Recipe by Toby Jermain
This cake is a lot of work !!! But it is well worth it for that special occasion! Although I found this in the March, 1984 issue of Bon Appetit, when it first came out, but it REALLY comes from Paul Prudhomme's first cookbook, the one that started the whole international Cajun cooking craze. Regardless of quoted times, this takes all day to make, on and off.
Top Review by Belle_Titian
I got so many compliments on this one I know I'll make it again. As was said before, this cake is a lot of work, but definitely worth it. I've even made the candied pecans on their own they're so tasty. Careful with the icing or you can make it too runny and careful with the candied pecans, 325 is closer to correct. Have fun and try to keep your hands off it until its served.
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, see note
- 1⁄4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed,see note
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, see note
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, see note
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature,see note
- 3 tablespoons vanilla extract, see note
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups sifted unbleached flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk, plus
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 egg whites, room temperature (save yolks for frosting)
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
- 3⁄4 cup water
- 8 egg yolks, room temperature (lightly beat all but 3 extra whites with pinch salt and freeze for other use)
- 1 1⁄2 cups butter or 1 1⁄2 cups margarine, cut into pieces,room temperature
- 2 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 4 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
- heavy cream, if needed to thin
- pecan halves
Directions See How It's Made
- Cake: Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.
- To candy pecans, place on a large ungreased metal baking sheet.
- Roast 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
- Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
- Mix in 1/4 cup butter, and stir in hot pecans to coat thoroughly.
- Return mixture to pan and roast 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
- Mix in 2 Tbsp vanilla, and roast another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Cool candied pecans to room temperature.
- See bottom Note!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease and flour three 8" round cake pans.
- Cream remaining 3/4 cup butter with 1-1/2 cups sugar in large bowl of electric mixer at high speed until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
- Sift flour and baking soda into another bowl.
- Combine milk and remaining 1 Tbsp vanilla in measuring cup.
- Add dry ingredients and milk mixture alternately to butter mixture, beating at high speed until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.
- Gently stir in candied pecans.
- Beat egg whites until frothy.
- Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, beating at high speed until mixture is stiff but not dry, about 2 minutes.
- Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter in three additions.
- Divide batter among prepared pans, forming a slight depression in the center of each.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
- Cool 10 minutes in pans, then invert onto wire racks, and cool to room temperature.
- Cake Glaze: Heat water and sugar in heavy small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, swirling pan occasionally.
- Increase heat, and bring mixture to a full boil.
- Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
- Immediately brush hot glaze over top and sides of each cake layer.
- Frosting: Heat sugar and water in heavy 1 quart saucepan over low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
- Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture registers 230 degrees F (thread stage) on candy thermometer, swirling pan occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Blend egg yolks in the large bowl of an electric mixer at high speed for 5 seconds.
- Decrease speed to low, and add hot syrup in a thin stream, and then beat at high speed until cool, about 10 minutes.
- DO NOT SCRAPE DOWN SIDES OF BOWL.
- Gradually add butter or margarine, beating at medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low, and blend in powdered sugar and vanilla.
- Add chopped pecans and beat at high speed until mixture is very thick.
- Thin frosting with cream if necessary.
- Stack cake layers on a serving platter, spreading 1 cup of frosting between each, refrigerating frosting as necessary to keep it firm.
- Smooth remaining frosting on sides and top of cake.
- Arrange pecan halves around top edge.
- Serve at room temperature.
- Note: If this does not sound rich enough for you, it can be made even richer.
- To do so, increase all ingredients used to candy the pecans by one half.
- After cooling, reserve one cup of the candied pecans and add these to the icing at the same time as the toasted pecans are added.