Sock-It-To-Me Cake Recipe

Sock-It-To-Me cake may not have quite such an eyebrow-raiser of a name as, say, Better Than Sex cake, but it does have a handle that speaks to a specific time period — that being the early 70's. The Dictionary of Popular Phrases explains the phrase "sock it to me" may have originated with Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit "Respect." It became a popular catchphrase in the late 60's/early 70's.

The Sock-It-To-Me cake, on the other hand, was dreamed up in the Duncan Hines test kitchens and printed on boxes of cake mix (via Fave Southern Recipes). It's a classic Southern treat that you absolutely have to try if you haven't already. Recipe developer Ting Dalton of Cook Simply shines a spotlight on this dessert with her delicious, from-scratch take. Dalton says until recently, she's never heard of this "very American dessert," but she "love[s] all the elements," saying, "it reminded me of some of the spiced German cakes I've tried."

Get your ingredients and equipment ready

The original Duncan Hines recipe calls for Moist Deluxe® Golden Yellow Cake Mix, but Dalton says, "I think it's always more satisfying to make that cake from scratch. It really doesn't add much extra time." For the cake batter, you'll need unsalted butter, sugar, flour, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Dalton uses caster (superfine) sugar, which is widely used in the U.K., but you can either make your own by briefly pulsing granulated sugar in the blender or also just use plain granulated sugar. Dalton's recipe also calls for self-rising flour, something you can DIY by adding 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt to each cup of all-purpose flour. As this recipe calls for 3 cups of flour, you'd be adding 4 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and an additional 1 ½ teaspoons of salt — actually 2 teaspoons of salt in all, as Dalton's recipe uses ½ teaspoon.

The filling is made of pecans, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon. Also, although it's not traditional for Sock-It-To-Me cakes, Dalton's recipe does call for a smidge of nutmeg as she tells us, "Cinnamon and nutmeg are a match made in heaven ... the spices really complement each other." To finish off the cake, you'll make a simple glaze out of confectioner's sugar and milk. The cake should be baked in either a bundt or a tube pan, since that way the nutty streusel filling will form a "tunnel" of hidden goodness.

Prepare the streusel filling

Did you get the kind of pecans that come pre-chopped? If so, you're good to go. If you have pecan halves, instead, well, that's great, too, since those will look much nicer when it comes to garnishing the cake later on. Just chop the nuts now — it needn't be too fine a chop, since with a name like Sock-It-To-Me, you already know this isn't going to be some dainty, delicate confection! 

Take your chopped nuts and combine them with the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon, then set them aside for the moment. Speaking of moments, take one to preheat the oven, as well, so it can warm up while you mix the cake batter.

Prepare the cake batter

Mix together the flour and the salt — and, if you're using all-purpose flour in place of self-rising, the baking powder, as well. In another bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light, creamy, and fluffy. Dalton suggests you use a stand mixer to do the work for you, although if you don't have one, an electric beater makes for a space-saving (and far less expensive) substitute. If absolutely necessary, you can beat this by hand, but it may take a bit of elbow grease to get to the desired level of fluffiness.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl each time you stop to add one in. After all the eggs are mixed in, add the flour, and mix until well-combined. Finish off by adding the vanilla and sour cream, once more mixing thoroughly. While most Sock-It-To-Me cakes, even the ones made from scratch, are based on a basic yellow cake recipe, Dalton chose to make hers more like a pound cake with the addition of the sour cream. This ingredient, she says, "helps to keep the cake moist," while still allowing it o be as dense as it needs to be to support the filling. She adds, "The acidity of sour cream also slows down the browning so it bakes on the inside without burning on the outside."

Assemble and bake the Sock-It-To-Me cake

Grease the inside of a 10-inch bundt or tube pan. Pour half the batter into the pan, then sprinkle this layer with the pecan mix. You'll be using all of the mix, so make sure you get a nice even layer. Next, pour the remaining batter over the pecans and use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to smooth out the top.

Bake the cake for around 50 to 60 minutes. Check it at 50 minutes, and if you're not sure whether or not it's done, try testing it by poking a metal skewer or a toothpick down into the center of the cake. If it's done, the skewer (or toothpick) should come out clean.

Make the glaze while the cake cools

Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and let it sit for around 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and allowing it to cool completely on a wire rack. As the cake is cooling, measure out the confectioner's sugar and add the milk, a little at a time, until you get a smooth glaze that's just liquidy enough to drizzle.

Once the cake is cooled, spoon the glaze over the top and let it dribble down the sides. If you bought pecan halves, you can use these to decorate the top in a nice circular pattern. If you bought pre-chopped pecans, you can sprinkle on some of these, instead. They will taste just as good and your cake will still look pretty, just a bit less symmetrical. 

Now, all that's let to do is slice the cake, plate it, and, you guessed it — sock it to some hungry mouths. (If, after all the socking, you've still got some leftovers, Dalton tells us the cake should stay moist for about three days as long as it's well-covered.)

Sock-It-To-Me Cake Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
Sock-It-To-Me cake is complete with a nutty streusel filling and sweet glaze. It's exactly what your next dinner party dessert spread needs.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Sock-It-To-Me cake cooling
Total time: 1.25 hours
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups of self-rising flour (or 3 cups all-purpose flour + 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder + 1 ½ teaspoons salt in addition to the ½ teaspoon salt below)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter (and a little extra for greasing the pan)
  • 2 ½ cups caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup of confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
Optional Ingredients
  • pecan halves for decoration
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. For the filling, combine the chopped pecan nuts, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a bowl, and put aside until later.
  3. Combine the flour with the salt.
  4. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a stand mixer or with an electric beater until the mixture is light, creamy, and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing, scraping down the bowl if needed.
  5. Add the flour and mix until well combined. Then, add the vanilla extract and sour cream and mix thoroughly.
  6. Butter the inside of a 10-inch bundt or tube pan. Pour half the batter into the pan and sprinkle the pecan mixture evenly over the batter. Pour the remaining batter on top and smooth it out with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula.
  7. Bake the cake for around 50 to 60 minutes. When the cake is done, you should be able to stick a skewer down into the center of the cake and have it come out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for around ten minutes. Take the cake out of the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Make the glaze by mixing the milk a bit at a time into the confectioner's sugar until you get a smooth consistency. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cooled cake and decorate with pecan halves, if desired.
Calories per Serving 397
Total Fat 18.8 g
Saturated Fat 8.9 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 87.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 53.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 37.1 g
Sodium 278.4 mg
Protein 4.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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