Butterscotch Pecan Cake

by angelika on October 22, 2011

This year for my birthday I made butter pecan ice cream, in a cake. It is so incredibly delicious I sincerely wish I could have had all of you over to try a slice. It is creamy, and buttery, with a frosting that should not be legal. I am usually one to go for caramel type frostings and sauces in my chocolate cake. I think I am now a convert. I don’t eat ice cream much, but when I do I always go for butter pecan. This cake truly captures the essence of butter pecan ice cream. The cake itself has a rich butter and rum flavor, accented nicely by the molasses flavor of the dark brown sugar. The frosting is a cream cheese butterscotch frosting. It sings. The cream cheese adds a really nice tang to a rich and decadent butterscotch sauce. It’s truly perfect. The layers being soaked in said butterscotch sauce? All the better. We have Martha Stewart to thank for this recipe, and I am eternally grateful. 

Butterscotch Pecan Cake

serves 12-14
3 8″ cake pans
shortening for the pans
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoon coarse grind salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons dark rum
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature

3 stick (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 stick left whole, two cut into small pieces
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
20 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
butterscotch sauce:
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 325º.

Coat three 8 inch cake pans with shortening, then place a disk of parchment into the bottom, then grease the parchment as well. I measure the parchment by placing the cake pan on top of the parchment and cutting around the bottom with a sharp knife. I actually only have two 8 inch pans, and I have not yet felt inspired to add a third to my collection. I bake off two of the cakes and then the third once the pan cools. So far it has not made much of a difference to my cakes. 
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. 
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddel attachement cream the butter and brown sugar, on high, until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes. Do try to find dark brown sugar for this recipe. The cake is a deep rich cake and the molasses content of the dark brown sugar really does make a difference. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and then the rum. I used captain morgan spiced rum, and it was delicious. Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in two batches. Raise the speed to medium high and beat for two minutes. Divide among the cake pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes looking for a golden color and a cake tester to come out clean. I also look for the sides to pull away from the pan. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a plate, and transfer back to the wire rack to cool completely. Once cool trim the tops off the cake to make them an even, and open surface. On one of the cakes, trim the top and bottom. This will be your middle layer.

Melt one stick of butter in a saucepan on the stove on medium heat. Let it cook for 10 minutes to get a dark golden brown. Add brown sugar, cream and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of the mixer and wait for it to cool. This takes a lot longer than you would expect. At least 30 minutes.

Once the brow butter base has cooled, add the remaining two sticks of butter, a few pieces at a time,  while the mixer is on low. Once incorporated raise the mixer to medium and beat for two minutes. 

In another bowl beat together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar with a hand mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon. With a mixer on medium high, it takes 3 minutes to get the mixture light and fluffy. Add the brown butter mixture to the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until cooled. At least two hours, mine went overnight. If you do this the night before, leave the frosting on the counter for at least two hours before you want to use it, then beat it with the mixer until smooth again.

Slightly before you want to finish the cake, make the butterscotch sauce. This seals the layers and is ridiculously delicious. Mix the sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream. Return to heat and cook another 2 minutes. Let it cool slightly before you use it.

The cake needs to chill in the refrigerator 4 hours before you serve it, then sit out for at least 30 minutes before you slice into it, so take this timing into account before you assemble. Truth be told, I only let mine chill for 2 hours, and it was awesome. But Martha says 4, so I’m telling you 4. She also says it can stay covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

To assemble, put strip of wax paper or parchment down on your cake stand of choice. I have two glass cake stand, and you know what? I am over them. Too many fingerprints and smudges. I need to go out and find myself a nice white cake stand that can hide my grubby hands. Mr. Fabulous always says he can tell my glass by the amount of smudges on the outside. What does he expect, I am the cook!

Place a layer of cake, cut side up, on the cake stand. Brush on 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butterscotch sauce on top. Then spread 1 cup of frosting on top. Take the middle layer, and while it is still on the cooling rack, brush 1/4 cup butterscotch sauce on it. Then place this layer sauce side down on the cake. Spread more sauce on the exposed top, then spread 1 cup frosting. Place sauce on the cut side of the top layer, and then place it on the cake, sauce side down. Frost the top and sides with a light coat of frosting and put the cake in the refrigerator to set up. Wait 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then frost the top and sides well with a finish coating of the frosting. Coat the sides of the cake with chopped toasted pecans. Save a few halves for decorating the top. Put the cake back into the refrigerator to set up. As long as you can wait.

A votre santé!

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