Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pecan Wedding Cake

These days I am reviewing so many recipes, sometimes the obvious gets overlooked. When I came across this recipe, I read the title and ingredients and it struck me as unique. As a food blogger, anything of that nature, I simply have to make. I marked this and went and got the ingredients.

Finally, a few days before making, I realized that this recipe was very close to a recipe for Italian Cream Cake. Also, Italian Cream Cake was very close to a recipe for Hawaiian Wedding Cake. Then  there is Hummingbird Cake and so forth. In the end, this is not such a unique recipe. However, since I love Italian Cream Cake, I still decided to make this cake-in spite of it being a common favorite. 

This is not identical to Italian Cream Cake. It has 3 add in components instead of one. In addition to coconut, it has pecans and pineapple baked in. The most prominent add in is the crunchy pecans, while the coconut and crushed pineapple are each a close second. The frosting is the traditional cream cheese/buttercream style that everyone knows is the perfect topping for this type of cake.

Sometimes familiarity is a good thing. There is a reason recipes are called traditional favorites- they are always tasty and get everyone's approval. This three layer 9 inch cake makes a perfect addition to any dinner party or a simple dinner with family. If you love Italian Cream Cake, you will find that the extra add-ins make it even better.

Pecan Wedding Cake
adapted from 1001 Classic Recipes

5 large eggs (whites separated from yolks)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter (room temp) plus 3 tbs melted
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups of confectioners' sugar
3/4 or 1 1/2 sticks butter (room temp)
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)

For the cake, prepare three 9 inch cake pans by using a pastry brush to cover the interior of each pan with butter. In addition, place a parchment round on the bottom of each pan and butter the surface. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take out a small bowl and whisk together the buttermilk, salt and baking soda. Set aside. This mixture should thicken as it sets.

Fill a bowl of a stand mixer with the butter and shortening. Beat on medium high speed for about 3 minutes, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture should be smooth and silky when done. Add the sugar and both extracts and beat until thoroughly combined and fluffy.

Add one egg yolk and beat for 30 seconds to blend. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Repeat this process until all egg yolks are incorporated into the batter. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 the amount of the buttermilk mixture. Continue at intervals adding flour and adding buttermilk, blending after each addition. End with mixing in the last of the flour.

Drop the pineapple by tablespoons into the batter and mix until distributed. Do the same with the coconut. Lastly, add the pecans to the batter and stir until all add-ins are evenly dispersed. Set aside.

Add the egg whites to a clean bowl. Then beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add this to the existing batter by folding in, until whites are completely blended.

Divide batter into 3 equal parts. Add 1 part to each prepared pan and smooth the surface. Place each pan in oven-2 on one rack and 1 on the other. Bake for about 13 minutes, then rotate pans and bake for an additional 12 minutes. Use a tester to see if fully baked, if not let cook a few minutes more and check again. Bake time may take up to 10 minutes more.

Once fully baked, remove pans and set on rack to rest for about 5 minutes. Then invert each one onto the rack. Remove the parchment paper. Let cool completely before stacking and frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and silky. Add the extract and beat again, stopping occasionally to beat down the sides of the bowl. Then sift in 1 cup of confectioners' sugar. Beat, starting with low speed and then increasing so all sugar is blended. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Repeat process until all sugar is incorporated into frosting.

Place one layer on a cake board or serving platter. Using a spatula, smooth about 1/4 of the frosting onto the top surface. Stack another layer on top and repeat frosting process. Once all layers are stacked, frost the sides and sprinkle the top with pecans.

Tips and Notes:
1. You can toast the nuts if you prefer more crunch in and on the cake.
2. When frosting the sides, put a thin crumb coat on first, let set and then frost sides as normal.
3.  The frosting between layers was not very thick. If doing this again, I would increase the frosting recipe amount by 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 3 tbs of butter.
                                   **LAST YEAR:Snickerdoodle Pie**