Another week, another classic American recipe and another pie. Pecan Pie – an American staple! This cake takes all the best elements – the caramel and the pecan – and used them in various ways. You’ve got the caramel drizzle and roasted pecans as decoration, the pecan brittle which offers incredible texture against the sponge and a more intense bitterness to offset the sweetness of the buttercream and finally the gooey, nutty and chewy caramel inbetween each layer.
280g plain flour, sifted
170g butter, unsalted and softened
300g soft brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
handful of pecans, chopped roughly
pinch of salt
Half the caramel sauce
500g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp caramel sauce
Line a 6” cake tin with tin foil. Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat up until it turns a dark amber colour – it should start smelling nice and nutty. Add the whole pecans and stir. Pour out quickly into the lined cake tin and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 170c fan and line two 6” cake tins. For the cake, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one and mixing inbetween each addition to ensure the mixture doesn’t curdle. No worries if it does, just add a little flour to bring it back together.
Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add a third of it to the batter before mixing for a few seconds and then adding half the buttermilk. Repeat the process and then add the final third of the flour followed by the chopped pecans. Scrape the bowl down and beat everything together to incorporate it. Split evenly into the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes on the middle shelf. Once baked, leave the cakes to cool before levelling off and cutting halfways so you’re left with four even layers.
Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat up until it turns a dark amber colour – add the butter and stir quickly – it’ll bubble up but do not panic. Once smooth, add the milk and the salt and stir once again until it’s glossy. Pour into two containers – one to add the pecans to and one to use in the buttercream and for the drizzle.
Beat the butter for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add half the icing sugar and beat again for a further two minutes. Add the second half and beat once more. Once really fluffy and light, add 1 tbsp of the caramel sauce and a splash of milk and beat one last time.
Place the first cake layer on a board or turntable and spread some of the buttercream on top. Level off and pour a third of the pecan and caramel mixture. Repeat the process until all layers are done – the final layer should be the bottom half of one of the cakes, flipped upside down you’re left with a nice flat top. Give it a crumb coat to trap in any crumbs and put in the fridge for about half an hour
Once cooled, do the final coat – generously spoon on the buttercream and level the top and sides with a pallet knife, finishing off with a cake leveler. Press the pecans of varying sizes in varying places of the cake. Place the cooled pecan brittle on the top of the cake and pipe peaks around the edge to hide the edges of the brittle. Pour the remaining caramel sauce inbetween each peak, letting it drizzle it’s way down.