Food & dining

Recipe: Your Valentine will love this fudgy chocolate-pecan cake with chocolate icing

Chocolate-pecan fudge cake with chocolate icing.
karoline boehm goodnick for The Boston Globe
Chocolate-pecan fudge cake with chocolate icing.

Makes one 9-inch cake

Toasted pecans on top and a fudge filling in the middle add to the allure of this luscious cake, iced with chocolate ganache, used in French pastries. When ganache is first made, it’s too thin to spread, but as it cools, it can be poured over the cake and spread with a spatula. If the ganache gets too stiff to spread, warm it over low heat until it’s thinner. Don’t be afraid of it. When you present the cake to your Valentine, the accolades will begin.

FILLING

½cup pecans, chopped
2tablespoons granulated sugar
2tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

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2. In a small baking dish, spread the pecans. Toast for 8 minutes or until fragrant; cool. Leave the oven on. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the pecans for garnish.

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3. In a bowl, combine the remaining pecans, granulated and brown sugar, and cocoa; toss well.

CAKE

Butter (for the pan)
3ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾cup water
1cup flour
¾teaspoon baking soda
¼teaspoon salt
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½cup granulated sugar
cup packed dark brown sugar
2eggs
1teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, cut to fit; butter the paper.

2. In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and water. Set over a saucepan of barely simmering water and cook, stirring often, until the chocolate melts. Remove the bowl from the water and wipe the bottom dry.

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3. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt to blend them.

4. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, and granulated and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

5. With the mixture set at its lowest speed, blend in the flour mixture alternately with the chocolate mixture. Spread about half the batter in the pan. Sprinkle the pecan-cocoa mixture over the top. Drop the remaining batter off a large spatula over the top and spread evenly.

6. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Set the rack on the cake and turn the rack and pan upside down. Lift off the pan, peel off and discard the parchment, and turn the cake right side up; cool.

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8. Transfer the cake to a plate. Place 3 wax paper strips under the outer edges of the cake to catch icing drips.

ICING

4ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
½cup heavy cream
2teaspoons light corn syrup

1. In a medium bowl, place the chocolate.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until small bubbles form around the edge.

3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the corn syrup. Let stand about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally, or until the mixture is pourable and spreadable.

4. Pour the icing over the cake. With a spatula, spread it over the top, letting it run down the sides. Use the spatula to spread it all over the sides. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons pecans around the top edge. When the icing is set, pull out the wax paper. Jean Kressy

Jean Kressy can be reached at jeankressy@comcast.net