Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour*
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
Brown Sugar Pecan Buttercream
- 3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 1/2 cups Imperial Sugar Dark Brown Sugar, well packed
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 310°F. Butter and flour three, 8 or 9-inch baking pans and set aside. (Fitting a round piece of parchment paper on bottom of baking pan is highly recommended for easy removal of cake.)
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sugar and set aside.
- In a bowl large enough to hold all ingredients whisk eggs and buttermilk until well combined. Add oil, vanilla, and salt and whisk smooth.
- Meanwhile heat water until hot.
- Add dry ingredients to buttermilk-egg mixture and whisk smooth. Add hot water in 3 increments, while whisking the batter smooth in between additions.
- Divide batter evenly into pans and place in oven, bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- After 5 minutes turn upside down on plastic food lined surface and allow to cool completely before filling or frosting, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile prepare brown sugar pecan buttercream. For perfect buttercream, all ingredients should be at room temperature. Using a whip attachment, mix butter until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and salt keep mixing for 2 minutes.
- Add evaporated milk in about 8-10 increments. Start with a few tablespoons at a time and wait for previously added milk to be fully incorporated. Scrape often. Near end of mixing time sugar will have completely dissolved leaving a very creamy buttercream. If buttercream appears curdled, run a hair dryer around the outside of the bowl while mixing. Once all ingredients are at the same temperature, the buttercream will become smooth.
- Add vanilla and pecans and mix until combined.
- Place a cake round on a serving platter and spread with 1/4 of buttercream.
- Cover with second cake layer and spread another 1/4 of buttercream on top.
- Place last cake layer on top. Frost cake using the remaining buttercream.
- Place frosted cake in the refrigerator until the frosting has firmed.
- Make the ganache. Keep it lukewarm, but certainly not hot.
- Spread ganache on the surface and allow it to drip on the sides.
- Decorate with candied pecans. Serve cake at room temperature.