Coat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray and 1 teaspoon oil. Place in a 400° oven for 7 minutes.
Combine cornmeal and next 5 ingredients (cornmeal through salt) in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, syrup, 2 tablespoons oil, and eggs in a small bowl; stir well with a wire whisk. Add to cornmeal mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.
Pour batter into the preheated skillet; sprinkle the pecans over batter. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.