Pecan Pie Cake – Bake from Scratch



Combining the beloved flavor of a pecan pie with the delicate texture of a 1-2-3-4 layer cake, this cake offers the best of both desserts. Hidden beneath a generous coat of Brown Sugar Buttercream is a moist brown sugar cake and a Pecan Pie Filling that’ll immediately call to mind your favorite deep-dish dessert. Find more holiday ready 1-2-3-4 cakes in our Nov/Dec issue!

Pecan Pie Cake

  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (440 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams), room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375 grams) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk, room temperature Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • Brown Sugar Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Pecan Pie Filling (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: finely chopped lightly toasted pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Divide batter among prepared pans, smoothing tops with an offset spatula.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Place 1 cooled cake layer on a cake plate. Brush layer with about 2½ tablespoons (45 grams) Simple Syrup. Place ½ cup (95 grams) Brown Sugar Buttercream in a small pastry bag; cut a ½-inch opening in tip. Pipe a border around edge of cake layer. Spoon half of Pecan Pie Filling (about 1¼ cups [about 337 grams]) on cake layer, and gently smooth until even and reaches piped border. Top with second cake layer, and repeat procedure. Top with remaining cake layer, and brush with remaining Simple Syrup. Reserve 1½ cups (285 grams) Brown Sugar Buttercream to decorate top of cake. Spread remaining buttercream on top and sides of cake. Using a cake comb, comb sides of cake. Gently press pecans high on sides of cake and a few at bottom, if desired. Place reserved buttercream in a large pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch open star tip (Ateco #824), and pipe a border around edge of cake. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

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Simple Syrup

  • ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (80 grams) water
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar and ⅓ cup (80 grams) water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until sugar dissolves. Let cool completely before using.

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Brown Sugar Buttercream

  • 1½ cups (330 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (240 grams) egg whites, room temperature (about 8 large egg whites)
  • ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2⅔ cups (604 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together brown sugar, egg whites, and granulated sugar by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until sugars completely dissolve and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). 2. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until bowl is cool to the touch, about 8 minutes. Add butter, 2 tablespoons (28 grams) at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla and salt. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If refrigerating, let stand at room temperature for 2 hours and rewhip until smooth before using.

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Pecan Pie Filling

  • 1½ cups (170 grams) chopped pecans
  • ⅔ cup (147 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup (226 grams) light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together all ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before using.

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