I made this cake for a colleague’s birthday. I love making cakes for people and I try to pick something that I think they will enjoy. Most of my colleagues are female but this cake was for one of my male colleagues, so I didn’t want anything too fluffy. I figured pecans are always a good choice, and the same can be said for alcohol-spiked whipped cream.
This cake is a simplification of a Martha Stewart recipe: her cake was 3 layers and had a browned butter pear filling. I knew that would be good, but make the cake a bit on the fragile side. I know 3 layer cakes are hard to transport so I found this cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book and used it instead. I just added the candied pecans. It turned out great!
Making candied pecans has to be about the best smelling thing ever. My house smelled so good! I actually made this cake twice; I made it for his actual birthday but work was cancelled due to the snow and ice we had. It wasn’t fresh by the time we went back to work so I made a new cake to take. So my husband and I got to try to the cake by itself and it was so tasty without the bourbon whipped cream. Together with the whipped cream, it was fantastic. The recipe may look longer, but it was very easy to put together. The next time you need a celebration cake, give this one a shot!
2 cups chopped pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup buttermilk
1 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Candy the pecans: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the pecans, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg; spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, until toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour. Line the bottom of the pans with waxed paper.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter until light. Add the sugar and beat on medium for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour mixture alternatively with the buttermilk, adding the flour mixture in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the flour mixture). Reserve ½ cup pecans for assembling the cake; stir in the candied pecans. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the whipped cream: Whisk cream, bourbon, and powdered sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread half of the whipped cream on the top of the layer. Sprinkle with half of the reserved candied pecans. Top with the second cake layer and mound the remaining whipped cream on top of the second layer. Garnish with the remaining candied pecans. Store in the refrigerator.
Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart. Cake recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.