Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pecan Pie Cake



Pecan pie is good.

Cake is good.

Therefore, shouldn't taking the two and combining them into one delicious confection be twice as good? 

Yes, yes it is.


This is a cake among cakes. So freakin' good. I do realize pecan pie is poplar during the winter, holiday months, but cake is popular year round. I felt no shame "pecan-ing out" this spring. The cake is rich and moist, with layers of custard and toasted nuts. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you'll think you've died and gone to heaven. 

This is a bit of a labor intensive cake. I made it for my mother-in-law's birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I did not know what I was getting myself into. My MIL (much like the hubby's aunt) didn't have a preference on cake, and asked for a surprise. Both her and the hubby have an affinity for Pecan Pie, and I'd had this recipe under my hat for over a year. Waiting for the perfect opportunity to try it. Well, my MIL was ALL about it when I suggested it. I set about to make it the day before her birthday, until I realized I probably wouldn't be constructing the cake till the next day. The custard layer really should sit overnight in the fridge before you use it in the layers. So I made the custard, and into the fridge it went. The custard layer worked perfectly in construction the next day. I then turned my focus to the cakes, realizing I was going to need 3 bowls and to separate a lot of eggs. I hate separating eggs. Somehow, someway I always get egg yolk in my whites. Never fear, I managed to separate with ease this day. 


The egg whites are separated in this case, and whipped up. Like meringue. The egg whites are folded into the cake batter at the end, I believe to add levity to the cake. It's very important to have absolutely no yolk in your whites, or your egg whites aren't going to stiffen properly. Which means your cake won't rise. Which spells disaster! 

Ok, I'm being a little dramatic. But seriously, don't get yolk in your whites.


As I was preparing the cake, I noticed a little note in the recipe. It said you should never make pecan pie on a rainy or overcast day. What?? I'd never heard that before. It's apparently an old Southern adage. Indeed, this recipe is adapted from a Southern Living recipe. Well. I wanted to know why. Upon googling this perplexity, I was able to find... nothing. No reason that you should avoid making pecan pie on a rainy day except that you just should. Consequently, I've relegated that adage into the category of old wives' tales. 

So, there you go. Pecan Pie Cake. It sounds and looks decadent, and it totally is. Who cares if it's not Thanksgiving? Get down with your bad self anyway!

Happy Hump Day!


Ingredients:

Custard-
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half-n-half
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cake-
3 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
corn syrup

Directions:

1. Prepare the custard- combine dark brown sugar through salt in a COLD saucepan. Whisk until smooth. Turn heat on, and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Whisk CONSTANTLY. Cook 1 minute or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth and melted, then press a piece of wax paper over the top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. When mixture has cooled, chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. 
2. Prepare the cakes- Preheat oven to 350º. Completely coat 3 (9 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Distribute the 3 cups of pecans evenly into the 3 pans, shaking to coat the bottoms and sides of pan.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Beat in egg yolks. Beat in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture slowly to butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Repeat until flour mixture and buttermilk are completely mixed in.
4. In another bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold egg whites into batter. Distribute batter among the 3 pans.
5. Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn cakes out to a cooling rack. Brush cakes with corn syrup (I recommend putting a piece of wax paper under your cooling rack). Cool completely before constructing cake.
6. Construct cake- Spread half of custard on one cake, pecan side up. Place 2nd layer of cake, pecan side up, on top of custard. Smooth on remainder of custard. Place remaining cake, pecan side up, on top of remainder of filling. 
7. Slice cake, and serve with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.


Recipe adapted from Southern Living.
Linked to: Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday, Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesdays

42 comments:

  1. Damn this looks incredible. It does sound labor intensive like you described but I bet it's well worth it! I LOVE pecan pie and I love cake so I have no doubt that I would love pecan pie cake :)

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    1. Yes, the labor was well worth it. I bet you would love this cake! Just make sure to eat lots of salad to make up for the indulgence. LOL. Just kidding :)

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  2. All I can say is....WOW!! This looks so darn good...I love pecan pie, and pecan cobber, so this is a shoo in for me. Thanks so much!

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    1. Thanks Debbie! As a fellow pecan lover, I bet you're going to love this recipe :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Looks like a great recipe! About the pecan pie adage, my Grannie always said to never make divinity or pecan pie on a stormy day. Neither one "sets up" properly. Pecan pies stay runny instead of custardy

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  4. and divinity just runs and won't hold its shape, too much moisture in the air.

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    1. Thanks Pam! You know, the hubby and I were talking about that, and he'd mentioned it probably had something to do with the moisture in the air. Good to know!! :)

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    2. And it was a sunny day that I made this! :)

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  5. That looks delicious! My family would love it!
    sherry

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    1. Thanks Sherry :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. WOWOWOW! This delectable dessert looks amazing. How thrilled your MIL must have been! Thanks a million for sharing this with us at Weekend Potluck. Have a great week - we look forward to your coming again.

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    1. My MIL was pretty darn thrilled :) She loved it,and took most of it home! Have a great week Marsha!

