Bourbon-Pecan Layer Cake

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup toasted pecan bits, cooled and ground in a food processor
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs

Brown Sugar Frosting

  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Scant 2 teaspoon bourbon
  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with wax paper, then spray again. Dust with flour (or confectioners’ sugar, if preferred).
  3. Cake: In medium bowl, mix flour, pecans, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a glass, measure buttermilk and bourbon, then set aside.
  5. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture with buttermilk, stirring well after each addition. Repeat until all is mixed, then spread in prepared pans.
  6. Bake 28 to 32 minutes, using a wooden pick to test.
  7. Let cool on rack 10 minutes.
  8. Brown Sugar Frosting: In large saucepan, stir together brown sugar, cream and butter; bring to a boil, stirring often. Pour into large mixer bowl. Add bourbon. Cool 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to just warm, then stir in confectioners’ sugar. On medium speed beat 5 minutes until fluffy.
  9. Place cake layer on platter, spread on warm frosting, top with second layer; frost top and sides.
  10. Garnish with 1 ounce chocolate, melted and cooled, and toasted pecan halves Drizzle chocolate on cake, and top with pecans.

This is best if made a day ahead and served at room temperature.

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