Caramel-Filled Butter Pecan Cake

Originally published in the December 1988 issue of Southern Living, I have been making this cake for over 10 years (one a year) and have added some detail to the recipe. This is easier if you break the time into pieces and take your time in making it. It will always come out delicious, but often the aesthetics will be off. It’s hard to get this cake exactly right.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup, shortening
  • 2 cups, sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons, baking powder
  • 0.5 teaspoons, salt
  • 1 cup, whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon, almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • a few pecan halves

Caramel Filling

  • 3 cups, sugar
  • 0.75 cups, whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • 0.5 cup, butter

Buttercream Frosting

  • 0.33 cups, butter
  • 3 cups, powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons, whole milk
  • 0.5 teaspoons, vanilla extract

Equipment

  • 3 cake pans, 9″
  • 1 electric mixer
  • cooling racks
  • parchment paper
  • wooden toothpicks
  • large sauce pan
  • candy thermometer
  • cake stand
  • measuring cups
  • scissors
  • mixing bowl

Recipe

Baking Cake Layers

  1. Cream shortening in electric mixer, then gradually add 2 cups of sugar at medium speed.
  2. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Gradually mix in 3 cups of cake flour, 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder and 0.5 teaspoons of salt, adding 1 cup of milk as needed to keep it liquid.
  4. Add in almond and vanilla extracts.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Grease three 9″ cake pans with shortening (or butter, if you prefer) and line with parchment paper, grease wax paper and cut extra paper off with scissors.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 22-25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick stick comes out clean after poking it into the center of the cake layers.
  9. Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove cake layers from cake pans and let cool on wire racks.

Caramel Filling

  1. Combine 3 cups of sugar, 0.75 cups of whole milk, a beaten egg, and 0.5 cup of butter in a large saucepan. (Optional: a few oz. of corn syrup can make it creamier with a smoother texture).
  2. Cook on medium-low heat (lower is better!) until the mixture reaches the temperature of 230 degrees, (roughly 20 minutes).
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Beat with a wooden spoon until spreading consistency.
  5. Put first layer of cake on a cake stand, spread caramel evenly on top of layer until it is a quarter inch thick. Add next layer and spread caramel two more times. If the caramel gets hard, bring back to the stove and heat to soften again.

Buttercream Filling

  1. Cream butter at maximum speed of the electric mixer.
  2. Gradually add in 3 cups of powdered sugar and 0.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  3. Add in milk until the consistency is right for frosting.
  4. Spread frosting around the outside of the layered cake.
  5. Press chopped pecans into frosting on sides.
  6. Garnish top of the cake with five pecan halves in the center and (optionally) a ring of them around the rim.

Pandemic Bread

Is it too late to get in on the pandemic bread trend? Using the olive bread recipe, silicon pan floating inside a Dutch oven, cooked at low oven temperature 220⁰F until bread’s internal temperature is 195-205⁰F, about 3-4 hours.

Mouli Maka

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of puffed rice (or Rice Krispies)
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1 radish, diced
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup of coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 2 tbsp. of ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small potatoes, boiled
  • hot peppers (usually Thai, but any will do), to taste
  • 16 oz package of fresh snow peas
  • 2 tbsp. of mustard oil
  • 1 small package of Indian snacks (optional)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation

Mouli means puffed rice. Maka means mix. All you need to do is put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together. Best had with hot tea in the afternoon.

Cottage Cheese Loaf / Vegetarian Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
  • 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups of corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion

Preparation

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan. Mix ingredients together in large bowl. Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake 60-70 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve.

Comment

Just read about this for the first time yesterday in this article on the longevity of Seventh Day Adventists. Recipe is from food.com. I just wanted to make a note of it here, so I remember to try it sometime.

One Pot Wonders

“…the editors of NYT Cooking have put together this modest (and beautiful), wide-ranging (and tightly focused) collection of recipes devoted to the celebration of one-vessel cooking, on the stovetop and in the oven.”

Various authors, “One Pot Meals.” The New York Times. Accessed: February 16, 2020.

Online Mexican Cookbooks

“…UTSA’s Mexican cookbook collection [is] the largest-known trove of Mexican and Mexican-American cookbooks in North America. It started with a donation of nearly 550 books from San Antonio resident Laurie Gruenbeck in 2001, amassed during her decades of travel throughout Mexico. It now has more than 2,000 books, including some of renowned chef and scholar Diana Kennedy’s rarest books, as well as her personal papers. It has the oldest cookbooks published in Mexico (from 1831), elaborate vegetarian cookbooks from 1915 and 1920, corporate and community cookbooks, and much more.”

-Nils Bernstein, “Generations of Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks Are Now Online.” AtlasObscura.com. February 10, 2020.

Hoppin’ John

Eaten in the South (United States) on New Year’s Eve, the beans and scallions of this recipe symbolize coins and currency, and by extension, are eaten for good luck and prosperity in the new year. Delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rice
  • 2 15.8 oz cans of Bush’s Blackeye Peas, or make your own
  • 2 cups of green scallions, just the leafy part, diced
  • half a pound of white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups, tomatoes, a variety, diced
  • 1 12.oz package of bacon, cooked, then crumbled when crispy

Preparation

  1. Cook the rice in a rice cooker
  2. Cook the Blackeye Peas in a saucepan to warm, about 30 min. medium heat
  3. Cut scallions
  4. Grate cheese
  5. Cook bacon
  6. Layer into a casserole dish starting with rice, followed by beans, scallions, cheese and bacon
  7. Warm in oven at 300F until cheese melts, ~30 min.
Finished
Rice followed by blackeye peas
Added scallions
Tomato layer
Cheese layer
Bacon layer with empty space for those that don’t want bacon
After heating