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!
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
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
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.|