Vanilla Wafer Cake With Butter Pecan Glaze

vanilla wafer cake with butter pecan glaze
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
529 Calories
30g Fat
46g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 529
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 16g 78%
Cholesterol 103mg 34%
Sodium 357mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 9g
Calcium 83mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This unusual vanilla wafer cake is a coconut cake made with crushed vanilla wafers instead of flour. This recipe first appeared in print and has been around for quite some time, especially 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.

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

You can make it with the optional butter-pecan glaze; dark brown sugar was used 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!


  • 1 box/12 ounces vanilla wafers 
  • 1 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 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)

Steps 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.

  5. Add half of the finely crushed vanilla wafers and blend well. Add the nuts, coconut, milk, and remaining vanilla wafer crumbs. Beat until blended.

  6. Spoon the batter into a greased and floured tube cake pan.

  7. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

  8. Leave the cake in pan on a rack for 10 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.

Recipe Variation

  • 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.