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Louisiana Stranger Cake (Caramel Pecan Bundt Cake)

This Louisiana Stranger Cake is an easy, extra moist, and unique bundt cake to take to a new neighbor, church pot-luck, or to freeze for a future party. It comes together with a box of cake mix and a can of frosting!

louisiana stranger cake on cake stand

Louisiana Stranger Cake

What is a Stranger Cake? Short answer, is the easiest, moistest, best tasting, bundt cake you have every put in your mouth. Think caramel, pecans, coconut, butter pecans cake…

Not only that, but it’s super easy to make!!! The secret to this bundt cake, is the way you make the cake batter. Intrigued?

If you didn’t already know, I am a collector of cooking, and ANYTHING to do with food, magazines. I use the word collector, but really I have a problem that is teetering on the edge of getting me on one of those hoarding shows where they find “collectors” buried under their belongings along with various pets.

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close up of bundt cake with powdered sugar

One of my favorite’s is Cook’s Illustrated. I don’t currently subscribe because I have so many back issues already and running out of bookshelf space.

Like most other food magazines, there is a mail section in the front of Cook’s Illustrated where people send in their recipe requests or questions.

Some are funny, like “which end of the fork do I use when I eat with it?”, and some are actually useful, like “I lost my grandmother’s recipe for  ____ cake and I can’t live without it!”

They actually reunite those grieving people with their recipes and achieve superhero status! In an added bonus, we get recipes for cakes we have never heard of before.

Southern Praline Bundt Cake

One such lucky person was brought back from the abyss of sorrow when they found their lost recipe for Louisiana Stranger Cake and they kindly reprinted it for them.

I couldn’t understand this reader’s loss until I read the recipe, made it (I already had the ingredients on hand because I love German chocolate cake) and proceeded to eat half of it.

The Louisiana Stranger Cake, AKA Southern Praline Bundt Cake, is the moistest bundt cake I ever put in my mouth! I made it for a church pot-luck and it quickly became my most requested cake.

I can’t take credit for this Louisiana Stranger Cake recipe so I am glad to pass it on so that others can revel in the joy of having this cake in their lives!

labeled picture of louisiana stranger cake ingredients

Ingredients Needed

  • Butter Pecan Cake Mix
  • Oil
  • Eggs
  • Pecans
  • Caramel Pecan Frosting

Cake Mix – A butter pecan cake mix works best but you can also use a white, yellow, and even a chocolate cake mix if you prefer. They all taste amazing!

Oil – I use vegetable oil but you can also use peanut, canola, or safflower oil. Do not use olive oil as it will change the flavor.

Eggs – Use 4 large eggs. Have them at room temperature for better mixing.

Pecans – If you use the butter pecan cake mix, there will be extra chopped pecans but I like to add 1 cup more. Toast the pecans beforehand for even more flavor.

Frosting – This is the store bought coconut pecan frosting. Also known as German chocolate cake frosting. You can make it homemade if you prefer.

How to make a Louisiana Stranger Cake

First: Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a bundt pan with nonstick spray or other cake release coating. Be sure to get all the nooks and crannies when you grease and flour it.

Second: In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs. Mix to combine.

Third: Fold in the pecans and caramel pecan frosting. Mix to combine.

Fourth: Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in cake pan for 5 minutes. Invert on a cooling wire rack and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

louisiana stranger cake on cooling rack

Why is it called a Louisiana Stranger Cake?

I really wish I knew where the name comes from because I ALWAYS get asked, and I am sad to say that Cook’s Illustrated did not explain the origins of the recipe in the reader’s mail question or response.

I can speculate that it might be because:

  • that it was considered strange to put frosting in the cake batter prior to baking.
  • that people brought it to strangers that moved into the neighborhood as a welcome gift.
  • that a gifted culinary stranger lost this recipe in Louisiana and a lucky person picked it up!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze it?

Yes, you can! Up to 3 months and it comes out just as moist as when it was cooked. Just be sure to wrap tightly in plastic wrap!

cake being dusted with powdered sugar

Can I use a different cake mix?

Yes you can! The original recipe called for a Butter Pecan cake mix but sometimes it is not always available. Feel free to use a plain yellow cake mix, just add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter. Chocolate is also a great option!!

Can I make this from scratch and not a cake mix?

Yes you can!  Here is a recipe for the coconut pecan frosting and a cake batter.

Can I bake it in another pan besides a bundt pan?

Yes you can! I have made it as a sheet cake, a 9-inch layer cake, and mini bundt cakes too!

