Salted Pecan Chocolate Cake

Hello, friends! I can’t believe it’s March already. Time does fly when you’re having fun! Well, ok…maybe it hasn’t been too fun lately (to be honest) ever since I hit my third trimester, things are slowly starting to turn for me. 🙁 This big bump is getting a little more uncomfortable each passing day (and night), and I am trying to overcome this minor cold. So, in order to enlighten my mood, I thought baking would do just the thing. Baking always makes me feel better- oh, and shopping. 😛

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So maybe you’re thinking this is just another chocolate cake recipe. Sure, chocolate cake is good, but whats sooo special about this particular recipe? Well, let’s see… the fact that this chocolate cake has a layer of pecan, and the easy 4-ingreident chocolate buttercream is made with salted butter, which makes every bite smooth and savoury. It’s not too overwhelming with the chocolate taste. It’s just right. I personally looooove nutty flavoured desserts (if you haven’t already noticed), so I thought this middle pecan layer would be a perfect touch. And it was. Now, there are times when a chocolate cake, and I mean allll chocolate- is necessary to fulfill your overwhelming craving for chocolate, so I am not dismissing that at all. But other times, change is good. 

I have experimented with different chocolate cake recipes in the past, all which were just…not exactly to my liking. Chocolate cakes have to be done right. My definition of “right” is moist, rich, smooth, and extra chocolatey in flavouring! That’s right. When my husband first tried it, he said, “oh nice! The Duncan Hines box cake recipe and cream never fails in flavour and texture.” I was a little offended at first, but I realized it was a compliment, because the traditional Duncan Hines box cake is a easy, no regrets, easy to please, for those days when time is of the essence. Duncan Hines has never failed to disappoint me. The flavour, and the texture are just perfect, and the batter??? Well I’ll just stop there. Haha. I have to admit, I like having this cake mix in my pantry whenever I have unexpected guests coming over, or don’t have any time to bake anything. But I felt really guilty, especially since people know me for my baking. And when they would ask, “Wow can I get this recipe…”, I awkwardly hesitate, and quickly try to change the topic. 🙂 AND if they incessantly ask, I mention, I’ll post it on the blog one day. So, here it is. The perfect chocolate cake with a kick of pecan flavour (but better than Duncan Hines, promise)!

If you want to double up on the chocolate recipe, and make it all chocolate, I totally understand. No harsh feelings. 🙂

Scroll down for the recipe, while I tempt you with these mouth watering pictures.



Oh darling, do be generous with the cream!

Stack ’em up! And lets work on the outside!

Vio-la! Behold the masterpiece. 🙂

Up close and personal, just how I like it!

Who wants the first piece?

Serve this baby with a nice cup of tea or coffee, and every day will feel like Sunday. 🙂

Alternatives:

As always, I love to give suggestions and alternatives to my recipes. It’s always fun to be creative and change it up based on your preferences. 

  • If you want more of a nutty flavour- add 1/3 cup of Nutella to your middle layers, or 1/2 cup to the cream mixture.
  • If you want to change up the cream for a lighter taste, check out my cream cheese frosting here, its made out of mascarpone, and tis delightful.
  • If you want to go full out chocolate, double up on the chocolate cake measurements!
  • Unsalted butter will work fine too; although I find that the salted butter is more balancing with he chocolate-pecan flavour, and much more savoury.

Note:

I like using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment because I find it really helps achieve the perfect texture- and it’s great for whipping butter. But, you can definitely use a hand mixer with regular whisks too- it may take a little longer, but will still do the job.

Salted Pecan Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

    Chocolate Layer:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pecan Layer:
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk (or almond milk)
  • Salted Chocolate Buttercream:
  • 1 1/2 cup salted (sweet cream) butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 cup of Cocoa Powder
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two, 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. (I used 8-inch)
  2. Chocolate layer:
  3. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
  4. Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla into the dry mixture. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes. Do not over mix.
  5. Place all of the batter into the pan. (Do not divide batter, or else it will not fully rise, I simply cut mine into two, after cake has cooled off)
  6. Bake for 40 minutes (ovens may vary). Stick a toothpick in and if it comes out clean, it's done.
  7. Cool for 15 minutes and then turn out the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, slice the cake into two (if your desire).
  9. Pecan Cake:
  10. Start by melting the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted add pecans and cook until slightly browned and fragrant, tossing frequently, about 4 minutes. Pour and spread onto a sheet of parchment paper or a baking sheet. Set aside and allow to cool.
  11. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  12. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (see note) whip together softened (not melted) butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy, keep scrapping the bowl to ensure the butter is fully incorporated.
  13. Mix in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
  14. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined, then add the buttermilk, and milk until combined. Make sure to batter is well combined, but do not over mix.
  15. Lastly, add the buttered pecans by folding it into the batter.
  16. Place batter into baking pan.
  17. Bake for 35-40 minutes (ovens may vary) until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  18. Remove from oven and let it cool.
  19. Salted Chocolate Buttercream:
  20. Begin by mixing butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment (see note) until light and fluffy.
  21. Next, slowly add the icing sugar and cocoa powder, one cup at a time.
  22. Once fully incorporated, add vanilla, and milk if you find the consistency to thick. You can adjust the consistency by adding more powder for thicker consistency, or thinner with milk.
  23. Combine:
  24. Slice the chocolate cake in half, and arrange the cakes in between the pecan layer.
  25. Start by adding cream to the layer in between, and work your way on covering the rest of the cake with the cream on the outer side with a icing spatula.
  26. I like to pip the top with any remainder cream, and top it off with pecans.
  27. Enjoy!
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With love, Ina Petz

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