Prep 30 mins
Cook 35 mins
This recipe comes from Gourmet Magazine, April 2007.
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened, plus additional for buttering pans
- 2 3⁄4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1⁄2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
- 3⁄4 cup pecans, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped (3 ounces)
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 3 3⁄4 cups confectioners' sugar (from a 1-pound package)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1⁄3 cups pecans, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped (5 ounces)
- Make cake:.
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F
- Butter and flour cake pans, knocking out excess flour.
- Sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl.
- Beat together butter (1 1/2 sticks) and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and sour cream alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.
- Mix in pecans until just combined.
- Spoon batter evenly into pans, smoothing tops, then rap pans once or twice to expel any air bubbles.
- Bake until pale golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool 10 minutes in pans on racks.
- Run a thin knife around edge of pans, then invert racks over pans and reinvert cakes onto racks to cool completely.
- Make frosting:.
- Beat together cream cheese, butter, and zest in a bowl with clean beaters at medium-high speed until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Sift in confectioners sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined, then add lemon juice and beat at medium-high speed until frosting is smooth.
- Assemble and frost cake:.
- Halve each cake layer horizontally with a long serrated knife using a gentle sawing motion.
- Put 1 layer, cut side up, on a cake stand or large plate and spread with about 3/4 cup frosting.
- Stack remaining cake layers, spreading about 3/4 cup frosting on each layer and ending with top cake layer cut side down.
- Spread top and side of cake with remaining frosting (about 3 1/2 cups) and coat side of cake with pecans (1 1/3 cups), gently pressing to help them adhere.
- ****Cook time does not include toasting the pecans or allowing cake to cool before frosting.
- Cooks' notes:.
- • Cake layers (not split) can be kept, wrapped individually in plastic wrap and placed in large sealed plastic bags, chilled 1 day or frozen 1 week. If frozen, thaw in bags at room temperature, about 2 hours.
- • Frosting can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature, then stir until smooth before using.
- • Cake can be assembled and frosted 8 hours ahead, then kept, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.