Spiced Pecan Cake With Pecan Frosting
This is an absolutely delightful cake that is sure to please everyone. In the usual Prudhomme style, it is extremely rich! It takes some extra time to prepare, but is worth every minute. To ease preparation, candy the pecans for the cake ahead of time. The frosting can also be made ahead, refrigerated, then brought to room temperature before icing the cake.
Pecan Buttercream (see below)
Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425°F [220°C].
To candy pecans, place in large ungreased metal pan. Roast 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium bowl. Mix in butter.
Stir in hot pecans to coat thoroughly. Return mixture to pan and roast 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
Mix in vanilla and roast 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool candied pecans to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°F [175°].
Cream the butter with sugar in a large bowl of electric mixer at high speed until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
Sift flour and baking powder into another bowl.
Combine milk and vanilla in measuring cup. Add dry ingredients and milk mixture alternately to butter, beating at high speed until well blended and scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Gently stir in candied pecans.
Beat whites until frothy. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until mixture is stiff but not dry, about 2 minutes. Gently fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared pans, forming slight depression in center of each.
Bake until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Invert layers onto wire racks and cool to room temperature.
Heat water and sugar in heavy small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, swirling pan occasionally. Increase heat and bring mixture to boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately brush glaze over top of each layer.
Stack layers on serving platter, spreading 1 cup [250 ml] frosting between each, refrigerating frosting as necessary to firm.
Smooth remaining frosting on sides and top of cake.
Arrange pecan halves around top edge.
Serve Spiced Pecan Cake at room temperature.
Heat sugar and water in heavy 1 -quart saucepan over low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat and boil, without stirring, until mixture registers 230°F [112°C] (thread stage) on candy thermometer, swirling pan occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Blend yolks in large bowl of electric mixer at high speed 5 seconds.
Cut butter into pieces, and gradually add to mixture, beating at medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and blend in powdered sugar and vanilla.
Add chopped pecans and beat at high speed until mixture is very thick.
The original recipe specifies margarine in the frosting, but I prefer butter.
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