixed with sugar, about 20 pulses. Transfer pecan sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, and beat at medium speed until fluffy and pale, at least 6 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until there are no streaks of yolk left after each addition, about 15 seconds. Add egg whites, beating well. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. With mixer on medium-high speed, beat until superlight and airy, at least 3 minutes. Add flour and sour cream, and stir with a rubber spatula just until combined.
  5. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth tops. Break up Sorghum Streusel, and sprinkle over batter in large clumps. (Do not pack it down.) Sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake until topping is deep golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and50 minutes, loosely covering with foil 1 hour into baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pans, and place on wire rack. Remove parchment, and let cool completely.
  7. To serve, cut pound cake into thick slabs, and place on serving plates. Spoon or pour about 1 tablespoon (21 grams) sorghum syrup onto corner of each slice so you can dip bites of cake into syrup for a more intense sorghum flavor.

Sorghum Streusel
Makes about 2½ cups
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) sorghum syrup
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and sorghum syrup. Rub syrup into sugar with your fingertips until evenly incorporated. (It will look like golden light brown sugar.) Add flour, butter, and salt, and rub together with your fingertips until large clumps form. Freeze until ready to use, up to 1 day.


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