Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the cake pan with baking spray.
Make the cake: Cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and mix again until well incorporated.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a medium size bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time until well mixed. Stop the mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl if necessary.
Make the filling: Combine the pecans, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
Spoon one-third of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle a third of the filling evenly over the top to cover the batter. Cover the filling with another third of the batter, and top with three-quarters of the remaining filling. Cover with the final third of the batter. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle with the remaining filling. Lightly tap the pan down on the counter to make sure he batter is evenly distributed and remove excess air bubbles.
Bake until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Start testing for doneness after the cake has baked for 40 minutes, since ovens and pans vary in the way they bake. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan: if you've baked the cake in a tube pan, invent it so it's top side up. Cool completely before slicing.