Friday, June 14, 2013

Hornet's Nest Cake

      Sometimes I'm drawn to a recipe more for it's name than it's list of ingredients, I mean how can you resist making a Hornet's Nest Cake in your dutch oven?  Not only is it a fun cake to make, it's almost too easy for something that tastes so good.  After the cake bakes, the butterscotch chips sink down into the batter, leaving little holes and indentations, with a 'swarm' of pecans on the top, it does actually resemble a hornet's nest.  Made with only a few ingredients, it's a great campfire dessert, the cake layer is extremely moist and the topping tastes like a butterscotch pecan pie.  This recipe is all over the internet, I like this version because you can make it with instant pudding, all you need is a large bowl and a whisk and you're ready to go. 
     In my 12 inch dutch oven, it baked for 40 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and 26 on the lid.  Be sure to test the center before you take it off the coals.  I let it cool in my oven for 30 minutes before lifting it out with the parchment.  The cake sinks down as it bakes making it more like a bar and it's so sweet, a little piece will go a long way.  Be sure to sprinkle the pecans on last, you don't want your little 'hornets' to get lost in the batter.

Hornet's Nest Cake
1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whole milk
1 18 oz package plain yellow cake mix
1 11 oz package butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped pecans

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Mix pudding and milk in large bowl according to package directions.
     Add cake mix, stir until well combined, there will be a few lumps in the batter.
     Pour batter into prepared dutch oven, smooth evenly with spatula.
     Sprinkle batter completely with butterscotch chips.
     Sprinkle chips with chopped pecans.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until tester in center comes out clean.
     Cool in dutch oven for 30 minutes before lifting out with parchment paper.
     Cut into small pieces, cake is very rich.

Spoon thick batter into parchment lined oven
then sprinkle with chips and pecans

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes,
don't look too closely, you might get stung

A fun and easy cake that will have your sweet tooth
buzzing a happy tune


  1. Tried this in my 10" shallow DO over the weekend. My store didn't have 3.5 oz box of pudding mix so I used two 1.5 oz. Also, you say 2 cups milk but then in the recipe instructions you say to mix pudding mix and milk as directed on package. My pudding said 3 cups milk per package. I didn't have that much and used probably 4 - 4 1/2 cups. It also took a little over an hour to bake...I guess because I used a 10" instead of a 12". But all in all and in the end it was an AMAZING cake!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Sounds like you did a good job of improvising Becky, so glad you liked the cake, Liddy

  3. I have a 12 in Dutch oven also, and was wondering if I could double the recipe? We are having a large party and I probably need to feed 35 ish people. What would you suggest?

  4. This recipe is best made in your 12 inch dutch oven, I would suggest making two separate cakes, it is very rich and if you cut it into small pieces it may just make enough for your gathering. Good luck, hope you like the recipe, Liddy

  5. Awesome! It's like a pecan pie cake! That'll be real good for base camp cooking.

  6. Yes, it really is, hope you like the recipe, Liddy

  7. Yesterday I tried this one and it came out fantastic!

    Liddy, I have a generally question:
    Often your recipes call for a ring of coals around the bottom.
    Either your coals over there are much smaller or they do not burn so hot.
    When I do like you, my cake is burnt at the bottom.
    Did I make mistakes in placing the coals?

    1. Hi Outlaw, I looked at your cake, great photos and lovely cake, looks like you are doing everything correctly. Your coals may burn hotter than the Kingsford brand I've been using. You may want to move the bottom coals a bit more toward the outside of your dutch oven and cut back on the number you've been using. I may be wrong, but it looks like you baked the cake in a 10 inch dutch oven, the number I recommended was for a 12 inch oven. Good luck, hope everything works out for you, sometimes it's just trial and error until you find the right formula. Keep up the great work and thanks for your feedback, Liddy

  8. Made this one in our legless DO in the indoor oven. Turned out amazing!! However, I had to improvise just a bit by using banana cream pudding mix instead of vanilla. Also added about a 1/4 cup of extra flour just to make it a bit more fluffy. There's something about nuts and butterscotch chips. It is a very tasty combination! Thanks for the recipe, Liddy!

    1. What a great idea to use banana pudding in place of the vanilla, glad you liked the cake and thank you for the feedback, Liddy

  9. I made this over the weekend, and as usual, had no problems. The cake turned out perfectly! I will make one change, though, the next time I make this by cutting back on the butterscotch chips. I didn't use the whole bag, as it seemed like there was a lot of chips going in and even with that it was a little too much (in my opinion...). Next time I'll use just half the bag.

    But it was really good, and the only reason we didn't eat more of it was because everyone was full from the chili I'd made (also from a recipe on this site).

    Thanks again for the great advice!