Sad Bar Cake

My mama always said looks weren’t everything, and that’s never been more true than with this Sad Bar Cake. How did it get the name Sad Bar Cake? For starters, it collapses in a “sad” sort of crumby, crumbly, chewy way. But the “fall” is by design. It’s part of the appeal of this scrumptious, incredibly moist dessert. The “bar” part of the name is because this cake eats almost like a bar cookie. It’s part cake, part bar, and all a little sad looking, but trust me — it is delicious!

And gosh, is it easy to make! The base batter of this quick-as-can-be recipe is biscuit mix. Grab whichever brand of biscuit mix you prefer (or whatever you have on hand), and you’ll have this one whipped up lickety-split.

The best part is, unlike most cakes, you don’t have to frost this one. I like to sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top once it’s cool, but that’s really an optional step. This moist, yummy dessert doesn’t really need anything else on top — unless you want to break out some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, which I highly recommend!

Sad Bar Cake batter.

I usually don’t even use a mixer for this recipe, I just grab my wooden spoon or a whisk and have the batter ready to go in less than five minutes. I do recommend taking a moment to toss the pecans in some flour before adding them to the cake. This ensures they distribute evenly in the mix and don’t just fall to the bottom of the pan. For me, it’s easiest to toss them in the flour, then lift them out by hand letting the excess flour drop off as I lift them, but if you’d rather put them in a colander and shake off the excess flour, that’s a quick way to get the job done.

Sad Bar Cake

3.6 from 191 votes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 cups biscuit baking mix

  • 2 1/3 cups packed brown sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup pecans, chop fine

  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch pan.
  • Toss chopped pecans in all purpose flour to coat. Discard excess flour.
  • Combine biscuit mix, brown sugar, eggs, flour-coated chopped pecans, coconut, vanilla extract, salt, and almond extract. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 350° F (175° C) for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Allow cake to cool. Sprinkle with optional confectioner’s sugar. Slice and enjoy.


  • Tossing the chopped pecans in flour before adding them to the batter will help them distribute evenly throughout the cake rather than sinking to the bottom.
  • Coconut flakes can be substituted for 1/2 cup chocolate chips or omitted altogether.

The first time you make this recipe, you may have trouble determining exactly when it has finished cooking. Unlike your typical cake, inserting a toothpick in the middle to see if it comes out clean isn’t a great indicator of doneness. Because of the moist, crumbly nature of the cake, your toothpick will never come out completely clean.

I think the best way to determine doneness is to give the pan a little shake (using a heat-resistant oven mitt) and see how well the center of the cake is set. If it looks very liquidy and jiggly in the middle, the cake probably needs an extra five minutes in the oven. If the middle moves a bit but looks like it has a bit of structure, it’s probably done. The cake will set a bit as it cools on the counter or cooling rack.

Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar.

It’s best to let the cake completely cool before sprinkling the optional confectioner’s sugar on top, as the sugar can melt a bit and become a glaze if you don’t wait. I like to put my confectioner’s sugar in a small mesh strainer and gently shake it over the cake for even distribution.

5 thoughts on “Sad Bar Cake”

  1. The directions don’t state when to add the vegetable oil. I’m assuming the oil is added in step 3. I’m baking this cake today


Leave a Comment