Vanilla Pecan Cake

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It’s a cake that I came up with this Wednesday (03/06/13) while I was wondering what to make for a dessert. After we finished up the strawberry rhubarb crumb cake which I was not pleased with at all, it was time for redemption. Moreover, I got tired of buying cakes at the store that would be too sweet. Even though the last one I bought looked pretty too, I was not happy with the amount of chocolate hazelnut mousse it had for filling (pretty much the whole cake was made up of that mousse). It was the worst spent $30 on a cake. So I had to make my own and make it not only look pretty but tasty as well.

Ingredients

For cake base
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 pk baking powder (about 2 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup pecans
1 tsp sugar (for blending the pecans)

For coffee buttercream
1 tsp espresso powder
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water
6 tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, softened at room temperature
2 egg yolks

For syrup
1 tsp espresso powder
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur

For vanilla frosting
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tbsp orange liqueur
2 tsp sugar

For decorations
8 tbsp powdered gum paste (I bought mine from Wilton)
2 tbsp water
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (for kneading the gum paste into a soft, non-sticky ball)
2 tsp red food coloring
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

Preparation

  • To prepare the cake base, beat the eggs with the sugar for about 5-6 minutes. Afterwards, start adding the flour. Do not forget to mix the last bit of flour with the baking powder. Add the vanilla as well. At last, add the pecans which are blended with 1 tsp sugar in advance. Grease a 9″ springform pan with a little bit of oil. Pour in the cake batter, and bake the cake base at 380 degrees Fahrenheit until the top is golden brown. Once it is done, cool it down completely.
  • To make the syrup, heat up in a small saucepan 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water with constant stirring until all the sugar dissolves. Let it boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Mix the espresso powder with 1 tbsp water. Add the dissolved espresso and the orange liqueur to the simmering mixture. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool completely.
  • For the coffee buttercream heat up the sugar with the 1/4 cup water in a saucepan in a similar way as you did for the syrup. Beat the yolks. Slowly start pouring in the hot sugar syrup to the yolks. Add the dissolved espresso powder, and beat the mixture for 5 minutes until it cools down completely. Add the butter to the mixture in portions. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer until a smooth and thick cream has formed. Chill the cream in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • To assemble the cake, cut the base in two thinner bases. To the bottom base pour on half of the syrup. Next add the buttercream and spread it evenly on top of the bottom base.
  • Pour the other half of the syrup on the bottom of the other half of the cake base. Be careful as this half needs to be flipped and being soaked in syrup makes it easy to break. Place the second half on top of the buttercream.
  • For the vanilla frosting beat together all the listed ingredients until soft peaks have formed. Chill the frosting for 5 minutes before spreading it on top and the sides of the cake. Drizzle some melted chocolate on top, and add decorations that you have made from the gum paste (instructions on how to prepare the paste are listed on the box by the manufacturer: if you follow them, you can make any decorations you like for your cake).
  • Refrigerate the cake for several hours.

It is sufficient to say that this cake provides the right amount of sweetness. The cream and the frosting are not overpowering just like the cake from the store. It is light and moist, and probably finished up in two days. This is a great cake for any special occasion, and the interpretations on frosting and filling cream can be endless. Let your imagination be put at work!!!

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