Today about 8 inches of snow blankets the grounds of the Cardinal Health Care facility. It’s beautiful, but I must tell you I hate snow. Employees don’t come in, making the hardy souls who managed to make it disgruntled and resentful. Family can’t get up here to visit with patients (read: me) making them disgruntled and unhappy. So, snow snow, go away. We are in the South, or didn’t you get that memo?
Because of the above, I’ve dove into my pile of books to keep me amused. I am still trying to muddle my way through Julie and Julia, bored as I can be. I ordered the movie from NetFlix…hope it’s better than the book. The one thing that bugs me most about this book is how lazy the author’s views on fidelity are. She speaks of trying to seduce an actor with her Spiced Pecan Cake with Pecan Icing. Good thing the actor in question didn’t succomb, or I’d have thrown the book against the wall.
Spiced Pecan Cake with Pecan Icing by Paul Prudhome
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, see note
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed,see note
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, see note
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, see note
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature,see note
- 3 tablespoons vanilla extract, see note
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups sifted unbleached flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk, plus
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 egg whites, room temperature (save yolks for frosting)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 8 egg yolks, room temperature (lightly beat all but 3 extra whites with pinch salt and freeze for other use)
- 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, cut into pieces,room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
- heavy cream, if needed to thin
- pecan halves
Cake: Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.
To candy pecans, place on a large ungreased metal baking sheet. Roast 10
minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and
nutmeg in a medium bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup butter, and stir in hot pecans to
coat thoroughly. Return mixture to pan and roast 10 minutes, stirring every
2 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons vanilla, and roast another 5 minutes,
stirring frequently. Cool candied pecans to room temperature. See bottom
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8″ round cake
pans. Cream remaining 3/4 cup butter with 1-1/2 cups sugar in large bowl of
electric mixer at high speed until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
Sift flour and baking soda into another bowl. Combine milk and remaining 1
tablespoon vanilla in measuring cup. Add dry ingredients and milk mixture
alternately to butter mixture, beating at high speed until well blended,
scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Gently stir in candied pecans.
Beat egg whites until frothy. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a
time, beating at high speed until mixture is stiff but not dry, about 2
minutes. Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter in three additions.
Divide batter among prepared pans, forming a slight depression in the center
of each. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean,
about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then invert onto wire racks, and
cool to room temperature. Cake Glaze: Heat water and sugar in heavy small
saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, swirling pan occasionally.
Increase heat, and bring mixture to a full boil. Remove from heat, and stir
in vanilla. Immediately brush hot glaze over top and sides of each cake
layer. Frosting: Heat sugar and water in heavy 1 quart saucepan over low
heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and
boil without stirring until mixture registers 230 degrees F (thread stage)
on candy thermometer, swirling pan occasionally, about 15 minutes. Blend
egg yolks in the large bowl of an electric mixer at high speed for 5
seconds. Decrease speed to low, and add hot syrup in a thin stream, and
then beat at high speed until cool, about 10 minutes. DO NOT SCRAPE DOWN SIDES OF BOWL. Gradually add butter or margarine, beating at medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and blend in powdered sugar and vanilla. Add chopped pecans and beat at high speed until mixture is very thick. Thin frosting with cream if necessary. Stack cake layers on a serving platter, spreading 1 cup of frosting between each, refrigerating frosting as necessary to keep it firm. Smooth remaining frosting on sides and top of cake. Arrange pecan halves around top edge. Serve at room temperature. Note: If this does not sound rich enough for you, it can be made even richer. To do so, increase all ingredients used to candy the
pecans by one half. After cooling, reserve one cup of the candied pecans
and add these to the icing at the same time as the toasted pecans are added.
Makes one three layer cake
Paul Prudhumme’s Louisana Kitchen Cook Book