In a large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter until fluffy. At low speed, beat in flour, buttermilk, eggs, salt, baking soda and vanilla until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat at medium speed 3 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. Stir in pecans and orange peel. Pour batter into greased 9 to 10-inch bundt pan and bake 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack over a sheet of waxed paper.
While cake is still very warm, in small bowl, sit organge juice with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and pour over cake. Cool completely. 14 to 20 servings.