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  7. oh dear, I sorta wish I hadn't seen this :)
    Jenna

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    1. Sorry Jenna! :) I felt the same way when I found the recipe, LOL.

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  8. Happy Friday Jessica! I bear great news. This awesome recipe received the most clicks at last week's Weekend Potluck party! Congrats! It looks absolutely luscious. Come on over and check it out...and enjoy a beautiful weekend. http://www.thebetterbaker.blogspot.com/2014/05/strawberry-cheesecake-pie-weekend.html

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    1. Marsha- This is the best news I've heard all week! I'm so excited! I'm definitely going to have an amazing weekend now! :) I hope you have a great weekend as well!

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  9. I can see why this was the most viewed recipe at Weekend Potluck! Gorgeous! I looove pecan pie, so this sounds perfect! Congrats on a beautiful recipe, and on being featured! :)

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    1. Thanks Joy! I'm unbelievably excited, I don't know how I'm going to sit still! :) Have a great weekend!

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  10. I might have missed something, but when do you add the butter and vanilla to the custard? This looks amazing and I want to make it right now, but there is rain in the forecast for the next 48 hours. Should I try it anyway?

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    1. Oh wow! Good catch Bree! I updated the recipe to show that you add the butter and vanilla upon removing the custard from the heat. Thanks again, and have a great weekend!

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    2. I think I missed something too? I'm trying to figure out when to put in the eggs and half and half too lol... I'm making this today and need to know when to whisk this into the custard!! Helpppppp!

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    3. Annnndddd... I don't mean to sound like a pain.. I promise lol... but can you just re-read and possibly re-write the custard directions? I made the sponges last night flawlessly. But I'm really trying to figure out how to do this custard... I don't know when to put in the cornstarch, corn syrup, eggs, and half and half... I am desperate lol

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    4. Hi guys! To make the custard, combine the dark brown sugar, the dark corn syrup, the cornstarch, the egg yolks, the half and half, and the salt in a cold pan. Whisk until smooth. Turn the heat on, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla and butter. You're done! Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.

      Hope this helps! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  11. I believe that the reason they don't want you to do this on a rainy or cloudy day is the humidity. I make candied pecan pie pecans and if the humidity is high or it is rainy they come out sticky. also if I make the pecan pies at Christmas when the humidity is high they don't set quite right

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    1. I can't believe I'd never heard about this humidity issue before. So many people have mentioned this though, I'm starting to believe where there's smoke, there's fire. Thanks for the advice! :)

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  12. This looks so delicious. I was never really a fan of pecan pie, but your cake looks like something I would really enjoy. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Brandi! I, like you, do not like pecan pie, but I did enjoy this cake! I think the cake part helped me come around to the flavors :)

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  13. O GOOD GOSH!!! I could not help myself, I had to look! Wish I had a piece right now to have with my coffee!! I found your sight through The Country Cook and Weekend Potluck. Congrats on having the most clicks!!

    Pinning to my Pinterest Board: Sweet Tooth

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    1. Hi Kim! Thanks so much for your kind words, I appreciate it soooo much :) I hope you are having a great weekend!

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  14. I love Pecan Pie! Your recipe looks delicious! I'm a new Pinterest and GFC follower from the Weekend Potluck. =)

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    1. Hi Melissa! Thank you, and I must say, welcome! I hope you enjoy my blog! Hope you are having a great weekend! :)

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  15. Once in a calligraphy class we had a guest speaker from England. He was speaking about gilding and kept talking about working with humility. I thought how deep that was that humility would affect my work! Well, you can probably guess he was referring to HUMIDITY! So, yes, humidity plays a big part in cooking too!

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    1. Oh goodness. I just read this comment twice, humility tripped me up! LOL. Humidity, yes, humidity is key in baking this :)

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  16. I think you meant to cool the pans for 10 min rather than 10 pans, lol. Great recipe, beautiful pics.

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    1. Oh goodness! You are absolutely right! Thanks for catching that, it has been corrected. 10 pans, oh my. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  17. This sounds like a great contest entry! Question: When you said to beat the egg whites, do you mean just the 5 egg whites that were with the 5 yolks used in the cake? Or did you mean that 5 + the 4 whites from the yolks used in making the custard? I'm thinking that would make quite a difference.

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    1. Hi Jane, thanks for stopping by! The 4 egg yolks for the custard are separate from the cake ingredients. You could save the egg whites from the custard and whip up say, breakfast for dinner :) In any case, it is strictly 5 eggs for making the cake part. Hope this helps clarify! :)

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  18. I made this for thanksgiving and my guests raved over it. It was the first sweet that disappeared. this is definitely a keeper that I will be making in the future!

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    1. oh, I'm a Kentucky girl too! born and raised!

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    2. I'm so glad the cake turned out well! I love hearing that a recipe worked for someone! Much better than hearing it failed, haha. Thanks for stopping by! Go Cats! :-)

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  19. I had thought we were going to cut back on desserts for a couple weeks, but I am second guessing that decision now! This looks fabulous!

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    1. Ha ha! This is one of the hubby's favorites! It's always a winner 😃

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