Recipe: Chocolate pecan buttercream cake
- 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1-½ cups granulated sugar
- 1-½ tsp instant coffee
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 4 Tbsp canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup pecans, toasted
- ¾ cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
- 4 egg whites
- Pinch cream of tartar
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
Brown Sugar Buttercream
- 1-1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 2 cups unsalted butter, diced, softened
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 4-½ oz dark chocolate, melted
- 4-½ oz white chocolate, melted
Directions for cake
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 Butter and lightly flour three 9-inch cake pans. Shake out excess flour. Line the bottom of the pans with circles of parchment paper.
3 In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and sugar. Mix on low speed until well combined.
4 Dissolve coffee in boiling water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Add coffee to dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined.
5 In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually mix into dry ingredients and beat just until smooth.
6 Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Directions for pecan meringue
1 Preheat oven to 225°F.
2 Trace two 8-¾-inch circles on a sheet of parchment paper, turn over, and place on a large baking sheet.
3 In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, chop pecans into very small pieces.
4 In a small bowl, combine chopped pecans and icing sugar. Mix with a fork to make sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
5 In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, start whisking egg whites on medium speed. Add cream of tartar and continue to whisk until frothy. Add 2 Tbsp of sugar. Increase speed to high and continue to whisk, gradually adding the remaining sugar. Continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, gradually fold in the pecan-sugar mixture. Divide evenly between the two parchment circles, smoothing out the surface of each meringue circle.
6 Bake in centre of preheated oven until crisp and dry, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely on baking sheet.
Directions for buttercream
1 In the clean bowl of stand mixer, combine sugar and egg whites. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continuously until sugar is melted and egg whites are warm to the touch. Remove from heat and place bowl on mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
2 Whisk at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the butter and vanilla and continue whipping until smooth and thick. Set aside.
Directions for syrup
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Directions for decoration
1 Line the back of a baking sheet with plastic wrap.
2 Using a spatula, spread white chocolate over sheet, then pour dark chocolate overtop. Using spatula, quickly swirl the two chocolates together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.
Directions for assemble cake
1 Place first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush with soaking syrup. Spread with a thin layer of buttercream (about 1/3 cup). Place the first layer of meringue on buttercream. Spread with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat with cake, syrup, buttercream, meringue, buttercream, ending with a cake layer.
2 Using a sharp knife, trim the meringue layers if necessary to make the cake layers even. Ice entire cake with remaining buttercream. Using your spatula, make a spiral design on the top of the cake with the buttercream.
3 To decorate, break marbled chocolate into pieces the same height as the cake. Press gently into buttercream on sides of cake. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
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Excerpted from Toronto Cooks by Amy Rosen. Recipes Copyright © 2014 Amy Rosen, Photography copyright © 2014 Ryan Szulc. Excerpted by permission of Raincoast Books, Richmond, B.C. All rights reserved.