For more insider tips & tricks, and a candid behind the scenes look follow me on social media! Check use out on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter (yes, people still use Twitter, LOL!)

overhead louisiana stranger cake with powdered sugar

Can any cake be a bundt cake?

Only if it is made in a Bundt pan which is a distinctive ring-shaped pan.

Will a cake mix recipe fit in a bundt pan?

Yes. The batter for a two-layer, 9-inch cake will fit into a bundt pan that holds 15 cups of batter.

How do you keep a bundt cake from sticking to the pan?

  • Use a good non-stick pan that isn’t scratched, old, or peeling. The non-stick coating must be intact.
  • Grease the pan completely, right before adding the batter so it doesn’t slide down the sides and pool at the bottom of the pan, and use liquid oil/shortening.
  • DO NOT USE BUTTER! And make sure you get it into all the cracks and crevices of your intricately designed bundt pan with a pastry brush if it’s a fancy one! Get the center tube too!
  • Don’t use flour as it gets gummy and comes out like glue, instead I use almond flour or granulated sugar. Yes, sugar is sticky but is liquid when warm so the cake will come out when still warm.

How long do you wait to turn it out of the pan?

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, take a spatula or non-sharp knife and loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Including around the center tube!

Rest the cake a few before flipping it over and trying to remove it from the pan. You can also, leave the bundt pan inverted on a cooling rack for a few more minutes to see if it will drop out on its own.

If the cake still won’t come out, give the pan a tiny shake.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

close up of bundt cake with text "best bundt cake"

Whatever the origin of the name, keep this recipe for the Louisiana Stranger Cake, and the ingredients on hand, for any cake emergency that arises!  It could save your life… It’s the best bundt cake from a cake mix!

More Easy Recipes

bundt cake on a cooling rack

Louisiana Stranger Cake

Yield: 20 slices
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This moist and delicious Louisiana Stranger cake comes together quickly and freezes beautifully!

Ingredients

  • 1 box butter pecan cake mix
  • 1 can caramel coconut pecan frosting
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Yes, add the frosting to the cake batter!
  2. Pour into a well-greased bundt pan.
  3. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (depending on your oven, cook until toothpick comes out clean).
  4. Let cool in cake pan for 5 minutes.
  5. Invert on a cooling rack and leave in pan for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the cake from the pan.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Dust with powdered sugar to serve or you can wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until needed.

Notes

How do you keep a bundt cake from sticking to the pan?

  • Use a good non-stick pan that isn’t scratched, old, or peeling. The non-stick coating must be intact.
  • Grease the pan completely, right before adding the batter so it doesn’t slide down the sides and pool at the bottom of the pan, and use liquid oil/shortening.
  • DO NOT USE BUTTER! And make sure you get it into all the cracks and crevices of your intricately designed bundt pan with a pastry brush if it’s a fancy one! Get the center tube too!
  • Don’t use flour as it gets gummy and comes out like glue, instead I use almond flour or granulated sugar. Yes, sugar is sticky but is liquid when warm so the cake will come out when still warm.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 20
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 3g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

Did you make this recipe?

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The original source of this recipe was Cook’s Illustrated. Tips on Bundt cakes inspired from here.

{originally published 02/19/15 – photos updated 04/05/22}

TakeTwoTapas.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Bekka

Wednesday 11th of May 2022

Would this taste good with a Kahlua cream sauce?

Jennifer

Thursday 12th of May 2022

Absolutely!

Nellie

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

I make this a lot but I make a caramel icing to drizzle over it

Sam

Tuesday 26th of April 2022

@Nellie, Recipe for frosting? Spunds great.

Carol lovett

Monday 4th of April 2022

I’ve also been making this for years except I use German chocolate cake mix. Always a favorite. For those of you saying you have trouble with your cake sticking, try Wilton’s Bake Easy! It’s the best I’ve found.

Pat

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Been making this a few years. Every time I take it to a function I have people requesting the recipe. I have tried it with different combinations like for example lemon cake mix and lemon frosting and so on. All are delicious. My recipe calls for greasing the pan with shortening and dusting with powder sugar. Strange I know but it’s good. This recipe is probably the most moist you will ever eat. So yummy.

Karen De

Sunday 27th of February 2022

This sounds wonderful! Just found the Butter Pecan cake mix today & I can’t wait to get the frosting to make it! I have a question though, I usually use milk and melted butter in all my cake mixes instead of the oil & water. Will that work with this cake recipe?

Jennifer

Monday 28th of February 2022

Yes, it should work just the same!

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