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.
|½||cup pecans, chopped|
|2||tablespoons granulated sugar|
|2||tablespoons packed dark brown sugar|
|2||tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder|
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
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.
3. In a bowl, combine the remaining pecans, granulated and brown sugar, and cocoa; toss well.
|Butter (for the pan)|
|3||ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped|
|¾||teaspoon baking soda|
|½||cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature|
|½||cup granulated sugar|
|⅓||cup packed dark brown sugar|
|1||teaspoon 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.
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.
8. Transfer the cake to a plate. Place 3 wax paper strips under the outer edges of the cake to catch icing drips.
|4||ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped|
|½||cup heavy cream|
|2||teaspoons 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 KressyJean Kressy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org