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Spice Layer Cake with Mocha Buttercream
and Toasted Pecans



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Close View of Shelled Pecans in Warm Light
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Spice Layer Cake with Mocha Buttercream
and Toasted Pecans

Gourmet November 1995

For cake layers:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups pecans (about 6 ounces)

Mocha Buttercream [recipe follows]
Garnish:  pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottoms of 2 buttered 9-by-2-inch round cake pans with wax paper rounds and butter paper. Dust pans
with flour, knocking out excess.
Make cake layers: Into a bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg,
cloves, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. In a large
bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light
and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition,
and beat in vanilla. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture in batches
alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture
and beating after each addition until just combined. Divide batter be-
tween pans, smoothing the tops, and bake in middle of oven 30 to 35
minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans
on racks 5 minutes and invert onto racks to cool completely. Cake
layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic
wrap or in  airtight containers, at room temperature.
Spread pecans in a shallow baking pan and toast in oven until they turn
a shade or two darker, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool pecans and chop fine.
Assemble cake: With a long serrated knife halve each cake layer horizontally. Put one cake layer on a serving plate, cut side up, and
spread top evenly with about 1/2 cup buttercream. Sprinkle 1/3 cup
pecans evenly over buttercream and top with another cake layer.
Continue layering in same manner with remaining buttercream, pecans,
and cake layers, making sure last layer is cut side down, and frost top
and side of cake with some remaining buttercream. Press remaining
1/2 cup pecans decoratively onto side of cake. Transfer the remaining
buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe rosettes evenly around top edge of cake. Garnish cake with pecan halves.

Mocha Buttercream

3 ounces fine-quality bittersweet
chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 sticks (2 cups) [1 pound] unsalted
butter, cut into pieces and softened
to a cool room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt chocolate, stirring until smooth and cool. In a heavy 1 1/2-quart saucepan bring water with sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, without stirring, until it registers 248 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.
While syrup is boiling, in a bowl with an electric mixer beat whites with a pinch of salt until foamy and beat in cream of tartar. Beat whites until
they just hold stiff peaks and add hot syrup in a stream, beating. Beat
mixture on medium speed until completely cool, 5 to 10 minutes. Beat
in butter, 1 piece at a time, until mixture is thick and smooth. Beat in
espresso mixture, chocolate, and salt, beating until smooth. Buttercream
may be made 2 days ahead and chilled in an airtight container. Bring
buttercream to room temperature and beat before frosting cake. Makes
about 4 1/2 cups.


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Pecan Toffee Coffee Cake
Spice Applesauce Cake (Lee Bailey)
Toasted Pecan Caramel Cake (Bill Neal)
Zucchini Pecan Brunch Cake
Classic Buttercream Collection

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