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Paul Prudhomme's Spiced Pecan Cake
with Pecan Frosting



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La Belle Cuisine


Paul Prudhomme's Spiced Pecan Cake
with Pecan Frosting

Chef Paul Prudhomme's
Louisiana Kitchen

by Paul Prudhomme, 1984, William Morrow and Company, Inc.

2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup, packed, light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
vanilla extract, in all
1 1/2 sticks [3/4 cup] unsalted butter
2 cups sugar, in all
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
3 egg whites
Glaze (recipe follows)
Pecan Frosting (recipe follows)

Place the pecans in a large ungreased roasting pan and roast at 425
degrees F for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a medium-
size bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then mix in
the 4 tablespoons butter. Add the roasted pecans to the butter mixture
and coat them thoroughly. Return mixture to pan and roast for 10
minutes more, stirring once or twice. Stir in 2 tablespoons vanilla and
roast 5 minutes more.  Remove from oven and set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer cream the 1 1/2 sticks butter and 1 1/2
cups sugar on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. In a third
bowl combine the milk and the remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add the
flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beating
on high speed until well blended and scraping the bowl sides between
additions. Stir in the pecans.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites on high speed until frothy, about
30 seconds. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until
mixture is stiff and holds peaks, about 2 minutes. Gently fold egg whites
into the batter, a third at a time.
Spoon batter into 3 greased and lightly floured 8-inch round cake pans
(1 1/2 inches deep). Spread batter so it is slightly lower in the center
(since it peaks in the center during cooking). Bake at 350 degrees F until
a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes, then carefully remove from pans and place on a
wire rack; cool thoroughly. Brush glaze over top of each cake layer with
a pastry brush, a little at a time, then spread generously with icing
between layers and on top and sides.
: Combine 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in small saucepan; bring
to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Pecan Frosting
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
8 egg yolks
3/4 pound (3 sticks) margarine,
softened (see Note)

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans,
dry roasted until dark in color, cooled

Note: It's best to use margarine rather than butter in this frosting because
butter tends to melt out of the frosting as the cake sits awhile.

Combine the granulated sugar and water in a 1-quart saucepan. Cook
over medium heat to 230 degrees F (soft-thread stage), about 15
minutes; do not stir.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer bet the egg yolks on high speed just slightly, about 5 seconds. Gradually add the hot syrup and beat until thoroughly cooled, thick, shiny, and very pale, about 10 minutes. (Start
at low speed so it won't splash and then go to high speed). If crystallized
sugar builds up around the sides of the bowl, don't scrape it into mixture;
it will make the frosting lumpy, and you will have plenty of frosting
without it. Gradually add the margarine and mix on medium speed until completely blended and very smooth, about 5 minutes. Blend in the powdered sugar and vanilla on low speed until smooth; then add the
pecans and beat on high speed until thoroughly mixed and very thick.
If frosting is too thick, thin with a little cream, milk, or water.

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