Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big Daddy's Cake

Ah, the holiday rush. Party after party after party...When you're supposed to be baking for a blog, this can be a good thing. Especially if you have a gigantic cake with a tunnel of fudge you're supposed to bake. Take it to the party and let other people eat it, I say! So that's what I did with this cake about 2 weeks ago.
On the day I baked this, I had a lot going on: the usual Saturday laundry/shopping routine, closets that were calling to be cleaned out, I think there was editing as well, and I had promised to bake cookies for a church function. And the cake had to be ready for a 3:00 party. Fortunately, this is one of those cakes that looks impressive but is actually fairly easy. You make pretty much a pound cake, then put together a coffee-flavored ganache; pour the ganache into a trench in the cake batter, sprinkle that with pecans, and bake.

Here's the cake getting ready to bake.

And here it is fresh from the oven. I didn't get a chance to photograph it frosted, and it didn't get cut until the party, so I don't have a "tunnel of fudge" picture. What I noticed is that the fudge and the frosting pretty much join in a giant layer of chocolate at the top of the cake. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I tasted a bit of the white cake, and it was very good--dense and just a bit fluffy. Sami tried the whole thing and pronounced it delicious. None of it came home, which is a very good sign--for the cake and for me!

Here's the recipe. Bake this when you have a lot of people to feed!
Big Daddy's Cake

7 oz. (2 cups) toasted pecan halves/large pieces (here you probably don't want the TJ's chopped pecans because they're too small)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
3 T. strong coffee (2-3 t. instant espresso dissolved in 3 T. water, or leftover from the morning)
3 T. cream
12 oz. (3 sticks!!) butter, room temperature
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1-1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract
2 c. (14 oz.) sugar
6 large eggs
4 c. (16 oz.) sifted flour
1-1/4 c. milk

Heat the oven to 350; spray a Bundt pan well. Chop half of the pecans fine and coat the Bundt pan with them. Leave the pecans that don't stick to the sides of the pan on the bottom of the pan.
Melt the chocolate with the coffee in the microwave--it will probably take two 30-second sessions. Stir until smooth, then add the cream. Set this aside.
Cream the butter with the baking powder and salt until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat for 5-7 minutes or until super fluffy and light in color. This is something I heard on the Splendid Table--you should really beat the butter and sugar a long time to form as many air bubbles as possible. You could probably melt your chocolate and stuff while the butter is mixing. Now add the eggs one at a time, beating until well incorporated after each. (I tried out my Beater Blade with this cake and was delighted to see that I didn't have to scrape down the bowl all the time.) On low speed add the flour in three additions alternating with the milk in two additions. When it's all mixed, pour it into the prepared Bundt pan. Make a trench in the batter and pour the chocolate mixture into the trench. I put it in in globs and then spread it around. Break the remaining cup of pecans into large pieces and sprinkle them on top of everything. Then put it all in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. Cover it with foil and give it another 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake will have a giant crack in it. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold it onto a plate. Let it cool completely, or until it's almost time to go to the party, whichever comes first.
Now it's time to make the glaze. This is a no-brainer:

6 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 T. butter

Melt this in the microwave in 2 30-second bursts; stir until smooth. Pour over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Regard your masterpiece and then hustle it out of the house. The recipe says 12 portions, but I would say it's at least 20.

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